If you did not know, March is Nutrition Month! Created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Nutrition Month is an education campaign that focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This wellness blog will give your department some ways to celebrate Nutrition Month.
Good nutrition is essential to health. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year in the U.S.” Additionally, “In the last 30 years, obesity rates have doubled in adults, tripled in children, and quadrupled in adolescents.”
The theme of this year’s Nutrition Month is "Go Further with Food". According to Nutrition Month toolkit, "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 to reduce food loss and waste."
Recreation and park departments can play a pivotal role in encouraging our communities to "Go Further with Food". Through your programs, you likely reach a large number of participants.
One easy way to encourage your community to go further with food is by educating athletes, coaches, and parents involved in your athletic programs. Teach participants about appropriate pre-game/post-game foods, and maybe even provide a few options for them like fruit.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has compiled a tip sheet which includes some best practices for game-day nutrition.
To help your department celebrate Nutrition Month, please utilize the National Nutrition Month Toolkit!
From the nutrition toolkit, here are a few tips that everyone can do for this month:
Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
Continue to use good food safety practices.
Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.
Additionally, the NCRPA Wellness Toolkit gives some cool resources on healthy cooking and nutrition programs. Please consider using these tactics in planning your department nutrition programs in the future.
I hope that this wellness blog has given you ideas on how to celebrate nutrition month in your department. If your department has a great nutrition program, I’d love to know about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any details!
Until next time,