It’s National Nutrition Month! A whole month to celebrate nutrition – the very fuel that allows us to Sweat Like a Mother. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics generally has a theme for each year on which to focus. This year, they’ve decided to highlight the concept itself, allowing for promotion of its original intent – which the Academy states: “To increase the public’s awareness of the importance of good nutrition and position registered dietitian nutritionists as the authorities in nutrition.” This is in line with the Academy’s vision – “where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition.”
What a beautiful vision. Food is fuel. And nutritious fuel can make or break performance on so many levels. This power can be harnessed by all who follow a “nutritious diet.” But what is that? With so many eating plans out there and so many fad diets and so many “health-food” products on the market – how does anyone choose a healthy diet?
A healthy diet is different for everyone because everyone has different needs, budgets, time frames, cooking abilities, and family dynamics. This is why a one-size-fits-all approach is not sustainable for most families because we are not all “one size”. That label really only works for scarves and trucker hats – not healthy food patterns.
Given all the nuances that affect an eating style at home, there are a few characteristics applicable to all healthy diets. Apply these to your nutrition and you’ll begin to harness the power of good food and nutrition.
Adequacy – Your meals should provide enough nutrients – not just enough energy to crush a workout and mom hard all day long, but also enough fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Balance x 2 – First – Keep the scales balanced by not over-emphasizing one nutrient or food over another. This can mean making sure you have veggies at dinner since you didn’t enjoy any at lunch; as well as not limiting your intake to just high protein or high fat foods. Secondly, balance applies to energy. You need to take in energy to make energy and exert energy to balance energy intake. Basically – you need to eat and move in balance.
Moderation – Everything in moderation, am I right? A healthy diet is not chocked full of broccoli and Brussels sprouts (though, when they are roasted just right and sprinkled with some olive oil and salt…yuuummm) and nothing else. It can include brownies, wine, and pasta. Most of us know we should eat our fruits and veggies. So, do that mostly, but enjoy treats in moderation.
Variety – The spice of life is having a little variety. Eat the dark leafy greens – but branch out beyond spinach and kale – try some collard or mustard greens. Keep Taco Tuesday – but rotate between chicken tacos, fish tacos, and veggie burritos. It’s good to try new foods soon in life too so your kiddos get used to variety.
While no one diet is right for every family, tried and true healthy diet principles are right for everyone! Choose a nutritious eating plan that is as unique as you and your family. Happy National Nutrition Month to you!