March is National Nutrition Month, a time to learn about healthy food habits and choices.
Good nutrition can help you manage health conditions and lower your risk for serious problems. The key is making smart choices, including knowing what’s in your food and how many calories you’re consuming.
When grocery shopping, for example, read food labels to learn about nutrients, calories and serving sizes. Before dining out, look up menus and nutrition information online.
You can also refer to MyPlate, an online tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that recommends dividing your meal plate into four sections. Fill one-quarter with fruits, one-quarter with vegetables, one-quarter with whole grains and one-quarter with proteins. A serving of low-fat dairy, such as milk or yogurt, is also suggested with every meal.
Other tips include making your plates colorful with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables so you have a variety of nutrients that look appetizing. You can also experiment with spices and new flavors to add dimension to your meals without adding excess calories, and keep empty calories to a minimum by choosing foods and beverages with less added sugars, saturated fat and sodium.
The bottom line: Think about your eating habits and pick one or two ways you can make healthier choices. Small changes matter and add up over time.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USPS March Wellness Toolkit websites have more information on nutrition.