"Put Your Best Fork Forward"
Posted: March 3, 2017
National Nutrition Month is a campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each year the campaign focuses on different topics highlighting the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. This year the theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward!” The theme is a reminder to us that each bite we take is important and making small changes can have large impacts! Here are some steps to help you “Put Your Best Fork Forward!”
• Start making your small changes today. Often we say “I’ll start tomorrow” or “Monday I will be back on track.” Instead of putting it off, start right now. Begin with a small goal that is attainable. It can be as small as adding in an extra piece of fruit a day or drinking an extra 8 ounces of water.
• Experiment with a new flavor! Try a new spice, flavor, or ingredient to find something new you might like! Smoked paprika is a fun spice because it adds the savory flavor to vegetarian dishes and really changes the taste profile of a recipe. Sorghum is a popular ancient grain that is new to many and is a whole grain! You can even substitute sorghum for wheat flour in baked goods.
• Cook more at home. Cooking more at home can save you money and you get to control what you are putting on your plate. Often, restaurants have high calorie menu items, but when you create dinner, you control what goes into your recipe.
• If you have children, involve them in the cooking process if appropriate for their age. Even having them set the dinner table can be a fun family activity.
• You could also take some of your favorite recipes and make them healthier by swapping ingredients! Maybe instead of frying something, you bake it in the oven. Another good example of this type of swapping is replacing sour cream with plain Greek yogurt.
• Investigate new fruits or vegetables. Check your local grocery store to see what produce is available. There is a purple trend currently for things like purple sweet potatoes, kale, corn, carrots, and cauliflower. These vegetables are fun and have phytonutrients which have health benefits. Next time you are in the market, look for some of these. If you find something that is new to you, try it out!
• Find activities that you enjoy. It is important to be active most days of the week, but it is equally important to find something that you enjoy.
• Stay away from mindless bites. Often when we graze or take small bites of things throughout the day, these bites can really add up and pack a punch. This can happen especially during large holiday meals, but also on a day-to-day basis.Let's look at how bites can add up!
o Two Glazed Old Fashioned Donut Bites: 140 calories
“I had breakfast, but boy do these donut bites look tasty in the breakroom. Two won’t hurt anything.”
o Three Caramel Hard Candies from the candy bowl: 70 calories
“I had the strongest onions for lunch today. I need to get some candies from the office candy bowl to block this scent.”
o 11 chips during dinner meal preparation: 140 calories
“I am starved and dinner is not even ready. I will just munch on 11 chips. 11 chips can’t have too many calories, right?”
o 1 Tablespoon of cookie dough during cookie preparation: 130 Calories
“I need to make sure this cookie dough tastes up to par.” (By the way, eating raw cookie dough is not recommended due to possible pathogens in raw eggs).
Total Calories: 480 Calories!
The extra bites taken in this day adds up to 480 extra calories throughout the day. If you are going to snack, think about your food and make it count with nutrient rich foods like fruits or vegetables. Have a game plan in place and healthy snacks for when you do get hungry.
In March, we celebrate National Nutrition Month, but it is imperative to be mindful of our eating and physical activity habits each day. Take the challenge and “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”