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National Nutrition Month: What are your eating habits?

Published: March 22, 2019

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If you are one of the countless Americans who made a new year’s resolution to eat healthier in 2019, you might be needing some motivation by now. Worry not, National Nutrition Month is here to offer up some great tips and encourage you to keep your resolve. National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign held every March and sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to promote healthy food options and eating habits, as well as  physical activity.  One of the hardest challenges when making better food choices may be limiting unhealthy food cravings. To help with food cravings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a rather simple approach to evaluate your eating habits:

Reflect: Keep track of your eating habits (both good and bad) for a few days. Think about how you felt before and after your meals and snacks. What situations cause eating when you are not hungry or any other eating habits? Some common examples may include:

  • Driving past your favorite fast food drive-thru on the way home after a long day
  • Being overwhelmed with stress
  • Seeing your favorite comfort food on the kitchen counter on the way to the couch
  • Boredom or loneliness
  • Rewarding yourself after finishing an important assignment
  • Buying a quick bite because you did not have enough time in the morning to pack a lunch
  • Feeling exhausted and planning to eat something to maybe wake you up 

Here is an example food journal you can use to evaluate your eating habits: 

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Reinforce:
Keep yourself motivated to make smart food choices! Ask for support if you are struggling with staying consistent. You can even include ways to motivate yourself by planning non-food related rewards for reaching your goals.


Replace:
If you notice a pattern of unhealthy habits, then plan ways to replace them with healthier ones. For instance, if stress or overwhelming emotions trigger your desire to overeat when you are full, then think of other things you can do such as a quick call to a friend. When tackling food cravings, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests scheduling your snacks and stashing nutritious ones in accessible places at your desk or in your bag.

Being busy in your day-to-day life can make it hard to keep up with the healthy changes you decide to make, and it will take time for these new behaviors to become habits. You can find more information and resources about National Nutrition Month by visiting Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. You can also find our fun family challenge online to make healthy changes together! Reap the rewards of making healthier choices and share them with the people around you!

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Written by: 


Kyler Moore, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Intern

Kyler is an undergraduate at the University of Texas studying biochemistry. She is pursuing a certificate in Social Inequality, Health, and Policy that sparked her interest in health disparities. She plans to apply to medical school in the future, but in her free time you will most likely find her taking dance lessons or spending time with her family.


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