|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on March 12, 2021 at 9:50 PM|
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “personalize your plate”. The goal of the month is to celebrate the diversity of Americans as unique individuals with personal needs; also, it’s to promote creating nutritious meals to meet individuals’ cultural and personal food preferences. Across March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the nation’s largest nutrition organization, is recommending that Americans give attention to key weekly messages. These messages include avoiding distractions while eating, hydrate healthfully, take time to enjoy your food, include healthful foods from all food groups, learn how to read the Nutrition Fact Panels, use a grocery list to shop for healthy foods, plan healthful eating while traveling, reduce food waste, practice proper home food safety, and thrive through the transformative power of foods.
As I reviewed this list and considered all the clients that I serve, I applaud the national movement to improve the nutritional intake of Americans and as I usually do, I plan to do my best to celebrate the month and help my clients, family, and friends to follow the key messages, personalize their meals, and ultimately improve their health. However, even with the best intentions, this goal will be harder than ever before to achieve since we are in the middle of a syndemic. As I connect with Americans during this syndemic, many are reporting mindless eating, excessive weight gain, feeling traumatized, and experiencing growing unforgiveness related to personal, work-related, and marital or other relational transgressions. Many have been locked into their homes for almost a year, and families are fraying at the end because of the dynamics existing in the home. The need to address these issues and other relational concerns are long overdue. In other words, it is time to implement trauma-informed care for all our clients, since business as usual will not get to root cause issues that have surfaced during this syndemic. But where does one start? What to do to get people on track and to even give the key messages related to National Nutrition Month a second chance. I am glad you asked. Here are a few ideas to try this month.
• First, complete a forgiveness assessment if you have not done one before. See more at:
• Next, ensure that you develop weekly or biweekly menus for your household. Doing so will guarantee that you save money on your food budget.
• If you are unemployed and need food assistance, take the time to apply for these benefits. Also, check out the Aunt Bertha app, 211, church pantries, and food banks to fill any needs that you might have.
• Build a social support network, believe me even in the pandemic, this is possible with virtual Zoom parties, Facetime, Family recipe contest, Pajamas parties, etc.
• Keep a running shopping list in your kitchen and only buy what you need when you go shopping. Remember to wear a mask, keep social distance, and never go shopping when you are hungry.
• Be open to trying new and exciting ways to transform your foods. You would be surprised by the many ways that spinach for instance can be incorporated into your meals. Try something new each week!
• Be mindful and know what you are eating and why.
• Do not eat while you are watching the TV. We suggest that you get up and exercise at each commercial break.
• Take time to sit at the dinner table and have a conversation while you eat your meals.
• Get an accountability partner to check in on you and to encourage you to stick to your meal and exercise plans.
• Weigh-in each day or week, so you can know what is happening with your weight.
• Keep a food diary. Do something that I have done, log the food before you eat. Try my Fitness Pal, Fitbit, and other similar apps to help to keep you accountable. As you log food across the day, you would be surprised at what you will refuse to eat as the calorie, and fat tally keeps mounting. Give it a try!
• Find new ways to cook your food. Believe me, oven-style fried chicken tastes just as good as the one deep fried.
• Use fruits, vegetables, and small servings of nuts as snacks to keep the munchies away.
• Drink more water than sweetened tea or other beverages.
• Put down the fork between bites and give yourself at least 20 minutes to enjoy your meal. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to signal to the belly that it is full. So, rushing will add more calories and eventually more weight. So, stop to taste the flavor of your foods.
• Be mindful, creative, and eager to try something new this National Nutrition Month. Doing so can build healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Won't you give it a try?
Could you share with me what you have done to eat healthily during the pandemic, and one thing you will do differently this nutrition month?
To the best meals ever!