Balanced Lifestyle

Let’s be honest, by this time of the year, many of us are starting to slack on our health-focused New Year’s resolutions. However, March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s the perfect time to re-focus on those nutrition goals we may have let fall away.

Feel a little overwhelmed by the idea of adding “nutrition” to your diet? You’re not alone. We’re here to help guide you with five easy steps to make that goal more achievable.

Eat More Plants

You don’t have to cut out animal products from your diet to be healthy, but the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables and also working in whole grains and plant-based protein. Incorporating plant-based foods to meals is an easy way to add essential nutrients and vitamins to your diet! This includes eating walnuts, increasing your intake of omega-3 ALA (2.5g per one ounce serving). Blend veggies and walnuts into sauces like this versatile Walnut Romesco Sauce, or swap half the meat in dishes like tacos and lasagna with beans or walnuts. You can even try making plant-based versions of your favorite dishes such as tostadas, meatloaf, or a flavorful curry.

Drink More Water

Drinking at least eight glasses a day can help curb your cravings and help you from confusing thirst with hunger. Not to mention, staying hydrated is important, especially for those who are active. Need more convincing? Here are 10 more reasons to pour yourself a glass!

 

Make Your Snacks Count

Don’t count your snacks—make your snacks count. Almost all Americans snack daily, and many do so to satisfy cravings, but most aren’t meeting nutritional needs. Make sure your snacks offer a combination of protein, fiber and good fats. A handful of walnuts, seasoned to your liking is a well-rounded snack that can hold you over until your next meal. This is a great way to meet a craving for sweet or savory with satisfying crunch! Try going spicy with Carolina BBQ Walnuts, or more tangy with these Chili-Lime Seasoned Walnuts. You can even make a simple trail mix with other nutrient-rich ingredients to really stack your snacks!

Make Mealtime an Occasion

Most people tend to move through life very quickly and don’t stop to enjoy simple pleasures. Things like sitting down to eat a meal can be good for you both mentally and physically, as it encourages you to eat more slowly, allowing your body to process and digest food more appropriately. Physical benefits aside, this can also provide the mental benefit of taking a break and unplugging from your busy life, while enjoying a meal and time with loved ones.

 

Understand Nutrition Labels

While eating whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible is great, it’s not always realistic with our busy lifestyles. Pay attention to the ingredient lists on packaged products, and look out for things like saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars. To avoid being in the situation of not knowing what you’re going to grab as an on-the-go alternative, plan ahead by meal prepping or packing your own snacks to fit in with your diet and nutrition goals. For simple grab-and-go snacks you can make in bulk, try these No-Bake Walnut Cocoa Cherry Bars or Walnut and Fruit Energy Bites.

There’s not just one simple way to elevate your nutrition levels for National Nutrition Month, but there are a lot of steps you can take to work towards a more nutritious lifestyle. Setting a goal of what you want to achieve this month and prioritizing a nutritious diet through the previous suggestions are wonderful ways to start!

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