If you had healthy eating habits as your New Year's resolution, and things have gone by the wayside, don't worry!
March is National Nutrition Month, and a great time to reset and re-engage your goals by discovering new ways to incorporate healthy food options in your diet.
"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating right, and the best solution is to find something that works for you," says Sara Fausett, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Intermountain Healthcare.
"Everyone is different, with different tastes, bodies, and goals. We encourage people to try a number of techniques and foods to discover the best way to create their own healthy eating habits," Fausett says.
Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day
1. Eat more produce to add flavor and color to your meal and get more vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
You can do this by:
- Eating the rainbow. Try fruits and vegetables of varied colors.
- Trying a new fruit or veggie each week. Start a grocery-store challenge – a fun way to involve children – where you buy produce you've never tried before.
- Using a food service or co-op where produce is selected and delivered to you.
2. Try the My Plate method. Fill half the plate with fruit and vegetables, and divide the remaining half between a carbohydrate and a protein. This is an easy way to eat nutritiously while dining out or at home.
3. Add a bag of frozen fruits or veggies to your favorite take-out meal. This also can be a cost-effective way to stretch the meal.
Plan meals each week
1. Keep it simple. Identify a few of your favorite easy, go-to recipes, and build on or customize them to add variety. Make a list and shop for the ingredients you'll need.
2. Try a meal-planning app. Apps like Mealime contain recipes that can be tailored to preference or need (gluten-free, for example). Users select the recipe they'd like to try, and the ingredients automatically transfer to a cart for easy online shopping.
3. Keep a few staples on hand (beans, rice and frozen veggies) that can be used to round out a meal. Have some chicken in the fridge? Add rice and frozen veggies to make a rice bowl.
Learn skills to create tasty meals
1. Take a cooking class. There are a number of online options to choose from.
2. Watch free how-to videos, including how to make vinaigrette, cut pineapple or roast vegetables, used in the Intermountain Weigh to Health Nutrition Program.
3. Try healthy swaps. Use applesauce in place of canola oil, or Greek yogurt instead of oil or sour cream with potatoes or in banana bread. Try adding cooked cauliflower to boiled potatoes before mashing them.
Remember, nobody's perfect. The key to creating healthy habits is to keep trying until you find what you like. "Be vulnerable in your efforts," Fausett said. "You don't have to make a perfect plated dish to post on Instagram, or serve at a five-star restaurant. It's not going to be perfect – but it will be good."
More National Nutrition Month tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics can be found eatright.org
For more information, go to intermountainhealthcare.org.