March is National Nutrition Month

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Ripe for the Picking! March is National Nutrition Month

Ripe for the Picking!

March is National Nutrition Month

By Jean Bowick

You’re shopping for Easter and packing up your snow boots. With a hearty wave (and a healthy shove), you cast off the biting chill of winter – and you feel all warm inside, just thinking about being warm again.

Step Away from The Freezer

As you “March” forward into spring (with freshly thawed extremities), take several steps backward:
1. Contemplate (and be honest, “overrate”) your current nutritional habits
2. Examine the state of your New Year’s health resolutions; and
3. Distance yourself from the scary frozen foods still lurking in your freezer.

Be Fresh, Be Bold!

In March we celebrate National Nutrition Month®, not with colorful streamers or balloons, but with red and yellow peppers, thick leafy greens, juicy ripe tomatoes, farm-fresh eggs, vibrant summer squashes, golden sweet potatoes, and garden snap peas. Soon we’ll be hand-picking these nutritious delights from farmers’ markets and produce stands, and just about every “good” thing we eat will be in-season.

Nourishing Tips to Chew On

• Make the most of nature’s produce. Fill your plate with fresh fruits, seeds, nuts, and vegetables dripping with vitamins. Generally speaking, if it grows from the ground and is harvested as food, eat plenty of it. Fresh produce fills your body with healthy nutrients, antioxidants, and quality calories that will keep your body running, boost your metabolism, and subdue wrongful hunger cravings for fast foods or over-processed junk.
• Buy local. 
Shopping at your local farmers’ market is a win on every level. You’re buying straight from the source, so it’s generally cheaper, and it’s fresher. You’re supporting local growers and helping sustain organic, naturally ripened, healthy food sources. Now that puts a good taste in everybody’s mouths.
• Extend your shelf life.
 Plan for the week ahead when you shop. Try to estimate how many servings of each item you’ll need for salads and side dishes for about one week. Proper planning goes a long way toward reducing spoilage, and bad smells you can’t identify a month later.
Really, check those labels. The best foods only have one ingredient. If the label lists more than a handful, you’re looking at fillers, preservatives, and emulsifiers. 
Breakfast like a champion. To really get cranked up in the morning, your body needs calories, not just caffeine. Fiber and protein are good choices to fend off fatigue and mid-morning sugar cravings.
• Don’t pass on the fiber.
 Fiber takes longer to digest than other foods, so it’ll help you stay full longer throughout the day. It also helps stabilize blood sugar, which is great news for diabetics, and boost your body’s metabolism, which is great news for just about anybody.

So in honor of National Nutrition Month® – and all those who love you – take good care of yourself! Your body (and the good Lord) will do the rest.  

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