March is designated as National Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It’s a great time of the year to review your eating habits and learn something new about good nutrition. That’s where a registered dietitian can help!

It’s common knowledge that a healthy lifestyle decreases many risk factors and just overall makes you feel great. Unfortunately most people have trouble figuring out what to do without planning a complete diet makeover. During National Nutrition Month, here are some easy suggestions starting with the basics, so you can start building your nutritional health from the ground up:

• Vary your diet: Eat a variety of foods every day. Make sure you include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are the foods that should be eaten most often. For most people, this means more than doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat daily. Try adding a serving each day to one meal and increase the amount every few weeks.

• Plan your meals: Enjoy healthful eating at school, work and home. Think ahead about what you are going to eat and get it ready. Planning helps save both time and money at the store. Make a list and stick to it.

• Cook and prep: Learn skills to create tasty meals to share and enjoy. If you don’t know how to cook, look for a class in your community or get a basic cookbook. There are also lots of shows that give cooking instruction. Get your kids cooking so they grow up knowing how to put together a healthy meal.

• Visit a registered dietitian (RD or RDN): If you are having trouble making nutritious meals a registered dietitian can help you. Registered dietitians have the knowledge and expertise to give you sound nutrition advice.

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