National Nutrition Month: Put your best fork forward

March is recognized as National Nutrition month. I like to use the month to help educate people on making educated choices when it comes to good nutrition. For optimal health, it is a diet comprised of a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, omega-3 rich foods such as salmon and tuna, and unsaturated fats like olive and canola oils. It also limits saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, sodium, and high-fat meats. Does that seem overwhelming to you?

It can sometimes feel like it is another thing to put on the to-do list and can be viewed as complicated and hard so why even bother. Here is the reason why: YOU! Maybe you currently don’t have health issues but your choices now can impact your health in the future. So here are 5 tips to help you put your best fork forward:

1. Make it a priority to purchase something fresh from the produce department every trip to the grocery store. This will help you ensure you are getting fruits and vegetables into your diet.

2. Pay attention to labels on foods to see what the ingredients are. Don’t be fooled that because a food is labeled as organic that is considered the best choice. Look to see if there are added sugars or salt in the ingredients and search to see if there is a different option that doesn’t include these in the ingredients.

3. Move more! Plain and simple-we are far too sedentary in our day so make it a point to move throughout the day. Maybe you don’t have time for a workout at the gym but you can squeeze in a couple 10-minute walk breaks at work.

4. Limit the number of fried choices you have when you are eating a meal. For example, if you are going to choose the fried chicken nuggets, then select the fruit or side salad for your side item.

5. Watch for the added fats such as condiments like butter, mayonnaise, cheese, Ranch dressing, sour cream. Be selective with your toppings and choose the one that means the most to you. You will be surprised that you may not even miss the cheese on your sandwich.

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