March is National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits, both of which are part of your path to health and wellness.
The full definition of NUTRITION according to Merriam Webster is “the act or process of nourishing or being nourished; specifically: the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances.” Webster’s simple definition, however, is one that we should really take to heart: “the process of eating the right kind of food so you can grow properly and be healthy.”
Over the next several weeks, we will visit some of the components of nutrition and healthy eating. In the mean time, here’s something YOU can do: Make a food journal. Take a few minutes out of your day and log every morsel of food that you consume. Many apps such as My Fitness Pal have easy food logging systems, or just do it the old-fashioned way … write it down on a piece of paper.
Don’t cheat … and don’t suddenly switch your eating habits just because you are paying attention to them! Eat how you typically eat, and write it all down, including how much of each thing you consume. You can keep it simple, however the more specific you are the more knowledge you can gain. Try to log EVERYTHING, including condiments and all ingredients used in cooking your meals. If you eat out, write down what you ordered – and don’t forget to include any extras such as items from the breadbasket or a forkful of your friend’s dessert! Remember to track how much water and other liquids you consume, as hydration is a key component to good nutrition and you may be consuming beverages that are giving you too many calories or too little nutrients.
Track your intake for a minimum of 3 days … or better yet, bump it up to 5-7 days to include weekends. This will provide a larger snapshot of your food consumption and eating habits. Make it a fun group project and have all members of your family track what they eat! Take a good look at what you see … You may be surprised at the results! Be mindful of your eating, and Be Well!