March is the Month to Make Changes and Keep Meals Healthy

Picture of prepared meal
Choosing nutritious food options for meals and snacks is an important part of overall health. UT Extension is celebrating the month of March with tips and ideas for healthy living. Photo by Klara Avsenik on Unsplash

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – March is National Nutrition Month
®, a time when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates the importance of making healthy food choices. Adopting a healthy diet is important for promoting health and preventing chronic conditions like heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

Kristen Johnson, an assistant professor of nutrition with University of Tennessee Extension, says that healthy diets are important for people of all ages. “Good nutrition can have a positive impact on our health beginning before we are born and lasting throughout the lifespan,” says the expert.

Healthy diets include a variety of foods from all food groups. Keep these tips in mind when planning and preparing healthy meals:

- Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Choose a variety of different fruits and vegetables of all colors and remember that canned, frozen, and fresh fruits and vegetables are all good choices.

- Make half of your grains whole grains. Whole grain foods include whole wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and popcorn.

- Choose a variety of healthy protein foods. Lean meats, eggs, seafood, beans, and nuts are all good choices.

- Choose low fat or fat free dairy products. Focus on adding 1% or skim milk, soymilk, and low fat or fat free yogurts to your meals.

Johnson suggests that adopting a healthy diet does not have to be complicated. “Focus on making small, sustainable changes and remember that these small changes add up over time for big results,” continues Johnson. Involving your family members, friends, and co-workers is a great way to help you achieve your goals. Not only can they help you remain on track with your goals, but they may also make beneficial changes themselves. Remember there is no better time than the present to begin making healthier food choices for you to benefit from the power of a healthy diet.

For additional help and programs specifically about healthy choices, contact the family and consumer sciences agent at your local county Extension office. You can also visit the UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences website at

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.​.



Kristen Johnson, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, 865-974-8747,