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March is National Nutrition Month, a yearly campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The month presents the perfect opportunity for learning to make better food choices and for developing healthy eating habits. The theme this year is Personalize Your Plate.
What fun this month. creating a four week series with a focus on nutrition. Check out the previous posts:
Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals
After laying a strong nutritional foundation and offering peeks into how easy it is to create healthy habits, this week presents tips to keep it all going. Check out the last post in the series, Thrive Through Powerful Nutrition Habits.
Thrive Though Powerful Nutrition Habits
Thrive means to grow vigorously, to flourish and prosper. I chose the word intentionally, for with these nutrition habits it is possible to thrive at a high level. And don’t we want to thrive and live the best lives possible, rather than survive, which carries the connotation of just getting by.
During the last few weeks I shared how important it is to fuel our bodies with the highest levels of nutrition. Using the list of nutrient dense foods that I put together, I created a meal plan and then shopped for those foods. And finally, last week, I posted seven days worth of meals. A week beyond and I’m still preparing delicious, healthy meals from that one shopping trip.
The tips below are grouped around the activities from the previous weeks. Plus I’m offering suggestions for eating healthy away from home.
Tips for Choosing Highly Nutritious Foods
You already have the list of the foods that best energize the body and keep it healthy. In addition, try these tips:
- healthy eating depends on one thing…making daily choices. Choose wisely and with the knowledge of what healthy foods do for the body, and what unhealthy foods do as well. The healthier the choices initially, the easier it gets to choose the next day…and the next.
- try new foods. If you eat the same three vegetables every week, try something different. And know that foods you disliked as a child may taste wonderful to you now. I disliked radishes as a child. Now I love them.
- consistently add more fruits and veggies to your diet. Fill at least half of your plate with them.
- take advantage of seasonal produce. Fruits and veggies are plentiful and so full of flavor when it is their season.
- visit your local farmer’s market for freshly grown produce, much of it organic. Or enjoy picking fruit at a “pick your own” farm.
- grow your own vegetables. Gardening is a great family project. And kids often enjoy eating veggies they grow.
Tips for Shopping for Highly Nutritious Foods
When heading to the grocery store, keep these tips in mind:
- create a meal plan and then shop for it. This prevents overbuying foods you can’t use in a week or getting home and then trying to decide what to do with your food!
- shop in the fresh produce section first. As you can see from my shopping trip, the majority of foods came from the fresh produce department.
- buy organic when you can. These foods are free from pesticides, chemicals and additives. They also contain more antioxidants than conventionally grown produce.
- wash fresh produce at home, before using, especially if it is not organic. I use Seventh Generation dish washing liquid and then rinse thoroughly. You can also add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a container of water and let produce soak for half an hour. Rinse well.
- when shopping for the healthiest ingredients for your meals, avoid processed foods as much as possible. You don’t need all the added preservatives and chemicals.
Tips for Creating Highly Nutritious Meals
- start with a meal plan…five small meals in a day or three meals and two healthy snacks. It’s essential to know what meals you are creating so you know what foods to purchase. Meal planning is what you make it…fun and interesting or tedious and boring. CHOOSE to make it fun by adding variety to your weekly meals.
- with a written meal plan, create multiple meals using the same ingredients, combined in different ways. For example, that head of cauliflower that I purchased contributed to a steamed veggie bowl, to stir fries and to a chopped veggie salad.
- cook enough for leftovers or use food remaining after a meal creatively the next day. Cooked brown rice, stored in the fridge, is useful for so many meals. Leftover cooked veggies, combined with brown rice and a homemade sauce makes a great lunch.
- use Sunday afternoons for food prep, so that meals come together quickly during the week. Wash and chop veggies for a huge salad. Clean and cut berries or other fruit and keep in the fridge. Chop onions, celery, peppers and other foods for stir fries and keep chilled.
- for convenience, use a pressure pot, also known as an instant pot, a slow cooker or an air fryer for creating flavorful, nutritious meals. I love my pressure cooker. It works as a steamer too.
- be creative. Try new recipes. Check Pinterest for ideas. Just type what you are looking for in the search bar.
- when enjoying your meals or snack, focus on that food, rather than eating mindlessly. Feel gratitude for the nutrients the food provides.
Tips for Eating Nutritious Foods on the Go
While eating at home provides control over what foods we create meals with, eating out feels different. To take the stress out of eating away from home, and maintain nutritious habits, try these tips:
- make healthy choices. It comes back to this, always, no matter what. You get to choose what you put into your body.
- in restaurants, don’t hesitate to ask how food is prepared. I typically order plain veggies or a plain salad, without the extras like butter, cheese, egg, etc. If eating out with other people, let them know you want to make healthy choices and help pick a restaurant that everyone is happy with.
- pack snacks for road trips, playtime at the park, hikes in nature or birthday parties. Having healthy choices helps prevent eating something you’ll regret later.
- bring your own food to family gatherings or holiday meals. I do. It may seem strange at first, however my family is used to me bringing plant based dishes to Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings. I either pre-cook food and bring it ready to eat or tote in the ingredients and prepare my meal there.
- when flying, request vegan meals at the time of ticket purchase. This must be done in advance. I’ve traveled in four European countries without any problems finding vegan meal options at restaurants.
- if possible, stay in accommodations with a kitchen so you can prepare your own meals. I’ve done this multiple times and it saves money as well.
The Nutrition Challenge
I hope you enjoyed this nutrition series. I’ve heard from many of you, saying you appreciated seeing what foods I select and shop for and what my meals look like.
I’d love to see what nutritious foods YOU select and shop for and what YOUR meals look like.
Consider this a Nutrition Challenge. If you accept, please write a blog post or social media post and tag me or send me the link, so I can be inspired.
I’m Journey With Healthy Me on Instagram and Facebook. I’d love to connect with you on those platforms, if we aren’t connected already. Or send me your links in the comments below. You may also email me through my contact form at the end of the post.
I have two missions in life: to encourage people to be healthy at every age and to inspire people to live life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. The latter is the focus of Cindy Goes Beyond, my other blog. Here at Journey, may you find the inspiration and encouragement you need to live your healthiest, best life.
Create Nutritious Meals with These Helps
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6 thoughts on “Thrive Through Powerful Nutrition Habits”
I love this! Your post is a totally comprehensive guide of the whys and hows for considering nutrition and building more of it into your diet. One related suggestion I have is to join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Basically, you pay to get a weekly farm box from a local farm. This is a great way to try new veggies, eat seasonally, and support local. My CSA grows a lot of asian crops and pushed me to try things like bitter melon, bok choy, and daikon radish. Thanks for all the inspiration with this post!
I’ll check to see if we have a local CSA!
Love this. I know I need to eat less processed and more veggies. I always have veggies for dinner but not enough throughout the day. It’s definitely a habit I need to improve.
Always such great tips Cindy. And it’s so true, foods you didn’t like as a child might taste a lot better now with a more “refined” palette. I’ve been noticing that for myself lately as well. I also try to buy organic when shopping for groceries. It’s harder when going to restaurants to eat organic but that’s why I try at least with groceries. Thanks for sharing and for promoting healthy lifestyles for everyone 😊
I always love a variety of foods and trying to eat so many different colors – vegetables are amazing that way!
Great tips! We have definitely made a concerted effort to buy more fresh and whole foods. We don’t always buy organic… but we definitely try to eat a good variety. We want to teach our kids to do this as well… start them with good habits young!