Growing up, I always looked forward to March… it includes my birthday celebrations, spring break, March Madness brackets, and the shorter countdown to summer. Now as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I love celebrating March too because it is National Nutrition Month!
Every year in March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on a different nutrition education campaign to bring attention to the importance of making healthy and informed food choices and developing a lifestyle with sound eating and exercising habits.
The 2018 campaign is Go Further with Food – which is important in many different ways. Not only does this motto encourage the cutting back on food waste, but also the planning and eating of healthy meals and snacks to fuel, energize, and balance YOU so you can GO FURTHER in life. Whether it is starting the day with a nutritious breakfast, or fueling yourself with a healthy post-workout dinner, the foods you choose to consume can make a real difference in how your days play out.
How can you Go Further with Food?
- Meal Plan EVERY Week: I use this small dry erase board each week to plan out meals. This easily helps me figure out my grocery list for the week, as well as what quantity of foods to get while shopping. It ensures everything is used and nothing is wasted – I don’t think my husband and I have ever thrown anything away because it has “spoiled” or “gone bad”. It’s also a good idea to do a little inventory of what you currently have on hand to prevent over-buying.
- Get the Whole Family Onboard: Another positive of the dry erase board is that it keeps everyone in the household aware of what’s for dinner. It is just my husband and I, but depending on who gets home first, dinner can be started and the chore isn’t held to any one person.
- Variety, Variety, Variety: The dry erase board also helps me focus on 1 seafood meal and 1-2 plant-based meals each week. It is one thing to say you’ll eat it and another thing to write it down, shop for it, buy it, and cook it.
- In-Sight, In-Mind: Keep fresh fruits and vegetables chopped up in clear containers at the front of the fridge. Or keep clean produce in a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter. If you see it, you’re more likely to eat it.
- Plan for Leftovers: AKA “Planned-overs” – You don’t need a new meal each day. Sometimes it is worth it to purposefully make enough for a couple days. It makes it easier for weeknights and is also helpful for next day lunches.
- Know Before You Throw Away: There is a lot of food date confusion on food and beverage packaging. Food manufacturers provide these dates based on when they consider products to be at the best quality. “Use by”, “Best by”, and “Best before” dates are often safe to eat beyond the date stamp if they have been stored properly… think of most condiments. “Sell by” dates are used for perishable foods – like meat and dairy. It is possible these foods may be used a few days after as long as they were stored at a safe temperature.
Let me know how you will Go Further with Food by commenting below. Don’t forget to celebrate your favorite RDNs on Wednesday, March 14th – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day 🙂
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