March is National Nutrition Month®: Get Your Plate in Shape!

Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) celebrate National Nutrition Month®. National Nutrition Month® is an opportunity to educate and celebrates credible nutrition information and more healthful nutrition practices. Each year, National Nutrition Month® focuses on a different topic but always with the same goal of helping people make more informed dietary choices. This year’s campaign is “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

National Nutrition Month, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Get Your Plate in Shape is a reminder to think about what you’re putting on your plate. Do you make sure your meal includes vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean protein? Do you ever have meals that are missing out on some of these food groups? This March, start a new habit of thinking harder about what you put on your plate and enjoy more balanced meals! 

This year’s key messages are directly in line with the new food guidelines of MyPlate, a topic I recently presented at a Lunch and Learn. Here are some great tips on ways to get your plate in shape:

  • Make half you plate fruits and vegetables.
    Fruits and vegetables are probably the most commonly forgotten meal component. Starting this month, make sure each of your meals or snacks contain a fruit or vegetable. They will help you feel satisfied and need less of the higher-calorie components of the meal, keeping your plate in shape.
  • Make at least half your grains whole.
    Meaning? Choose whole grains in place of refined grains as often as possible. Look for 100% whole grain breads, pasta, rice, cereal and other grains. Keep in mind “wheat” and “multigrain” don’t necessarily mean whole grain. Check the ingredient label for “100% whole grain.”
    Enriched wheat = refined grains (not whole grains)
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
    Full-fat dairy products contain higher amounts of saturated fat which may contribute to increased cholesterol levels. Low- and no-fat dairy have less saturated fats and still provide great nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals. For more discussion about the different types of fats, click here.
  • Vary your protein choices.
    Try rotating the protein you eat throughout the week to include nuts, beans, seafood, eggs, lean meat and poultry. Aim to include seafood twice each week. If you are a believer of “it has to have meat to be a meal,” try experimenting with some plant protein sources like soy, nuts and legumes. You might be surprised how satisfying (and delicious) plant protein foods can be!

For more great information, visit the National Nutrition Month website.

What are you doing to get your plate in shape?

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