March: National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month is celebrated every March and focuses on spreading the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits. As we all begin to emerge from pandemic-related hibernation, where for many comfort was king, it's important to reevaluate our eating habits. For many Americans eating healthier means a greater expense at the grocery store but, preparation and shopping smart can lessen the burden. In honor of National Nutrition Month, keep the following money-saving tips in mind:

Make a weekly meal plan.
Before you go to the store, think about what meals and snacks you want for the week. Read recipes thoroughly so you can make an accurate list of everything you need, reducing the risk that you’ll have to run back to the store later in the week.

Create a list—and stick to it.
Make a detailed list of what you need to buy before you go to the store. When you get to the store, don’t buy anything besides what’s on the list.

Plan where you’re going to shop.
Many grocery stores run sales or offer coupons on various healthy foods. Check out the ads and plan your grocery list around what’s on sale or utilize quick pick up options to maximize your savings at multiple locations.

Need Help Concentrating? Nutrition to the Rescue!

The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve mental tasks, such as memory and concentration. Nutritionists recommend following a healthy dietary pattern full of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. It’s best to get protein from plant sources and fish. When possible, choose healthy fats—such as olive oil or canola oil— instead of saturated fats.

Your brain uses 20% of your body’s calories, which means it’s even more important to consider what you’re eating each day. You can help support overall brain health and boost your concentration by strategically including the following foods or drinks in your daily diet:

Fatty fish, including salmon, trout and sardines, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help build brain and nerve cells, and are essential for learning and memory. If you’re not a fan of fish, ask your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement.

Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that may delay brain aging and improve overall function and memory. Blueberries may even delay short-term memory loss, while being a great source of several important nutrients.

Nuts contain brain-boosting nutrients, healthy fats and antioxidants. Vitamin E can even help slow mental decline. Eating nuts—specifically walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts—on a regular basis can enhance your memory and recall.

Green tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, but enough caffeine to produce alertness without any jittery effects. Green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that increases brain wave production. Working together, the brain-boosting duo of caffeine and L-theanine is proven to increase mood, reaction time and memory.

Additionally, studies have shown that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Set yourself up for success and fuel up with a well-balanced breakfast of high-fiber whole grains, dairy and fruits.