Celebrate National Nutrition Month With Chef Kathy Fang

National Nutrition Month

I love having a full month devoted to bringing awareness on the topic of nutrition. It always amazes me how many people don’t actually pay attention to their diet. The majority of people are not mindful eaters. We tend to eat what we desire or crave and when we decide we want to get fit and “diet” people think cutting out fats and carbs is the way to go. They go on extreme diets that are not attainable with very little regard to nutrition. We make assumptions on what we think is healthy eating without really doing any research or planning. In actuality, to eat healthy, you really do have to be mindful everyday of what you are putting in your body. I like to say it has building blocks. You have to think about what you are building your body with every day, starting from your first meal in the morning.

In the mornings I like to begin with some kind of grain, preferably whole grains to give me energy and a strong foundation for the rest of the day. Whole wheat toast, crackers, oats, are all great options and I like to add healthy fats and protein like avocados, smoked salmon or eggs.  I then add some sort of veggies on top of the grains and protein to jump start the fiber and vitamins for the day. My breakfast should help make me feel satisfied by covering all the bases — whole grains, protein, veggies, and healthy fats.

National Nutrition Month

If you start with a great healthy breakfast, it usually leads you on the right path to lunch. By the time lunch hits, you will want to focus on the same direction you went with during breakfast. For lunch I like to up the quantity of food. Legumes, proteins, whole grains, veggies and fruits are great to have for lunch. I’ll get things like a burger but wrap it up in lettuce for iron or ask for a burger patty on raw spinach. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, so soups that include beans or dishes that include beans are not only tasty but also nutritious. Any chance of adding veggies into your meals is always a must, be it a salad or vegetable side. Finally, have some fruit for dessert. Finishing a meal with a nutritious piece of fruit not only ups your vitamins and fiber but also helps signal your brain that the meal has come to an end. You are less likely to crave a guilty dessert like cookies or cakes or even go back for seconds if you end with something sweet. Even noshing on a small piece of dark chocolate with low sugar is a great to have. Dark chocolate covered nuts like almonds are also a great small sweet treat to end lunch that adds some nutrition to your body while satiating a desire for something sweet.

National Nutrition Month

I’m also a fan of snacks but only snacks that are adding to your “foundation.” I keep track of my nutrients for the day, so if I feel like I’m lacking calcium for the day, I’ll snack on a few low fat mozzarella sticks or eat a non-fat greek yogurt. If I’m missing iron, I make sure I eat something with iron for dinner, small piece of steak, or pack a bag of edamame for snacking, etc. Keeping track of my nutrients help make food decisions much easier. You know what you need to eat to fulfill a complete day.

By the time dinner rolls around you should be 80 percent complete with your nutrition “building blocks” and you should have covered the majority of nutrients you set to eat that day. For dinner, I usually choose lean protein like fish or seafood, some more veggies and legumes and end the evening with a healthy seasonal piece of fruit. Choose fruits that are in season, they not only taste better, but they also provide excitement and variety. Each season we can expect to have different fruits.

National Nutrition Month

Now how do we take advantage of National Nutrition Month? For those who do not pay careful attention to their diet, National Nutrition Month should be treated as a one month challenge. Challenge yourself to stick to a Nutritional Eating Plan by doing meal prep with set guidelines. Track your macro nutrients with apps like Myfitness Pal and see how well you do during the month. You will be surprised by how easy it is to count nutrients once you have a plan. If you can stick to it, it will feel natural and you won’t feel like you are on a strict diet, but it will rather become a way of life.

National Nutrition Month

You can try out some of my sample nutritious meals:

  1. Tomato egg scramble with boiled asparagus
  2. Whole Grain and Seed Cracker topped with low fat cream cheese, tomato cucumber salad tossed with olive oil
  3. Ezekial bread topped with avocado and tomato
  4. Kale salad with chia seeds, apple, avocado, pistachio and ginger
  5. Pan-seared Salmon with burrata cheese, mixed greens and tomato

Disclaimer

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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