Spring has sprung and the grass has grown which is the perfect time to make a lifestyle change that marries a healthy combination of delicious food and fresh air. In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are excited to invite you to learn more about making smart food choices and “personalizing your plate” with specific foods that please every palette, age and lifestyle. Eating well combined with physical activity in the great outdoors thanks to warmer weather is the ideal combination for achieving your goals.

National Nutrition Month

My mission as your weight-loss physician is to tailor a healthy lifestyle plan for each patient. This personalized approach is in synergy with the “Personalize Your Plate” goals offered by Eat Right, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as they outlined for National Nutrition Month. The equation for a healthy lifestyle is simple. Consider these critical parts to a nutritious meal pan and increasing your cardio:

  • Select the Right Foods
  • Plan Ahead
  • Prep with Care
  • Get Outside 
Personalize Your Plate for National Nutrition Month

To make it easy for you to personalize your plate, I take into consideration a holistic approach that suits your individual body type, goals, backgrounds and tastes. Here are some smart tips for how to achieve a diverse menu of foods and recipes specific to your needs.

Tips to Personalize Your Plate:

  • Choose food you like from each food group.
  • Include a variety of foods to help you get all of your nutrients.
  • Get creative! Select foods with various colors and textures.
  • Consider portions by filling half your plate with yummy fruits and veggies.
  • Get your whole grains by experimenting with different types such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, bulgur, oatmeal and even popcorn!
  • Go lean! High protein foods like seafood, beans, eggs and poultry are great options.
  • Prepare with care. It makes sense to bake or grill your food versus frying it.
  • Don’t forget your dairy. Low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are good options for maintaining your vitamin dairy. 

So, let’s take these tips one step further by outlining a yummy daily meal plan that is simple and demonstrates what I mean by personalizing your plate.

A Healthy Breakfast with Whole Grains and Fruit


  • Scrambled eggs with vegetables and a side of fruit.
  • Oatmeal and low-fat yogurt with raw almonds and dried fruit.
  • Brown rice, kidney beans, salsa and a poached egg.


  • Turkey and low-fat cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with a side of baby carrots and low-fat ranch.
  • Lentil soup with a side of blueberries and yogurt.
  • Fish tacos with avocado, salsa and grilled pineapple.


  • Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli and a baked sweet potato.
  • Ravioli marinara and a side salad with pear and goat cheese.
  • Stir-fried bok choy with pork, brown rice and kumquat.


  • Raw almonds or cashews with dried apricots.
  • Eggplant hummus with cucumber and whole wheat pita bread.
  • Low-fat, sugar-free vanilla yogurt with raspberries.  
Snack Smart with Pistachios

Now that you have successfully personalized your plate with the right foods, prepped to perfection and planned in advance, let’s get outside! This can be fun for all ages and levels of activity. 

  • If you are a kid or simply embracing your inner child, try jump roping. Start with five, one-minute intervals and increase the time and repetition as suits your comfort level.
  • Take a walk at a faster pace. Start with a three-minute brisk walk and then slow it down. Try this five times and see how you feel. Your body will tell you when you can increase your intervals and speed.
  • Go uphill. This is a great way to tighten your gluts. Take long strides and deep breaths up a small hill or inline and then walk down slowly breathing in the fresh air and enjoying your surroundings. Repeat. Increase the number of uphill strides or go for a steeper hill as your body and breadth acclimates to this cardio care.
Go for a Brisk Walk

So, there you go! You are springing forward with a fresh and flavorful new approach to a creative daily meal plan and increasing your cardio one hop, stride and hill at a time. I feel good just writing about it. 

Join me as I take my own advice and follow my lead on my LifeStyleChanges Facebook and Instagram pages. I would love to see your progress too by tagging Lifestyle Changes, LLC on Facebook and @lifestylechangesbydrdarby and @drjaninedarby on Instagram. You can hashtag me as well with #drjaninedarby and #lifestylechanges.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, I invite you to partner with me, so you are certain to achieve your lifestyle changes in this fresh new season. Schedule a complimentary 15-minute virtual Discovery Session and we will discuss a realistic and clinically proven plan for weight loss and health success!   

Dr. Janine Darby
Dr. Janine Darby Celebrates Nutrition with her Family Every Day of the Year