National Nutrition Month

March 4, 2021

National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  National Nutrition Month was originally introduced as National Nutrition Week in 1973.  Consequently, because of the growing interest in nutrition, it became a month-long observance in 1980.  Generally, the second Wednesday of March is acknowledged as Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day.  It is a celebration of the dedication of RDNs as the leading advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.  This year it will fall on March 10th.

About The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1917.  This organization was started by a group of women dedicated to helping the government conserve food and improve the public’s health and nutrition during World War I.  The organization has grown into more than 100,000 credentialed practitioners of registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, registered, and other dietetics. This organization also includes nutrition professionals holding undergraduate and advanced degrees in nutrition and dietetics, and students. They are committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education, and advocacy.

The Academy is acknowledged as a leader in food and nutritional issues. They provide expert testimony at hearings, lobbies Congress, and other governmental bodies. Along with commenting on proposed federal and state regulations, and developing position statements on critical food and nutrition issues.

In effort to support National Nutrition Month and help to create healthy habits, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created toolkits.  One example of these toolkits is their 20 Health Tips for 2021.

20 Health Tips for 2021

1. Start each day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. 

2. Make sure half of your plate is made up of fruits and vegetables. A good guideline would be to include 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables into your daily goals.

3. Portion control – use half of your plate for fruits and vegetables.  The other half should be made up of grains and lean protein foods.  Use a measuring cup to get an idea of what the serving size truly is.

4. Make physical activity a priority.  Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week. This can be as simple as going for a walk after dinner.

5. Read food labels and the nutritional facts panel.  Choose foods and drinks to meet your nutritional needs.  If you can’t read the ingredients on the label – it is best to stay away.

6. Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein. Try raw veggies with low-fat cottage cheese or hummus, or a tablespoon of nut or seed butter with an apple or banana.

7. Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks or manage a chronic disease, consult the experts! Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice.

8. Follow food safety guidelines.  Reduce your chances of getting sick with proper food safety. That means washing your hands regularly, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods, cooking foods to the appropriate internal temperature, and refrigerating food promptly. 

9.  Drink more water.  Stay hydrated especially if you live in warmer climates.  Avoid sugary drinks – satisfy your thirst with water.

10.  Cook more meals at home.  Not only is it cost-effective to eat at home it is generally healthier.  When you are in control of the meals you make – you also have control of making healthier choices.

11. Ordering out without ditching your goals is possible. Plan ahead and look for options that are grilled, baked, broiled, or steamed.

12.  Incorporate family mealtime.  Designate days that you eat meals as a family.  Turn off the tv and put the mobile devices away. Include members of your family to help prepare meals.

13.  Get creative with your meals and banish boredom.  Look for healthier options like a whole-wheat pita filled with fresh veggies and lean protein.  

14.  Reduce your intake of added sugars.  Foods and drinks with added sugars can contribute empty calories and little or no nutritional value

15.  Include seafood into your meal planning at least twice a week.  Focus on seafood with healthy omega-3 fats. Salmon, trout, oysters, and sardines are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury.

16.  Explore new foods and different flavors. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain that’s new to you or your family.

17.  Experiment with plant-based recipes. Many recipes that use meat and poultry can be easily made without them. Vegetables, beans, and lentils are all great substitutes. You can start by trying one meatless meal per week.

18. Make a conscious effort to reduce food. Plan meals based on leftovers and only buy perishable foods you will use or freeze within a couple of days. Managing these food resources can help save nutrients and money. 

19. Take your time during mealtime.  Instead of eating on-the-go, try sitting down and focusing on the food you’re about to eat. Dedicating time to enjoy your meal can have a positive effect on your food intake. 

20. Supplement with caution.  Dietary supplements at times are necessary.  First, discuss safe and appropriate supplement options with an RDN or another healthcare provider.

There are so many great resources out there that give us tips and healthy recipe options.  Make sure you are eating right to fit your nutritional needs.