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Celebrate National Nutrition Month in Worcester

Friday, March 01, 2013

 

Is everyone around you jumping on the nutrition bandwagon lately? Does the word “nutrition” conjure up images of fruits and leafy green vegetables and a person ravenous for chocolate or chips? Are you feeling guilty about that New Year’s Resolution to start eating better that you’ve ignored?

Well, today is the first day of a new month—the perfect reason to start something new—as well as the first day of National Nutrition Month. Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors this health education campaign, and they have hundreds of suggestions for everyone. Here are a few tips and tricks to begin leading a more nutritious lifestyle.

Quick Nutrition Tips

For those who are stuck at a desk from 9 to 5 or for students who are always on the run, one tip from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is to always have a healthy snack on hand. An apple and peanut butter or a granola bar can help give you energy to beat that afternoon slump as well as the willpower to resist stopping at a fast-food restaurant.

Families looking to improve their eating habits are encouraged to plan ahead. Having a list of each night’s dinner option written out before heading to the grocery store will save the stress of a missing ingredient and it will also curb the temptation to just order a pizza. Cooking elaborate meals on weeknights is exhausting, but heating up leftovers takes just seconds, so another idea is to make larger portions of more time-consuming dinners on the weekends and to eat the surplus on really busy weeknights.

Eating before grocery shopping is a great idea for everyone. Buying food on an empty stomach often leads to purchasing the bag of chips that you didn’t set out to buy and other foods that you know aren’t healthy.

Getting the right nutrition is often viewed as a daunting task, and there's no way of avoiding fruits and vegetables in the equation. Before you give up, though, remember that eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning all of your favorite foods and renouncing all restaurants.

For more nutrition advice and healthy lifestyle suggestions, check out the Academy’s website.

Eating Out in Worcester

How can you maintain a healthy lifestyle and still go to restaurants? One option is to choose restaurants that are WooFood certified.

Started by three University of Massachusetts Medical students, WooFood is an organization whose mission statement is “To continually develop and implement the most highly trusted, desired, and recognized certification for institutions where food choices are made that harnesses research from choice psychology and nutrition to create an environment that makes the healthful choice the easy choice."

WooFood certified eateries offer healthier meal options, so they are great choices for people looking to embrace a more nutritious lifestyle.

“As an organization, we have been excited and inspired by the drive of people in Worcester to not only seek out, but also demand healthful options,” says Matthew DeWolf, one of WooFood’s co-founders and directors.

The Flying Rhino, Le Mirage, WooBerry Yogurt, and Nancy Chang’s are among the restaurants already given the WooFood stamp of approval.

If your favorite restaurant is missing from the list, don’t worry, that might change soon.

“People should watch for tremendous growth from WooFood over the next year as we expand throughout Worcester,” says DeWolf.

To see a full list of all WooFood certified eateries and to learn more about the standards on which restaurants are reviewed, make sure to visit their website.

In the end, it's important to remember that eating nutritiously holds more than just the potential to lose weight: healthy foods fuel your body to give you energy and they will make you feel better. And don’t feel as if you need to plunge into healthy eating, either. Getting the right nutrition is a lifestyle choice and it’s a decision that can positively change the way you live, but it can take some time. Starting small and just substituting that lunchtime cookie for a yogurt or fruit is a great first step in the right direction. 

 

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