The 2017 National Nutrition Month theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” You may have heard put your best foot forward, but what does put your best fork forward mean?

One bite at a time, one forkful at a time, one snack/meal at a time, one step at a time. All these small changes add up to forward progress toward a healthier lifestyle.

How much versus what we eat. Is one more important that the other? Not necessarily; both are equally important. You want the majority of your calories to be nutrient dense, meaning rich in nutrients for the number of calories involved.

For example, 500 calories from candy (low nutrient density) is quite different than 500 calories from blueberries (high nutrient density). For a nutrient dense soup, check out the turkey-white bean chili recipe at the end of this article.

Snack smarter.

Perhaps it’s your sweet tooth that’s the hardest to satisfy while still making an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. For the sweet and salty combination, try mixing dark chocolate chips into a homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds and popcorn. Purchase chocolate-covered berries and dried fruit; then portion into single-serving bags so you are ready to curb those sweet cravings and still stay on track.

Ask the experts. Registered dietitians are the real nutrition experts. From store tours to cooking classes to individual consultations to weight management programs, registered dietitians offer many different services to make your life easier, healthier and happier. Now is the perfect time to take back your health by changing your lifestyle.

If not now, when? Put your best foot and fork forward in celebration of National Nutrition Month.

Turkey-White Bean Chili

Serves 4

All you need:

• Hy-Vee nonstick olive oil cooking spray

• 1 pound 99 percent-lean ground turkey breast

• 1 cup chopped onion

• 1 (1.25-ounce) packet less-sodium taco seasoning mix

• 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

• 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

• 2 cups less-sodium chicken broth

• 1 (15.8-ounce) can reduced sodium great northern beans

• 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies

• 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Desired toppings: plain Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, avocado slices or

reduced-fat finely shredded Mexican cheese blend

All you do:

1. Spray a stock pot with nonstick cooking spray. Place turkey, onion and seasoning mix in stock pot. Cook over medium heat until turkey is brown and onion is tender.

2. Stir in bell pepper, broth, beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

Dietitian’s Tip: Top this chili with a few slices of the dietitian’s pick of the month – avocado!

Nutrition facts per serving: 330 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 70mg cholesterol, 1,490mg sodium, 41g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 12g sugar, 40g protein. Daily values: 40 percent vitamin A, 90 percent vitamin C, 10 percent calcium, 20 percent iron. Source: Hy-Vee Balance 

– Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com