by Marcus Ribant, Northern Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainer at Coopersville Public Schools
March is National Nutrition Month® and this year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.” It turns out that one shape doesn’t fit all and in recent years the USDA has moved away from the food pyramid and introduced MyPlate. They recognize that each individual’s food choices are influenced by their preferences, lifestyle, health concerns and many other factors. Although every individual is different, the general rules of balancing calorie intake with physical activity and choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products over foods high in sodium, refined grains, added sugars, and saturated and trans fats apply to everyone.
A great way to manage the foods you eat and recognize where you may need to cut back or where you fall short, is to keep a daily food log. I have found MyPlate on Livestrong.com to be the easiest tool to track your food intake. To get started you’ll make a quick login profile and it will give you a target calorie intake for each day. Then you search what you ate that day, add it to your log, and it will automatically track calories, carbs, sodium, fiber and more. On this site you are also able to add in any physical activities you do for the day, which will have an affect on your overall calories. For even more information and great tips on healthy eating habits, you can also visit eatright.org.