Eating right is essential to keeping your mind and body running at its best. During this year’s National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds us to build an eating plan with your unique lifestyle and nutritional needs in mind. So whether you’re a career professional, vegetarian, student, athlete, or busy parent, it’s important to “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.”
Try these following tips to eat right for your lifestyle:
Career. Busy work days and business travel can lead to on-the-fly meals.
- For desktop dining, keep single-serve packages of crackers, fruit, peanut butter, low-sodium soup or canned tuna in your desk.
- Always on the go? Tuck portable, nonperishable foods in a purse, briefcase or backpack for a meal on the run. Try granola bars, peanut butter and crackers, fresh fruit, trail mix or single-serve packages of whole-grain cereal or crackers.
Student. The student lifestyle can be fast-paced and low-budget. Students can eat right on a budget with some savvy food shopping tips. Stock smart snacks that combine protein and carbohydrates to fuel you like:
- Apples with peanut butter, carrots and hummus, hardboiled eggs and fruit, banana and yogurt, almonds with low-fat cheese or whole-grain cereal. These also double as a quick grab-and-go breakfast to wake up your brain and muscles for the day’s activities.
- At the cafeteria, salad bars are a great choice; just watch the cheese, bacon, creamy dressings and other high-calorie add-ons. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
Athletes. Whether you are a competitive athlete or just enjoy working out, what you eat will affect your performance.
- Your body needs fuel to function, so eat a light breakfast or snack before you exercise. Try low-fat yogurt, graham crackers with peanut butter, a banana or cereal with low-fat milk.
- Before, during and after exercise, replace fluids with plenty of water or a sports drink, if you prefer.
Families. Caring for family, whether children, elderly parents or both, can be busy. However, family meals allow parents to be role models to promote healthy eating. And, just because a meal is made quickly doesn’t mean it can’t be nutritious.
- Keep things simple. Build a collection of recipes for quick and easy family favorites. Choose ingredients that you can use from more than one meal. For example, cook extra grilled chicken for chicken salad or fajitas the next day.
- Ask for help. Get the kids involved making a salad, setting the table or doing other simple tasks.
Vegetarian. A vegetarian diet can include just as many tasty varieties of foods as one including meat. For example, nutrient-rich beans are recommended for everyone. Enjoy vegetarian chili, a hummus-filled pita sandwich or veggie burger. Many popular items are or can be vegetarian – pasta primavera, veggie pizza and tofu-vegetable stir-fry.
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.