National Nutrition Month is a time when we all take a step back, evaluate our eating habits and ask ourselves
‘Is there something we can change to be healthier?’
National Nutrition Month takes place in March and in this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know. We'll talk about what it is and what are some simple changes you can make to improve your health!
National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The focus is to educate people on making healthier food choices and developing healthy eating habits. This year's theme is "Celebrating a World of Flavours", but the overall campaign is about the importance of taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
If you are looking to get involved in this month's holiday, then here are 5 simple steps to make healthier changes in your daily lifestyle.
Cook Meals from Scratch
One simple change you can make is to cook more meals at home. Cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients that go into your food, and it can be a fun activity to do with family or friends.
We are all busier than ever and sometimes that makes it even more tempting to order a takeaway or quickly put a ready meal into the microwave after work. But developing a relationship with food where you truly understand exactly what you are eating can be very powerful.
If you already cook from scratch, then you can take part in this year’s theme of ‘Celebrating a World of Flavours’. When cooking, why not try to incorporate some alternative ingredients from different countries into your usual classics. The National Nutrition Month website has an official guide you can follow week by week and examples of how to incorporate new ingredients into your meals, for example filling a fried omelette with fried rice, which is also known as 'omurice' in Japan.
Control Your Portion Size
Another way to eat right is to focus on portion size. Oftentimes, we eat more than we realise because we're not paying attention to how much we're eating. By being mindful of portion sizes, we can make sure that we're not overeating.
Understanding what you put into your body is a key piece of knowledge that can unlock how we can control our health. There are many applications out there across IOS and Android devices that allow you to scan or input the foods you are using, learn how calorie-heavy they are and understand the balance of macros inside each product. Downloading a free food tracking app is very simple and you can be set up within seconds.
The Benefits of Meal Planning
This leads on nicely from our last point, as meal planning and meal prepping can be a great way to stick to healthy eating.
Meal prepping is simply preparing your meals ahead of time, which can be extremely beneficial to those leading busier lifestyles. This saves time, allows you to control portion sizes (which can also directly result in saving money per portion), and can become an effective way to develop a routine of healthy eating.
On a weekend you can cook a batch of healthy meals that can last you through the working week. Try dividing these meals into containers for breakfast, lunch and evening meals to make it extremely easy to grab your lunch out of the fridge when you are rushing off to work in the morning or returning from a long day at the office.
If you are feeling even more creative and experimental outside of batch cooking, you can prepare different meals for each day of the week. There are plenty of meal prep recipes on the internet that can inspire your creativity, such as balancing a healthy variety of fresh vegetables (e.g. green beans) with a source of protein (e.g. chicken or beans) and carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice).
But the main key to successfully sticking to a meal prepping routine is to be consistent and make it easy, because after all, this is meant to make healthy eating less complex.
Incorporating Vitamins into Your Diet
One of the easiest and simplest ways to make sure your body receives the key daily nutrients it needs to function is to supplement vitamins into your diet alongside healthy eating and exercise.
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Choose Water Over Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks contain a lot of empty calories and a feature by the British Heart Foundation stated that there is a link between sugary drinks and weight gain [ii]. An additional study also found that people who consumed sugary drinks consumed on average 17% more calories than those who didn't [i].
If you're looking to make healthier choices, water is always the best choice. It's calorie-free and it's essential for our bodies. Drinking water has a plethora of health benefits that support a variety of things such as physical activity and even sleep [iii].
Water is the most important nutrient, and an adequate supply of water is crucial for productivity and general bodily functions [iv].
So, this March why don't you switch out the sugary drinks for alternatives such as water, kombucha or green tea!
How to Increase Your Weekly Exercise?
This may be Nutrition Month, but something that is linked extremely closely to nutrition is exercise when it comes to improving your healthy living.
Whether you are working from home or commuting daily to the office, setting yourself some physical activity goals can make a massive change to your lifestyle.
Joining the gym is an obvious option, but as we are talking about easy and simple steps you can incorporate into your existing routine, then why not try and instead set yourself a step and movement goal.
According to Medical News Today, the typical American citizen only averages about 4,000 steps per day, despite the recommended daily average being 10,000. They also go onto citing studies that indicate that the benefit of walking increases with the more steps you do [vi]. For instance, when looking at participants who took 8,000 daily steps, they were 51% less likely to die from varying causes compared to those who only took 4,000 [vii].
NHS England recommends that the average person should do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week. A simple 10-minute daily walk can count towards your 150 minutes per week and also significantly increase your daily step count [v].
This March why not challenge yourself to hit the 10,000 daily step count and 150 minutes of weekly exercise?
As this can be a time of year where hay fever is more prevalent, then we recommend that you also read our blog post here.
Want To Learn More?
If you would like to read more of the studies, claims and references cited in this article then please visit the links below: