8 Ways to Eat Healthier and Wealthier During National Nutrition Month

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Do you know why trans fats will kill you? Or how to peel garlic in 10 seconds? Or what's in a Girl Scout cookie? There's never been a better time to find out than National Nutrition Month – and we've got all the answers right here.

You may not have even noticed that March is National Nutrition Month, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been celebrating for a week now.

First, on March 1, a new food labeling rule took effect. Packaged raw ground and chopped meat and poultry will now bear the same Nutrition Facts label you’ve seen on most foods for years.

So a package of raw ground turkey, for example, now looks like this…

USDA.gov

Then the USDA announced that March 8 – today – is now “What’s on My Plate?” Day. In other words, the federal government has turned today into an educational holiday devoted to MyPlate, the name of the federal government’s official dietary guidelines. President Obama started the MyPlate system in 2010, when it replaced the food pyramid systems…

ChooseMyPlate.gov

According to the USDA, “What’s on My Plate? Day” is supposed to stress “the importance of choosing nutritious foods for a healthy meal.” But reminding the public about government-designed dietary guidelines doesn’t necessarily accomplish that. The reality is that government systems like MyPlate are as influenced by scientists as they are by lobbyists. As the Harvard School of Public Health puts it:

The USDA’s pyramids and MyPlate had many builders. Some are obvious – USDA scientists, nutrition experts, staff members, and consultants. Others aren’t. Intense lobbying efforts from a variety of food industries also helped shape the pyramid and the plate.

So instead of celebrating National Nutrition Month the government’s way, I’ve compiled Money Talks News’ best nutrition-related posts from the past year.

Bon appetit…

  • 7 Tips to Eat Healthy When Eating Out – Restaurants generally aren’t required to provide the Nutrition Facts or ingredients for their menu items, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw your diet out the window when you eat out.
  • Soups and Salads: What You Don’t Know Is Costing and Killing You – A restaurant insider explains why soups and salads can actually be some of the least healthy restaurant menu options if you don’t choose wisely.
  • Trans Fat: When Cheap Means Costly – If you still don’t understand what trans fats are or why they’re deadly, this post will explain the most unhealthy fat of all in plain English.
  • 5 Ways to Save Some Bread on Vegan Food – You don’t have to be a vegan to get something out of this post. Anyone who wants to eat healthier at home can use these tips to save on nutritious staples at the grocery store.
  • The Cheapest and Tastiest Garlic: Fresh or Ready-Made? – If you’re cooking at home, you’re probably using garlic. The fresh kind is not only tastiest but is often cheapest, according to Consumer Reports. This post also includes great tips for chopping garlic, peeling a head in 10 seconds, and even growing your own garlic.
  • Are Girl Scout Cookies Bad for You? – If Girl Scout cookie sales are going on in your area (and this post will also tell you how to find out if they are), you may or may not want to read this before you buy any.
  • Getting the Best Value for Your Fast Food Fix – If you still refuse to give up McDonald’s, even after reading about trans fats, at least get your money’s worth by following these tips.
  • Food deals – The only thing better than eating healthy is eating healthy and cheaply, so check the “Food” section of our Deals page before you next go out to eat or hit the grocery store.

Karla Bowsher runs our Deals page and covers consumer, retail, and health issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].

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