March is National Nutrition Month®! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has chosen “Put Your Best Fork Forward” as the 2017 theme. This catchy phrase reminds us that every bite we eat counts towards our health. We hold the tools to make our lives healthier by making small changes in our food choices for greater health results in the future. Americans are on-the-go more than ever these days and choose to eat out for more of their meals.
In 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that 92% of meals from large-chain and local restaurants provide more calories than the average person needs per meal. Based on this knowledge, unless Americans start to make smart food choices, the frequency of dining-out could result in excess calories and expanded waistlines. Here are some simple changes to help make your dining experience a little healthier:
1) Choose a restaurant for dining-in or take-out that has a wide variety of menu items. This variety increases the chance that a healthier choice will be made.
2) Before you go to a restaurant, review the menu online and identify some healthy options. Use this information to create a list of restaurants where you frequently dine and several healthy choices for each restaurant on your list. Keep the list in your wallet, your car and at home so you will always know what to order to keep you on track.
3) Do you crave sweets? Instead of denying yourself dessert, next time when the opportunity presents itself, order one dessert with several spoons to share. An occasional bite or two of dessert will not expand your waistline.
4) Boost the nutrition in your sandwich or wrap by asking for extra lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles etc. If you are someone who is reducing their carbohydrate consumption, then ask to skip the bread and make it a lettuce wrap instead.
5) Picking up dinner at the grocery store? Choose simply grilled or baked protein from the prepared foods section or a rotisserie chicken for your entrée. For the sides, choose whole grains and pick-up a bagged salad for a quick and easy vegetable serving. Other healthy choices may include: ready-to-eat sandwiches, salads, hummus kits and sushi.
For more information about National Nutrition Month® go to www.eatright.org