1. Eat the rainbow. Did you know that different colors in fruits and vegetables are associated with different antioxidants? By eating a wider variety of colors of fruits and vegetables daily, you can increase your antioxidant intake and boost your ability to fight inflammation. Learn some great ideas on adding more color to your plate.
  2. Vary your food groups. There are 5 main food groups: fruits, vegetables, protein (meat and legumes), starches (grains and starchy vegetable like corn, peas, potatoes), and dairy. For a balanced meal, aim to include at least 3 of the 5 food groups (I.e. Chicken (protein), brown rice (starch), and broccoli (vegetable)). For a balanced snack, include 1-2 of the 5 foods groups (i.e. apple (fruit) + almonds (protein)).
  3. Eat mindfully. It can be tempting to eat your meals while working at your desk, watching TV, or scrolling on your phone. However, eating while distracted makes it difficult for your stomach and brain to communicate to each other about fullness, and often leads to overeating. It also prevents you from experiencing the full flavor of your food, which can also cause you to overeat. For at least 1 meal daily, set aside all distractions and put your attention on the smell, texture, temperature, colors, and taste of your food. You’ll be amazed at how it changes the eating experience!
  4. Make a menu plan. Having a plan for meals and snacks for the week is a great way to prevent “emergency” restaurant outings and to make sure you get a variety of colors and food groups into your day. If it feels overwhelming to plan all your meals for the week, start with planning the meal that you feel could use the most improvement
  5. Create a grocery list. Once you have your plan, write down what foods you will need to grab from the grocery store. This will help ensure that you have all the ingredients on hand that you need for your meals and snacks throughout the week. It can also help prevent you from making spur of the moment purchases that are unhealthy as you walk down the grocery store aisles.
  6. Learn to be menu-savvy. The way a meal is prepared or seasoned can affect how healthy it is. Words like smothered or sauced likely indicate a food may be higher in fat or sodium. Avoid deep fried foods. Opt for foods that are steamed, poached, baked, roasted, broiled or grilled. Choose lean cuts of meat like sirloin or tenderloin and foods that are prepared with no added fat. Ask for condiments on the side and use less. Read this blog post for even more great tips:
  7. Snack smart. Snacks are an easy way to boost the nutritional value of your daily diet. Keep high fiber foods like fresh fruits and veggies, whole wheat crackers, and popcorn on hand for a filling snack. Make it more satisfying by adding a healthy protein on the side such as unsalted nuts, greek yogurt, peanut butter or hummus. Do your best to eat only when you are truly hungry.
  8. Try a new food or new cooking method. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Make a goal to try 1 new fruit and 1 new vegetable each week during National Nutrition Month. This will help you widen the variety of fruits and vegetables that you enjoy. Or, try cooking your produce in a new way, such as grilling fruit or pan roasting vegetables to bring new flavors out of your favorite fruits and vegetables.

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