National Nutrition Month® is a month-long campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Each year in March, the AND promotes the importance of making healthy choices through the foods we eat and through physical activity. Food and nutrition play a major role in our health and well-being. As educators and nutrition professionals, we have the opportunity to inform and educate our students about healthy living through the meals we serve at school and the habits we portray. During National Nutrition Month®, there are ten key messages that the AND promotes:
Discover the benefits of a healthy eating style.
Choose foods and drinks that are good for your health.
Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
Select healthier options when eating away from home.
Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that's right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
Keep it simple. Eating right doesn't have to be complicated.
Make food safety part of your everyday routine.
Help to reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
Consult the nutrition experts. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.
Simple changes in the way we think about food can have a huge impact on our physical well-being. Modeling healthy behaviors for our students can influence them to make healthy choices as well. The AND provides resources and ideas for those interested in celebrating this event and there are many ways to incorporate healthy messages into the school day during National Nutrition Month®. Below are some suggestions from the AND on how you can get students engaged in making healthy choices!
Create a "nutrition question of the day" contest sent by email or posted on a display. Draw the name of a daily prize winner from those who provided the correct answer.
Vote for your favorite fruits and vegetables: Offer a selection of fruits and vegetables cut into bite-size pieces. Ask participants to vote for their favorite vegetable and fruit. Post a tally board to record votes. Handout "20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables."
Start a school vegetable garden by planting seeds indoors or in the ground.
Take a field trip to a farmers market or a local farm.
Assign a school group project that involves each group researching one of the food groups, allowing each child to explain a food from that food group and what nutrition it provides.
Develop a school project that involves kids drawing and creating a meal based on MyPlate, using the Choose MyPlate Coloring Page.
Organize a "healthy recipe" contest among employees. Have the judges be VIP's from your workplace.
Conduct a series of healthy weight and fitness sessions at your workplace. Recruit a local fitness or yoga instructor to assist you.
Organize a health fair that promotes healthy eating resources and important preventive screenings.
At School Food and Wellness Group, we support nutrition education and serving students delicious and nutritious meals. Contact us today to see how we can help you take your meal program to the next level!