As we continue to expand our impact on Latino youth, we are committed to focusing on nutrition education. According to the CDC, Latino children experience higher rates of obesity than do non-Latino white children. Let’s all learn together and share knowledge of how better nutrition can improve physical health as well as development and academic performance.
Along with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we are celebrating National Nutrition Month in March to help people learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical habits.
Nutrition Health Tips
· EAT BREAKFAST: Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try making a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, low-fat cheese, salsa and a whole wheat tortilla or a parfait with low-fat plain yogurt, fruit and whole grain cereal.
· MAKE HALF YOUR PLATE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Experiment with different types, including fresh, frozen and canned.
· WATCH PORTION SIZES: Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean protein foods. Complete the meal with a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt. Measuring cups may also help you compare your portions to the recommended serving size.
· BE ACTIVE: Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym – take a walk after dinner or put on music and dance at home.
· FIX HEALTHY SNACKS: Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein. Try raw veggies with low-fat cottage cheese or hummus, or a tablespoon of nut or seed butter with an apple or banana.
· DRINK MORE WATER: Quench your thirst with water instead of drinks with added sugars. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water especially if you are active, an older adult or live or work in hot conditions.
· EAT SEAFOOD TWICE A WEEK: Seafood – fish and shellfish – contains a range of nutrients including healthy omeage-3 fats. Salmon, trout, oysters, and sardines are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury.
· EXPLORE NEW FOODS AND FLAVORS: Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family.
· REDUCE ADDED SUGARS: Foods and drinks with added sugars can contribute empty calories and little or no nutrition. Review the new and improved Nutrition Facts Label or ingredients list to identify sources of added sugar.
· SLOW DOWN AT MEAL TIME: Instead of eating on the run, try sitting down and focusing on the food you’re about to eat. Dedicating time to enjoy the taste and textures of foods can have a positive effect on your food intake.
· EXPERIMENT WITH PLANT-BASED MEALS: Expand variety in your menus with budget-friendly meatless meals. Many recipes that use meat and poultry can be made without. Vegetables, beans, and lentils are all great substitutes. Try including one meatless meal per week to start.
· MAKE AN EFFORT TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE: Check out what foods you have on hand before stocking up at the grocery store. Plan meals based on leftovers and only buy perishable foods you will use or freeze within a couple of days. Managing these food resources at home can help save nutrients and money.
We hope you embrace these nutrition tips throughout the year, not just during National Nutrition Month. And please share this information with your friends and family to help increase the knowledge surrounding nutrition health in our community.
For more information on National Nutrition Month, visit https://www.eatright.org/national-nutrition-month-2023.