It's March, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating
National Nutrition Month®. The theme for 2012 is "Get Your Plate in Shape".
Let's all join the celebration with better food choices and more physical activity each day!
Alexandria Hast, PhD, RD
Here are some tips from Campbell on how to shape-up your plate.
Start by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and Vegetables provide a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all while filling you up for fewer calories. Add color to your plate by choosing dark green, red, and orange vegetables, as well as beans and peas. It does not matter if the vegetables are fresh, frozen, or canned-- they still count towards your daily intake! The recommendation for most adults is to eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day. Don't like vegetables? Try pureeing them and incorporating them into some of your favorite higher-calorie foods like macaroni and cheese. Research shows that this can help to increase your veggie intake, and at the same time help to decrease your calorie intake!1 Fruits also come in a variety of different options-- fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or 100% fruit juice. Aim for 2 cups of fruit each day.
Fill the next quarter of your plate with grains. Try to incorporate more whole grains, like 100% whole-grain bread, pasta, or brown rice. The daily recommendation for grains is 6 oz equivalents. Strive to make at least half of these grains, or 3 oz equivalents, whole grains.
The final quarter of your plate should be reserved for a variety of lean protein sources, like lean meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, and beans. In addition, aim for 3 cups per day of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages – all good sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein.
As you start to develop better eating habits, it's also important to evaluate your exercise habits. Choose physical activities that are enjoyable so you stick with your plan. Team up with a friend to help you stay motivated and committed. Try riding a bike, walking on an incline, or doing circuit training to spice up your exercise routine. If you are a novice to physical activity, start by doing what you can in ten minute increments. Adults should aim for a minimum of 2 ½ hours of physical activity a week that requires moderate effort, like brisk walking.
Campbell offers a variety of products that can help you get more vegetables, fruit, and whole grains into your diet, including more than 90 soups with at least ½ cup of vegetables and other options such as V8® 100% Vegetable juices, V8 V-Fusion® 100% juices, and Pepperidge Farm® whole grain products. For more information to help shape-up your plate, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov
Here's to healthy eating and exercising!
Alex recently received her PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the Pennsylvania State University. Her research investigated the effects of protein, energy density, and portion size on satiety and energy intake, and her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals. She also obtained her Bachelor's degree from Penn State and completed a combined internship and Master's degree program at University Hospitals and Case University in Cleveland, Ohio. Alex has several years of experience as a clinical dietitian and is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association.