Every year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates March as National Nutrition month. Dedicating thirty days of the year to nutrition, is a great way to focus on eating right and making conscious, healthier choices .
The theme this year, is ‘Go further with Food’. While it may seem vague, it is open to interpretation and and how it applies to you.
So how can you ‘go further with food’ this month (and year round)?
1. Stretch your food budget:
- Cut food waste. A typical American family wastes $1500 a year, as uneaten food. Buy local, what you need and in season for a few meals. Using what’s already in the fridge, storing and preparing food the right way at the right temperatures, will help your meals go a long way.
- Repurpose leftovers. Leftovers are great in sandwiches, casseroles and one pot meals. A well known mystery basket cooking competition is my all time favorite for ideas using leftovers. Get creative!
- Cook more, eat out less. The average American family spends almost half of it’s food budget on dinners eaten out, quick snacks, coffee, mostly for convenience. Taking an extra step in brewing that cup of Joe before work or packing lunch the day before (cue leftovers!) will not only trim your budget but satisfy you with healthier, tastier food.
- Go meatless. While you don’t have to be a militant vegetarian, going omnivore a few times a week, is good start. You save twice as much money and get the benefits of high quality, leaner sources of protein.
- Shop smart. I’m not an extreme couponer, but who doesn’t love discounts, especially on big ticket food items like meat and seafood. Try shopping at a variety of supermarkets, make use of their store deals. Compare brands and the unit prices. More often than not, store brands are as good as national brands.
2. Commit to a lifestyle change.
Small steps lead to big rewards.
Hydrate with more water (my personal nemesis), eat smaller portions, find new ways to make whole grains a part of your diet. Maybe, adopt a more mindful way of eating or even try to breastfeed your baby longer than you had intended.
3. Get everyone involved!
The goal of nutrition month is not just making short term healthy choices but pursuing a lifestyle. Accomplishing that as a family sets a wonderful precedent for the future.
Keep it simple.
Attempt to do a fun physical activity, eat more family meals together, try a new vegetable or fruit each week, start your own vegetable garden or plan an adventurous recipe.
4. Give back.
Millions of American families struggle with poverty and hunger; 13 million being children.
Gratitude allows you to give back to your community and lead your family by example. Consider donating food to a local food pantry or volunteering at a soup kitchen.
Chew on this, ‘a healthy outside starts from the inside.’