March is about more than basketball brackets and Daylight Savings Time, it's also National Nutrition Month!
This year, National Nutrition Month celebrates its 50th anniversary with the theme "Fuel for the Future." Hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics each year, National Nutrition Week stresses the importance of a balanced diet and exercise and gives people an extra good opportunity to think about what they're nourishing their bodies with.
When National Nutrition Month began in 1973, it was launched as National Nutrition Week, but after popular response the week-long celebration was expanded to an entire month in 1980. Although the theme changes annually, the goal remains the same: to encourage people to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.
So, what exactly does "fuel for the future" even mean? One way to look at it is eating with the environment and sustainability in mind. What this means is, enjoying more plant-based meals and snacks, purchasing foods with minimal packaging, buying foods in season and shopping locally when possible, or starting a container or backyard garden at home. There's a lot of different ways we can "fuel for the future," including:
- Seeing a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who specializes in your unique needs, can help teach you how nutrient needs may change with age, and who can give you personalized nutrition information to meet your health goals.
- Stay nourished and save money by planning your meals and snacks, seeing what food you have at home before purchasing more, using a grocery list and shop sales when purchasing food, and learning about community resources such as SNAP, WIC, and local food banks.
Changing our habits can sometimes be intimidating, but starting with small changes is a good way to add some new, better habits in our daily routines. For example:
- Stay hydrated and drink more water (it can be tough, we know).
- Choose foods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
- Throw some color on your plate–natural color, that is. Bright green, crunchy vegetables, or vibrant, tangy fruits will not only make your meals picture-worthy, but they will also give you a healthy boost.
- Pack your lunch more often. We're all for treating yourself every once and a while, but packing your lunch more often gives you more control over things like nutrients and portion sizes.
National Nutrition Month may be ending, but it's important to make sure we nourish our bodies and minds year-round by drinking plenty of water, planning and preparing healthy, colorful meals for ourselves, and so much more! How will you fuel for the future?