8 Tips for National Nutrition Month

March 18, 2022

Did you know that March is National Nutrition month? Nutrition month was designed to bring awareness to healthy food choices and learning how the food we eat impacts our physical and mental health. We’ve pulled 8 tips together to help you learn about healthy nutrition and get yourself on track!

Tip 1- Eat a variety of nutritious foods

fruitA well balanced diet means eating foods from different food groups. There are five main food groups which are fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. When people eat foods from all different food groups, it results in a balance of necessary vitamins and nutritional elements that our bodies need to survive and stay healthy. We’ve listed a few foods for each of these groups but there are many more options for each food group to meet your daily requirements.

  • Fruits: apples, oranges, pineapples, mangos, watermelons, cantaloupe, raisins, cherries, etc.
  • Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, black beans, corn, summer squash, avocado, etc.
  • Grains (whole grains and refined grains): whole wheat bread, brown rice, corn tortillas, regular pasta, etc.
  • Protein foods (seafood, meat, nuts): Salmon, tuna, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy products, etc.
  • Dairy: milk, yogurts, cheese, calcium-fortified soymilk, etc. 

Tip 2- Plan your meals and snacks out

Meal planning might seem scary, but it actually makes life a little easier to eat healthy and gives you more time during the week to spend with family and friends. Not to mention that planning meals helps save money. Ordering out costs more than buying ingredients and cooking at home. By planning out meals and snacks, you’re less likely to eat more than you need and less likely to randomly snack because you’re bored. If you are trying to lose weight, meal planning can help you reach your health goals. A healthy diet is a great start, and when combined with exercise, weight loss becomes a lot easier. 

Tip 3- Drink water and avoid sugary drinks

glass of waterWe talk about it a lot in our posts about water consumption, but you can never hear it enough; make sure you drink enough water! Drinking a healthy amount of water helps ward off dehydration from heat or exercise. Water can also help if you are trying to lose weight. Many times when we think we are hungry, we’re actually thirsty. So before you grab a snack, drink a glass of water and see if you still feel hungry. Drinking water before a meal is also helpful to reduce the amount of food that you eat because your stomach will feel full much quicker.  

Tip 4- Portion control

Portion control is something that a lot of people struggle with but there are a few things that you can do to help limit the amount of food you intake. 

  • Using a large plate can often make portions look smaller than they are and can result in overeating. Try switching out for a smaller plate. 
  • When dining out at a restaurant, you can always ask for a half portion of food. Often times restaurants serve portions that are much larger than needed. If that’s not an option, consider sharing your meal with someone else or asking for a to-go box to be brought out with the food. When the food arrives, put half of your meal in the box so you are less tempted to overeat.  
  • As we mentioned in our previous tip, drink water before or with your meal to help curb your appetite. 
  • Eat slower. It can take 15-20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. Eating slower gives your brain more time to realize that your stomach is full and send the message to stop eating. 
  • Read the labels on food that you are eating and take note of the serving sizes.  

Tip 5- Healthy habits start early

watermelonHealthy eating habits start from an early age. It’s important for children to learn these habits when they are young so they are carried into adulthood. Children learn by what their parents or guardians do, so if you have poor habits, they will inherit those habits. MyPlate is a great resource to find ways to help kids learn about healthy habits and proper nutrition in a fun way. 

Tip 6- Eat Healthy fats

Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you. Foods that have monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are beneficial to your brain and your heart. Trans Fats are the fats that you need to limit as these can lead to heart disease. We’ve provided a few examples of foods with healthy fats and a few you should stay away from. 

  • Monosaturated Fats- Avocados, Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans), Olive oil
  • Polyunsaturated Fats- Walnuts, fish (Salmon & tuna), sunflower oils

Foods with Trans Fats include frozen pizza, refrigerated dough like biscuits or rolls, and most fried foods like french fries and donuts. 

Tip 7- Cut back on your sodium intake

Diets that have a high sodium intake can be unhealthy for a number of reasons. Sodium raises blood pressure, which puts you more at risk for heart disease and stroke. Common popular foods like pizza and deli meats are usually high in sodium and should be eaten in moderation, especially if you have high blood pressure or have a family history of heart disease or blood pressure issues. One alternative to using salt as a seasoning in meals is to try alternatives like herbs, lemon juice or a no-salt spice blend. 

Tip 8- See a Nutritionist

Samuel Smith, RDN, CDN
Nutritionist at StayWell Health Center

Seeing a nutritionist can be beneficial for people who struggle with blood pressure, weight gain, and heart disease. Nutritionists are trained to help individuals figure out what the best food is based on a range of factors including body type, medical conditions and family history. Nutritionists or dietitians will tailor a meal plan based on your goals (lose weight, lower blood pressure, diabetes management, etc.) that works for you and they will make adjustments as you go along to make sure that it’s the right choices.


If you are interested in seeing a nutritionist, talk with your primary care physician about making an appointment. Call 203-756-8021 today! 


The StayWell Health Center Team