By Joanne Tehrani, MPH, RD, CDN
March is National Nutrition Month, which I have always thought was a great time to discuss healthy eating habits because March signifies change – the end winter and the start of spring, which brings new beginnings. How many times have you signed up for a gym in January only to find you’ve gone a handful of times since the New Year, or promised yourself after a weekend of indulgence that you’d only eat salad for an entire month? We’ve all been there. We feel enough pressure from the daily grind, so give yourself a break and start getting healthier by making little changes. Here are a few things you can do that will help you reach your health goals and make you feel great.
1. Load up on whole fruits and vegetables. While juice is wonderful, it leaves a lot of the good stuff behind. Whole fruits and vegetables contain fiber. If you want to drink your fruits and veggies, try blending them in a smoothie like this blueberry-avocado one. Many people are also going on juice fasts in hopes of removing the “toxins” for their body. Your body has its own way of detoxifying itself – it’s called your liver and kidneys. Focus on adding good things to your diet, like these whole fruits and veggies, rather than worry about “cutting back.”
2. Get up and move. Aim for 10,000 steps a day and take the stairs. Have you tried a Fit Bit? These nifty bracelets track everything, like the number of steps you take, calories consumed, and sleep patterns. Of course, if you don’t want something so expensive and elaborate, you can use a simple pedometer that you buy at the drug store. You will be amazed at how often you sit throughout the day, and how much a little extra effort can help increase your number of steps.
3. Keep a log. Research shows that keeping a diary of your food intake may help you lose more weight; it can be really eye-opening. Try My Fitness Pal, a website and easy-to-use smartphone app which has a very active and supportive online community. Keeping a log is not only useful for tracking calories and fat consumed, it’s also a great way to see if you are lacking in certain nutrients.
4. Drink the good stuff. We’ve heard it a million times, but staying hydrated makes a difference, especially when it comes to digestion and keeping energized. My coworkers all try different techniques to make sure they are drinking enough throughout the day. One uses a small Poland Spring bottle and aims to fill it up at least 8 times a day. Another one keeps a huge water bottle filled at her desk and makes sure to finish it by the end of the work day. Whatever method you choose, a simple system like this helps keep hydration top of mind.
What little changes have you been making this month? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Joanne Tehrani, MPH, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian working with the US Highbush Blueberry Council.
Photo credit: Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics