The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes National Nutrition Month each March as a way to raise awareness and encourage everyone to focus on making healthy food choices, developing healthier eating patterns, and including physical activity into their daily habits. This year the theme is, “Eat Right Bite by Bite.” No matter your age, it’s never too early or too late to develop more nutritious eating habits bite by bite.
Healthy Eating Tips for All Ages
“It’s important to start developing healthy eating patterns at a young age for many reasons,” says Dana Wright, Family and Community Development Agent with West Virginia University Extension Service.
Dana tells us food provides nutrients that are critical for both brain and physical development of children. Recent studies indicate, malnourishment (not getting enough nutrients) during early years of childhood can result in decreased mental abilities.
Dana continues, “Developing healthy eating habits at an early age increases the chances of a continuation of those habits throughout their life. It decreases the risk of developing type II diabetes and other chronic diseases as well.”
If as an adult, you’re planning to begin your journey toward healthier eating patterns, Dana offers a few recommendations.
“My top recommendation would be reducing the number of sugar sweetened beverages you are drinking. This is a great place to start. Science has shown that the more sugar you eat, whether in solid or liquid form, you’ll be hungrier more often, “Dana explains.
Ultimately, if you’re hungrier more often, you’re going to consume more calories than your body needs and that leads to weight gain.
Dana’s second recommendation is to eat more colorful vegetables. She says most diets are loaded with carbohydrates such as white potatoes and corn but eating a rainbow of vegetables is the way to go!
Buy Healthy or Grow Your Own!
According to WebMD, when shopping for foods you should go to the perimeter of the store where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish are normally located. Avoid the center aisles where the junk food lurks.
Also, take advantage of local farmer’s markets like the Williamson Farmer’s Market during growing season. The market opens on May 30th and will offer fresh, local grown produce, meat, and canned goods throughout the spring, summer, and early fall. If you’re ready to take the plunge into gardening for yourself, the Community Garden in East End Williamson will have registration for your own garden spot on Monday, March 23 from 10am-4pm.
Kristen DeBoard, Marketing and Nutrition Manager for Williamson Health and Wellness Center notes, “When you grow your own food, the fact that you can eat it as soon as it’s grown increases the nutritional value for sure. Also, you can control the use of pesticides and herbicides used in your own garden. You can grow your own organic food.”
There’s no time like the present to develop a healthier lifestyle through nutritious eating patterns! To learn more about National Nutrition Month go to eatright.org
To follow what’s happening at the Williamson Farmer’s Market “like” their Facebook page.