By Brianna Elliott, MS, RD, LD, Open Arms Nutrition Specialist
March is National Nutrition Month®, a campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and establishing healthy eating and exercise habits.
This year, the theme of Nutrition Month is “Go Further with Food,” which encourages us to eat healthy while finding ways to cut back on food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help you go further with food, while saving both nutrients and money.
Here at Open Arms, we are dedicated to providing our clients with nutritious foods that benefit health year-round, but we are excited to bring even more awareness to healthy eating this month. Listed below are this year’s Nutrition Month key messages and how we strive to achieve them:
- Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis. Each client’s meal delivery includes fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy products. By consuming foods from all the food groups, clients are better able to meet their nutrition needs. A great way to get a variety of produce is to become a member of the Open Farms CSA program>>
- Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store. Many of our meals are planned based upon what we already have available. We encourage our clients to check their refrigerator for leftover Open Arms food before they go grocery shopping!
- 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. All of our meals are planned to contain appropriate portion sizes according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines meet the needs of a variety of individuals.
- Continue to use good food safety practices. Our chefs, kitchen staff and volunteers make food safety a priority when preparing food in our kitchen.
- Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week. We encourage our clients to get some exercise when they feel well enough, which is important for physical and mental health. Even a short, daily walk can do the body good.
- Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian. RDs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs. At Open Arms, we have two RDs on staff who provide nutrition counseling to our clients on an as-needed basis.
What steps will you take to go further with food this National Nutrition Month?