This month, registered dietitians rejoice: It is National Nutrition Month. Celebrate along with your favorite dietitian by finding out what your caloric needs are. MyPyramid.gov has a place that you can enter your height, weight, age, gender, and activity level, and it will crank out what you should consume in a day, from exercise to food. There is even a special section for pregnant women and children.
It will tell you how many calories you need in a day (providing that you are honest), and how many servings you need from each food group. It is the customized report that you have always wanted! If weight loss is your goal, there will be a section on the second screen on the right titled "To gradually move towards a healthier weight" and it will crank out a guide for weight loss.
Here are some healthy ideas from each food group:
Fruits: Never mind the apples and oranges, think outside the box! Kiwis, dried apricots, prunes and plums are great options. Don't forget that 100% juice counts as a fruit serving (though it is a high calorie one). Think local and find what grows in your region, and then find a new way to incorporate it into your day.
Veggies: Add a handful of organic spinach to just about anything. From spaghetti sauce to eggs and soups, this is a super food you don't want to miss out on.
Protein: Protein doesn't always have to be steak or chicken. It can be peanut butter, lentils, beans and fish, too. Try out this recipe for a new take on lentils. You won't miss the moo.
Dairy: Go for the full fat yogurt to avoid artificial flavors and sweeteners, try a new cheese (it's a party with Havarti) and stick to skim to keep the calories low.
Fats and Oils: All fats are not bad for you. You still want less than 30% of your daily calorie intake to come from this group, but here are some healthy options: Olive oil, nuts (think walnut), fish and avocados. Don't forget the sunflower seeds and pepitas!
Grains: Whole grain cereal includes oatmeal and Cheerios along with Kashi and Shredded Wheat. Granola bars without chocolates and candies are a great snack idea and the first ingredient in a healthy bread should always be whole wheat flour. Don't forget the popcorn!
Happy National Nutrition Month!