March observed as “National Nutrition Month” is the perfect time for people to become more conscious about what they eat. The 2018 campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound and sustainable eating and physical activity habits. It aims to promote healthy messages of nutrition, education and wellness.
Currently, nutrition has become a very popular and important concept, but it hasn’t always been like that. The nutrition campaign was first developed by the “Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)” in 1973 as a weekly program. It became a month-long celebration in 1980. National Nutrition Month promotes the Academy (AND) and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.
Reports suggest that approximately 90 billion pounds of edible food goes uneaten each year in the US, which costs consumers $370 per person each year. The campaign is a strong platform that encourages people to reduce food waste in the home by making few simple changes. The theme for the 2018 event is – “Go further with food”. The theme is focused on helping people create an eating pattern and physical activity plans that are focused on –
- Consuming fewer calories
- Getting daily exercise
- Making informed food choices
By incorporating simple changes such as planning weekly menus, making a corresponding grocery list, re-purposing leftovers, freezing extra food and keeping the pantry and fridge organized, you can reduce food wastage to a great extent in your home.
A registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Cordialis Msora-Kasago says – “While millions of Americans worry about how to feed their families, the amount of safe food wasted in the United States is on the rise. By making small changes to the way we think about eating, we can help reduce food waste.” The food choices that people adopt can make a huge difference in their overall physical and mental life. Adopting these goals will lower the risk of chronic diseases and help to better manage body weight, thereby promoting general health.
The 2018 campaign focuses on the fact that people can help reduce food wastage by planning meals and snacks in advance, thereby saving both nutrients and money. You can begin this by keeping track of what you already have in hand. Before making a shopping list, check your pantry, freezer and refrigerator and plan your weekly menu accordingly by taking advantage of what you already have. Buying only what you need keeps your budget on track and reduces food waste.
Here are some tips to reduce food wastage –
- To avoid food wastage, make it a habit to buy only the amount of food that can be eaten or frozen within a few days. Make plans to use leftovers later in the week.
- Include a variety of healthful foods from all food groups on a regular basis. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis as they are nutrient-rich and low in calories.
- Stay physically active for most of the days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day. Lack of adequate physical exercise can make people obese and be a major risk factor for many chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Obese or overweight people can begin by making small, but healthy changes to what they eat, and try to become more active. Getting enrolled for weight loss programs offered by multi-specialty healthcare centers will be an ideal option. Such programs typically include psychological evaluation, nutritional evaluation, setting goals and treatment.
- Cut down the intake of sugar. Choose water instead of sweetened drinks.
- Be mindful of your portion sizes. Always try to consume smaller portions.
Celebrate “National Nutrition Month”! Focus on making informed food choices, and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.