National Nutrition Month - 5 habits for high quality nutrition

What is better than the beginning of a new month?! It’s an opportunity to refocus and choose to live the healthy lifestyle we want.  The beginning of each new month is an opportunity to reflect on the one before and plan our month ahead to live it even better. 

The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you'll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you'll lose weight. But, nutrition is so much more than losing weight or counting calories. 

March is National Nutrition Month, and we want to know what routines have a positive impact on our nutrition? In addition to having a well designed diet, what other routines help people get healthy and stay healthy, successfully? Here are the five small habits making a huge impact on your overall nutrition.

  • Eat naturally colorful meals
  • Outside of shooting for the right number of calories per day - designing your diet to include the correct amount of fiber, protein, and fats, to create a healthy balanced plate will have a positive impact on your nutrition.  The nutritional value of your food is key! 

    There are many ways to plan and monitor the quality of what we are eating.  For example, some nutritionists encourage people to add foods to your meal plan each day that represent each of the main five color families.  This can help diversify your nutrition because each natural has vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are special to that color. A great way to ensure that you get the nutritional variety and enough servings of fruits and veggies your body needs, is to diversify your plate with color! 

  • Get consistent quality sleep
  • It may be confusing, why would your sleep affect your nutrition. However, studies show that the amount, quality and consistency of your sleep impacts not just your overall health but could also impact your appetite, metabolism and overall nutrition. A well-rested body will benefit from properly functioning thyroid gland and hormones, which helps to trigger hunger and aid digestion. When you are getting enough sleep and have a healthy sleep schedule, it can help you to make healthier food choices.

    Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep consume more calories by eating more food and are more likely to consume unhealthy foods.  This could be because of hormones and also the overall feeling of being tired and wanting stimulation or to feel that you have more energy. 

    “An irregular wake up time, whether that is on the weekend or after a bad night’s sleep, can confuse your body clock and affect your overall health and wellbeing.” You’re never too old for a bedtime schedule or to have a gentle alarm to wake you up in the morning consistently.  

  • Start your day intentionally
  • When you wake up, set your intentions for the day.  It is helpful to have the end goal in mind and map out your meals.  Identify the stressful times of your day ahead or things that may be problematic to your health goals so you can make a plan for them.  Knowing when you will take a break, when and what you will eat, when you will go for a walk outside should all be decided at the beginning of the day. 

    The morning is also a great time to identify the things you're excited for that day along with what you are grateful for. Think about how you will feel at the end of your day when you achieve your health goals. Being intentional by making decisions up front and taking a few minutes for gratitude will put you on the right path as you start a healthy and nutritious day.

  • Drink your water
  • Water is a nutrient, and perhaps the most vital one. “Water is defined as an essential nutrient because it is required in amounts that exceed the body's ability to produce it. All biochemical reactions occur in water. It fills the spaces in and between cells and helps form structures of large molecules such as protein and glycogen.” It also helps the body rid itself of excess sodium, which results in less fluid retention. Therefore, reducing inflammation and carrying excess water.  Drinking water helps aid in healthy digestion and makes us feel more full.  Drink a big glass of water when you wake up, and before every meal. 

  • Shop with a plan
  • Without overthinking it - it is common sense that you eat what you buy and you buy what you eat.  How you’re shopping can affect your nutrition.  If you’re making a shopping list according to healthy meal planning and making a list of healthy snacks to supplement your healthy meals you are going to have plenty of nutritional options in your fridge, pantry and cabinets.  However, if you shop without a plan, or when you’re hungry, you are more likely to grab unhealthy foods or foods that are calorie dense, over processed craving foods! If it isn’t in your kitchen, you are much less likely to eat it.  Shop with a nutritious plan.

    For more information on healthy living and controlling and treating diabetes, join our free diabetes support group: Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together. Have a nutritious month of March!