By John A. Ruibal, CSSD, Prowers Medical Center’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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.
This year’s theme to “Go Further with Food” makes us think how we purchase and prepare healthy, nutritious foods without wasting food. By making small changes on how we prepare, cook and store our food we can help reduce food waste.
The Academy communicates healthful eating messages that emphasize balancing food and beverages according to your energy needs, rather than focusing on any one specific food or meal. It is the Academy’s position that improving overall wellbeing requires a lifelong commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors, emphasizing lasting and enjoyable eating practices and regular physical activity.
Registered dietitian nutritionists—like me—can help all consumers determine the lifestyle balance that provides our bodies with the nutrients we need and still eat the foods we enjoy the most. Small lifestyle changes that you can incorporate for the rest of your life has always been my mantra. Too many of us want to change eating habits or exercise habits, but often our efforts last for a short period of time, and then we go back to our same old bad habits. If this sounds familiar, consider asking your physician for a referral to see a registered dietitian. I would be happy to help you stop this cycle and start making lasting changes.
Here are a few ways to cut down on food waste:
- Use the food you already have in your home, first. Plan meals with the food in your pantry, freezer and refrigerator before stocking up with new items.
- If you know you are not going to use food items you have in the house, donate them to a food bank or your local church before they expire.
- Only buy what you are going to use in the next week or two. How many times do we buy those beautiful fresh vegetables and fruit only to throw them out when we haven’t used them?
- This is old school home economics I learned from my grandmother. Plan your meals at least a week in advance and only buy items for those meals. My grandmother always planned a month in advance.
- Cook in bulk and portion the leftovers in containers that can be reheated or frozen for future meals.
These are just a few ways to help cut down on food waste and to “Go Further with Food.” Additional tips and articles can be found at www.eatright.org.
As part of National Nutrition Month, the Academy’s website includes articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Consumers can also follow National Nutrition Month on the Academy’s social media channels including Facebook and Twitter using #NationalNutritionMonth.