by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
March is National Nutrition Month, sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and is designed to call attention to sound eating habits. Here’s why this year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” is one of my favorite themes.
Better food choices are available
There’s no need for dietary perfection, but it’s important to know some foods are better than others. Health experts favor nutrient-rich foods, because they offer a bigger bang for your caloric buck.
Everyone has a calorie “salary,” which is best described as a daily calorie intake to help maintain or lose weight. Nutrient-rich foods offer more protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs, while sticking to a calorie level that is right for you.
For instance, I feed my family nutrient-rich foods, such as Eggland’s Best eggs, even though they contain the same amount of calories as ordinary eggs. By choosing Eggland’s Best eggs my family is eating an egg that contains 10 times the vitamin E, twice as much vitamin D, three times the vitamin B12, and double the omega-3 fats (heart-healthy fat) when compared to ordinary eggs. Eggland’s Best eggs also have 38% more lutein, which supports proper vision, among other functions. Plus, Eggland’s Best eggs have just 175 milligrams of cholesterol and 25% less saturated fat than ordinary eggs.
Nutrition is personal
Nutrition “rules” can be confusing and dietary guidelines aren’t much use when you don’t understand how to apply them to you and your family. Tailoring an eating plan to meet your needs – within reason, of course – is the best solution.
When you’re trying to decide what to eat, MyPlate, the government’s current nutrition guide, is a good place to start. In its simplest form, MyPlate recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter of it with grains, and the remainder with protein-rich foods, which include foods such as lean meats, seafood, poultry, beans, and Eggland’s Best eggs.
Better nutrition is possible
Your diet doesn’t need to be perfect to benefit your wellbeing. Just as there is no single “American” diet, there is no one recommendation for healthful eating.
Here are some steps to make better nutrition possible for you:
- Stock your refrigerator with foods packed with nutritional benefits, such as Eggland’s Best eggs
- Enjoy food as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity
- Find an eating plan that works for you and stick with it
- If you have a health concern, work closely with a registered dietitian to personalize an eating plan