So many things to celebrate today! Not only is it St. Patrick’s Day, but it is also smack dab in the middle of National Nutrition Month in the U.S., and who doesn’t want to take a minute to recognize that?
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t out-train a poor diet”?
Well, now you have. It’s true. Eating healthy and nutritious foods is incredibly important for everybody, whether you have specific fitness goals or not. If you eat right, you will feel better. Point blank.
Because nutrition is so important, and certainly something I care about, I’m teaming up with the friendly folks at UnitedHealthcare today, in conjunction with the company’s “We Dare You” campaign. The campaign is all about encouraging people to take small steps in the right direction to get healthy, while at the same time entering to win pre-paid gift cards. Last month, I shared a few tips on “How to start moving more every single day,” and in March, timed perfectly, it’s all about nutrition.
If you think you’ve got your nutrition where it needs to be, then maybe you can pass these tips along to someone in your life who needs a little help. Granted, I’m not a Registered Dietitian, and you should certainly seek counsel from one for a personalized plan on how to improve your diet. But I do know a thing or two about living a healthy life, so here are a few things I believe in from my personal experience …
Five ways to have a more nutritious day
1. Eat a balanced breakfast. Yes, believe it or not, there are still people out there skipping breakfast, who may think that they are better off for missing a meal and avoiding those calories. But they are wrong. Starting your day off with a meal including fruits, veggies, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats is how you fuel your body and your mind for the day. Eating a good breakfast will set the tone for a good day, and it may help you make better food choices throughout the day. Breakfast is a great chance to drink a green smoothie with tons of nutrients, or enjoy a make-ahead meal like my favorite overnight oats.
2. Add fruits and veggies to every meal. Could you pair an apple with your afternoon snack? Could you sneak some extra veggies into your lunch-time sandwich on whole wheat bread? Strive to add more colorful fruits and veggies to every single meal, and you’ll be increasing your intake of valuable nutrients and antioxidants, all of which can potentially improve your demeanor and body’s ability to perform. It’s not that hard. Grab a seasonal piece of fruit, throw it in your bag, wash it and eat it alongside a meal or snack. Voila. You’re one step closer to reaching your daily intake needs.
3. Practice portion control. Did you know you can use your hands to measure out the portions you should be using to create the perfect plate? And with restaurants serving double-portions and our own dining-ware growing in size, it’s important to be able to eyeball the appropriate amount of something you should be eating so you don’t go overboard. Make sure the colorful fruits and veggies take up most of the room when you’re eating, and section off the rest using your best visualization from these cues:
- Lean meats should be roughly the size of a deck of cards (3 ounces)
- Whole grains should be roughly the size of a tennis ball (1/2 cup)
- Healthy fats and nut butters should be the size of a ping-pong ball (2 tablespoons)
- Milk or yogurt should be roughly the size of a baseball (1 cup)
- Cheese should be roughly the size of your thumb (1 ounce)
- Veggies should take up about half the plate
4. Prepare more meals at home. While there are plenty of “healthy” options at restaurants, the only way you can be sure of what you’re eating is if you make it at home. While it’s tough to make all your meals ahead of time at home, with a little bit of food prep on the weekends, you should be able to put together a couple of snacks and lunches. If you eat most of your meals out, strive to cook just one-to-two at home at first and go from there. Incorporate plenty of fresh vegetables and try a new recipe, while you’re at it. Think whole foods and less packaged foods.
5. Drink more water and swap out soda for green tea. Okay, okay, I know so many people are obsessed with their soda. I gave up soda a few years ago, and I know it’s not easy. If you are used to reaching for a diet soda or regular soda in the afternoons or with your lunch, I challenge you to grab an infused-water or even a low-calorie nutrient-rich coconut water, mineral water or hot or cold green tea instead. Soda is not doing you any favors, whether it has calories or not. But water and green tea are beneficial, and your body can do so much more when it is hydrated. Drink up!
Yes, becoming healthier can be as easy as taking a small step every single day in the right direction, like adding some extra veggies or being extra cautious of your portions. It’s so worth it, so I dare you to pick one or all of these tips and give them a try.
Join the “We Dare You” campaign to win pre-paid gift cards
Speaking of dares, you can be a part of UnitedHealthcare’s “We Dare You” campaign, whether you are a UnitedHealthcare member or not, just by entering to win.
Visit the We Dare You website, share some photos of your healthy eats or complete other activities shown below. This contest is open to everyone in the U.S., and you can enter once a day, every day for extra chances to win. So what are you waiting for?
To enter, all you have to do is go to the We Dare You website and do any of the following:
- Share a photo or video of your healthy breakfast
- Test your smarts and answer a quiz question about nutrition
- Watch a video on “How to read food labels” and share your opinion
There are weekly prizes of $25 pre-paid gift cards and monthly prizes of $400 pre-paid gift cards, so you have plenty of chances to win. I’ve already entered myself a couple times this month.
There you go, my friends, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you have a lovely Tuesday. Be safe, have fun and add some nutrition to your day. See you back here tomorrow!
**Disclosure: This post was sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, however all the views and opinions are completely my own.
Questions of the day
What’s something you are striving to do to improve your nutrition? Do you have any other tips for adding nutrition to your day?