National Nutrition Month - Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right
March is National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is spotlighting the importance of balancing healthy eating and physical activity to control weight and prevent chronic disease. For many Americans, making food choices for a healthy lifestyle isn't always easy, and finding the time to exercise can be a struggle. This year's theme, "enjoy the taste of eating right," focuses on how you can make delicious yet nutritious meals to enjoy at home, or what to eat less often when you're on-the-go.

Starting to live a healthier lifestyle can be as simple as looking at the 10 Tips to a great plate, offered by the Department of Agriculture's ChooseMyPlate.gov. These ideas will help you balance calories, choose foods to eat more often, and cut back on certain less-healthy foods. Begin by visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov to find out how many calories you need each day. On the site you will also find healthy recipes, snack ideas and other tips.

Physical activity is also an important component in becoming a new, healthier you. In combination with healthy eating, exercise can help prevent a range of chronic diseases, help control weight, build lean muscle, and decrease the risk of obesity. If you are a parent or caregiver, you should know that it is equally important to educate our youth about the benefits of eating right and exercise. According to LetsMove.gov, childhood obesity rates have tripled; nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to a healthy weight. The whole family can get moving with these helpful tips:
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk around the block after a meal.
  • Make a new house rule: no sitting still during television commercials.
  • Find time to spend together doing a fun activity: family park day, swim day or bike day.
Benefits.gov offers information on a variety of Federal and state programs to support families' nutritional needs. The School Lunch and Breakfast and Special Milk programs provide well-balanced meals to children at low or no-cost. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) promotes healthy eating and active lifestyle choices by helping eligible families purchase food and improve their diets. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides supplemental foods, nutrition education including breastfeeding promotion and support, referrals, and access to health and social services for low-income pregnant, lactating and postpartum women and children up to age five.

To find out if you may be eligible for these and other programs, click "Start Benefit Finder" on our homepage to use our simple and anonymous prescreening tool. You can also visit the Food/Nutrition category page on our site to browse over 270 related programs.