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Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month®. This year’s campaign centers on the theme, Eat Right, Bite by Bite, which aims to help people make small, daily positive diet choices. Good nutrition doesn’t need to be overwhelming, meaning don’t bite off more than you can chew with a complicated diet. Instead, make “bite-sized” decisions each day that incorporate simple and smarter nutrition habits into your daily life.

Here are some strategies to create positive, healthful nutrition habits:

Make Mindful Food Choices

Each decision you make regarding food choices is an opportunity to do your body good!

To ensure you’re making smart food choices, you can follow the principles of the Eat Right, Bite by Bite campaign [1]:

  • Incorporate foods from each food group in your diet
  • Plan meals ahead of time
  • Take a healthy lunch to work or school
  • Consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist

Being smart about the food you eat is essential to your overall well-being and lifelong health. No matter how busy you are, a little planning ahead can help ensure that you’re choosing healthy options. It can be as easy as making substitutions such as choosing fruit for dessert rather than pastry or drinking water rather than a sugary soft drink. Each small change helps!

Learn About Your Nutritional Needs

To make the best choices for your health, it’s also important to learn about the health benefits and nutrients various foods can provide, as well as understand that your personal nutrition needs are based on your height, weight, gender, age, etc. Every person has individual diet and caloric requirements depending upon their health, age, body type and exercise routine.

Since nutritional needs are not one size fits all, you might consider speaking with a registered dietician nutritionist. A nutrition expert can help you develop a personalized diet plan that will address your specific needs and help you accomplish your nutrition goals to work toward a healthier lifestyle. [2]

Create Positive Diet & Nutrition Habits

No matter what your diet is, you can change your nutrition habits at any time with some positivity. Although making healthy choices is a conscious effort, it doesn’t have to be hard. Make the switch to healthier options in small, manageable steps, such as by adding a side salad with dinner every night or swearing off of fried foods. You don’t need to make drastic diet changes all at once.

By knowing your body’s needs and incorporating mindfulness techniques and a positive attitude, you may find that adjusting eating habits is easier than you thought. When changing your diet, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself — gradual changes can have longer-lasting effects than drastically overhauling your diet. [3] With each meal and snack, seize the opportunity for creating a healthier diet, bite by bite!

[1] Eat Right: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (no date). National Nutrition Month. Retrieved from  https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month

[2] U.S. Department of Agriculture: Choose My Plate. (no date). 10 Tips: Make Better Food Choices. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-make-better-food-choices

[3] Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. (no date). 7 Ways to Get Your Diet Off to a Good Start. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/7-ways-get-your-diet-off-good-start#1