It’s National Nutrition Month® — my favorite time of year to shout out nutrition tips! (OK, I admit it; I love sharing nutrition tips all year long.) But, I really love this year’s theme: “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

When it comes to eating, enjoyment is important; luckily, healthy food can taste fabulous. It’s important to understand that our eating habits are complex — they involve emotional, physiological and social factors. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme embraces the idea that you can combine taste and nutrition to create enjoyable meals that support health and wellness.

Oftentimes, folks think they have to avoid certain foods and eat what they don’t enjoy so they can “follow  a healthy diet.” Not so! What you do want to work on is balance: having what you want, but balancing it out with healthy foods. This may mean smaller portions of some foods, and larger portions of others. Consider these healthy swaps that won’t leave you feeling deprived:

INSTEAD OF…. HAVE….
1 ½ cups ice cream with 3 tablespoons chocolate sauce ½ cup ice cream with fresh raspberries and two teaspoons of chocolate sauce
10 ounce steak with extra large potato 5 ounce steak with ½ cup smashed potatoes, 1 cup sautéed zucchini
A large bagel with cream cheese ½ bagel or a mini bagel topped with ricotta or cream cheese, 1 cup of strawberries
Tuna fish salad on a croissant Tossed salad topped with ½ cup chunk tuna, 2 tablespoons salad dressing, 1 small roll or a slice of toast
2 cups of macaroni and cheese ½ cup macaroni and cheese with 5 ounces of baked fish, ½ cup vegetables

Be sure to add in that veggie side! Most foods that naturally provide fiber (e.g., fruits and vegetables) also provide antioxidants. A bonus: they help you get and stay full longer, which will help with weight control.

Ultimately, you can enjoy it all! It’s just a matter of making sure there is a balance, and to include enough protein and fiber in your meals too.

What are some of your healthy swaps?