March is National Nutrition Month Eating smart and being physically active are keys to looking good, feeling great, and being your best at work and play, a South Dakota State University dietitian said.
SDSU Extension Assistant Dawn Conrad, a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist, said as America marks National Nutrition Month in March, it's a good idea to keep some healthy habits in mind:
* Choose breakfast: Breakfast is the first chance the body has to refuel its glucose (energy) levels, after eight to 12 hours of sleep without a meal or snack. Grab a container of yogurt and piece of fruit, a peanut butter sandwich and carton of skim or 1-percent milk, or a bagel with a slice of
* Eat a sensible serving size: The supersize, more-for-your money campaign only adds calories and fat. Knowing the appropriate serving size for you is part of eating smart. The basics include, 4-6 ounces of meat, chicken, pork or fish a day, five servings of fruits/vegetables a day (1/2 cup canned, frozen or cooked and 1 cup raw or one piece equals a serving), six servings of whole grain cereals, breads, rice or pasta (1/2 cup equals a serving) and two to four servings of dairy a day (1/2 to 1 cup equals a serving).
* Add color to your plate: Increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that have been shown to decrease the incidence of some cancers and heart disease and to help lower blood pressure. Add fruit to your cereal, yogurt or pancakes in the morning. Have fruits and vegetables available through the day to snack on between meals. Try new vegetables at home, expand your taste buds.
* Healthy eating on the run: Everyone has a busy lifestyle these days, but this does not have to lead to poor food choices. Choose grilled, broiled or steamed foods, order a regular or kid-sized portion, try a side salad instead of fries, choose lean meats such as turkey, chicken, or lean beef on
whole grain bread. Go easy on condiments such as sauces and salad dressings at the salad bar, choose dark leafy greens, carrots, peppers and other vegetables, share a restaurant meal with someone, and indulge in a broth-based soup or salad before ordering.
* Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine: Park at the end of the parking lot and walk, take stairs instead of elevators, walk to get your mail, set aside one hour each day with your children and get physical. Make physical activity a priority � once you are hooked, you will realize how much better you feel with regular activity and you won't want to miss a workout. Get the entire family involved, getting kids started at an early age on the benefits and fun of physical activity will set them up on a lifelong path for eating smart and staying healthy.
"As we promote the 'Eat Smart Stay Healthy' campaign during National Nutrition Month 2004, take time to evaluate your current habits," Conrad said. "Decide what small changes you may need to make to begin incorporating healthy lifelong changes and physical activity into your life today."