March 31, 2021 by John Fernandez
Nutrition Month 2020: Ask Yourself These Questions Before the Next Bite
This is the time of year when we remind everyone about choosing nutritious foods and getting enough physical activity, which can make a significant difference in our health.
Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on healthy eating through National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme, Eat Right, Bite by Bite, promotes eating a variety of nutritious foods every day, planning and creating healthful meals each week, and consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist when necessary.
At Baptist Health South Florida, we encourage our employees and our communities to make every bite count. At your next meal, snack or beverage you eat or drink, ask yourself: how can I make this healthier? Each bite, whether big or small, can help make a difference.
Before you take your next bite, keep these questions in mind.
- Is there a vegetable in this meal or snack?
- Was this made using healthier ingredients?
- Is there a fruit?
- Is there whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice?
- Is the protein lean or plant-based choice, like beans or fish?
- Is water your beverage of choice?
- Is it low in added fats and/or sugar?
If you answered no to these questions, then what simple change can you make to improve your meal or snack?
For breakfast, think outside the breakfast box. Try avocado toast on a whole grain bread or peanut butter and fresh-berry wrap.
For lunch, try adding a salad to your typical lunch. Or try reaching for a plant-based, meatless meal option.
As a snack, reach for hummus and raw veggies. They give you that crunchy yet savory taste.
For dinner, make sure you add a vegetable to your meal and choose a whole grain.
If you have a sweet tooth, reach for nature’s dessert, a delicious ripe fruit. Strawberries are currently in season in South Florida, and they are perfectly sweet. Make sure to look for locally grown.
During the month of March, challenge yourself to improve your health, bite by bite. No matter how big or how small the bite, each bite can make a difference.
Our Baptist Health registered dietitians provide recipe ideas, cooking tips and other healthful advice for everyday issues, such as cooking dinner or meal preparation for picky eaters. In addition, they help patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension through Medical Nutrition Therapy. They work as part of a medical team to help clients set nutrition goals to improve their health.
About Natalie Castro
Natalie Castro is a registered dietitian and the nutrition and wellness manager at Baptist Health South Florida, where she oversees the food and nutrition policy for the organization. Ms. Castro earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Florida International University and a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science from State University of New York at Buffalo (University of Buffalo). She believes a food environment supported by healthy choices fosters healthier lifestyle habits. She is certified in adult weight management by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and her research is published in several peer-reviewed medical journals.