The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annually declares March as National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape.” Most of us would love to get our bodies in shape but the key to doing that is to start with your plate. Here are some changes to getting your plate in top shape:
• Choose a smaller plate size. Consider using a saucer instead of a dinner plate. Research indicates that our plate size has increased 36% since the 1960’s. Check out the website, www.smallplatemovement.org, to get on board with choosing a smaller size. This site is based on some extremely interesting research by Brian Wansink at Cornell University. Sometimes research can be a little boring but I promise this is great and may help you figure out why you are eating too much.
• Aim for 1/2 your plate to be full of fruits and vegetables and the other half to be split between meat and starch. That is the opposite of how most of us fill our plates so work on reversing this. This means your plate should include about 2 cups fruit/vegetables, 2-3 oz lean meat, and 1/2 cup starch. Pair this up with a low fat dairy product.
• Prepare your own plate by cooking at home more often. Restaurant eating almost always results in larger intake of calories, fat, and definitely sodium. Get out of a cooking rut and try some new recipes, our chef blogger Barb comes up with some great ideas.
• Go low fat for dairy products. Choose skim milk, low fat yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and cheeses to help cut back on the saturated fat in your diet while still getting plenty of calcium.
• Make it colorful. A plate full of color indicates a variety of vitamins and minerals. Remember ROYGBIV for the colors of the rainbow? Apply it to your plate:
- Red peppers
- Yellow Squash
- Dark leafy greens
So for this month, make your goal to focus on improving your plate. Hopefully this will then become a habit. Happy Nutrition Month!