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Tips for Cooking Healthier at Home During National Nutrition Month®!

National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses on making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

There are many ways to make small changes toward a healthier eating style. Simple swaps can make dishes healthier without sacrificing flavor:

  • Use heart-healthy canola, olive or peanut oil instead of solid fats.
  • Use sharp, reduced-fat cheese and low-fat milk in your macaroni and cheese.
  • Sweeten your desserts with fruit puree or apple sauce instead of sugar.
  • Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour in muffins.
  • Opt for brown rice instead of white rice in your red beans and rice or jambalaya.
  • Cut the fat in potato salad by substituting half of the mayonnaise with plain non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Liven up your family meals by trying new spices.
  • Use smoked paprika or a dash of smoked salt to add the smoked flavor that you would normally get from ham, bacon or salt pork.
  • Consider using salt-free herb blends to lower the salt in your foods.
  • Experiment with different flavors by adding apple cider or rice vinegar to your greens.
  • Marinate your chicken in rosemary and lemon juice before grilling.
  • Add a little brown sugar and vanilla to make a lower-calorie version of candied yams.

Follow these Healthy Plate guidelines:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Include protein, such as lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans, and whole grains on the other half of your plate.
  • With each meal, add calcium-rich foods such as fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese or calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages.

And remember, healthy eating styles can be adapted to fit the foods of all cultures.

Find out more about ethnic foods for a healthy plate at