By MSU Extension OSCEOLA COUNTY \u2014 With March being National Nutrition Month, MSU Extension wants to help local residents begin or keep a healthy lifestyle through nutrition. Every week through the month, the Herald Review\u00a0will publish a selection of tips recommended by MSU Extension health educators and nutritionists. Foods aren't good or bad. A healthy eating style is like a puzzle with\u00a0many parts. Each part\u00a0\u2014\u00a0or food\u00a0\u2014\u00a0is different.\u00a0Some foods may have more fat, sugar or salt,\u00a0while others may have more vitamins or fiber.\u00a0There is a place for all these foods. What\u00a0makes a diet good or bad is how foods fit\u00a0together. Balancing your choices is important. Fit in a higher-fat food, like pepperoni pizza, at\u00a0dinner by choosing lower-fat foods at other\u00a0meals. And don't forget about moderation. If\u00a0two pieces of pizza fill you up, you don't need\u00a0a third. Make healthy eating and physical activities\u00a0fun! Take advantage of physical activities you and\u00a0your friends enjoy doing together and eat the\u00a0foods you like. Be adventurous\u00a0\u2014\u00a0try new sports, games and other activities as well as\u00a0new foods. You'll grow stronger, play longer\u00a0and look and feel better! Set realistic goals\u00a0\u2014\u00a0don't try changing too much at once. Enact Family Meal Time Research shows that family meals promote\u00a0healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family at least\u00a0a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime.\u00a0Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic\u00a0devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids\u00a0involved in meal planning and cooking and use\u00a0this time to teach them about good nutrition. Banish Brown Bag Boredom Whether it\u2019s a brown bag lunch for work or\u00a0school, make it a healthy lunch packed with\u00a0nutrition. Prevent brown bag boredom with\u00a0easy-to-fix, healthy lunch ideas. Try whole-wheat couscous with chick peas, whole-wheat\u00a0tortilla filled with chicken, mushrooms, onions\u00a0and tomatoes, a baked potato topped with\u00a0broccoli, low-fat cheese and salsa, or spinach\u00a0salad with sliced pear, red onion and low-fat\u00a0feta cheese. Follow Food Safety Guidelines The Centers for Disease Control and\u00a0Prevention estimates that roughly one in six\u00a0Americans gets sick from food-borne disease\u00a0each year. Reduce your chances of getting sick\u00a0by practicing proper hand washing. Separate\u00a0raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like bread and vegetables. Use a\u00a0food thermometer to make sure food is\u00a0properly cooked. Refrigerate food quickly at a\u00a0proper temperature to slow bacteria growth. Shop Savvy Looking for ways to keep food costs down?\u00a0Make a menu for the week, two weeks or even a\u00a0month, and then make your shopping list\u00a0based on what you need to complete your\u00a0meal. You can create your menu around store\u00a0sales, available coupons and of course what\u00a0you have at home. Think balance, make sure\u00a0to include plenty of fruits, vegetables and\u00a0whole grains as part of your menu so that you have the ingredients and aren\u2019t scrambling at the last minute, which may make for poor food choices. Less Processed, Less Salt We get most of our sodium intake from\u00a0processed foods, not from adding it from the\u00a0salt shaker. What does this mean? Eat less\u00a0bologna, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, deli meats,\u00a0canned soups and sauces, salted snacks and\u00a0prepared foods, etc. \u2026 and more fresh meat like\u00a0salmon, pork loin, non-processed chicken,\u00a0fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, and\u00a0unsalted snacks like whole grain crackers,\u00a0pretzels and dry cereal. It\u2019s important also to\u00a0limit salt from the shaker, but that is only a\u00a0small amount of where we usually get it from\u00a0each day.