If you'd like to start eating in a more healthful way, you've picked the right month! March just happens to be National Nutrition Month. You can start out slow by adding a few more nutritious items to each meal, or you can dive in and make a new meal plan for yourself that includes plenty of healthy foods. Either way, it's a great time to create some healthier eating habits.
Make an Eating Plan at the Beginning of Each Week
Making a balanced meal plan at the beginning of each week is one way to ensure that you're eating lots of nutritious foods each day. Having both your meal plan and the ingredients to make the meals means you don't have to think about what you're going to eat. A solid meal plan includes options for snacks and even healthy desserts if you feel you need something sweet. I like the idea of putting your meal plan on the kitchen calendar, so you can look at it before digging in the refrigerator for junk food.
Add More Color to Your Plate
This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to add more nutrients to each of your meals. Start with adding more green to your plate in the form of spinach, zucchini, kale, green grapes, avocados, or asparagus. Next, mix some reds into your meal in the form of red potatoes, red kidney beans, red peppers, red grapes, tomatoes, or beets. Experiment with colorful foods to see which ones appeal to you the most.
Try a Few New Recipes Featuring Vegetables
Sometimes we get into the habit of making a particular meal the same way every time. You can boost the amount of nutrients in your meals by putting a new spin on old favorites. For instance, if you usually eat traditional lasagna made with ground beef, try spinach artichoke lasagna for a bit of a change. If you usually eat traditional French fries made with potatoes, go with cauliflower fries as a fun, healthier alternative. You don't have to abandon your favorite foods, but consider throwing some healthier alternatives into the mix.
Keep the Peels on Your Veggies and Fruits
Vegetable and fruit peels contain a lot of nutrients, so do yourself a favor and put aside the peeler for a while. Next time you make a pan of sweet potatoes, keep the peels on so you can benefit from the vitamins A, C, and E as well as the fiber in the peels. Vitamins A and C and potassium are some of the nutrients you take in when you eat an apple with its peel.
Other fruits and veggies with nutritious peels include:
Start a Vegetable Garden
There are dozens of good reasons to start a vegetable garden in your backyard. For one, you can supply your family with vegetables instead of buying them each week at the grocery store. Also, it's a chance for your kids or grandkids to help you grow vegetables. They might even continue the tradition with their own families. Plus, it's more enjoyable to eat veggies you grew yourself, don't you think?
I hope you take the opportunity this month to treat yourself to some more nutritious and filling foods. You may find you want to continue the habit into April, May, and beyond! Thanks for reading. - Alan