Happy National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month. It’s time to focus on being as healthy as we can be, especially when it comes to the foods we choose to put in our mouths to nourish our bodies but also the foods we choose to put on our kids plates.

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right" is the theme for National Nutrition Month® 2014. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice flavour for health. Find out more at: www.eatright.org/nnm.

Here are 10 easy tips to get your family on the path to healthy eating:

1. Establish Family Meal Time

Sit down to a meal together as a family several times a week. Family meals focus on eating and enjoying food and each other. Turn off the TV, put down the phone, and catch up on everyone’s day. Regularly scheduled meal and snack times help kids learn structure for eating.

2. Drink up

Drink water or low-fat milk or non-dairy alternatives such as almond milk. Drink less soda or sugar-sweetened drinks. Try adding citrus or berries to a glass of sparkling water as a healthy carbonated drink.

3. Eat breakfast

Start your day off right with a protein-packed breakfast so you’ll be more likely to make good choices throughout the day. For families on the go, whip up a healthy breakfast smoothie. Toss out those sugar-filled neon-coloured "breakfast" cereals.

4. Smart Dining Out Choice

Eating out often means larger portions so try making smarter choices or avoid eating out entirely. Choose foods that are baked, steamed, or broiled and avoid fried foods. Ask for sauces and salad dressings on the side and use them sparingly. Look for ‘healthy eating’ menu options that are widely available.

5. Check your Portions

Kids are smaller than adults and should eat smaller portions. Learn what makes a healthy portion size. Always start with a small portion; you can always have seconds if you are still hungry.

6. Cut Back on Sugar

Cut back on sweets. Switch to lower sugar breakfast cereals and replace desserts like ice cream and cake for fruit based desserts.

7. Reduce Fat

Switch to low or non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken or extra lean ground beef for hamburgers or pasta sauces. Substitute olive or vegetable oil for butter.

8. Eat Healthy Snacks

Reduce the number of processed snacks served each day. Give children more fruit or veggies, like carrot sticks. Save "treats" for special occasions.

9. Eat more Fruits and Vegetables

Kids should eat five fruits and vegetables a day. Fruit or carrot sticks make great snacks. Offer 100% juice, with no added sugar. Mix vegetables into dishes, like adding peas to rice, or cucumbers to a sandwich.

10. Stay Active as a Family

Engaging in physical activity as a family can be a fun way to get everyone moving. Walk, run, play ball - anything that gets you physically active and having fun.

Small changes in these key areas can make a huge difference and add up to real results!

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