In case you didn’t know, March is National Nutrition Month!
During my dietetics education (and even in the beginning of my career), I used this opportunity to remind people to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Drink more water! Eat less saturated fat. Exercise more. All of those general recommendations that you hear in the media. They can come across as very diet-y.
But now, I see National Nutrition Month through a new lens, thorough a non-diet lens. I still see it as a time to prioritize nutrition and all it can do for the body, but it’s in a less rigid way and more fit to peoples’ unique lifestyles.
You can still prioritize health and nutrition while practicing intuitive eating. Many people don’t understand this and think the two don’t align, but there’s actually alot of research showing that those who eat intuitively are actually more healthy.
So, here are 5 ways you can celebrate national nutrition month through a non-diet lens
Focus on Eating at Regular Intervals
Nutrition means many different things to people but for all, it likely means providing nutrients. If we’re not eating enough food throughout the day, we’re surely not getting enough nutrients. Honor your body by nourishing it adequately. For most people, that means 3 meals a day and 2-4 snacks. You can spread those out however works for you.
Some people prefer to eat right when they wake up, others choose to wait an hour. But don’t skip a meal. If you’re someone who forgets to eat in the morning, can you pack something the night before? If you don’t know what to eat for snacks, this post of easy meals and snacks may offer some inspiration. Or, some of my favorite snack recipes.
Cut Through the Diet Noise
Part of nutrition is that it should be personalized to you. Just because the keto diet or intermittent fasting worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Sidenote: We should define what “works” means anyway. Short time weight loss is not the same as achieving health, and odds are, the weight gain comes back after 1-2 years of follow up, which people don’t talk about. Diets don’t work for 98% of the population. Our bodies are smart and eventually rebel. More on that in this post about health.
Find the Enjoyment in Food
Trust yourself and honor your hunger. Feed your body the foods it wants and enjoys, not the foods you think you should be feeding it.
Try a new (local) food
Trying new foods is an enjoyable experience, and all the merrier, if we can support local farmers in doing so. We’re heading into spring when the farmers markets are more accessible and so many delicious foods are in season. If this is accessible for you, I challenge you to try something new this month. Is there a food you’re intimidated to cook with? Give it a try! Google and Pinterest can be great for brainstorming.
I actually bought goose berries for the first time this week! I’ve walked by them and never thought to buy them before, but this week I thought, why not?
Reduce Food Waste
Intuitive Eating can come across as very privileged when people only hear the “eat what you want when you want part.” It’s not realistic or practical to always eat what you’re craving, especially if you’re home, it’s dinner time and you don’t have what you want. Sometimes, it takes using your body knowledge to eat nourishing food that you have on hand, even if it’s not exactly what you want.
Food doesn’t always have to be super enticing or unbelievably tasty. It’s great when it is, but sometimes, it’s just…food. Boring, monotonous and lackluster.
How can you reduce food waste this month? Here are some ideas
- Take stock of what you have before going to the grocery store (a great tip for simplifying meal prep)
- Only shop for a few meals and snacks each week
- Buy more frozen items, that will last longer
- Have a snack before you grocery shop (It’s easier to buy things you may not need/want if you’re very hungry). I’ll also refer you back to #1 for this one.
Do you think it’s possible to bring the fun back to food and nutrition?
Have you tried a new food recently? Tell us!