During the month of March the Shingletown Medical Center shared information regarding National Nutrition Month®, which is when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating.

Are you guilty of skipping breakfast, ordering takeout, getting jitters from coffee overload and counting potato chips as part of a viable eating plan? It’s time to kick those habits to the curb and start eating right. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

Eat Breakfast – There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. It provides your body with the fuel it needs to make energy to keep you focused and active throughout the day. Not only that, but if you are trying to lose weight, fueling your body regularly will help you from possibly making unhealthy decisions later in the day based on hunger. The key to a good breakfast is balance. Include lean protein, whole grains and fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables.

Cut Back on Caffeine – Too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, make you jittery and cause you to lose energy later in the day. Keep your caffeine intake in check by limiting regular coffee to 3 cups or less per day, and watch what you put into it. Skip unwanted calories and sugar by drinking it as plain as possible. Need to wean off? Try three things: switch to half decaf or try decaf tea, drink plenty of water and eat small, frequent meals to keep up energy.

Bring Lunch to Work – How do you make bringing lunch to work easy? Have your arsenal of food for the week. Have the right foods to put together. By stocking up the fridge, you’re setting yourself up for success. One suggestion is preparing the week’s lunches over the weekend; bake chicken, chop veggies, steam rice. Make sure your options include a combination of lean protein and carbohydrates. For example, whole-grain bread with turkey, 1 cup of veggies and a piece of fruit. Or, try a salad with veggies and chicken, a piece of fruit and a 100-calorie cup of low-sodium soup.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables – Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate. Add adventure and pick one fruit or veggie you’ve never tried each time you go to the grocery store. It’s a great way to discover new options. Spring is in the air, so start planning for your summer garden for fresh vegetables at your fingertips.

Cook Dinner at Home – Making meals at home doesn’t have to zap the last bit of your time and energy. The trick is to plan ahead. Choose options you can make in advance. For example, cook a batch of soup you can portion out for lunches or dinner during the week, or bake a whole chicken to slice for sandwiches, wraps and casseroles. A quick and easy idea is to turn leftover beef into stew with beans, no-salt-added diced tomatoes and pre-cut veggies.

For more information please visit: http://www.eatright.org/

Shingletown Medical Center Board Members and Staff wish you a “Healthy” and “Happy” March!