Three nutritional priorities for a healthier lifestyle


Eating nutrient-rich foods, appropriate portion sizes, and limiting sugary drinks are important year-round. However, since March is the national nutritional month, it’s worth taking a closer look at these three priorities that can lead to healthier lifestyles.

National Nutrition Month is an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics awareness campaign with weekly focus areas and tips on This year’s theme is “Personalize Your Plate” in recognition of the fact that we all have different cultural backgrounds and preferences but can still make healthy choices with our diet and physical activity.

Including nutritious foods in your diet is an essential part of a healthy diet. When your diet includes foods that are full of the nutrients your body needs, you will have a healthy immune system that can protect you from seasonal illnesses and other health problems.

Beta-carotene is an important nutrient that you can find in carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, peppers, and strawberries. Protein is another important nutrient that you get from seafood, lean meat, eggs, and non-animal sources like beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

These are just a few of the essential nutrients that you should get through your diet.

Keeping track of appropriate portion sizes is an essential part of a healthy diet. Each different type of food has a different serving size and size.

Serving size is just a standardized amount of food, but serving size is how much you want to eat. These two may be different, but it is important to know the difference so that you know how much nutrition you are getting when reviewing the nutritional information on a serving of food.

Here are a few tips to illustrate these sizes: 1 cup is roughly the size of a fist or baseball; 1/2 cup is about the size of a tennis ball or a small scooped handful; 3 ounces is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand; One tablespoon is roughly the size of your thumb. A teaspoon is about the size of a postage stamp or the tip of your index finger.

Finally, limiting sugary drinks can help you maintain a healthy diet. Many people unknowingly ingest significant amounts of sugar through beverages such as fruit juice, sodas, sweet tea, and sports drinks. So the best advice is to drink water.

Water should be everyone’s main drink throughout the day. You should try to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you’re shooting for 100 ounces of water a day.

Limiting sodas, whether diet or sugar, is critical; Aim for no more than 12 ounces a day. Sports drinks are sneaky when it comes to their sugar content. They seem like a healthy choice, but avoid them unless you are actively participating in a sport.

In March, think about these three ideas and start or continue some healthy eating habits for National Nutrition Month.

Remember, there is no one single solution to healthy eating. So adjust your plate according to these principles.

For more information on this and many other topics, contact the Etowah County Extension Office at 256-547-7936 or 3200 A W. Meighan Blvd., Gadsden. Eric Wright is the Extension Coordinator for the Etowah County Extension Office.