- Eat Well, Live Well
By: Catherine Sebastian, MS, RD, CDN
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics dubs March as National Nutrition Month® - hooray! The goal of this month is to help people focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
First let’s get in the right mindset. Remember you need to eat right for YOUR lifestyle, there is no one right way of eating that works for everyone. It is important to follow a plan that is filled with tasty foods you enjoy and are high in nutrient density.
Healthy habits take time to build, it is helpful to understand what foods are and how each food group plays a key role in our overall health and wellness. MyPlate was created by the United State Department of Agriculture as a visual representation to provide Americans with a guide on how to eat a balanced meal incorporating the five main food groups.
Below outlines the five food groups and their nutritional benefits, along with how Libby’s® Fruits and Vegetables can be incorporated to fit MyPlate with recipe ideas.
Grains – Foods derived from wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, barely or other grains provide the body with its largest energy source. Whole grains contain fiber which allow people to feel fuller longer and can help with the management of diabetes, cholesterol, and obesity.
Fruits – All fruits count! Canned fruits are just as nutritious as fresh or frozen fruits. A diet that contains a variety of fruits provides vitamins and minerals that can help boost the immune system. Libby’s® Canned Fruit are an easy convenient way to increase your fruit intake!
Vegetables – Same goes for veggies! Canned veggies are just as nutritious as fresh or frozen veggies. Veggies provide vitamins and minerals, along with fiber, that are essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Libby’s® Canned Vegetables are easy and affordable to ensure you are getting all the right nutrients.
Protein – The building blocks for our muscles! Focus on lean sources of protein, such as chicken breast, turkey, eggs, and fish, to reap the most benefits. Don’t forget to mix in some plant based sources too, like tofu, seitan, nuts, and beans, all of which are great sources of protein.
Dairy – There are three healthy sources of dairy: milk, yogurt, and low-fat cheese. All three contain calcium which is needed for bone health. Of course, ice cream falls into this category too, but do enjoy with moderation!
It is important to note this is only a general guide and people may need more or less of a certain food group if they are following a specific diet. It all comes down to you and your nutrition goals. If you need help, try working with a Registered Dietitian to co-create an individualized plan or even just to provide better-for-you tips that fit your lifestyle. Little changes can go a long way towards positive nutrition.