Nutrition Tips to Get You Back On Track

March is National Nutrition Month®. This is a perfect month to promote the importance of wellness and nutrition. For most people, the motivation of continuing their New Year’s resolution is wearing off by now and we all could use a little push heading into the second quarter. With the endless marketing ads we encounter from billboards, to television, to digital media, the concept of eating healthy can seem confusing and downright overwhelming. Every week, there seems to be a new diet or superfood with claims of increased vitality and health. Maybe you’ve tried a few, maybe you haven’t. The truth is, eating healthy is easier than you think, once you know the basics.

Here are a few nutrition tips to help you stay on track to reaching your New Year’s resolution.

  1. Eat whole foods – No, that does not mean eat the whole pizza! Whole foods are foods that are free from additives and have been processed or refined as little as possible. This includes mostly foods that do not come in packaging, such as fruits and vegetables. However, meat, eggs, beans, and grains such as rice are also whole foods, but may be sold in a package.
  2. Eat plant-based – Now this one is often interpreted as eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, but keep in mind that animal-derived foods are rich in protein, B vitamins, zinc and iron. The tricky part is that red and processed meats are high in saturated fats and sodium, so they should be limited. Aim to consume a largely plant-based diet while including small portions of lean meats, like poultry and also fish, which have been linked to lowering health risk. Remember that frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh produce, so stock up!
  3. Follow an 80/20 rule – This rule applies on so many levels that it really should be the first tip. First, apply this rule to filling your plate to only 80% full and leaving 20% clear to avoid over-eating. Dinner plates are almost 1/3 larger now than they were in the ’60s. Second, aim to make 80% of your plate plant-based, which will help you with tip #2! Third, you can use the 80/20 rule throughout the day by making 80% of what you eat healthful and reserving 20% as a treat. Finally, don’t over-exercise to compensate for an unhealthy diet. Health is 80% nutrition and 20% activity.
  4. Get moving – As stated above, 20% is about moving. Even though it is only 20%, it is still vitally important. If you are not ready to carve out an hour to go to the gym or attend a fitness class, then take advantage of the many opportunities throughout the day. Find the farthest parking spot from the door, take the stairs, walk to the farthest bathroom at work, get up once an hour and run in place or do some squats. Aim to move at least 10 minutes at a time. Every bit counts!

About Carrie Claiborne

carrie claiborne, rd, ldCarrie Claiborne, RD, LD, joined Emory at Johns Creek Hospital in December of 2017. Carrie grew up in Tampa, Florida and moved to the Atlanta area in 2008. She gained her bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and completed her internship from Life University in Marietta, Ga. She lives in Alpharetta, Ga., with her husband and their two children. Carrie believes that understanding our relationship with food is the most important step in making changes in eating habits.