March 8, 2023

By Keli Smith, CDE

Keri Smith, CDE

Started in 1973 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition MonthB is celebrated in March every year. This year marks the 50th anniversary of bringing awareness and education to health, nutrition, and physical activity topics.

This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Fuel for the Future.” This theme encourages forward and future thinking for ourselves and our environment. Eating sustainably, or in a way that impacts our environment less, also benefits our health. How can we eat more sustainably? Read on to learn more.

Reduce food waste.
We can reduce our food waste by enjoying leftovers, trying to cook food only for what we need when we need it, and learning to compost food scraps.

Cooking additional helpings of meals for following meals helps reduce food waste. We can also use older or “ugly” vegetables in soups and stews and fruits in smoothies. If you catch those fruits and vegetables before they are too ripe, you can often prep them so they can be frozen for later use.
Meal planning can help reduce waste if we prep and cook for the number of people we need. Though starting meal planning can feel overwhelming, starting small, with one to two meals per week, is best. If meal-planning for dinner feels too much, try meal-planning lunches or breakfasts as a starting point.

If you find yourself with food scraps from your food preparation, you can start composting those leftovers. Compost decomposes over time and becomes a nutrient-rich material that can be mixed with soil. The soil can be used in gardens to nourish foods or flowers you might grow later. 

Eating locally
Shopping at farmers’ markets, gardening at home, and exploring community-supported agriculture (CSA) are ways to eat more locally and, often, more affordably. Farmers’ markets support local farmers in your area. You may be able to purchase food items at some farmers’ markets using state food benefit cards.  Like farmers markets, with a CSA, you can buy in-season produce from locally grown farms and orchards. During the CSA season, food is typically delivered weekly to a central location nearest you.

The most affordable option for getting fresh produce is growing our own. If you have the time and space, gardening is a great way to grow various fruits and vegetables during the season. Even if you are tight on space, gardening in pots is another option.

The 2nd Harvest Mobile Market makes regular visits to CHAS Health clinics. Find out when the Mobile Market will be in your neighborhood CHAS Health Clinic. 

Looking for a recipe? 2nd Harvest has recipes for different foods and dietary preferences. 

Remember that National Nutrition Month also celebrates Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. Show appreciation to a dietitian who has made a difference in your journey this year on Wednesday, March 8.