Sunday, March 31, 2013

National Nutrition Month

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The month of March is National Nutrition Month. Nutrition plays a huge role in our daily lives. Proper nutrition gives us energy to keep moving and provides us with a balance of vitamins and minerals to sleep well at night. But that nagging question arises, “Am I eating the right foods to get the right nutrients?”
Here is how you can answer this, are you following your Food Guide Pyramid? The Food Guide Pyramid has changed over the years. The latest Food Guide Pyramid is tailored for you and your lifestyle. It is now named My Pyramid: Steps to a Healthier You. If you want to take a look to see what your pyramid looks, just click here. My Pyramid shows you how many servings of fruit, vegetables, protein, grains and fats that are needed in a daily diet based on age, gender and physical activity.
Another factor to having good nutrition is size of servings. Since our society has Super-Sized meals, we need to be cautioned on what portion sizes are correct for eating healthy. This “proportion distortion” has us consuming more calories that we actually require, which eventually those extra calories are converted into fat.  For example, a portion of chicken should be the size of a deck of cards. A medium sized fruit that is the size of your fist or a baseball is the correct portion size. A cup of raw vegetables, which is one serving size, is about the size of a tennis ball.  If you need more information about portion control, label reading and other helpful resources click here.
Nutrition does not only pertain to food, but to physical activity as well. Did you know that you are supposed to exercise for 60 minutes a day? Don’t worry; you can add lawn work or dancing into your exercise routine. If you need help calculating how long you need to work out to burn a certain amount of calories, find a calorie calculator. The link provided has all kinds of options for exercising that you might enjoy.
Since nutrition is such a large component of our lives, we should make it fun. Enjoy trying new foods or new recipes. Go out dancing, dig a few holes in the garden, walk your dog or play a game of chase with the kids. The point is to like those physical activities so you want to do them daily. So join us in the month of March for National Nutrition Month.

What are you doing to maintain proper nutrition?

You might also enjoy Back to School Health Tips

This post was written by Amanda Hinson-Enslin, PhD student.

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