March is National Nutrition Month and the theme for this year is ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’. The focus of this theme is to not only think about what you eat, but how you eat, why you eat, and who you eat with!
Often times we can get caught up in our busy lives and eating becomes a mindless activity. Instead, it’s important to appreciate the foods we eat and how they make us feel. If we can be more mindful of the flavors, smells, and textures of our foods, it may help to decrease over-eating that can occur when our attention is elsewhere.
Mindfulness is also an important theme in the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.
The guidelines ask us to focus on five important principles:
1.) Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan
Healthy habits are only truly beneficial if they are sustained throughout your life.
2.) Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount
Getting a variety of foods that are high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber is key to a healthy dietary regimen.
Examples of nutrient dense foods include:
3.) Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake
Not all foods are created equal when it comes to health benefits. Minimizing foods with added sugar (ex. candies, baked goods, and sodas), high saturated fat (ex. red meat, full-fat dairy, and coconut oil) and salt (ex. canned soups, frozen meals, condiments, chips, and crackers) is important in maintaining a balanced diet.
4.) Shift to healthier food and beverage choices
It is important to keep cultural and personal preference in mind when making healthy changes in eating pattern. Don’t be afraid to seek out foods that still compliment your culture and personal taste while maximizing nutrient-density.
5.) Support healthy eating patterns for all
Making healthy decisions shouldn’t have to happen alone! Find friends and family that will help to encourage healthy habits and keep you accountable.
Over the past 40 years, National Nutrition Month has reflected the growing public interest in health and wellness. Celebrate with Wellness Education and USF Dining with a month of nutrition and food focused events.
A calendar of events can be found at usf.edu/nnm