March is National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month® is celebrated every year during March to dedicate ourselves to healthy eating habits. The goal of the month is to educate everyone about nutritious foods and how to make healthy choices. These skills can be useful while making basic food choices at home and while out in the community.
The History of National Nutrition Month
"National Nutrition Week" was created in 1973 by members of the American Dietetic Association (now the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietitians) to deliver nutrition education messages and promote the profession of dietetics to the public. As a result of increasing public interest in nutrition, a month-long celebration of nutritional awareness was established in 1980. By learning more about the history and purpose of National Nutrition Month (link to: eatright.org) you can help the Academy achieve its mission of a world where all people thrive by making healthy food and nutrition choices.
Celebrate a World of Flavors
In 2022, the Academy is choosing to Celebrate a World of Flavors with their National Nutrition Month festivities. This theme encourages everyone to embrace the diversity of food among cultures. Through new and unique food choices, cuisines from around the world promote inclusivity. Plus, registered dietitian nutritionists, or RDNs, are challenged to showcase their expertise with innovative recipes and ways to incorporate foods from different countries. Each week is dedicated to a health-related topic.
Week 1: Eat A Variety of Nutritious Foods Focus on the first week is on incorporating a variety of healthy food into the diet. All food groups should be represented. This is the time to learn how to read nutrition labels and understand what makes up a healthy food item. This is the time to start thinking about ways to add favorite cultural foods into your meal plans.
Week 2: See an RDN Find a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in your unique needs. You may be able to seek a good referral from your doctor to ensure you find the right RDN who can help you. The benefit of seeking information from an RDN comes in the form of personalized nutrition help to meet and exceed your health goals.
Week 3: Plan Your Meals and Snacks Think ahead and create a plan to facilitate ways to stick to your healthy lifestyle. Pick recipes in advance and shop ahead to be ready for the week. Keep healthy snack and drink choices on hand as a go-to pick when you’re on the road, away from home, or busy.
Week 4: Create Tasty Meals at Home Hone your cooking and meal prep skills by staying home and creating nutritious meals with your family. It’s a great way to try new flavors while keeping calories in check. Plus, enjoying meals with family and friends is a chance to connect on a personal level with the people you love.
Week 5: Put It All Together Week five is an opportunity to show off what has been learned through the entire month. This is the chance to incorporate a variety of nutritious foods when making meals and planning for snacks. An RDN can help steer you in the right direction to meet all your goals.
Additional Ways to Stay Healthy
Move Your Body. Nutrition doesn't end at what you eat. Exercise should be an integral part of your life. Try a new activity such as aerobics, swimming or spinning to keep workouts fun and exciting.
Pack Your Lunch. Preparation around key mealtimes like lunch can allow you to be successful when trying to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. Remember to avoid greasy foods as much as possible by packing your own lunch. Don't eat too many portions either. Keep them small! Try something fun like making a bento box at home.
Shop the Perimeter. At a supermarket, the outside aisles house the most unprocessed food options like produce, meat, and dairy. When you go toward the inside of the store, you'll find the products with additives and unnecessary sugar.
Choose Food Over Supplements. Food is the best way to make sure our bodies are getting the nutrition needed to be healthy. While there are people who need help getting vitamins and minerals and may turn to supplements, most people are able to achieve the same benefits through a healthy and inclusive diet. Plus, some supplements may contain ingredients that could cause health problems.
Find Inspiration Online. Doing the same thing can get boring. The same is true with what you eat. Search for new recipes and ideas. There are many sites online where you can browse through thousands of different recipes and learn how to make them. Plus, groups on social media can provide inspiration. Follow your favorite food influencers who share interesting recipes and ideas to keep up to date on everything they share.
Meet with a Dietitian. They can craft a detailed meal plan to help you reach your lifestyle and health goals. Health insurance usually covers the cost of dietitians, and many cities offer free services.
How Can a Dietitian Help Me?
During National Nutrition Month, one whole day is dedicated to recognizing the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who take the science of nutrition and translate that information into practical solutions for healthy living. March 9 is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and allows everyone to celebrate the role of RDNs in helping people enjoy healthy lives. It increases the awareness of RDNs as indispensable providers of food and nutrition services.
When you see an RDN, you’ll be encouraged to set goals and prioritize needs related to your current and future health. Expect to answer a lot of questions related to your health history, favorite foods, and eating and exercise habits. You'll walk away with a personalized diet and specific nutrition advice. Follow-up visits will focus on holding you accountable and monitoring progress. Once you hit goals, an RDN will help you design a plan that is geared towards maintaining your health and nutrition plan.