March is National Nutrition Month

Aside from betrayals and leprechauns, March is also known as National Nutrition Month. Spring brings along warmer weather and a fresh start to improve lifestyle habits. Here are some ways to help make positive decisions about nutrition, eating healthy, and staying physically active.

Read Labels

Next time you’re at the grocery store stop and take a look at the nutrition label on the side of the item rather than just throw it in your cart. It’s there to help you. By reading the nutrition facts label, you will be able to understand how many servings the item contains and how many calories and daily-recommended nutrients it has. Reading the labels will help you make healthier choices in what foods you eat and drinks you buy.

Stay Active

One definite positive to the reintroduction of spring is the arrival of warmer weather. As a result of the temperature increasing, you might be inclined to venture out of the house more often. Going to the gym would definitely help with staying active, but there are other alternatives to people who don’t like being closed indoors. Take a walk. Sometimes it’s nice to just go on a leisurely stroll around town. Better yet, head down to Smith Point Beach and see the renovations being done to improve its conditions before opening. For people who like to get their heart pumping a bit more, head to the Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library. They hold zumba classes usually every Wednesday at 7:30 at night. All you have to do is sign up!

Eat and Drink less of these

One of the biggest problems when trying to eat healthy is dealing with temptation. You want to eat healthier, but that cheeseburger with extra bacon is just too appealing that you can’t resist. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to cut out everything that has delicious flavor in it. It just means you have to cut back on how many times you eat it. One way to improve health habits is by limiting your sodium intake. According to Eating Well, a health and nutrition magazine, “Restaurant foods and processed foods both tend to be very high in sodium…cook at home using fresh ingredients instead.” By lowering your sodium intake, you are also reducing your risk at heart disease. Another tip is to cut down on saturated fats intake, which is found in meats and dairy products like butter and cheese. Too much saturated fat can cause damage to your arteries, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

Eat and Drink more of these

Ever been told to eat your fruits and veggies when you were younger? There was a reason for that. Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Also, they help reduce the risk of heart disease as well as contain low amounts of calories. Fruits and vegetables are also great for snacks throughout the day. Next time instead of grabbing a bag of chips, try munching on an apple. It’ll be satisfyingly delicious and healthy for you. One thing you might want to drink more of is water. I know, I know, water just doesn’t have that sweet carbonated flavoring that most other drinks do. However, other drinks such as soda or iced tea contain loads of sugar, which isn’t good for your blood pressure. By drinking water, you’re rinsing out all the toxins in your body and replenishing what might have been dehydrated. One last tip is to try eating more whole grains. They help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and are rich in fiber, vitamins and more. Whole grains help with improving your eating habits and can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

By Lauren Coppola

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