Each year in March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes National Nutrition Month. Numerous factors such as food preference, culture, ethnicity and lifestyle affect what we choose to eat each day. This year's theme, "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" helps encourage a personalized approach to healthy eating.
The Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition of Marathon County agrees that healthy eating does not mean giving up all of your favorite foods. Paying attention to moderation, portion sizes and physical activity all play a role in a healthy lifestyle.
While there are several differences in the ways we eat, having enough time for planning and food preparation is a common problem in today's 24/7 culture.
Eating right takes planning.
Juggling several schedules? Try planning meals a week at a time. Have a day during the weekend to prep your recipes. Most vegetables can be cut ahead and stored in a clean container. Then, during the week you can simply "dump" the ingredients during cooking. This also saves time on cleanup during the week.
Another thing you can do to save time is to prepare double or triple batches of recipes on your day off and freeze them. Dishes such as casseroles and soups typically freeze well. If you have extra fresh vegetables on hand, try combining a variety in a freezer bag. You can mix what you like and pull them out for a quick meal with little effort.
Include your family in meal planning and preparation. Let children decide which fruits and vegetables they might like to eat during the week and have them help pick them out at the grocery store. Try to offer something from all of the food groups at each meal. Children often can be suspicious of something new, so don't get frustrated if they don't like something right away.
Preparing recipes ahead and spending less time cooking also make families more likely to sit down together for a meal. The Real Happy Hour promotes family mealtime in preventing childhood obesity, behavior problems, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. To learn more go to www.therealhappyhour.org.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages a healthy meal planning based of off the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA's My Plate.
Kari Mizgalski, RD, CD is a Clinical Dietitian at Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital in Weston and a member of the Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition of Marathon County.