This Month is National Nutrition Month: Take a Bite!

If you resolved to stay heathy in 2019 and your resolution fell apart last month, now is the perfect time to pick up the pieces and try again, as National Nutrition Month is upon us! Celebrated annually in March, this campaign strives to educate and inform us about the importance of making good eating choices. But before you let out a sigh and reach for that pint of ice cream, the great news is that there are SO many easy and practical things you can do to keep you on the path to good eating habits.

Remember, healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and boring.

Actually, it’s quite the contrary. I was reminded of that from our recent visit with our friends over at Sunfare in Phoenix, Arizona – a company that prides themselves on creating delicious, fresh, personalized healthy meals and family-style dinners that are delivered right to your front door. Pretty cool, right?! I was happy to get the inside ‘scoop’ from Sunfare’s CEO, John Stewart, on why a service like this can help someone achieve their nutrition goals. Take a look.

Check Your Heart

Chances are, we all know someone affected by heart disease and stroke, because around 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. That’s an average of 1 death every 38 seconds. In fact, studies show that cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke) remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths per year, and that number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.

As tragic as that is, the good news is that although we can’t change things like family history or age, even small changes to our diets and lifestyle can improve heart health and lower our risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 80 percent. That’s huge!

So put your best fork forward this National Nutrition Month (and beyond) and consider integrating some of these tips into your diet. Your heart, and body, will thank you.

  • Include plant foods as sources of protein, including soybeans, pinto beans, lentils and nuts.
  • If you eat meat, select lean cuts of beef and pork, especially cuts with “loin” or “round” in their name.
  • Cut back on processed meats high in saturated fat, such as hot dogs, salami and bacon.
  • Bake, broil, roast, stew or stir-fry lean meats, fish or poultry.
  • Eat fish regularly. Try different ways of cooking such as baking, broiling, grilling and poaching to add variety.
  • Replace higher-fat cheeses with lower-fat options such as reduced-fat feta and part-skim mozzarella.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils and soft margarine instead of stick margarine or shortening.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles. Source: eatwell101.com

Fantastic Flavors

I love finding healthy recipes that are flavorful and won’t have me missing those greasy burger or fries. One of my favorites is cilantro lime shrimp with zucchini noodles. It’s easy, healthy and packed with flavor. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to give it a try:

  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 + 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional – but always a must for me)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of 1 1/2 lime
  • 3 medium zucchini, spiralized, or cut into noodles
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon cilantro, honey, lime juice and lime zest. Add uncooked shrimp and toss to mix well. Marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the drained shrimp, cook for 2 minutes, flip, and add the marinade. Cook for 1 more minute and set the shrimp aside.

3. In the same skillet add vegetable broth to deglaze and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and adjust seasoning. Toss everything and serve immediately topped with additional cilantro, enjoy!

Making it a family decision to eat healthier allows everyone to stay accountable, and helps us be more mindful of what we’re choosing to eat. Committing to some sort of healthy family pledge is a great way to create a manageable plan to incorporate additional servings of fruits and veggies daily, and lean protein weekly.

Happy Nutrition Month – and stay healthy, my friends!

Erica Cardenas (@ericacardenas1)