When it comes to knowing what you should be eating and what you should not, there is no one better to ask than a registered dietitian or dietetic technician. These food and nutrition experts are the MVPs in our war against obesity. This month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is sponsoring National Nutrition Month to increase awareness about the importance of making healthy food choices based on reliable information and promote the development of good habits around eating and exercise.
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every day” which encourages people to adopt healthy eating habits that work for their own individual lives. By incorporating healthy eating habits into your everyday life and developing your own personalized healthy eating style, you are creating the right conditions to change your relationship with food for the better. Many people struggle to adopt eating plans and exercise programs from television, videos, and books because those programs are not a good enough fit for their lives. One of the benefits of working with a nutritional expert like a registered dietitian is that they specialize in creating personalized, individual nutrition plans based on your individual preferences, likes, habits, and history.
You can also establish a personalized eating plan on your own by following these simple steps.
1. Eat What You Like
In order to eat your way to better health, you need to eat the healthy food that is part of your meal plan rather than spontaneously grabbing the unhealthy food calling your name from the convenience store shelf! It is much easier to do this if you have already identified healthy options that you like to eat. If you don’t like what you are eating, it will be harder and harder to stick with your healthy plan over time.
2. Look at Your Lifestyle
Some of us are active, some of us are not. Some of us eat meat, some of us do not. There are many different ways that our lifestyle impacts our food choices. The key to making sure those choices are healthy ones is knowing how the way you live affects what you eat.
3. Eat Inside and Outside the Box
Many of the foods we feed our family are inspired by or drawn from our cultural heritage. Make sure your personalized eating plan includes these favorite foods. But don’t limit yourself to those foods you grew up eating; you should also look to eat healthy options that are outside your “box” as well. There is a world of healthy food out there, full of nutrition and flavor, just waiting for you to find it.
4. Don’t Confuse the Baby and the Bathwater
Just because your favorite dish from childhood could have been named “heart attack on a plate” doesn’t mean you have to skip it. Try modifying the recipe by doing things like swapping out healthier versions of high fat, high calorie ingredients or using different cooking techniques until you find a version of that fabulous family favorite. There is no need to give up the food you love, but you may need to change how, when, and how often you eat those foods in order to improve your overall health.
For more information on National Nutrition Month and other ideas on how to eat right, your way, every day, visit the National Nutrition Month website.