Be the MVP of Your Health: Make Healthy Choices During National Nutrition Month
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of Fitness.gov.
From my early morning workouts, to the final buzzer on game day, my body stays fueled by the nutritious foods I eat throughout the day. Making healthy choices is essential for me to function at the highest level, whether I’m on the road for a game or at home with my family. March is National Nutrition Month and is a great reminder for us all to incorporate healthy eating into our daily lives. Whether you are an NBA player, a student on the go, or busy parent rushing between work and home, you can eat healthy and still enjoy the foods you love.
Sometimes I feel like I am constantly on the go and it can be a challenge to make healthy decisions when I’m traveling from city to city or shooting hoops with my three year old son. Life can be hectic but I have found that it’s easier to make good food choices when you plan ahead and keep healthy options on hand. I keep healthy snacks in my bag and bottled water with me at all times.
Eating healthy gives me the strength and energy I need to get through each game and helps me reach my full potential. As a student athlete in college I had little time to prepare food, so I would snack on fruit, especially apples. This gave me a quick and much needed energy boost before and after practice. Growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina I learned to love southern food. When I lived in New Orleans, I found recipes like red beans and brown rice that offer a nutritious meal with rich flavor. Since moving to Los Angeles I’ve found that fresh fruit and vegetables are much easier to come by, and I try to incorporate them into every meal.
These days, I am team health captain for my family and teammates and encourage them to eat more balanced, healthy meals. My mother has told me that she feels better and I know she will stick to her new routine not only for herself, but for her grandchildren as well. This month, I challenge you to find your own balance that includes healthy foods and physical activity. While you’re at it, sign up and earn your Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+)! Also, invite your family and friends to join you; it’s always more fun to have a team of people for support along the way. Here are some healthy tips to get you started:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make half the grains you eat whole grains
- Choose fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt, or cheese
- Drink water instead of sugary beverages
- Choose lean sources of protein
- Choose foods with less sodium
- Eat seafood
- Pay attention to portion sizes
Get more tips to stay motivated throughout National Nutrition Month. Check out Chris Paul's "Nutrition Tips" video and follow the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition’s on Twitter (@FitnessGov)!
Also, be sure to read through our new list of "10 Healthy Eating Tips" to jumpstart your nutrition goals.
Chris Paul is Point Guard for the Los Angeles Clippers and Member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.