Variety, planning and fun can help you tackle better eating

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Eating right can seem like a real challenge. It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you want to slim down, manage your diabetes, lower your cholesterol or simply eat better there’s no better time to start than this month, which happens to be National Nutrition Month.

“Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” is this year’s theme, intended to encourage consumers to develop a healthful eating plan that incorporates individual food choices and preferences.

Here are a few ways to fulfill that theme, from the food and nutrition experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Personalize your eating style: The easiest way to get the nutrients your body needs is to eat healthy foods you enjoy. Finding good-for-you foods that please your palette makes eating healthfully special and exciting.

Eat for your lifestyle: Athletic, vegetarian/vegan, corporate and family lifestyles all have special nutritional needs, but eating right can be easy and tasty with attention to those foods that best help get you through the day.

Incorporate cultural and ethnic traditions: Foods from around the globe often incorporate an abundance of unique, flavorful and nourishing ingredients. Keep traditions alive and bring the world to your family’s table.

Keep health concerns in mind: A healthful eating plan can help prevent and treat a variety of health concerns. With modification and moderation, you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods while meeting your nutritional needs and health goals.

Make MyPlate your plate: Fill half of your plate with your favorite fruits and vegetables; keep protein portions lean and about three ounces; make at least half of your grain choices whole grains; and be sure to include low-fat or fat-free dairy.

Initiated in 1973 as a weeklong event, National Nutrition Week became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition.

To commemorate the dedication of registered dietitians as advocates for advancing the nutritional health of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of March has been designated Registered Dietitian Day.

As part of this public education campaign, the academy’s website includes a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition.

You can find the academy online at www.eatright.org.

Diane Benfield is a registered dietitian and owner of All About Nutrition. She can be reached at 509-200-2062 and is on Facebook at All About Nutrition Walla Walla.

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