Celebrating the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month®: Personalize Your Plate

by karen on March 10, 2021

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Today is a holiday! It’s National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, and around here that’s something to celebrate.

National RDN Day falls every year during National Nutrition Month®, a campaign celebrated annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month® 2021 is all about “personalizing your plate,” and we’ve pulled 3 major takeaways:

  1. Vary your diet for complete, balanced nutrition
  2. Include foods you prefer from each food group
  3. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or boring

March ushers in the start of spring (even if some of us got snow yesterday), and it’s a wonderful time to look inwards and take stock of where you are in your health and wellness journey. 

“Personalize Your Plate” by Mixing It Up!

We all know someone who’s done the chicken/rice/broccoli diet, right? For us at Nutrition Connection, that just won’t do. Think about all the foods you like from each food group! There’s no reason to lock yourself in to a strict (read: bland) diet regime if you don’t want to. In fact, including a variety of foods balances the nutrients you take in and promotes good health.

Quick Tips from the Academy

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Get creative with produce by trying an assortment of colors and textures.
  • Experiment with different grains. Try substituting whole grains for refined grains in recipes.
  • Choose lean protein foods. Vary your choices to include seafood, beans, peas and lentils, as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry that are prepared in a healthful way, such as baked or grilled instead of fried.
  • Complete your meal with dairy. Include low-fat or fat-free options like milk, yogurt, cheese or calcium-fortified soymilk.

Meal Planning Tips

While it’s true that planning meals in advance takes a bit of time up-front, you’ll quickly see returns during the week, including savings to invest outside your food budget.

Nutrition Connection Tip: Set aside a container to put the money in that you save each time you bypass convenience stores, fast food and sit-down restaurants, and drive-by coffee shops because of your meal planning. Then reward yourself for the healthy routines you’re establishing—a non-food reward, of course.

To start a routine of preparing meals in advance, set aside time each week to plan your meals; decide on your meals that include a variety of your favorite, healthful foods; and create your grocery list. Your grocery list will get you through the grocery store faster, save you money, and help ensure the foods you end up with at checkout are those that set you up for sound choices during the week. Download this simple and efficient grocery list to get you started.

Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for additional articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to support you! And remember on this #NationalRDNDay, registered dietitians are your most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.

Karen Fisher, MS, RDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection.

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