Did you know March is National Nutrition Month?

There’s more to March than just basketball and March Madness! In the fitness world the word “nutrition” gets a lot of attention (as it should!) from nutritionists, personal trainers, and exercisers looking to eat the right types of food. National Nutrition Month is a wonderful opportunity to focus your attention on the significance of making knowledgeable choices when you eat and combining it with better physical exercise habits.

You may have heard it said before: “You can live in the gym, but if you are not eating the right foods, it’s all a waste.” There may be some serious truth to the previous statement, as what you put into your body fuels everything you do when exercising. Working out is never a waste, but you can definitely improve the benefits of your hard work from eating the right foods. Nutrition is not solely tied to exercise, as the food you eat fuels everything you do in your daily life. A lot of people think they are eating the right foods, but if you truly delve into your eating habits and take a look at your nutritional “plate”, you may have to do a double-take. A healthy diet should be balanced and nutritious. Your body will function the right way, and your chances of developing certain diseases will be lowered immensely.

Here are 3 things to improve your nutrition plate for National Nutrition Month:

Diet journal.Start A Food Journal. You may be apprehensive to journal about your food choices, but recording your food intake with a food journal shows you exactly what is entering your body. After a couple of weeks of journaling, you’ll have a more accurate log of the types of foods you are eating. You’ll be able to gauge how successful you’ve been in eating a balanced diet and how many of the major food groups you are actually getting. As a bonus you could notice a trend or trigger that keeps happening in your diet to slow down your weight loss attempts or muscle gains. You could eliminate these trends and finally get over that hump. Use the food journal as more than just a record of what you eat. Track and log your exercise and workouts. It may help to see how many times you are actually making it to the gym each month, so you can increase that number if necessary. Track your weight at various points, too, and write down goals. You can accurately track the progress of your goals and get to the finish line quicker.

Cut Back. The problem with the nutritional plate is that it keeps growing. Portion sizes are so big, that it becomes more and more difficult to balance calories. Many of the appetizers at restaurants are close to the proper portion size, but too often out-to-eaters will order an appetizer AND a meal. Try to cook at home more often and pay close attention to what you are eating (a food journal could help with that!). It all starts with the amount of calories in your diet. Calorie intake is a personal number based on the individual’s age, exercise level, and other health factors. It’s not the same for everyone. Find out how many calories you need first, and then stay within that range. Avoid solid and fatty meats such as sausage, bacon, and hotdogs.

fruits and vegetablesAdd more vegetables and fruits. Most plates don’t have vegetables or fruits, and those that do lack the proper amount. Your plate should be half filled with vegetables and fruits. The other half should be occupied by protein, grains, and dairy (you can change the items on your plate at each meal). When you cook, use olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil. Add nuts to your diet, too, for they are naturally high in oil.

If you follow just these 3 tips during National Nutrition Month, you plate will vastly improve and you health will skyrocket. You may even start to feel better and get more energy.