We all know, whether we want to admit it, the importance of eating healthy and the consequences we may face due to the decisions we make when it comes to eating.

We all know, whether we want to admit it, the importance of eating healthy and the consequences we may face due to the decisions we make when it comes to eating.

We know the benefits that come from eating healthy either to lose weight, to gain nutrients, or to just have better overall health by what food we put in our mouth. Although it's sometimes easier said than done, especially by those of us who love food, we must realize that eating healthy and developing good habits when it comes to food must become a lifestyle that we can carryout throughout our lives. Maybe you're someone whose been considering changing some of those poor eating habits, well there's no better time than now to begin that change.

March is National Nutrition Month. This annual campaign was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Its focus is to inform people of the importance of making healthy choices when it comes to food, as well as "developing sound eating and physical activity habits."

This year's theme for National Nutrition Month is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." This year's theme emphasizes the advantages of developing a healthful eating plan that incorporates individual food choices and preferences.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have some great tips on eating healthy to help you work toward changing those eating habits to ones that will benefit you. Some of those tips include; to "make half your plate fruits and vegetables," encouraging people to eat a variety of fruits and veggies and to select ones that are "reduced sodium," or "no-salt added" when choosing canned veggies. Another tip is to "make at least half your grains whole," encouraging people to choose 100 percent whole grain breads, pasta, rice, etc. They also recommend, "varying your protein choices," starting to "eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs." There are many more helpful tips to eat right, and I encourage you to visit their website to learn more www.eatright.org. Other helpful websites for healthy eating tips are www.kidseatright.org and www.choosemyplate.gov.
As I mentioned, I believe it's extremely important to start now, like right now, today, with your change in eating habits. It's never too late to make changes and get healthy, to make a lifestyle change that will develop a new habit of eating healthy not only for yourself, but for your children as well. I believe when children grow up with healthy eating options when it comes to food, it helps instill in them the importance of making wise food choices, how important it is for your body to get these nutritional foods, to actually enjoy eating fruits and vegetables, and hopefully this is something they sustain throughout their lives.

Not only is it important to eat healthy, but also to participate in daily physical activity and exercise. When you combine the two and have a good balance in your life, you're not only doing what's recommended, but also you're working toward just bettering yourself and your body as a whole.

So, with it being National Nutrition Month, March is designated to remind us the importance of eating healthy and making healthy choices, I encourage you to "liven" up your plate. Add some color by adding fruits and veggies, choose water instead of pop or tea, and see if it doesn't make you feel better, possibly have more energy, and begin to develop those good habits to better your health.

Sarah Sonis is program director for the Freeman Southwest Family YMCA.