How to stay focused during National Nutrition Month!

Guest post by: Laura Hoover, RDN

March is National Nutrition Month, a nationwide campaign designed to “focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”

As I read that goal, three words jump out at me:

FOCUS

INFORMED

HABITS

By now, we all know why nutrition and movement matters. (Check out Jodie’s book – Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens!) At the grand scale, it improves both the length and quality of life. But that always seems so vague and far-reaching. Yes, I’d like to live a better, longer life. In the moment, however, I’m just trying to make it to bedtime with as few toddler tantrums as possible.

Toddler tantrums may not be a part of your life, but if you’re a human, I’m sure your day is full of infinite distractions, whatever they may be. Establishing focused, informed habits helps us to make healthy choices, even when operating on auto-pilot.

What Matters to YOU?

FOCUS is about being clear on what matters most to you. It’s defining the goals and priorities that will have the most impact on your wellness or that will be most attainable to you (or your family). Usually it’s best to start with just one thing. (Click here for a family eating habits quiz.)  For me, this month I’m focusing on planning and preparing more plant-based meals and snacks in advance.

Be Informed

There’s no doubt about it, nutrition information on the web and in the media can be full of misinformation. Even the advice of credible health professionals can contradict. But once your goals are focused, it’s easier to find sources that can support you.

Habits

Establishing habits can be hard. Darn hard. Here are a few techniques that can help:

  1. Create a contract. My friend Megan created this inspiring family contract. I’ve also had good luck with StickK.
  2. Journal. Writing down your focused plan – and the necessary action steps to get there – can be a powerhouse of support. Depending on what habit you’re working on, there’s likely an app to support it, making it easier than ever to track your habit.
  3. Reflect and refresh. You will hit roadblocks. Rather than view them as failures, view them as a necessary part of the habit-forming process. Reflect on them, learn from them, revise your plan, and carry on!

What health goals are you working on this month? Leave a note in the comments to help inspire others!

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About Author

Jodie
Jodie

Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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