Shift into spring with healthy eating habits

Healthy plate

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 marks the first day of spring, and with it also being National Nutrition Month, now is the time to develop healthy eating habits for life-long health!

When we think about making a change in our diet, it can seem rather daunting with the ideas that we need to eliminate foods we love, try out the newest fad diet or follow a strict eating pattern. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by all the changes we want to make, shift your mindset and think about making ONE change at a time!

The simple transition from one old habit to one better choice will not only help adopt a healthy eating pattern, but may improve your overall health and protect against chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Here are a few healthy substitutions on where to start when making a small change:

Fruit and vegetables

  • One serving of vegetables per day to consuming two servings of vegetables per day
  • Fruit juice to a whole piece of fruit

Grains

  • White bread to 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread
  • White rice to brown rice, wild rice, barely, quinoa or farro
  • White flour to white whole wheat flour
  • Breadcrumbs to rolled oats or crushed bran cereal

Protein

  • Fatty cut of meat to a lean cut of meat
  • Red, processed meats to poultry, fish, seafood or beans
  • Poultry with skin to poultry without skin

Dairy

  • Whole fat milk or yogurt to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt
  • Regular cheese to reduced fat cheese
  • Sour cream to plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • Flavored yogurt to plain yogurt with your own fruit added

Salt, saturated fat, added sugar and portions

  • Butter in cooking to olive or canola oil
  • Butter on toast to mashed avocado or nut butter
  • Cream-based soup to broth-based soup
  • Regular canned soup to low-sodium soup
  • Potato chips to air-popped popcorn or unsalted nuts
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages to water or seltzer with lemon
  • A larger plate to smaller plate

With a little effort, make one small change can have a lasting impact on your health!

If you are interested in meeting with a registered dietitian to learn more about a wide range of personalized nutrition services including menu planning, refrigerator makeovers, supermarket shopping, advice about what to order in restaurants, personal chef referrals, lunch box ideas, collaborative cooking instruction and recipes, please contact Joe Juliano, RDN, Nutrition and Wellness Manager, The Valley Hospital, at 201-447-8093 or jjulian@valleyhealth.com.

Jaclyn Murphy, RDN

About the Author

Jaclyn Murphy, RDN, Valley Dining