Go further with food

Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help reduce food loss and waste. For National Nutrition Month 2018, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics urges everyone to “Go Further With Food.”

Each March, the Academy focuses nationwide attention on healthful eating through National Nutrition Month. With the first “National Nutrition Week” in 1973, it was embraced by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a way to deliver nutrition education messages to the public while promoting the profession of dietetics. In 1980, the week-long celebration expanded to become National Nutrition Month. Over the years, the theme has reflected trends and culture of the time, but it has always remained true to its original purpose of increasing the public’s awareness of the importance of good nutrition.

Having been in the “nutrition” business for more than three decades now, it has been interesting to see how this nutrition message and it’s delivery has changed through the years. My first exposure to Nutrition Week was in college where the students who were majoring in foods and nutrition put on a symposium of sorts and each of us presented on a specific topic. After college and during my internship at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center (now Regions Hospital) the interns were very involved in various events and promotions in what is now a month long event. We had a big presence in the hospital’s cafeteria and I remember having displays and posters that featured “Nutribird.” This bird somewhat resembled a stork and had a bold orange carrot beak and his body was a head of lettuce. I guess it made sense at the time, but that logo only lasted for a few years. At the time, many registered dietitians were not impressed with our profession being represented by this stork-like character Fast forward more than 30 years — now consumers can follow National Nutrition Month on the Academy’s website, Facebook page and Twitter using #NationalNutritionMonth. The times — they do change. I wonder what the next decades will bring and if the social media we use today will seem as obsolete as Nutribird does now?

In keeping with this year’s theme, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Go Further With Food” by preparing meals in advance to enjoy throughout the week. Preparing several meals on the weekends can provide balanced meals that can easily be reheated throughout the week. It’s also a great way to eat healthfully, save time during the week and reduce food waste.

After you choose a day to prepare meals, decide which recipes you want to use and create a grocery list. When possible, choose meals made with ingredients you already have at home to get the most out of your food. Cooking in bulk saves money and allows you to portion and freeze meals for later. Instead of reheating an entire dish, only reheat a single meal. Create a meal prep plan that includes a variety of your favorite foods. There are many things you can do if you first start with a plan.

The times have changed with regard to planning and meal prep too. You can use technology to order groceries online and just pick them up, Google a recipe to find one that uses ingredients you have on hand, use apps on your phone to look up nutritional information as well as a host of other things to help you save time and eat healthier.

As a founding member of the Further with Food Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to cutting food loss and waste in the United States in half by 2030. Visit furtherwithfood.org/resources/ for tools and resources.

Happy Nutrition Month!

Cheryl Rude is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center