March is National Nutrition Month, so Put Your Best Fork Forward as the theme of the season. When I first learned about this theme, I immediately thought about positivity, making good impressions, and feeling confident about making healthy food choices. It may be challenging for some of us at times, but the bottom line is: we want to do our best, and feel our best when it comes to healthy eating.
Here are some tips to help you to put your best fork forward.
- Eat a balanced meal: It matters what’s on your plate. At every meal, make sure to fill half your plate with fruits and/or veggies. Next, fill one fourth of your plate with whole grains, which contain plenty of fiber that make us feel full. Lastly, fill the other fourth of your plate with a lean protein such as beans, tofu, eggs, chicken, pork, or fish.
- Practice mindful eating: Unfortunately, we live in a fast-paced world that causes us to eat “on the go” or causes us to scarf down our food. We hardly pay attention to what we eat.
Most of us would agree that yes, we love food. But how many of us actually take the time appreciate it? Paying attention to what we eat is important because:
- we can better enjoy our meals
- we will notice our fullness cues
- we can create a positive connection with all the goodness we take in.
Set aside a specific time to eat. The act of mindful eating is a fun journey through all 5 senses:
- Touch: Feel your food before you transform it into something delicious. Notice the different textures- is it rough, smooth, waxy, dry, wet, spongey?
- Hearing: When you prepare your food, what do you hear? Maybe it’s the delightful sound of a crunch when the knife slices though the veggies, the sizzling on the stove, or the ding of the timer. Dinner is ready.
- Sight: You’ve heard it before: we first eat with our eyes. The more appealing it is to you, the more you’ll love your meal. Be proud of what you just created. Now load up your fork and take a look – what are your favorite healthy foods you like to see on there?
- Smell: Take a deep breath and take in all those wonderful smells. It will get your taste buds revved up and ready for that first bite.
- Now the best part – Taste! You immediately start digesting food once it comes into contact with saliva. This is the first step in breaking down food to turn it into nourishment for your body. Explore the flavors and textures of your food by chewing more slowly. Eat with good intentions and focus on eating foods that allow you to feel like your best self. You’ll start to notice your fullness cues more when you are eating mindfully and know when to not go overboard.
Eating mindfully will allow you to be conscious of your portion control and feel empowered about your food choices. If you feel confident about your healthy decisions, the more likely you are to stick to those good habits. Do your mind and body good by incorporating these tips into your day-to-day routine. Enjoy putting your best fork forward.
Happy National Nutrition Month.
By Nikki Karetov, Soon-To-Be Registered Dietitian Nutritionist