March 23, 2022

Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Delicious (and Healthy) Meal Ideas

March is National Nutrition Month, a perfect opportunity to learn more about the ways you can make educated food decisions and develop healthy eating habits. A healthful and nutrient-rich diet is critical to not only physical health, but emotional wellbeing. Building healthy eating habits requires planning, creativity and openness to experimenting with new types of food. But it can be easy and fun, too!

The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month is “celebrate a world of flavors,” so it is a great time to try new recipes and take your tastebuds on a (healthy) tour of the world!  Providence Health Plan (PHP) has free meal guides to help members plan ahead so they can stay on track and make healthy food choices.

father and daughters at the table

PHP also offers recipe ideas so members can expand their pallets in a way that improves their overall health. Check out some of the tips featured in the guide below:

  • Review your calendar for the week ahead to see if there are any planned activities that will take you away from home. Creating a planning calendar can help keep you organized for meals you will need to make versus ones that you will be eating outside of your home.
    • You can also check out this downloadable Grocery Guide from the American Heart Association (AHA) for healthy grocery items that are also budget-friendly.

  • When grocery shopping, stick to your list and shop the produce section and perimeter of the store that tends to have healthy food options. Try to avoid the aisles with processed food and try to recognize emotional cues that may result in purchasing unhealthy items.
    • If you still have questions whether or not an item unhealthy, the AHA’s Nutrition Label infographic explain how to read nutrition labels and what to look for.

  • Cook meals together with family or friends by encouraging everyone to have a role. When is time to eat, take the time to enjoy and savor the meal. Slow down the eating process by engaging in conversation and asking what others like about the food to help you enjoy the meal and the company!
girl with apples

If you have started to eat healthy but are afraid you may get bored with the same recipes, switch it up! Here are some creative ways to keep every meal delicious and balanced:

  • Breakfast: Elevate your oatmeal with fruit, nuts, seeds and more, for an easy-to-make breakfast that will keep you full all morning. Low-fat plain yogurt can be customized with healthy toppings to fuel you for the day ahead. Smoothies with low-fat milk, fruits and leafy greens can be ready in a few minutes and are packed with vitamins.
  • Lunch: No two salads need to be the same, so get creative! Switch up your base with various types of greens and add fresh veggies, proteins or toppings such as nuts or cheese. You can also look at suggestions from the AHA for various ways to build a healthier salad.
  • Snacks: If you find yourself reaching for something salty like potato chips, instead try nuts such as almonds or cashews, or baked tortilla chips with fresh salsa. If you have more of a sweet tooth, swap a treat loaded with sugar for berries with dark chocolate.
  • Dinner: Take a trip around the world with healthy dinner options. Enjoy tacos with whole grain wraps or tortillas, lean proteins and fresh veggies. If you are craving Italian, zoodles or whole wheat pasta are carb-friendly and can be topped with tomato sauce, or extra virgin olive oil. Stir-fry is another versatile option that can be mixed up with whole grain rice, your choice of proteins and vegetables.

If you are looking for more nutrition tips or healthy eating ideas, check out free webinars with Colleen Kuhn, a registered dietitian who has recently covered topics such as Mindful Eating, Brain Power and Immunity Nutrition, Meal Planning, Everyday Nutrition. You can also visit the healthy eating section of the AHA’s website for more information and guidance.

This Nutrition Month, it is easy (and tasty) to take the first step to healthier eating habits that you can enjoy all year long.

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