By Micheline Hynes
Nutrition Services Manager, Tarrant Area Food Bank
We’ve all heard it said to “put your best foot forward.” A confident, intentional, decisive first step marks your path to success ahead. This month, Tarrant Area Food Bank joins the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in celebrating National Nutrition Month, with a theme of Put Your Best Fork Forward.
National Nutrition Month is all about helping people make informed food choices and practice eating and activity habits that will yield a happy and healthy life. It’s a theme we echo in our Nutrition Services work to provide training and resources to improve the health of individuals, families and communities.
Healthy habits give you energy, help you feel strong and physically fit, and prevent chronic diseases. It can seem really daunting for any of us to achieve at times. We all face challenges—whether it’s finding the time to cook or be active, struggling with a tight budget, or even just a lack of motivation to make a change. Below, you’ll find some ideas to give you a head start and a recipe for a homemade granola bar.
Keep in mind that really small shifts in food choices and activity do add up. Every forkful is a new chance to make a lasting change for your health. So, just pick one thing you’d like to work on, keep it simple, make it a part of your routine, then add another goal.
Ideas to Get You Started During National Nutrition Month
- Get active. Just 10 minutes, three times a day makes a difference. Gardening is a great way to stay active and grow your own fresh fruits and vegetables at the same time. You can join us for one of our upcoming workshops or volunteer in our Community Garden program.
- Eat a wider variety of foods. Forget the same old boring sandwich, drive-thru meal or frozen entree. There’s a world of flavors out there to be explored! Try those veggies you didn’t like when you were 5—you may feel differently about them now.
- Practice cooking more at home and get experimental in the kitchen. Make cooking fun by taking off the pressure to get dinner on the table right away. Have a healthy snack so you don’t have to rush through meal preparation. You can learn about eating healthy on a budget by participating in or volunteering for one of our Cooking Matters courses.
- Be aware of portion distortion, especially when eating out. While it’s not necessarily bad to eat more than one serving of something, it’s good to be familiar with true portion sizes. You might be surprised that less food can be just as satisfying.
- Need support? A registered dietitian can give you advice on healthy eating habits that could reduce health risks like overweight or high blood pressure. In some cases, their services are covered by insurance.
Jiffy Oatmeal Crunch
Try this easy-peasy, make-at-home granola bar. Not only is it fast and delicious, but you also don’t have to worry about the undesirable ingredients sometimes found in packaged bars. We adapted this recipe from the USDA’s “Creative Recipes for Less Familiar USDA Commodities” booklet.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups uncooked quick oats
- 1 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
2. In a large skillet, melt butter and brown sugar.
3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
4. Spread into pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool; cut into squares.
- Calories: 80
- Total Fat: 4 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 50 mg
- Carbohydrates: 13 g
- Dietary Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 1 g