March is National Nutrition Month; Theme this year is ‘Nutrition from the Ground Up’

  • Published
  • By American Dietetic Association for
  • Health and Wellness Center
It's common knowledge that a healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but most people have trouble figuring out what to do when planning a complete diet overhaul. During National Nutrition Month®, the American Dietetic Association reminds everyone that an easy way to focus on eating better is to start with the basics: build your nutritional health from the ground up.

"By starting slowly and giving yourself a good foundation, you can work towards a healthier life," said registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Toby Smithson. "Change doesn't have to be dramatic to make a difference."

Ms. Smithson suggests the following ways to improve nutrition from the ground up:
1. Focus on fruits and veggies: "Take a good look at your current diet you'll probably realize you're not eating enough fruits or vegetables," Ms. Smithson said. "Add a serving each day to one meal and increase it every few weeks. Adding more of these foods into your diet is important whether you buy frozen, fresh or organic."

2. Look locally: From farmer's markets to community-supported agriculture, you have many options to find new, fresh foods in your area.

3. Make calories count: "Too often, people think of foods as good or bad and that only those on the 'good foods' list are okay to eat," Ms. Smithson said. "When you're choosing between options, focus instead on the one with more of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. Sometimes, foods with fewer calories aren't always the healthiest options." To figure out how many calories you need to achieve a healthy weight, visit

4. Test your taste buds: A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and nuts.

"Those are the basics, but within this wide range there are always opportunities to try new things and find new favorites," Ms. Smithson said. "Expand your horizons. Try a fish you've never eaten before or find a new vegetable recipe. By testing yourself, you might find new healthy favorites to add to your regular grocery list."

5. Trick yourself with treats: "A healthful diet doesn't mean deprivation," Ms. Smithson said. "If you have a sweet tooth, have fruit and yogurt for dessert. If you want a snack in the afternoon, have some trail mix or nuts. There is no reason to go hungry just because you're making healthy changes."

For more tips on building your healthful diet from the ground up, during National Nutrition Month and all year long, visit and click on "For the Public."
HAWC sponsoring two events to celebrate National Nutrition Month

This year, the Health and Wellness Center at Malmstrom will be celebrating March National Nutrition Month with the following activities:

There will be a bookmark art contest with Loy Elementary students which will focus on this year's theme, Nutrition from the Ground Up. Each bookmark will be judged on creativity, color and incorporation of this year's NNM® theme. One winner per grade will be selected. The winning bookmarks will be mass produced and distributed at the Medical Clinic, the Commissary, the Adren G. Hill Memorial Library, Loy Elementary Library, and the HAWC.

There will also be a base-wide Healthy Recipe Contest with emphasis on back-to-basics, simple and economical healthful family meals. Winners will be determined based on taste and nutritional value that will be calculated by a dietitian. Recipes may be dropped off at the HAWC (building 1145) or e-mailed to jacqueline.maillet.ctr@ no later than March 19. The prizes will be awarded to the top three recipes. First place prize basket is currently on display at the Health and Wellness Center.