National Nutrition Month: Put Your Best Fork Forward - Nemours Blog


National Nutrition Month: Put Your Best Fork Forward

National Nutrition Month: Put Your Best Fork Forward, by Michelle Reed, RD, CSP, LDN | Promise, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is Put Your Best Fork Forward, emphasizing that a healthy diet is the sum of many individual healthy choices. Revamping your family’s diet may sound daunting. But by focusing on small healthy choices you’ll be eating better with ease!

Focus on Fruits and Vegetables

Add fruit to your breakfast routine.

Top cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, or peanut butter toast with banana slices or berries. Whip up a quick smoothie with frozen fruit, skim milk, and a tablespoon of almond butter. In need of a quick breakfast? For quick mix-and-match breakfast options, stock the kitchen with on-the-go fruit options (like bananas, apples, and pears) and portable snacks (like peanut butter crackers, whole grain granola bars, and cheese sticks).

Make vegetables your go-to-snack.

Pair sliced raw vegetables with hummus, cheese, guacamole, or a Greek-yogurt-based ranch dressing.

Go meatless on Mondays.

By taking a break from meat, vegetables can take center stage on the dinner plate. Flavorful vegetarian options include homemade black bean burgers, stuffed peppers, and grilled vegetable fajitas.

Rethink Your Drink

Swap out fruit juice for fresh fruit.

You’ll enjoy the sweet taste with added fiber and nutrients that are lost when fruit is processed into juice.

Replace sugary drinks with flavored water.

The average lemonade, iced tea, or fruit punch has 25 grams of sugar in just one cup — that equals nine packets of sugar! Avoid the sugar overload by trying flavored water or seltzers. You can purchase zero calorie flavored water or make your own at home by filling a pitcher with water, sliced lemon and cucumber, and mint leaves. The result will be flavorful and refreshing, without the sugar crash afterward.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

Include kids in meal prep.

Studies show that children who participate in food preparation are more likely to try new foods and make healthier food choices. Young kids can be in charge of simple tasks like washing fruits and vegetables, and stirring together ingredients. Older children can help with measuring and chopping.

Try a new healthy recipe once a week.

Rotate which family member is responsible for picking the new recipe each week. Collect the recipes, and by the end of the year make a cookbook with a collection of your recipes, along with pictures of the prepared meals and photos of the family having fun in the kitchen together.

Make your own frozen meals.

Next time the family’s stuck inside on a rainy day, prep a few meals together that can be frozen and used in the future when you’re short on time. Some meals that freeze well include whole grain pancakes or waffles, soups, stews, chili, turkey burgers, and enchiladas.

Learn More for Nutrition Month

Get more great nutrition tips from Nemours’

Michelle Reed, RD, CSP, LDN

Michelle Reed is a nutritionist at Nemours Children's Hospital in Wilmington, Del. She specializes in cystic fibrosis.