“Eat Right, Your Way” for National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Everyday”. The whole idea behind it is that there’s no single perfect way to eat. I could not agree more with this philosophy.

You can blend your taste preferences and nutrition. No matter what you’re trying to do to improve your eating habits, focus on adding in quality, nutrient-rich foods whenever you can and don’t worry about always hitting the “nutritional bulls-eye”.

Get Kickin’ in the Kitchen!

Have fun experimenting with food. Try out a new recipe. If you already like to cook, give yourself a real food challenge. Even if you don’t like to cook, you can get help from the grocery store and “assemble” nutritious foods into a delicious meal. You can’t go wrong with a very simple recipe. Check out some of my faves on Pinterest.

Earlier this week I was on “Let’s Talk Live DC” spreading the word about “eating right your way”, and shared a few tips about how to match up personal preferences with nutrition. You can watch the whole video here, and check out a few of the highlights below:

For “Meat Lovers” and Comfort Food Lovers: BBQ Lamb Sliders

Surprise them with a memorable meal! Lamb is lean and a nutrient-rich choice, with only 175 calories in a 3 ounce portion, and is provides vitamins and minerals like iron and B12. Slow cooker BBQ lamb sliders are perfectly portion-controlled, and they even have vegetables AND fruit (dried plums) cooked right in the sauce. Lamb is easy to cook, treat it just like beef or chicken. The sliders I made used lamb shoulder, but you could also use ground lamb if you like. For this recipe and many others delicious lamb recipes, you can visit www.leanonlamb.com.

For Folks With a Neverending “Sweet Tooth”

bc-59-blueberry-wheat-salad-300x371Colorful fruits like blueberries are nutritious and naturally sweet. A one cup portion only has around 80 calories. Plus all you need is a quick rinse and they’re ready to go — no peeling, no slicing, and no pitting needed! Most people think of them for adding to cereal and yogurt, but they’re also delicious in salads and baked goods too. You can find the recipes for this blueberry wheat berry salad, blueberry breakfast “cake”, and more at www.littlebluedynamos.com.

For Moms Who Need to Please a Crowd in a HurryPP Maple

For moms who need to please the whole family but don’t have time to be a short-order cook Quaker Perfect Portions are a great option. It comes in a resealable package so you can make as much or as little as you need. It’s wholesome, and it’s customizable! Perfect portions has no added sugar, so you can sweeten it your way and customize it with your favorite nutritious toppings. I made the Maple flavor with honey and raisins, and for the Cinnamon flavor I added fresh blueberries and sliced almonds.

For the “Texture” Cravers

KIND GrainsIf you crave foods with “crunch factor” then try to look for foods that also give you a nutritional “bang”. KIND snacks are one of my favorites because they deliver on taste AND nutrition. You can actually pronounce everything in them! Their Nuts and Spices bars are flavored with spices like cinnamon and ginger, so they’re full of flavor with 5 grams of added sugar (or less) per bar. Their Healthy Grains are “snack clusters” made with a blend of 100% whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat and “superfoods” like walnuts, chia seeds and flax. They’re delicious on their own or as a topping for greek yogurt or milk.

Savor the Real “Craving”

There’s no one “perfect” way to eat, and let’s be honest, sometimes you just want the “real thing”. For those moments when you want to have your cake and eat it too, then pick something really delicious that you’ll really enjoy, and remember a few key things:

  1. Keep your portion in check — stick with something that’s the size of the palm of your hand.
  2. Pick a good time to eat it, and think about if you want to share it with someone special.
  3. Enjoy your treat slowly, mindfully, and with pleasure. This is how you avoid the guilt!

Why I Support “Imperfect” Eating

Perfection is a subjective (personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view.) We need less  judgements about food. We don’t feel guilty for breathing, even though we need air to live. So why feel guilty about eating? Seeking perfection can have you avoiding and missing out on a satisfying food experience. Our health is a collection of choices (and genetics) over a long time. A simple choice does not define our overall self-care.

Maybe the more important question is why you’re eating something. Overeating foods on a regular basis to regulate your mood and cope with feelings is not normal, but there is help for that habit, which is not about the food. You are not “addicted” to food. It’s the “process” that is the problem. Having a piece of cake on someone’s birthday (yes, with sugar and fat) is a normal part of life for most people. To each his own if you don’t like cake and don’t want to eat it. But those of us who do are not less healthy than you!

It’s simply unfounded that “fat is gonna kill you” or “sugar is gonna kill you” — in unlimited amounts ANYTHING can kill you, even the delicious sunlight or water for that matter. My best tip I can offer is be careful of what you read. If it sounds alarmist or too “crazy” to be true, it probably is.

How Will You “Eat Your Way” This Month, and Beyond?

Leave a comment below and share how you think you can incorporate “eating your way” into your daily habits.

Disclosure: I worked with Tri-lamb Group, US Blueberries, Quaker, and KIND snacks on the TV appearance, but did not receive compensation for writing this blog.

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