Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? The topic this year is “Bite by Bite,” and you can get involved by following some key nutrition messages.1 Each little step you take – “bite by bite” – is one step closer to reaching your goal. Here are some “bite sized” ideas to eat well, stay active, and participate in this year’s message.
Include all the food groups on most days, taking it one step at a time.
Include fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and legumes. Use your plate as a guide, aiming to fill half your plate with vegetables and/or fruit; include a lean protein; have a starch or starchy vegetable; and include healthy fats. This can be done one step at a time! If you aren’t having vegetables with lunch, try adding a handful of spinach or some baby carrots with your sandwich; or try a plant-based meal like beans or tofu instead of meat once a week. Making these changes one step at a time is a great way to find success!
Make small changes to reach your long-term goal.
Changing everything all at once is not always possible. If having 1 more glass of water a day, 4 days a week and including vegetables with dinner 3 days a week is a feasible goal you can achieve, then start with that. Once you have achieved this, try another goal like adding a piece of fruit as a snack twice a week, and exercising for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Setting goals should be fun and realistic! Making small steps one “bite” or change at a time will get you there. Also, meeting with a dietitian is a great way to get started with setting these goals.
Think mindfully when making food choices, taking one “bite” at a time.
Try to make choices mindfully, listening to your hunger cues, and checking in with yourself during the meal. Use those to guide your food choices, and enjoy certain foods in moderation. Eat slowly; take one bite at a time being present in the moment; make sure there are no distractions; and really focus on enjoying each bite.2
Try new food choices and experiment with flavor.
A food challenge could be a new fun way to introduce a flavor or food. If, for example, you have never had a star fruit or broccoli rabe, make a point to try it once that week. Or, if you’re not a fan of veggies, try adding one new vegetable a week and experiment with different recipes and ways of cooking. You can also try new flavors and spices. If you have never cooked with curry, try a recipe that includes it. New to turmeric? Use it in your next meal. Never tried farro? Opt for using this in your next meal to replace your typical starch. Remember, you will get there one “bite” at a time!
Include physical activity.
Make sure to stay active any way you enjoy. Try a new workout class with a friend; use workout videos at home; go for a walk outside; and more! The goal is to find something you like to do and stick to it. Or, try a variety of different activities, like walking one day, weight lifting one day, and doing yoga one day. Set a small goal first, like walking three times a week for 30 minutes; or doing two workout classes a week. You can always add on from there! 20 minutes a week is better than 0 minutes a week.
The goal is to find the joy in eating, “bite by bite”, including a variety of foods, being mindful of your choices, including new flavors and foods, and getting in some physical activity. This month, try to set short term goals to help you meet your long term health and wellness goals, and take it one step at a time. Consult a dietitian for more information, and have a great National Nutrition Month!
Written by: Nicole Parello MS, RD, CDN
- National Nutrition Month. EatRight, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2020. Available at: https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month?_ga=2.231046557.325481406.1582166804-1823937829.1578074727. Accessed February 19th, 2020.
- Nelson, Joseph E. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Spectrum. 2017 Aug; 30(3): 171-174.