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Do you know how to ‘bite into a healthy lifestyle?’

March is National Nutrition Month, and that’s a great time to take steps to develop a healthy eating plan as we move toward spring.

Ask yourself these questions and answer “yes,” “no” or “I’m trying.” Track your answers for the scoring at the end.

Do you make half your plate veggies and fruits?

Choose red, orange and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Do you include lean proteins in your menus?

Choose protein foods such as lean beef and pork, chicken, seafood, turkey, beans, lentils or tofu.

Do you make half of your grains choices whole grains?

Look for the words, “100 percent whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, such as fiber, than refined grains.

Do you include dairy or other calcium-rich foods?

Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. Low-fat and fat-free milk provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but they contain less fat and fewer calories.

Do you take your time when you dine?

Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures and pay attention to how you feel so you can stop before eating more than your body needs.

Do you try new foods?

Pick out new foods you’ve never tried, such as mangos, lentils or kale. You may find a new favorite. Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.

Scoring: Give yourself 2 points for each “yes” answer, 1 point for each “I’m trying” answer and no points for the “no” answers.

• 10 or more points: Good Job! Check out the resources listed below for more recipes and tips.

• 5 to 9 points: You are making progress toward a healthy diet. Keep trying!

• 4 or fewer points: Check out the items you marked “no” or “I’m trying” and consider setting some goals. Make small changes toward better health.

For more information and recipes, visit or

Question: My preschool and elementary-age children love fruit, but I have a hard time getting them to eat their vegetables. Do you have any tips?

Be sure you eat together as often as possible, and let your children see you enjoy vegetables of all kinds and colors. Share the adventure of trying new vegetables together.

Invite your children to help you fix the vegetables. Teach them how to tear lettuce or add veggie toppings to pizza. Be sure to cut the vegetables in small pieces so they are easy to eat and not a choking hazard.

Your children learn by watching you. They get curious when they see you eating vegetables. Before you know it, they will want to taste what you are having. Help them increase the types of fruits and vegetables they like by setting a good example.

Excerpted from For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Family Nutrition Program education assistant, North Dakota State University Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Ave. SE, Jamestown. You can reach me at 252-9030 or