FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NY -- March is National Nutrition Month, perfect time to get healthy and fit for the warmer months. The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA wants to help you on your path to wellness by offering the following healthy living tips from their in-house registered dietitian Donna Peart.

  • First, take stock of where you are right now. What changes do you need to make for a healthier lifestyle for yourself and for your family? What changes can you make right away? What changes are you ready to make?
  • Determine your goals. Is it to improve your diet? Or improve fitness?  Write up short-term and long-term goals.
  • Plan: in order to be successful, you will need to ready your environment. Get rid of the bad stuff (high sugar, high fat, processed foods) and bring in the good (fresh and frozen fruit, low fat dairy, whole grain breads and cereals, leafy greens).
  • Go to to get inspiration for meals.
  • Be active. Think about your current level of activity? Are you getting at least 150 minutes of activity per week? Trying to achieve 10,000 steps per day? Whatever you are doing, try to be active every day doing something you enjoy.  And better yet, find a partner or group to do it with!
  • Think about “eating from the earth.” Where did the food come from that you are eating? Is it from a box or a bag with many ingredients you don’t recognize? Aim for foods in their original form: fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • Don’t skip meals. In fact, try to eat every four hours to continue providing your body with energy. When you are hungry, good judgement is often overruled.
  • Strive for at least five fruits and vegetable servings per day. Try to have at least half your plate filled with fruits and veggies.
  • Boost the nutritional content of canned soups by adding frozen or fresh spinach or kale, or other favorite vegetables.
  • Instead of a side of chips or French fries, think about a side of sliced cucumbers, carrots, celery or salad.
  • Consider having a vegetarian meal once per week. Great options are vegetarian chili, tofu stir fry, whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and veggies such as eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Look at how your foods are packaged and where they are from. Buying locally decreases environmental impact, as well as decreases packaging.
  • Focus on decreasing salt/sodium: Adults with pre-hypertension and hypertension should reduce their intake to 1500 mg sodium per day. Check food labels, eat fewer processed foods and cook more often at home if possible.

For further information on healthy living initiatives to help you on the path to wellness, or to set up an appointment with the Y’s registered dietitian, contact Donna Peart at

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals, families and communities it serves through programs and services that build wholeness of spirit, mind and body. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization founded on Christian principles, serving people of all ages, races, faith, cultures and socio-economic conditions. For information on membership or programs, or to request a schedule of classes, please call the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA at (908) 889-8880 or visit Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is located at 1340 Martine Ave. in Scotch Plains.