Happy St. Patrick's Day! While everyone is thinking green today, I want to encourage you to think beyond just the green.
Besides being the month of St. Patrick's Day, March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Eat Right with Color!” Each year the American Dietetic Association sponsors this month to promote healthy eating and healthy living. While it is not probably the foremost thought on your mind as you go through March, I encourage you to stop and take the opportunity to review your family’s eating habits.
Think about your daily eating routine. For our family, as much as I crave variety in my daily breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner routine, my boys are creatures of habit. For G, this means a daily bowl of cereal, milk on the side, with some fruit. For R, it means scrambled eggs or pancakes, also with fruit and some water. With lunch, well, that is our current weak point with R (eating a good lunch at school has proved to be more of a challenge than I ever imagined) while G is in a ham and cheese with carrot sticks kick. Dinners tend to be full of variety since my job requires we try lots of new recipes and meals.
After you take a few minutes to think about your family’s eating routine, consider a few questions:
**Are we getting enough whole grains?
**Is our salt consumption high?
**Do we limit saturated fats?
**Are we eating enough fruits and vegetables?
This year’s National Nutrition Month focuses on powering up the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet, with a particular emphasis on “eating a rainbow of colors.” Since scientists believe that the more colorful a fruit or vegetable, the more healthy components, they encourage the increased consumption of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Like most parents, I get stuck at times in a banana/applesauce/sliced pear sort of rut with our fruits and carrot sticks and broccoli vegetable groove. Nothing wrong with any of these selections, but now that spring is around the corner, and summer not too far behind, soon our stores, farmer’s markets and more will be brimming with lots of fresh choices. Why not challenge your family to eat the rainbow each day?
I encourage you to check out EatRight.org (there are even some games to help make learning about nutrition fun) and celebrate National Nutrition Month with your family.