March is known as National Nutrition Month as accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month brings focus to nutrition education in areas of sustainability, healthy food choices, healthful eating and physical activity. This year National Nutrition Month has an important theme, “Go Further with Food”, encouraging people to shop locally, conserving resources and being environmentally friendly, all while adding healthful and nutritious foods into your diet.
A great tip to shop locally is to locate local farmers markets which often provide fun, fresh foods, fruits and vegetables that are often more affordable and more flavorful than local grocery stores. When you promote nearby farms/growers by buying locally you are conserving natural resources and promoting food procurement that has minimal effect on the environment. The environmental impact of growing and transporting food is not often though about; however, the miles driven for food delivery from farm to grocery stores and markets can have a detrimental impact on the environment and an indirect impact on human health.
The Community Food Security Coalition states, “Agriculture, food, and communities are three systems that interact in many ways. While these interactions are beneficial to human health, they can also compromise it, as four of the ten leading causes of death are related to dietary and lifestyle factors.”
Plan ahead for your shopping needs so that you only purchase what is needed and prevent food waste. Be sure that you know how to prepare the foods that you’ve purchased. If you have questions about how to store, preserve and/or prepare the foods on your list, ask a local farmer at the market or even a clerk at the grocery store.
Registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Libby Mills says, ”Sustainability is about making the best possible choices for your health, the health of the community, the environment and those producing your food. Sustainable practices build strong communities, diverse ecosystems and healthy individuals.” Now that sounds like something to celebrate!
Happy National Nutrition Month!