Last Updated on June 23, 2023 by Create Better Health
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics designates March as National Nutrition Month®. It’s a great time to focus on the basics of a healthy diet and set a few goals to be healthier.
This year, the theme of National Nutrition Month® is “Fuel for the Future”. Our health habits today impact our future. Make some goals this month to adjust your eating and physical activity levels to change what future-you feels like!
Children and Adolescents
Positive lifestyle behaviors begin during childhood and adolescence. Participating in daily physical activity at a young age often carries into adulthood. Daily active play and physical activity are important parts of a child’s or adolescent’s life.
As children grow older, they tend to decrease in their physical activity. It’s not hard to guess why either. Computers, screens, and social media take away from the traditional outdoor play children use to get. In order for children to engage in an appropriate amount of play, support from family and friends is needed and encouraged.
60 minutes daily is the recommended amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Bones and muscles are developing so it’s important to eat a healthful diet full of nutrients such as calcium.
Positive lifestyles are still being adapted and changed. Once you’ve exited your high school years physical activity may become more challenging for young adults. Schooling, jobs, and creating families typically become high priorities, and often physical activity and a healthful diet can be left on the wayside.
This is a time when healthful habits should be thought about and prevention of chronic diseases should be put into play. Focusing on your diet is a great way to prevent chronic disease. It’s important to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy in your diet.
If you haven’t made or kept any health-related goals by this point, now is the time to start! Adults need at least 1½ to 2 cups of fruit and 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
If you haven’t liked fruits and vegetables in the past, make a goal to try a new fruit or vegetable once a week. Mix up how you prepare your meals. Roasting vegetables is an effective way to bring the natural sweetness out of vegetables. Fruit can make a great snack or smoothie ingredient.
Regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is important for adults. Physical activity can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. It also improves your sleep and quality of life. Adults who are physically active are healthier, feel better, and are less likely to develop many chronic diseases.
Adults gain the most health benefits when they do 150 to 300 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week.
Physical activity has substantial health benefits for older adults! If you have not been physically active for most of your life or had a sedentary job, it’s not too late to start! Incorporating physical activity into your day to day life will make activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and getting in and out of bed easier.
It is recommended that older adults perform multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Including a variety of food in your diet can help reduce the risk of developing or amplifying chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Choose foods that are low in sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.
Include protein to help develop and maintain muscle mass. Good sources include lean cuts of beef, chicken, fish, pork, and lamb. If eating meat is difficult for you try eating eggs, beans, fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese.