March is National Nutrition Month so let's shine the light on what so many people struggle with: controlling their weight and understanding the hard way, how much diet impacts your health. As someone who is striving to do a better job at eating more things that would benefit my body and to eat things that help me to feel more energized, along with improving my sleep, I reached out to Katherine Waltz, Clinical Nutrition Manager of Morrison Healthcare at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital. She's been a registered Dietician for many years, working with people who get referrals to her to improve their diets. She's seen it all and has a lot to say on the subject of eating healthier and how to go about doing it.

Below is great advice from Waltz based on her expertise and what she has seen work for people over the years:

  1. Stop those fad diets! Waltz warns that any diet that excludes food groups won't do you ANY favors. You may lose weight initially but end up gaining it all back and more because fad diets are short-term and not sustainable. Popular fad diets are low-carb, the Keto diet, and the list goes on and on since new ones are popping up all the time. Waltz advises taking a hard pass on any fad diet.
  2. Add healthy fruits and vegetables instead of removing foods. Waltz says that it's so much harder for people to sustain a lifestyle way of eating that removes certain things. It's much easier to ADD in fruits and vegetables which researchers prove again and again are healthy and most people don't get enough of them. So instead of ditching some of your favorite foods, just reduce the portion size of those things you enjoy and increase your fruits and veggies.
  3. Adopt a "plant-forward" way of eating. This includes fruits and vegetables. What this means is that for lunch and dinner, your plate should contain two-thirds fruits and vegetables, with the last third coming from other food categories you enjoy like meat or grains. Again, think of adding in the fruits and veggies, not taking away foods you enjoy.
  4. Start small. Don't make drastic changes to your diet from day one. That rarely ends in success in terms of sustaining those healthy changes. Start with adding in more fruits and vegetables little by little. Try new ones you've never had before. You might discover some new favorites! Don't be afraid to try some new recipes that include more vegetables.

I know, it can be hard to break away from meals you've been eating for a long time but it's worth it to do some exploring and it can pay off with how much better you feel in a big way! If you're looking for more information related to eating healthy and would like to discover great recipes as well, Waltz recommends visiting EatRight.org from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Another great resource comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at www.myplate.gov. There's a quiz you can take to discover how you're doing with your eating habits and get personalized resources.

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Enjoy the journey to a healthier you!

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