March is National Nutrition Month, create a plan to achieve a healthier lifestyle

Laura Vetter, Nutritionist

Get ready to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” and step into a healthier lifestyle as we celebrate National Nutrition Month during March.

This year’s Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics theme reminds us that each of us holds the tool to make healthy food choices for ourselves.

The following tips can help you take that important first step toward positive changes to benefit your health:

Be mindful. Take your time to enjoy every bite of food and every sip of water. Let your senses guide you to relax and “be in the moment” of eating. Smell the aromas, observe the colors, feel the textures, taste the flavors, listen to conversation. Take time to nourish yourself.

Eat from at least three food groups at every meal and snack. Eating a variety of foods provides us with a better balance of nutrients. Select a variety of colorful foods to increase vitamin and mineral intake.

Be physically active. Sit less and walk more. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Take a 10-minute walk six times a day to achieve this total amount of activity time!

Drink water. Hydrate yourself throughout the day. Our bodies still need water in the winter. Carry a refillable water bottle to help you drink a targeted eight cups of water a day.

Explore new flavors and spices. Find one new spice you would like to try in a recipe or purchase fresh herbs for a recipe instead of using dried herbs. Look through your spice rack and replace herbs and spices that you have not used for new ones in order to add flavorful excitement to meals and snacks.

Get some ZZZZZ’s. Getting a good night’s sleep is not only important for our body but also our mind. We make healthier food choices when our mind is clear, we are rested, and have energy to exercise.

Make a plan. If planning is new to you, pick one meal on one day to start with. Write down the menu from beginning to finish, including the food list, food preparation and recipe. This will keep you organized and on track to sit and enjoy your creation.

Small steps lead to climbing big mountains, so put your best foot and fork forward as you head into a healthy lifestyle.

Further information about leading a healthier lifestyle is available via numerous online sources including and

Laura Vetter, RDN, CDE, CSO, CSP, is an outpatient nutritionist at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick. You may contact her at For an appointment call 732-745-7930.