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Johnston: Good nutrition doesn’t have to be overwhelming

Good nutrition doesn’t have to be restrictive or overwhelming.

Even the smallest steps can have a huge impact toward your goal of better health.

March has been designated as National Nutrition Month, which is sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It is a time to focus our attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month — Eat Right, Bite by Bite — provides a simple reminder you can build and live a healthier lifestyle one bite (or baby step) at a time.

Before making changes, take some time to become aware of your current habits. Try taking pictures or keeping a journal to track everything you eat and drink for one week. What did you drink throughout the week? Do you cook at home or eat from restaurants? How many fruits and vegetables do you eat each day? Just get a baseline.

Then, pick one small change. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, set one realistic, specific goal.

Pick something based on your current habits, or try one of these small bites: replace at least one soda with water each day, cook one more meal at home each week or include a fruit or vegetable at each meal and snack.

Make sure your family and friends are aware of what your goals are, as that will oftentimes increase your chances of success. It may also be helpful to tell them specifically what they can do to support you in your efforts.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Small, consistent changes add up to big effects over time. Once a new behavior feels like a habit, take another small bite, and celebrate those small victories.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving some more info and tips about how to move toward healthier eating habits and choices. 

Contact the Extension Office at 744-4682 for more information and tip sheets on healthy eating and nutrition.

You can also check out our EFNEP Program Assistant Sandy Kennedy’s four-class healthy choices series at Clark County Community Services which begin Thursday at 11 a.m.

Shonda Johnston is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 859-744-4682 or by email at shonda.johnston@uky.edu.