March is National Nutrition Month

Monday, March 11, 2013

In case you've given up on your New Year's Resolution to be healthier and eat right, it's not too late to give it another try. March is National Nutrition Month and a perfect time to recommit to a healthier lifestyle before spring and summer arrive.

Here are a few tips from the experts at the American Heart Association:

1. Figure out what energy your body needs. You can go to the My Fats Translator site at the Heart Association's website ( to determine your daily calorie needs. This tool calculates your personalized daily calorie needs, recommended range for total fats and provides you with your body mass index (BMI). Write down or print the info and keep it handy so you remember.

2. Manage your limits. Now that you know your personal limits for calories, fats and cholesterol, you have a better idea of how to use the numbers on the Nutrition Facts panel. For example, if you only need 1,800 calories, then the Baby Back Ribs with 734 calories per serving (a big chunk of what you should have for the entire day) don't look so tempting. Remember to watch the serving size, too.

Think of it like your checking account -- don't spend more than you earn, and don't eat more than you burn in one day -- is a good rule of thumb.

3. Shake the sodium habit. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that everyone consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Low-sodium foods have 140 mg or less per serving. Keep that in mind to guide your choices.

4. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. The AHA recommends 4.5 serving per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet. A serving is 1 cup of leafy greens or 1/2 cup of frozen, raw or cut up vegetables, or 1 medium fruit. If you have a serving at breakfast, lunch and dinner, then at your morning and afternoon snacks, you'll have exceeded the recommendation. You'll be on the road to getting the nutrients you need to fight disease, feel good, and improve your health.

5. Balance calories by increasing your activity level. You don't have to go to the gym. Do something you enjoy, and you'll be more likely to stick with it. Take a brisk walk with your favorite music or podcast, play tag with your kids, or grab a friend and try walking together.

Keep in mind that National Walking Day is April 3. Wear your sneakers to work, and take at least 30 minutes to get up and walk. It's a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to set an example with your coworkers, think of it at a friendly push toward a healthier life. Make your plans for National Walking Day now.

Check our website to view the most up to date info. You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding column topics or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee.

All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming Events

March 11: Livestock Feed and Show Program, Cloverdale, 6 p.m.

March 14: Extension Homemakers Terre Haute District meeting

March 16: Ag Day, Fairgrounds, 8 a.m.-noon

March 21: Junior Leaders, Fairgrounds, 7 p.m.

March 25: Deadline to register for Area 5 Leader Lesson Conference

April 9: Area 5 Leader Lesson Conference at the Knoy Center at Cloverdale High School

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