Time to "March" into National Nutrition Month® - presented by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). The Academy's goal is my goal as a registered dietitian, which includes the promotion of disease prevention and nutrition education for healthful eating along with exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Try these simple suggestions to "Get Your Plate in Shape."
"Get Your Plate in Shape" declares this years theme for National Nutrition Month. After all, if your plate is out-of-shape with oversize portions on a regular basis, it makes sense that the human body would get over nourished and therefore store the extra calories as adipose tissue (fat).
- The Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention reports that approximately 17% (12.5 million) of children and adolescents age 2 to19 are obese.
- And, since 1980, obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled.
Start by using the plate method for portion control. The plate method is based on imagining three sections on your serving plate. All ages have success with this method. Get your whole family educated on how to do this.
- Simply imagine your 9-10-inch lunch or dinner plate as being divided in half.
- Then imagine the other half divided in half again, into quarters. A portion size the size of your clenched fist or a deck of cards should fit nicely on a quarter of your plate.
On half of your plate
- Portion non-starchy Vegetables and Fruits on half of your plate. Many of us eat fruit whole as a separate snack before or after a meal, that is good too.
- Can't fill the whole half plate with veggies and fruits? No worries...
- The point is to try and eat more Fruits and Veggies!
- Beware of unbalanced, "out-of-shape" plate portions when eating out, such as half a plate full of french fries or potato chips.
- Controlling portion sizes will enable you to better control and manage your body weight.
For each quarter-sized sections on the other half of your plate
- Portion a serving of Starch or starchy Vegetables
- Portion a serving of a Protein food
- Starchy vegetables get a quarter-sized portion because starchy vegetables raise your blood sugar, similar to starchy foods like breads, pasta and rice.
- See some suggestions listed below.
On the side
- Serve a glass of fat-free or low-fat Milk or Soy Milk; or have a Calcium-rich food, such as yogurt or almonds as a healthy snack during the day.
Non-starchy Vegetables: Amaranth, Artichokes, Asparagus, Green Beans, Wax Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chayote, Cucumber, Daikon, Eggplant, Bitter Melon, Scallions, Collards, Kale, Mustard or Turnip Greens, Turnips, Jicama, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Peppers, Radishes, Rutabaga, Spinach, Zucchini or Summer Squash, Sugar Snap Peas, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes,
Proteins: Beef, Eggs, Cheeses, Fish, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, Shellfish, Beans (both a protein and a starchy vegetable, which would matter if you are diabetic), Tofu, Edamame
Starch: Bagels, Biscuits, English Muffins, Buns, Rolls, Tortillas, Waffles, Grains (like rice, kasha, barley, bulgur, millet, quinoa), Cereals, Grits, Pasta, Cous Cous, Crackers, Matzoh, Rice Cakes
Starchy Vegetables: Potatoes, Corn, Popcorn, Pumpkin, Winter Squash (like acorn, butternut), Sweet Potatoes, Beans, Baked Beans, Lentils, Split Peas, Green Peas, Parsnips, Plantains
Get Your Plate in Shape
The National Nutrition Month Logo is registered to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics