March is National Nutrition Month. This is a month organized by the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to learn about healthy food choices and developing healthy eating habits. At Martindale’s, nutrition, wellness, and overall good health are what we’re all about! There are many fun ways for adults, children, and families to make the most out of National Nutrition Month. We have highlighted some ideas and activities below!
Nutrition in a Nut Shell
The basis of a healthy diet is balance. Yep, it’s that simple. Aim to have variety in your diet that also provides a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. From fiber and antioxidants to calcium and protein, a well-balanced, nutritious diet will help maintain a healthy body weight, give you energy, and help optimize your overall health.
Sure, everyone’s diet looks a little different for numerous reasons, but the most important thing to maintaining proper nutrition is to eat as many whole, real foods as possible. To help stay on track, try to plan out what you’d like to eat ahead of time. Then do your shopping and keep a variety of foods washed, cut, and prepped at the ready to grab them when mid-afternoon hunger strikes or to pop into your lunchbox quickly.
Keep reading for more interesting ways to effortlessly add more of these good eats to your weekly meal plan.
Learn About Nutrition
- Read a book on Nutrition
- Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw
- The Heal Your Gut Cookbook by Hilary Boynton
- Fiber Fueled by Bill Bulsiewicz
- Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition by Lizzy Rockwell
- Learn about the foods of different cultures or regions of the United States
- A specific culture or geographic region’s food carries a great sense of pride and identity with it. It can be fun to incorporate new foods into your diet while learning about other cultures. Do some research online for some international or regional dishes that sound tasty. Or, ask friends and neighbors to recommend their favorite recipes.
- Participate in a virtual cooking demonstration
- Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try a specific food or dish but were not quite sure how to make it delicious and nutritious. Try a virtual cooking class where you work right alongside the experts, from the safety of your own home. Check out one of these local virtual cooking classes and more!
Take Action During National Nutrition Month
- Organize a food donation drive
- Search for a food pantry in your local area
- Reach out to your friends and family and ask them to pick up a few extra shelf-stable items the next time they are out grocery shopping
- Collect the groceries and deliver them to the pantry of your choosing
- Start a vegetable garden right in your home or backyard
- Decide if you’d like to have an all-indoor garden or if you’d like it to start indoors and then move outdoors. Then, buy your seeds accordingly.
- Get containers that have drainage holes. Fill them each with a seed-starting dirt mixture.
- Read each seed packet to see how deep the seeds should be planted.
- Once your seeds are sown, move the containers to a warm location in your home– the top of the fridge or near a radiator are good spots!
- Keep an eye on your plants. As soon as seeds begin to sprout, move them to a location with light, whether it be natural sunshine or fluorescent lighting.
- For best results, use an organic fertilizer weekly.
- Once the plants are strong enough, plant them in a dedicated spot outside with the desirable amount of light per the seed pack instructions. Or, keep your plants inside in a sunny window.
- Commit to trying a new fruit or vegetable each week
- Try out a variety of colorful veggies as pizza toppings
- Play with adding different fruit and vegetables into a smoothie
- Swap chips with crunchy vegetables like carrots or zucchini sticks
- Make your veggie the main course
- Top a sweet potato with salsa and avocado or broccoli and low-fat cheddar
- Make your fruit the dessert
- Slice a banana in half and top with low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle on some nuts or a variety of berries
- Have a friendly competition with your family or friends to see who can incorporate all 5 food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy) into the most meals throughout National Nutrition Month.
It’s a Family Affair
Healthy eating benefits absolutely everyone, but especially our little ones. Giving children a good foundation of nutritional knowledge from a young age is very important, but of course, make it fun!
- Ways to help your kids snack smarter
- Make a quick smoothie with frozen fruit or veggies, yogurt, and juice.
- Pair a healthy food with an indulgent one, like trail mix with nuts, or dried fruit with chocolate chips.
- Keep healthy snacks such as cheese, nuts, and washed, cut-up fruits and vegetables regularly on hand.
- Pre-pack healthy foods to be grabbed and taken on-the-go for lunches or after-school activities.
- Swap out less nutritious snacks gradually. Instead of a candy bar, offer fruit sorbet or frozen yogurt with nuts.
- Try to encourage kids to enjoy protein-rich foods such as nuts, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or yogurt for satiety and long-lasting energy.
- Activities to make healthy eating fun
- Eat the rainbow by incorporating all the colors of the rainbow on your child’s plate.
- Make snacks fun by chopping colorful fruits and vegetables or using cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into different shapes.
- Color the rainbow of fruits and veggies or play some fun word games like a word search or crossword puzzle.