Get Your Plate in Shape this Month

March 01, 2012

My least favorite room in my Chicago real estate is the kitchen. It’s not just the energy-guzzling refrigerator from the ’40s, the paint chips that fall from the cabinets into my dishes or the stove that consistently turns itself on, achieving a nutritionally balanced diet, in general, has never been my strong suit.

Maybe this month that will change. No, it’s not Kitchen and Bath Month; that’s not until October. March is National Nutrition Month, and good nutrition starts at home.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly known as the American Dietetic Association, encourages everyone to include healthy foods from all food groups through this year’s theme: “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

“Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products contain the nutrients we need to maintain healthy lifestyles,” said registered dietitian and Academy Spokesperson Andrea Giancoli. “Make sure your eating plan includes foods from all the food groups and in appropriate portions.”

Giancoli recommends eating more at home, where you are more in control of what you eat.

Here are some tips from the Academy to “Get Your Plate in Shape” in your home’s kitchen:

*Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, and every meal and snack should have at least one fruit or vegetable or both.

*Make at least half your grains whole: Choose brown rice, barley and oats and other whole grains for your sides and ingredients.

*Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, which has the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and fewer calories.

*Vary your protein choices, and eat more plant-based proteins such as nuts and beans.

*Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars. Choose water as your beverage and use heart-healthy oils like olive, canola and sunflower oil in place of butter or shortening when cooking.

Good suggestions. Need more? Check out for more tips to get your plate in shape.

Now, how can I get my bank account in shape so I can afford a new kitchen?

There are lots of food observances in March, including: National Flour Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Noodle Month, National Peanut Month, National Sauce Month, National Celery Month and National Flour Month.

But the whole month isn’t dedicated to eating. Here are some other national and international causes recognized during the month of March.

March is:

*Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month

*American Red Cross Month

*Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

*Child Life Month

*Credit Education Month

*Employee Spirit Month Link

*Foot Health Month

*Humorists Are Artists Month

*International Ideas Month

*International Listening Awareness Month

*International Mirth Month

*Irish-American Heritage Month

*National Caffeine Awareness Month

*National Cheerleading Safety Month

*National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month

*National Clean Up Your IRS Act Month

*National Collision Awareness Month

*National Craft Month

*National Ethics Awareness Month

*National Eye Donor Month

*National Kidney Month

*National March Into Literacy Month

*National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month

*National On-Hold Month

*National Social Work Month

*National Umbrella Month

*Optimism Month

*Play The Recorder Month

*Poison Prevention Awareness Month

*Sing With Your Child Month

*Small Press Month

*Spiritual Wellness Month

*Supply Management Month

*Women’s History Month

*Youth Art Month

Have a great month!

Categories: Education

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