PINE BLUFF – Every March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates the National Nutrition Month. Observation is an opportunity for people to learn how to make choices about diet and physical activity that will improve their lives, according to Marilyn Burch, a diet and nutrition associate at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
One of the main reasons to celebrate is that healthy eating can be enjoyable and informative, not demanding, she said. This year’s “Personalize Your Plate” theme encourages the preparation of nutritious meals to suit individual cultural and personal food preferences.
“America is a cultural melting pot, so you can’t expect all foods to look the same,” Su-Nui Escobar, a registered nutritionist and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said in a press release. “Eating is supposed to be a joyful experience. As supermarkets increasingly diversify their shelves to meet the needs of their customers, it’s becoming easier and easier to create nutritious meals that cater to a variety of cultural preferences.”
According to Burch, the National Food Month website, available at www.eatright.org, has many resources for those who want to attend the celebration and add some healthy habits to their lifestyle. The website contains many helpful tips and options to meet different personal and cultural preferences. For example, individuals can access printouts to personalize their plates to include foods from Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Latin American, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
As individuals plan a healthy springtime, Burch recommends following a few important guidelines. This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging people to take advantage of the following tips:
• Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day. Include healthy foods from all food groups and drink plenty of water. It’s also important to take the time to enjoy your food and avoid eating distractions.
• Plan your meals every week. Pick healthy recipes to make during the week and shop for healthy foods on a grocery list. Make sure you have a healthy breakfast and snacks – these are your fuel for the day at work or school.
Will Hehemann is the author / editor of the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.