Healthy Living Nutrition

12 Tips for 12 Healthy Months

From Steward Health Care Registered Dietitian Courtney Faiola, RD, LDN

January: In these cold winter months, soups and hot cereals are a popular choice to warm your bones. For breakfast, make your own oatmeal instead of buying the prepackaged options which can be high in added sugars. Some great toppings are berries, honey and nuts! For lunch and dinner, try sticking to broth-based soups loaded with vegetables.  A favorite is Butternut Squash Soup.

February: This month, we celebrate National Heart Month! As part of a heart-healthy diet, try to limit sodium intake to less than 2,000 mg/day and choose healthy fats like olive oil and avocado instead of butter and other solid fats.

March: We recognize National Nutrition Month in March! This month we “go further with food” by eating appropriate portion sizes and making healthy choices lower in calories. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by eating extra greens like spinach and kale!

April: Happy Easter! While on that Easter egg hunt, let’s clear up a few things about eggs. While the yolks are high in cholesterol, they’re hard to beat nutritionally. They are a high quality protein rich in antioxidants. If you’re an otherwise healthy individual, an egg a day is perfectly fine. If you have a history of heart disease, consider limiting whole eggs to every other day and supplementing with egg whites.

May: Cookout season is among us. Try some out-of-the-box grilling ideas like veggie kabobs with peppers, onions, and summer squash marinated in Italian dressing. You can grill fruits. The natural sugars caramelize in the heat giving off a savory sweetness; try this with apples, pineapples, and peaches.

June: It’s starting to heat up and you might be looking for some ways to keep cool. A kid friendly idea is to mix some fresh fruit of your choice with yogurt and portion into small Dixie cups with a Popsicle stick, let it freeze overnight and you have frozen yogurt pops the next day!

July: While looking at red, white and blue fireworks, try thinking of some red, white and blue produce. You have peppers, strawberries, beets, rhubarb, cauliflower, onions, garlic, and blueberries, to name a few. Remember to try to “eat a rainbow of food” to ensure a variety guaranteed to meet your vitamin and mineral needs.

August: This is a great time to check out your local farmer’s market. These markets have a variety of locally harvested foods which help support the local economy and even save you a few bucks. Farmer’s market produce is also fresher and has better nutritional value than mass produced food.

September: It’s back to school for the kiddos and many parents struggle with what to pack their kids for lunch. Try cheese and deli meat rolled up into wraps, and cut into bite-sized pinwheels.

October: Pumpkin lovers, rejoice! Pumpkin is rich in fiber and vitamin A. Rather than having all the extra sugars from pumpkin pie, try pumpkin breads, or a delicious pumpkin waffle recipe with pure maple syrup.

November: Your fridge might be exploding with Thanksgiving leftovers. For the next week, try making a Thanksgiving casserole out of your potatoes, turkey and vegetables, or using them as pizza toppings!

December: One holiday favorite is ham with its respective accompaniments. Consider lower-sodium options like a pork loin instead. Excess salt attracts fluid, which could make you feel bloated and puts you at risk for hypertension. Also, try to remember to go easy on the gravies, sauces, butter, and whipped creams to avoid excess calories.

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