Healthy Habits

Nourish with Nutrition: Beyond the Table

Farmers Market

Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team

Every March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month® to educate the public about making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Their 2024 theme “Beyond the Table” highlights how nutrition is more than the food we put on our table. Each week features a different topic to help you apply this year’s theme. Visit www.eatright.org to find out 50 ways you can get involved in National Nutrition Month®.

Week One: Stay Nourished on a Budget

Sticking to a budget can be tough, but with a little forward planning you can significantly reduce your grocery budget each month. Take time each week to plan your meals, making sure to consider where you can repurpose your leftovers to reduce your food preparation time while still including some variety in your week. Shop from your pantry and fridge before making a grocery list — you may already have what you need. Look for coupons or sales when purchasing food, and don’t be afraid to substitute items in a recipe for an option that’s in season, on sale, or a little more budget friendly. Properly storing your food will help reduce any food waste. Check out this article for best practices when it comes to keeping your food fresh.

Week Two: See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

The internet has an overwhelming amount of information on food, diets, and what the “best” methods are to stay healthy. It’s easy to get confused about who to listen to and what to do. Your diet is unique to you — not one approach is best for everyone. Working with an expert can help personalize information and habits in a way that is customized for you. Nutrition specialists can help individuals manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and auto-immune diseases as well as digestive problems, disordered eating behaviors, and food allergies or intolerances. They can also specialize in sport nutrition, different ages and stages of life, or simply give practical lifestyle advice. Your doctor can send you a referral, or you can find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in your area by searching www.eatright.org.

Week Three: Eat a Variety of Foods from All Food Groups

Variety is the spice of life, and your food shouldn’t be any different. Filling your plate with an assortment of foods from each food group will help your body get all the different nutrients it needs on a regular basis. Take the time to learn about what’s currently in season and pick a new fruit or vegetable to add to your menu each week. You can also look at dried, frozen, or canned options if the produce you’re looking for isn’t available. These foods are often harvested in peak season and then quickly preserved to maintain freshness and flavor. Switch up your usual cuisine by trying new recipes or restaurants from a different culture — you may find your new favorite dish!

Week Four: Eat with the Environment in Mind

Each year, over 80 million tons of uneaten food at restaurants or in the home, unharvested crops, and food damaged in transportation and manufacturing goes to waste in the United States. Shopping through companies like Misfit Markets or Imperfect Foods help by “rescuing” foods that would normally go to waste because they don’t meet grocery store beauty standards or have outdated packaging. Sourcing your produce from farmer’s markets not only stimulates the local economy, but also helps you to get fresh seasonal foods, often at a lower cost and a lower carbon footprint. Local vendors often give food preparation tips, offer samples, and help you with growing your own produce. Finding a local community garden or farm share is another great way to incorporate local produce into your pantry.

Celebrate nutrition this month by applying what you’ve learned to improve both your health and the planet’s. Write down your plan and look back at the end of the month to see how your small changes made an impact!

References:
https://www.eatright.org/national-nutrition-month
https://www.feedingamerica.org/our-work/reduce-food-waste

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