Healthier Eating for National Nutrition Month | Registered Dietitian, Bethany Watkins

It’s National Nutrition Month which means it’s a great time for Registered Dietitians to showcase their expertise in helping individuals to review existing behaviors and learn new ideas when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The topic of balanced nutrition is oftentimes thought of as a perplexing subject, but if we break it down, it’s really quite simple and most people already possess the knowledge they need to have a healthy, nourished body.

The basics of a healthy meal

Think “three things on the plate: Protein + Green + Grain” and because most people consume three meals a day, the concept of “3 things on the plate, 3 meals a day” serves not only as an informative guide but as an easy trick to remember how to build a healthy meal. When it comes to composing a meal of the healthy “protein + green + grain,” I’ve listed options below:

Lean protein

Skinless poultry, lean beef and pork, tofu, eggs, beans, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Celebrating March Nutrition Month: Lean protein, like skinless chicken is an important part of a balanced diet.

Greens

Lower sugar, high fiber fruits such as berries, melon, and citrus fruits, and vibrant colored produce such as spinach, kale, lettuce, peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, etc.

Celebrating March Nutrition Month: plenty of greens are an important part of a balance diet.

Grains

Whole grains such as oatmeal, whole wheat breads, crackers, and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, and popcorn.

Whole grains such as oatmeal, whole wheat breads, crackers, and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, and popcorn.

As far as maintaining a healthy diet, there’s no easier way than to stick with simple. Simplicity equals consistency, so next time you need a quick meal, think about 90-second microwave grain bags, a quick-steam vegetable bag, and chef-prepared lean protein from the grocer’s deli case. Convenience doesn’t have to mean unhealthy and shopping for convenience can make things simpler. If you’re able to stick with foods that are fueling your body instead of just filling your body, then you will most certainly feel the effects of proper nourishment which include less mood fluctuations, improved cognitive function and  an overall happier outlook on life.

Proper nutrition is something that we should all be thinking about no matter what stage of life we’re in, and it’s just as important for adults to fuel their bodies properly as it is for children. As we age the requirements of vitamins and minerals do change but if you focus on the balanced meal concept of ‘protein + green + grain’, you’ll check the daily requirements of your body’s needs without having to add any additional nutrients.