Nutritionists will tell you a simple truth: the foods you choose can make a difference in your life. It may sound simple, but for National Nutrition Month, learning about the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits is the main focus.
This year’s theme for March’s commemorative month is “Go Further with Food.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is promoting the message that preparing your foods to go further — by planning meals and snacks in advance — can help reduce food loss and waste. Learning to manage food resources at home helps save nutrients and money.
"While millions of Americans worry about how to feed their families, the amount of safe food wasted in the United States is on the rise," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Cordialis Msora-Kasago. "By making small changes to the way we think about eating, we can help reduce food waste."
The Academy communicates healthful eating messages that emphasize balancing food and beverages within an individual's energy needs, rather than focusing on any one specific food or meal. It is the Academy's position that improving overall well-being requires a lifelong commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors, emphasizing lasting and enjoyable eating practices and regular physical activity.
Some of the messages being promoted throughout this month are:
- Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
- Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
- Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
- Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do. MyPlate is divided into four sections of approximately 30 percent grains, 40 percent vegetables, 10 percent fruits and 20 percent protein, accompanied by a smaller circle representing dairies, such as a glass of milk or a yogurt cup.
- Continue to use good food safety practices.
- Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
- Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.
National Nutrition Week began in 1973 and became a month-long observance in 1980 as the nation became more interested in nutrition. Interestingly, in 1973 when nutrition moved to national focus, some of the more popular foods were fondue, chili con carne, and newly created Egg McMuffins. A dozen eggs cost 45 cents, pork roast was 50 cents a pound and TV dinners were 36 cents.
Hopefully, you’ll “Go Further with Food” by making healthy, tasty choices for your meals.