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It's National Nutrition Month!

Updated: May 29, 2020

March is a time to get back to nutrition basics. Perhaps you’ve fallen off the New Year’s wagon and are not sure how to get back on….here are some guidelines to help you better understand portion sizes and a few nutrition concepts to help you choose healthier options for yourself and your families.

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”

François de la Rochefoucauld

How Much Should I Be Eating of Each Food Group Anyway?!

We talk a lot about eating behaviors and adding in more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fats and processed foods. It’s true that having a diet that contains a variety of vegetables, grains, fruits, lean meats, low fat dairy, and healthy fats has been shown to decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure, help with higher HDL and lower LDL cholesterol levels and improve overall quality of life. Adding more of one food group and decreasing another can be a difficult change to master. Small changes over time are always the best way to slowly acclimate and integrate new food behaviors. Below are some visuals and measurements of how much of each food group is recommended. These are just guidelines to help you on your health journey.

Fruits: 4 servings per day (Fresh, frozen, canned and dried)

Examples Include:

1 medium whole fruit

½ cup sliced fruit

¼ cup 100% fruit juice

¼ cup dried fruit

Vegetables: 5 servings per day

Examples Include:

1 cup raw leafy greens

½ cup chopped vegetables

½ cup cooked beans or peas

¼ cup 100% vegetable juice

Grains: 6 servings per day - Make half your plate whole grains!

Examples Include:

1 slice of bread or small tortilla

1 cup of cereal

½ cup of cooked pasta, rice or hot cereal

Nuts, Seeds, Beans & Legumes: 5 serving per week

Examples Include:

1 tbsp of nut butter

½ oz of seeds

¼ cup of cooked beans or peas

Dairy: 3 serving per day - Low fat or fat free of course!

Examples Include:

1 cup of milk

1.5 oz of cheese

1 cup of yogurt (Flavored yogurts add A LOT of extra sugar. It’s more fun to add your own fresh fruit toppings anyway, perhaps even add that 1 tsp of raw honey for a more natural sweetness)

Poultry, Meat & Eggs: 8-9 serving per week:

Examples Include:

3 oz of cooked meat

1 egg or 2 egg whites

Fish & Seafood: 2-3 servings per week

Examples Include:

3 oz of cooked fish or other seafood

(Great choice include fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines!)

Fats & Oils: 3 serving per day

Examples Include:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (canola, corn, olive, soybean, safflower)

1 Tbsp soft margarine

1 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise

1 Tbsp light salad dressing

(Suggested Servings from Each Food Group. n.d.)

(Portion control guide. n.d.)

Key Nutrition Concepts:

  • Adequacy - Try to eat the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of each food group (if you don’t make the counts each day, do not worry, you’re human. Just try to make healthy choices for yourself and do the best you can)

  • Balance - It’s ok to cheat to every once in awhile but pace those highly processed foods and sweets to no more than 1 or 2 times a week (for best practice)

  • Caloric Energy - Deficient or excess caloric intake are both problematic, you want to stay within your energy means

  • Moderation - Portion control is always the key to stave off over eating (invest in a small food scale to get a better idea about size)

  • Nutrient Dense - Fresh and low processed foods are loaded with natural vitamins and minerals and antioxidants

  • Plan - Choose your menu in advance for the whole day or week (you may find it more convenient and less stressful to prepare meals in ahead of time and freeze them)

  • Variety - Eat the rainbow! Include as many bright colored fruits and vegetables into your diet as you can (Insel, P. M., Turner, R. E., & Ross, D. 2007)

  • And Remember….Health starts from the inside out!

Click HERE for the National Nutrition Month Toolkit from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

To discuss more detailed information regarding the topics within this blog, or to inquire about customized nutrition plans, please reach out to Cathleen Winter at

A Little About Me:

My name is Mary DeBlasio, and I live in Silver Spring, MD. I am currently a student studying Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of the District of Columbia. I am set to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in May of 2021. I am very interested in mindful eating, and foods that correlate with the seasons. My goal after graduation is to pursue a dietetic internship with a focus on clinical dietetics. I am interested in transplant, renal and gastrointestinal issues. All the information presented within this blog is backed by the credible sources cited below.


Insel, P. M., Turner, R. E., & Ross, D. (2007). Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

National Nutrition Month Toolkit. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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