March is National Nutrition Month- a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating habits.
The 2013 NNM Theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”.
Now this doesn’t mean “eat whatever you want.” This means, take the steps to eat right. Take control of your nutrition, whether you’re cooking for a family or cooking for one. Take control of your choices while you’re on the go or at work- stay away from the vending machine or the candy-jar temptations and stock your desk or briefcase with healthy and satisfying options.
I’ve put together some of my go-to-tips for cooking for one as well as tackling typical on-the-run or office-related eating issues. So take control of your nutrition- and “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.”
Cooking for One: Cooking for one takes motivation! It’s often easy to go for take-out-options or frozen meals, as cooking can seem overwhelming or wasteful. Here are some tips to make it easier and obtainable:
Make a grocery list while planning out your meals for the week. Choose ingredients that can be used in multiple meals (such as chicken or fish, beans, whole grains, salad greens, and vegetables)
Look up simple and easy-to-prepare recipes. Try one new recipe per week! Avoid recipes that have more than 5 ingredients or exotic ingredients you are not likely to use again.
Cook for or with friends! Choose one day a week to invite a friend over for dinner or start a lunch or dinner club with a group of friends- each friends prepares a meal for the others one day per week.
Choose simple cooking techniques that make cooking for one easy:
- Bake Foil Packets “En Papillote”
- Use a mini-griddle to grill meats and fish
Keep your pantry sand refrigerator stocked with staple items such as:
- Brown rice and quinoa
- Canned tuna and salmon
- No salt-added canned beans
- Salt-free Canned tomatoes
- Low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Natural Peanut Butter and Almond Butter
Prepare large batches of “staple” items in bulk:
- Grilled chicken breast
- Brown rice or quinoa (measure out ½ cup-1 cup servings)
- Baked sweet potato
- Hard boiled eggs
- Chopped vegetables- chop celery, carrots, peppers, and leftover vegetables from other meals. Keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and use in up to 2-3 days.
Use your freezer!
- Prepare a large batch of soup, stew, chili or homemade sauce. Portion into individual container and freeze those you won’t use this week. Defrost 1 at a time when you need!
- Buy frozen vegetables! You don’t have to worry about them staying fresh and they are super easy to prepare! Avoid those with added sauces and gravies.
- Keep a variety of frozen fruits on hand. Choose those with no sugar added. Add into cooked oatmeal, yogurt, or blend into a smoothie!
Tacking Nutrition at Work and On-The-Fly! Avoid the vending machine or café at work and keep your desk or office fridge stocked with healthy and satisfying options. Do you travel a lot for work or are you on the go running errands most of the day? Keep refrigerator-free items in your car, purse, or briefcase to make eating on the go a cinch. Here are some of my favorite items to keep on hand:
- Individual packs of unsalted nuts r roasted soy nuts
- Natural peanut butter or Almond Butter (no more than 2 tbsp at a time!)
- Rice cakes or 100% whole grain crackers (choose versions with 100% whole grain as 1st ingredient- ideally 100% whole grain, water, and "salt" should be the only ingredients)
- Preportioned bags of high fiber cereal (my personal favorites: Kashi Go Lean)
- Portable Fruits such as apples, bananas, citrus fruits, plums, peaches, pears
- Pre-cut vegetable sticks (celery, peppers, baby carrots, grape tomatoes)
- Got a Fridge? Try 0% Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, low fat string cheese, hard boiled egg low sodium turkey breast.
* Your best bet? Combine one protein food (yogurt, cottage cheese, turkey, or nuts) with 1 fiber food (fruit, vegetable sticks, whole grain crackers or rice cakes) to make a satisfying and balanced snack.
These simple tips alone can help your SPRING into your nutrition goals and get on track with healthy eating. Looking for more tips and tricks to keep you on track? Follow along with Alicia Romano MS RD LDN, Registered Dietitian:
www.aliciaromano.com | http://aliciainapinch.blogspot.com | www.facebook.com/aliciainapinch | Twitter: @RDAlicia
Are you interested in meeting 1 on 1 with Alicia to reach your individual nutrition goals? She is now taking clients at Fitness Together North End! Contact Alicia directly to sign up for a free 30 minute consultation and to hear more about the nutrition packages available to get you on track! firstname.lastname@example.org