March is National Nutrition Month, the perfect time to focus on nutrition basics.
March is National Nutrition Month: an informative campaign designed to get you thinking about making better food choices, and developing healthier eating and activity habits. As a person recovering from a disordered relationship with food, I’m a big fan of making more mindful choices and this is a perfect opportunity to take stock of some powerful tools you can use to enhance your recovery.
Designed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month actually started as National Nutrition Week in 1973, as a means of educating the public while promoting the profession of dietetics. It expanded into National Nutrition Month in 1980 in response to a growing public interest in nutrition. Since then it has grown in popularity among not only the dietician and nutrition community, but the public as they gain increasing interest in leading healthier lives.
This year's theme: Going Further with Food
Each year has a set theme to reflect the trends and cultural developments; 2018’s theme is Going Further with Food. The emphasis of their message is that whether you start the day with a healthy breakfast, fuel your workouts, or make healthy snacks, the foods you eat make a difference. What’s more, preparing foods at home and within your community, can have a positive impact on healthier eating habits and reduce food loss and waste.
The key messages of this year’s theme are:
1. Include a variety of healthful foods from all the food groups on a regular basis.
- Try starting the day with a smoothie which is packed with healthy and delicious ingredients. You can find some here.
- Be sure to include a range of fruits and veggies into every meal. While green veggies are great, try and incorporate a range of colors in your meals.
- Experiment with adding stress relieving foods (called adaptogens) into your diet, like: mushrooms, maca, moringa, liquorice—you can add these to your smoothies.
2. Consider the foods you have at home before going to the store.
3. Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
Better yet, buy your fruits frozen to save money and avoid wastage.
4. Be mindful of portion sizes and eat balanced meals.
Here is a great example of what a balanced meal looks like. Make sure you include lots of fibre, veggies, complex carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole grains and starches), and protein to keep you feeling full and make sure your body functions optimally.
5. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
You don’t have to go to the gym if you hate it; find something that works for you. I discovered a love of cycling and weight lifting after years of hating exercise classes.
I’d add to this list too: try and be mindful of why you are eating. As an emotional eater, I often find myself eating when I’m not actually hungry. But instead of beating myself up for that, I get curious and compassionately ask myself what I am hungry for. Do I need to rest? Would I benefit from a restorative yoga class? Do I feel overwhelmed? Am I stressed? Or am I just thirsty? By taking a moment to get curious instead of angry with yourself, you’re more likely to feel better about making healthier choices and feel more satisfied.
After all, to nourish doesn’t just mean to eat: it means to nourish your mind, body and spirit. Why not take the opportunity to think about how you nourish your whole self?
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Located in Portland, OR, Olivia Pennelle (Liv) is an experienced writer, journalist, and coach. She is the founder of the popular site Liv’s Recovery Kitchen, a site dedicated to helping people flourish in their recovery. Liv is passionate about challenging limiting mentalities and empowering others to direct their own lives, health, and recovery. You can find her articles across the web on podcasts and addiction recovery websites, including The Fix, Recovery.org, Ravishly, and The Recovery Village. Liv was recently featured in VICE.