Photo from foodiesfeed.com
March…. that glorious month which brings the start of spring and an extra hour of daylight, also happens to be National Nutrition Month. What better time to start eating our way to optimal health!
The idea of using food to promote health is certainly NOT new. It was Hippocrates around 400 B.C. who suggested to “let food be thy medicine”.
It really IS true that what we put on our fork (and in our glass) matters. Celebrate National Nutrition Month by creating a few new healthy eating habits. Here are some ideas to get you started:
This tiny economical legume is packed with protein, fiber and potassium, requires NO pre-soaking and is super easy to prepare. Consider making a simple lentil soup (there are MANY recipes on line). Or try a delicious lentil salad by tossing a large bowl of cooked, drained lentils, with olive oil, pepper, garlic powder, salt and fresh chopped parsley (chill it well!).
Find ways to add chopped kale to your life.
A one pound bag of pre- washed kale costs $2.99 (or less) in most stores and the possibilities are endless! Cut it up and add to salads. Chop it finely and add to meatballs. Sautee it in extra virgin olive oil for a quick and delicious side veggie. A handful may even be tossed into a breakfast protein smoothie. Just seeing the ready to use kale in the fridge may inspire new ideas for using it!
Drink more water
Liquid treats such as juice, soda, sports beverages, fruit punch, sweet tea and sugary flavored milk are OK on occasion. This month would be a great time to develop the “water habit”. Make it easy by keeping it nearby at all times.
Eat real foods instead of heavily processed fakes
Sure, a packaged veggie chip is crunchy… but why not eat the real thing instead?! Nothing beats a fresh crunchy carrot, radish, cauliflower floret or celery stalk dipped in hummus or ranch.
Include enough healthy fats
Cook with extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or a bit of real butter (instead of heavily processed margarine products). Consider scooping out an avocado or eating a handful of nuts for snack. Eat fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines and tuna a few times this month.
Replace 2 fast food meals this month with simple home – prepared meals.
In about the time it takes to pick up a fast food meal and bring it home, a large salad could be assembled. Then turn it into a complete meal by topping with garbanzo beans, chopped egg, shredded cheese, left over chicken, etc.
Here is another quick – to – fix meal idea:
Foil – wrapped chicken and veggies
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place a piece of chicken directly onto a large section of foil.
Top with chunks of carrot, celery, onion and zucchini
Season as desired with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Seal foil pouch, leaving a bit of air space.
Bake for ~40 minutes until chicken and veggies are done.
Celebrate Health this
NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH!!
Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN
Duke Healthy Lifestyles Dietitian