National Nutrition Month®: Personalize Your Plate!

Raya Beerbower, MRH Dietetic Intern

March is National Nutrition Month®! This year’s topic from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics is “Personalize your Plate.” What does this mean exactly? That there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! Therefore, we should all tailor our favorite foods to meet our individual nutrient needs. The Academy’s website includes cuisine ideas from other cultures, including:

  • Chinese

  • Asian Indian

  • Filipino

  • Latin American

  • Middle Eastern

The Academy has also published weekly goals for National Nutrition Month®.

Week 1: Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day by including healthful choices from all food groups and learning how to read the nutrition facts panel (check out my previous blog post for more information on this!).

Week 2: Plan your meals each week by using a grocery list to shop for healthy foods, being menu-savvy when dining out, and choosing healthful recipes to make during the week.

Week 3: Learn skills to create tasty meals by keeping healthful ingredients on hand, practicing proper home food safety, and trying new flavors and foods.

Week 4: Consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). RDN’s can give you personalized nutrition advice to meet your goals and serve your unique needs.

Finally, try these 20 healthful tips to follow (adapted from “20 Health Tips” from the National Nutrition Month® Toolkit.)

1. Eat breakfast and start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

2. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

3. Watch your portion sizes.

4. Be active— regular physical activity has many health benefits.

5. Get to know food labels by reading the Nutrition Facts panel.

6. Fix healthy snacks.

7. Consult an RDN. They can help you lower your risk of developing certain diseases, manage chronic diseases, and help you lose weight if that is a goal.

8. Follow food safety guidelines to reduce your chances of getting sick.

9. Drink more water.

10. Get cooking!

11. Order out without ditching goals.

12. Enact family mealtime.

13. Banish “brown bag boredom” with easy-to-make, healthy lunch ideas.

14. Reduce added sugars.

15. Eat seafood twice a week.

16. Explore new foods and flavors by expanding your range of food choices.

17. Experiment with plant-based meals.

18. Plan meals based on foods you already have in your refrigerator/what you have on-hand.

19. Slow down at mealtime.

20. Supplement with caution.

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