March is National Nutrition Month

orange-infused-water400National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign promoted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s focus is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which encourages everyone to not only make healthy food choices, but to eat mindfully enjoying food and the traditions associated with eating.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we’ve created a 5-week challenge which will be posted weekly on our Soriant Blog.  We hope you enjoy the challenge!

5-Week Challenge

Day 1-4; Drink 8 glasses of water each day:

Try some infused water such as infused orange water.

Orange infused water

Ingredients:

32 oz. of water

3-4 clementine oranges

Instructions:

Peal the oranges, slice in half, add to 32 ounces of cold water.  Enjoy!

Day 5-11: Plan one plant based meal each day.

Some examples include:  Breakfast:  Oatmeal made with almond milk and topped with sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, blueberries, and walnuts.  Lunch:  A green leaf salad topped with black beans, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, whole kernel corn, sliced cucumbers, diced red onions, and sunflower seeds.  Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil.  Supper:   Veggie burger on whole grain Kaiser roll with sliced tomatoes, sprouts, and avocadoes.  Served with a side of baked sweet potato fries.

Day 12-17 Switch out high-calorie beverages for lower-calorie ones.

Avoid regular sodas, juice, power drinks.  Instead, try some unsweetened iced tea vs. the sweetened variety.  Or better yet, drink more water! Also, rather than drinking fruit juices, eat the whole fruit instead.

Day 18-22:

Eat breakfast every day this week.  Start your morning off right by eating a nutritious and balanced breakfast.  Keep it simple!  Some supper easy breakfast ideas include: (1) Creamy almond butter with sliced bananas on a whole grain toasted English muffin (2) Cream of wheat cereal made with cashew milk and served with sliced strawberries (4) Greek yogurt served with diced apples, honey, and flaxseed meal (5) Whole grain toast topped with Swiss cheese, sliced tomatoes, and sliced avocadoes.

Day 23-27 Create “eating-only” zones at work and home.

This week’s challenge is to stop and enjoy your meals.  No more eating at your desk at work and no mindless eating in between meals.  Commit to eating your meals at work in a designated location where you can focus on what you are eating and enjoy your meal.  Same goes for home meals.  Find the perfect location at home where you can focus on your meals without distractions.

Day 28-31 Increase your fiber intake.

The recommended fiber intake is between 25gm-38gm per day for women and men respectively. Most Americans consume about 15 grams of fiber per day which is a shame because foods rich in fiber are also rich in variety of nutrients.  To increase your fiber intake, switch from white bread to whole grain bread, aim for 6-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and incorporate beans, nuts, and seeds into your diet.   If your current diet is low in fiber, increase your fiber intake slowly.  For example, start with 3 servings of fruits and vegetables this week and increase to 4 servings the following week.  Also, make sure you drink plenty of water!

About the Author:

Jessica Rodriguez brings more than 14 years of experience in oversight and leadership of customer-facing and administrative support operations in healthcare and scientific research. Jessica offers an effective interpersonal style that actively fosters productive relationships with internal and external partners, representing a wide variety of professional backgrounds.