National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is celebrated each year during the month of March. The purpose of the campaign is to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
The campaign is comprised of ten key messages which the Academy hopes will help it achieve its vision of “a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition”.
The 10 key messages include:
1. Discover the benefits of a healthy eating style. Healthy eating can reduce your risk of developing certain diseases or health conditions. Eating a healthy diet can help you feel more energetic and think more clearly.
2. Choose foods and drinks that are good for your health. Eat mostly whole foods and limit processed foods which often contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and sodium. Limit sugary drinks like soda, juices, and sports drink and drink water to quench your thirst.
3. Include a variety of healthy foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis. Include lean meats, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats in most of your meals.
4. Select healthier options when eating away from home. Look at the restaurant’s menu before your visit to check out the healthy options that they offer. Don’t be afraid to make special requests when ordering at restaurants to fit your healthy eating lifestyle.
5. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do. Use a small plate or bowl and only eat until you feel full.
6. Keep it simple. Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Using canned or frozen fruits and vegetables reduce prep time and are often just as nutritious as fresh produce. Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies to have on hand for a quick and healthy snack option.
7. Make food safety part of your everyday routine. Always wash your hands before prepping, serving, and eating foods. Cook meats to the proper internal temperature to help avoid food-borne illness.
8. Help to reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store. Make a weekly menu and shopping list before grocery shopping each week. Eat leftovers for lunch the next day or have a designated “Leftover Night” each week.
9. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week. The best kind of exercise is the one that you will do consistently and have fun doing. Walking more, like parking farther away at the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, is a great way to fit some physical activity into your day.
10. Consult the nutrition experts. Registered Dietitians can provide sound, easy-to-follow, personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences, and health-related needs. Visit www.eatright.org for more information.