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National Nutrition Month: Quick Tips on How You Can Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle

     The month of March is dedicated to campaigning and educating the public on the importance of making healthy food choices and promoting physical activity by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. With this year’s theme, “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,” the Academy is focusing on encouraging everyone to make healthy eating and daily physical activity a habit in order to achieve a healthy weight and decrease chances of chronic illnesses. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also recognizes March 11th as Registered Dietician/Nutritionist Day to thank those who commit their time to helping people learn how to live healthy lifestyles.

     Before their name change in 2012, this organization was originally the American Dietician Association. It’s founding members were women who wanted to improve the public health and nutrition after World War I. Their “Mission” is “ Empowering members to be food and nutrition leaders” and their “Vision” is “Optimizing the nation's health through food and nutrition.” 

      Today, about two thirds of Americans are overweight and almost half of adult Americans have some chronic illness related to poor eating habits and lack of physical activity. On the flipside, an estimated 10 million Americans suffer from life-threatening eating disorders or disordered eating. “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle” is a informative resource for everyone to use to help prevent more Americans from becoming a part of these statistics and promote better health over all.

     As a young college student, seeing those statistics hits closer to home now than it would have a few years ago. I am now an adult and could be a part of those statistics at any moment. Between 16 hours spent in class, 20-25 hours spent at a part-time job, and almost 14 hours spent studying a week, healthy eating and a trip to the gym can easily become the last thing on a college student’s mind. However, with this month being National Nutrition Month, I challenge my fellow college students to educate and challenge themselves to “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle” and I have complied a few websites, blogs and apps to help you do just that.

       If you are a newbie at learning how to eat healthy, aren’t sure about food proportions or have a hard time deciding what your meals should consist of, look into websites that help you “build plates” to plan meals. Choosemyplate.gov offers information on what your plate should look like at each meal, how many servings of each food group is recommended to eat a day, and what an actual serving of these food groups look like. This website also has information on what constitutes as daily physical activity, why it is important to exercise and how to incorporate it into your daily life.

     If you have been trying to life a healthy lifestyle but have hit bumps and ruts along the way, look for inspiration in magazines, track your achievements with phone apps and get ideas from fitness blogs to keep your dedication at its highest. After doing some of my own research, I have come to the conclusion that eating better foods doesn’t have to be boring or unappetizing . Many magazines, like Shape, Women’s Health and Seventeen offer nutritious and tasty recipes to help promote better eating. Along with the latest fitness fashion trends, many issues contain tear-out work out plans that are easy to perform at home or in the gym.

     If you like to look for your information electronically, I highly recommend exploring The MyFitnessPal app--a calorie-counting tracker, food diary, and exercise log, but the blog has many recipes, workout regiments, inspirational weightless   stories, and information articles about eating healthy. Another blog I find to be quiet helpful in living a healthy lifestyle is http://www.blogilates.com by Cassey Ho. She has printable meal plans, monthly food and physical challenges, and workouts. You can print out everything you need to change your lifestyle and hang them on the fridge. Cassey Ho also posts workout videos, so she can encourage you through every move as if she was right there with you.

     I support National Nutrition Month 110% because I am aware of the health risks I expose myself to when I don’t take care of my body. If you have a hard time changing your bad habits, joining a fitness organization or enlisting the help of a friend who can be your accountability partner is a good place to start.

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Brittany is a freshman at UNCW. She is majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in English. Brittany enjoys the beach, reading, and working out. 
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