March Is National Nutrition Month™
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Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics organizes a month-long celebration for National Nutrition Month™. This year the campaign theme is Fuel for the Future. The idea here is to remind folks that food is the fuel that keeps our bodies going throughout our lives, so we need to give it the nutrients it needs to meet each stage of life.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization for food and nutrition professionals. Members of the Academy are Registered Dietitians (or RDN) who specialize in the study of nutrition and how our nutritional needs change over time. They started National Nutrition Month™ back in 1973 as National Nutrition Week. It became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing interest in nutrition.
Amy Bragagnini, a Registered Dietitian, specialist in oncology nutrition and national
spokesperson for the Academy has some simple (but always relevant) eating tips for National Nutrition Month™ (and all year long, too):
- Eat with the environment in mind by enjoying more plant-based meals. Purchase foods with minimal packaging. Buy foods in season and shop locally when possible. Start a garden to grow food at home.
- Plan your meals and snacks to stay nourished and save money. Check your
pantry before buying more food, use a grocery list while shopping and shop the sales. Educate yourself about community resources and governmental programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and local food banks.
- Eat a variety of foods from all food groups whether fresh, frozen, canned or
dried. Include your favorite cultural foods and traditions in your meals. Avoid fad diets that promote unnecessary restrictions. Practice self-love.
- Learn how to make tasty foods at home with new flavors and foods from around the world. Find creative ways to use leftovers instead of throwing them away. Create happy memories by eating with friends and family when possible.
Locally, our N.C. Cooperative Extension Service has classes available that can help you work on these ideas from Bragagnini through our Expanded Food and Nutrition
Education Program (EFNEP). Our Nutrition Educator and Program Associate for EFNEP is Angie Lawrence.
EFNEP helps participants learn skills and strategies to feed their family nutritious meals on a limited budget and improve their overall health. She has several programs available free of charge here in Brunswick County for both youth and adults. You can participate in-person or on-line over Zoom. The program is designed for limited resource families with children. Call Angie for details to see if you qualify.
EFNEP Zoom into Health Lunch and Learns are held the last Wednesday of each month from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Chef John LaTour from Healthy Families Healthy Futures, joins Angie in the kitchen for a food demo. The March 29th topic is Choosing More Fruits and Vegetables. Angie will also be showing chair exercises to work your core and leg muscles. New participants must meet (in person, by phone or by Zoom) with Angie prior to their first class. Give her a call 910-253-2592 or email email@example.com for more details.
EFNEP also participates with Kaleidoscope Play and Learn groups in Leland, Supply and Southport. These are for young children and their parents, grandparents or others that care for children. This program partners with Smart Start of Brunswick County and in addition to Angie’s nutrition and health lesson, prepare the child for kindergarten.
Please help spread the word about National Nutrition Month™ and our Expanded Food and Nutrition Education program.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Cheryle Syracuse wrote this article and more similar ones for the Family and Consumer Sciences Column in the Brunswick Beacon. Syracuse is an FCS team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center, 910.253.2610 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.