Getting good nutrition isn’t complicated. There are tips and tricks on how to integrate fresh foods into your diet. And as part of celebrating National Nutrition Month in March, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan (HDNW) and the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance encourages residents to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to their favorite recipes as an easy way to improve nutrition.

  • People with healthy eating patterns are likely to live longer and are at lower risk for serious chronic health problems compared to individuals with unhealthy eating habits.
  • Poor nutrition can contribute to many debilitating diseases, including obesity, heart disease, and some cancers.
  • Less than one out of every 10 adults and children eat the daily recommended amount of vegetables, four to five a day.
  • Four out of 10 children and fewer than one out of 7 adults eat the daily recommended amount of fruits, four to five a day.

Fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet because they provide vitamins and minerals for our bodies. Low levels of vitamin/mineral intake can lead to mental impairment and central nervous system defects in infants.

“Eating healthy can easily be a way of life that involves eating what you like and making it fun,” says Judi Marlin, HDNW Registered Nutritionist. “One example is to create a board of lean meats, cheeses, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and let everyone eat family style rather than serve sandwiches and chips. We have plenty of ideas and recipes to share.”

More tips and tricks include:

  • Cut up vegetables to be small and add them to your favorite recipes,
  • Buy and eat frozen when fresh isn’t available,
  • Use coupons and sales to reduce the cost of fresh foods, and
  • Look for healthier options even when you’re on the go at convenience stores and gas stations, such as apples, boiled eggs, cheese, and nuts.​

Premium Nutrition for Baby

Breastfeeding can help protect against childhood illnesses, including ear and respiratory infections, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). HDNW has Breastfeeding Peer Counselors available to help you on this nutritional journey. Please call us locally at 800-432-4121 for breastfeeding information and to talk with a Peer Counselor.

For more healthy nutrition facts, watch Judi Marlin on 9&10 New’s lifestyle program, The Four, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, or visit eatright.org. ​