Welcome to March! We’re probably all aware that Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day are coming up, but did you know that March is also National Nutrition Month®? Created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this annual campaign focuses on the importance of making knowledgeable food choices and developing positive eating and physical activity habits. As the determination to keep New Year’s resolutions might be starting to fade, it’s the perfect time to recommit to a healthy lifestyle.
Serving vs. Portion Size
An important factor for anyone making healthy food choices is the difference between serving size and portion size. As the academy explains on its website (https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/national-nutrition-month if we want to include link),
a serving size is a standardized amount of food (usually the quantity listed on a Nutrition Facts label). But a portion size is the amount that you actually consume… and the two can be very different.
For instance, you might start your day with almond butter: it’s protein rich, it’s filling, and it’s YUM. A quick glance at the label conveys key intel: 190 calories, seven grams of protein and seven grams of carbs. Not bad, right? Well, not if you stick to the serving size of two tablespoons. But if you’re slathering it onto two pieces of toast (whole grain, of course), chances are that your portion and serving sizes vary. Understanding this kind of information is vital when it comes to food-related decisions.
Get in to the Habit
In addition to promoting informed food choices, a goal of National Nutrition Month is to form some healthy habits. Consider a few of the possibilities: walking for 20 minutes after lunch, turning off the light instead of turning on the screen, ordering fish, and drinking a glass of water before your cup of coffee. Experts say that it takes 21 days to create a habit: why not make one (or two!) this month?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is asking everyone to help it achieve its vision of “a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition.” Share your stories of informed food choices and improved habits with the hashtag #NationalNutritionMonth. By connecting through social media, we can share knowledge, spread inspiration, and make the most of this March.