Health With a Capital H

Make a Small Change for Your Health

March 28, 2014

By Courtney Carlson, Senior Bilingual Health Resource Specialist

Ready-to-eat vegetables

March is National Nutrition Month, an education campaign started by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that is now recognized annually as a national health observance. With the 2014 theme of “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” the campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. 

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Let’s Eat Out: Americans Weigh Taste, Convenience, and Nutrition,” revealed that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another. The study polled 700 New Jersey residents who were asked to rate the importance of taste when making a food choice on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high). Taste ranked first, with an average score of 4.5. Nutrition and convenience ranked second and third. 

It makes sense—the foods you enjoy are the ones you eat the most, right? The truth is, while it may be easier to buy fast food, eat calorie-laden foods from a restaurant, or grab an unhealthy snack, healthy options that also taste good are within your reach. 

Help at Your Fingertips

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to choosing tasty, healthy foods, you’re in luck: Nutrition and healthy living mobile applications abound. These apps can make tracking our diet more fun and help us build good habits! Some of the most popular apps used for weight management are reviewed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

From support groups, to food journaling, to picking a buddy for accountability, there are many ways to help us track our food intake, stay on top of our dietary habits, and find healthy recipes to keep the whole process interesting. One of IQ Solutions’ clients, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), provides a heart healthy recipe collection on its Deliciously Healthy Eating website. These recipes are crafted exclusively for NHLBI by a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef and a James Beard Foundation award-winning registered dietitian—they will win raves for your health and your taste buds. To make the recipes even easier for people to use, IQ Solutions helped NHLBI make recipe cards for health educators and health professionals to hand out.

We encourage everyone to celebrate National Nutrition Month by taking a step towards improving their own health. Here at IQ Solutions, we offer exercise classes, webinars on health and wellness, an extensive speaker series on all topics related to health and wellness, and onsite cooking demos. Currently, we are encouraging staff to make one of the healthy recipes from the NHLBI website and share them at our quarterly luncheons. We hope this inspires our staff to try out some new heart healthy options.

We challenge you to take smalls steps toward better nutrition and healthy eating. Set a nutrition goal for yourself, try out a new recipe, and share tips with colleagues, friends, family and us! Tell us in comments your plan for making a small change that will yield big results, whether that is giving up sugary soda, switching from regular potato chips to baked, or eating a banana instead of a muffin for breakfast.

Good health and nutrition often need a kick-start of encouragement. It just takes one person to influence others to make great decisions about their own health and wellness!