National Nutrition Month: Focus on food, health and fitness

March is National Nutrition month and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Michigan State University Extension have some great recommendations for improving your health. Let’s think about the food you and your family can prepare along with fitness for balance, keeping in mind how these can support great health. Start with the basics and take a look at your family’s weeknight meals. For all of us to have a good day at school or work, good nutrition is key, so why not begin with a weeknight plan that can be creative and fun for all to make together.

Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

* Have a week’s worth of menus in mind. Ask the kids for five top ideas for at home dinner meals - even the youngest can offer thoughts and ideas. You can choose the ones that fit your week. Match your choice of entrees with side dishes, fresh fruit and vegetables.

* Keep the kitchen stocked with quick to fix foods. You can benefit from simple, easy to fix staples like rice, noodles or frozen vegetables. Try some new items such as a quick and easy polenta, or fresh salsa as a topping on baked potatoes with cheese. Keep it simple not complicated.

* Make more than one serving. If you’re making chicken, for example, cook double batches, then freeze some for later use. You could also roast larger portions of beef or pork roasts for stir-fry, stews and soups. If you’re a vegetarian, you can substitute meat with beans in foods like tacos.

* Get everyone involved from start to finish to lighten the load. Let the young ones set the table, older children can mix salad or wash vegetables. Remember to choose age appropriate tasks for the entire family. Don’t forget about the cleanup, it’s quicker with many “hands on deck.”

Working together with a plan brings great meals to the table and fosters responsibility in children.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

Michigan State University is an active organization within the LiveWell Manistee coalition. LiveWell Manistee was formed as a workgroup of the Manistee County Human Service Collaborative Body in 2007. Those interested in promoting a healthy lifestyle in Manistee County are encouraged to participate. LiveWell Manistee meets from 1-2:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at Centra Wellness on Glocheski Drive. For more information, visit or, or contact the coalition’s co-chair, Erin Barrett, at

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Content contained on this site is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute professional medical advice.