National Nutrition Month – more than just food

Every March is Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle. How did you celebrate Nutrition Month this year?

nutrition month

As Nutrition Month comes to a close (and spring begins!), I’m looking back on my month- not only nutritionally, but also mentally and physically. With the theme of Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle, nutrition/food is definitely the first piece of a healthy lifestyle that comes to mind- it is Nutrition Month after all! But what else does a healthy lifestyle mean to you? What about all of the other pieces: exercise, stress management, sleep hygiene, work-life balance, social well-being… and more!

Over-emphasizing any single area while ignoring the others is not uncommon, but can leave you feeling unbalanced and unsuccessful. Small changes in our eating patterns and how we view our food can make a big difference nutritionally, but what else can you try to improve your overall wellness? Think back to this past month- what went well? What could you improve on? What have you learned about yourself?

Nutrition

nutrition - overnight oats easy breakfastThis month I discovered overnight oats! They are a super easy way to eat a nutritious breakfast without taking up too much time. I use quick cook steel cut oats and mix one part oats with 2 or 3 parts soy milk. And that’s it! Put it in the fridge overnight (get it? 🙂 ) then in the morning, add a sliced (or mushed) banana, some nuts, maybe peanut butter, chia seeds, or coconut- whatever you like! I still love acai bowls but overnight oats are about 1000x easier, and contain more whole grains. 😉

Fitness

rock climbing in LeavenworthWith the official start of Spring and the surprising warm weather to match, I got in some of the first outdoor climbing of the season this month! Other than bouldering, I stayed consistent by scheduling yoga, barre, and kettlebell classes ahead of time. By planning classes into your normal schedule, you already have the time blocked off to exercise, so it may help you get to the gym or studio more often. I also find it helpful to plan a full week at a time to balance the different types of classes and not sign up for two intense strength training classes in a row by accident.

Stress Management

stress management for a healthy lifestyleFor me, a regular yoga practice is a key part of managing my stress. This month, I also tried a few new yoga + meditation classes at a local studio. If there aren’t any meditation classes available near you, there are tons to choose from on YouTube!

Another technique I like is having my to-do list on paper (in my planner), so that I can cross off items as I go, rather than an electronic list which erases as you go. Crossing things off a list is so satisfying- as is seeing how much you have accomplished so far!

Sleep Hygiene

reading books before bed for sleep hygieneAvoiding blue light from electronics before bed is one part of a good sleep hygiene routine that I am constantly working on! The most common recommendation is two to three hours before bed without any blue light from computer, tablet, or cell phone screens. Yikes. Even one hour before bed can he helpful though. I have ambitions of a beautiful library someday, so I still buy physical books, and they are perfect for winding down in the evening. Try reading a new book for pleasure, or a textbook to make you feel tired. 🙂 If you are looking for a book recommendation, I am currently enjoying reading “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell.

A Registered Dietitian can help you set realistic goals around each area of your overall wellness (and more!) and provide personalized sound nutrition advice and recommendations. There is no one-size-fits-all plan to follow, we all have different backgrounds, circumstances, goals, and barriers.

How will you continue to improve different areas of your well-being even after March and Nutrition Month end?

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