Healthy Children - April 2012

 

Get Your Plate in Shape

March is National Nutrition Month

Illinois Department of Human Services is proud to join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics during March in celebrating National Nutrition Month. This year's National Nutrition Month theme is "Get Your Plate in Shape" and encourages employees and consumers to remember to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plates every day. The month-long campaign highlights the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Simple Tips

Here are a few ways to "Get Your Plate in Shape" from the food and nutrition experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties. Add fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits to meals and snacks.
Make at least half your grains whole
Choose 100 percent wholegrain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. For those who are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
Vary your protein choices
Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean. And be sure to choose seafood as the protein at least twice a week.
Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers, and season your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Switch from solid fats to healthy oils like olive and canola oil. Replace sugary drinks with water and choose fruit for dessert.
Enjoy your foods but eat less
Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Cook more often at home where you are in control of what's in your food. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options.
Be physically active your way
Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity every week. Choose activities that you enjoy, and start by doing as much as you can.

 

Campaign Information

Initiated in 1973 as a week-long event, "National Nutrition Week" became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. Additionally, to commemorate the dedication of RDs as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of March has been designated "Registered Dietitian Day."

As part of this public education campaign, the Academy's National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition around the "Get Your Plate in Shape" theme.

Visit the Academy's National Nutrition website.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Additional Information

Interested in additional resources to Get Your Plate in Shape? Visit the USDA sponsored ChooseMyPlate.gov website for information on a healthy diet using a familiar image - a place setting for a meal. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl. Learn more about getting your plate in shape.