March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to assess your eating habits. Do your meals match your health goals? A healthy diet involves choosing foods from all the food groups throughout the day and eating a variety of foods from each food group.
A healthy diet involves choosing foods from all the food groups throughout the day and eating a variety of foods from each food group. Variety ensures we are getting essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, healthy carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats. All are important for a healthy body.
Many of us head outside to ski, hike, bike, or inside for strength training. Being properly fueled can ensure we get the most out of our physical activities. While it’s important to eat before a workout for optimal exercise performance, timing is key. It is not advised to eat right before exercising, as your stomach is focused on digesting, so the movement and exertion may cause stomach distress. It’s best to eat a light meal an hour before your workout, and also replenish and rebuild nutrients lost by having a light meal with both carbs and protein after you exercise.
Make each meal balanced with lean protein, starch, and plenty of plants. Some breakfast ideas include steel-cut oats with cinnamon, nuts, and dried fruit; eggs with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach with roasted potatoes; plain yogurt with fresh berries and peanut butter; or a smoothie made with frozen fruit, milk, peanut butter, and spinach).
For lunch, utilize leftovers from last night’s dinner—they work great if you are busy! Other nourishing midday meals include a bowl of black beans, sauteed zucchini, brown rice, and grilled chicken; salad with lettuce, greens, cucumber, tomatoes, baked salmon, and apple slices; corn tortillas stuffed with lean grilled beef strips, fresh spinach, and chopped tomatoes; or a bowl of your favorite soup with a garden salad.
Whether you work out in the morning or evening, dinner is an important meal to refuel and nourish your body. It also helps aid healthy metabolism and keeps blood sugar in check. Some ideas for a wholesome dinner include baked pork chop, pineapple slices, and steamed green beans; homemade chili (ground turkey, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and beans) with a garden salad; or grilled cod with whole wheat penne pasta and marinara, and roasted veggies.
Treats and sweets can still be a part of a healthy diet, although moderation is key. It’s easy to overindulge if these foods are plentiful in your home. Keep treats minimal and out of sight.
Lastly, drinking plenty of water throughout the day keeps you hydrated and aids in the digestion of all your healthy meals.