General Nutrition

National Nutrition Month 2024: Beyond the table

March 11, 2024

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Medically reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

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March is National Nutrition Month® – and today, March 8, is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! This is an annual campaign established by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each year, the academy picks a topical theme, and 2024’s theme is “Beyond the Table,” which “addresses the farm-to-fork aspect of nutrition, from food production and distribution to navigating grocery stores and farmers markets — and even home food safety and storage practices.”

This theme encourages us to think about every opportunity we have to make healthy choices, whether that be at home, at school or the office, at a restaurant, and beyond. It also brings sustainability into focus – how can we consume food with the planet in mind? How do our daily habits impact our environmental footprint, and what steps can we take to be responsible consumers?

National Nutrition Month has a focus for each week of March. Let’s dig into them.

Week One: Eating right on a budget

Eating healthy doesn’t need to be hard on your wallet. A little extra planning and mindful grocery shopping can go a long way to make healthy eating more accessible. Tips to eat well on a budget include:

  • Cook more, dine out less. Eating out almost always adds up to more than what it would cost to cook at home. You’ll spend less and be healthier by cooking staple meals at home and keeping restaurant meals for special occasions.
  • Plan ahead. Meal planning is a powerful way to save money (and time!). Knowing what you’re making helps you stay on track while grocery shopping and avoid overspending on unnecessary items.
  • Plan your portions. Determine ahead of time how much of one recipe you’ll make. Cooking larger batches means you can use the extra portions for additional meals throughout the week, which can be a serious time saver. Plus, buying ingredients in bulk is often cheaper.
  • Check your local deals. Shopping around for deals can really add up in savings. Check your local shops for their current sales and decide where you’ll shop based on their offers.
  • Shop seasonally. Whatever produce is in season is usually more readily available and therefore more affordable. Frozen vegetables and fruit are also good options and are often cheaper than fresh produce. If you’re buying canned items, check that they are canned in water or 100% juice without added sodium.
  • Make your own snacks. Packaged foods are expensive when you consider how few portions they contain. It’s easy and cheap to make snacks like trail mix, popcorn, and healthy cookies instead of opting for store-bought options.

For more tips on eating healthy on a budget, check out our post here.

Week Two: See a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN)

Meeting with a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist is one of the best ways to take charge of your health and take care of yourself. RDs and RDNs are the most qualified nutrition professionals out there and can help with any range of conditions, from diabetes and weight management to eating disorders and high cholesterol. You don’t need to have any particular health condition to benefit from meeting with an RD – everyone can gain something from learning how to optimize their eating habits to support their health goals.

Plus, you can get RD services covered by your insurance! This means you can meet with a board-certified dietitian for as little as $0 per session – and from the comfort of your own home. Use Fay Nutrition to see what your health insurance covers and get matched with an RD in your network. Fay bills directly to your insurance so you don’t have to worry. Click here to get started.

Week Three: Eat a variety of foods from all food groups

Having variety on your plate is important to ensure you’re getting a range of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. This means eating a mix of produce, grains, and protein at every meal, as well as striving for variety within each of those groups. Try not to eat the same vegetables or meats all the time. Switching it up helps ensure you are getting a full spectrum of nutrients and keeps your palate satiated. Eating the same foods can lead to boredom, which can end up with some bad habits.

Feeling stuck with your food options? Try a different cuisine or buy a food you’ve never had before! Search for new recipes and make them with a loved one! There are so many ways to switch up your routine, and you might be surprised just how invigorating it is to do so.

Week Four: Eat with the environment in mind

Every choice we make has some sort of environmental implication, particularly when it comes to food. It’s important to be mindful of how your food habits impact the environment. Here are some tips to be more eco-conscious with your diet.

Learn how your food grows. Visiting a local farm or farmers market is a great way to get more in touch with where your food comes from. Learning how it is cultivated and what goes into getting a food onto your plate will give you a whole new perspective on food production.

Grow your own food. Not everyone has the space to have their own garden, but doing so can be incredibly rewarding. It is a great way to save money as well as enjoy the freshest produce possible. If you’re low on space, there are some plants like tomatoes and lettuce that can grow well indoors. Some schools, churches, and other community spaces have community gardens where you can contribute or get your own plot.

Minimize waste. Many of the money-saving tips we shared earlier help to reduce food waste overall: meal planning, using what you have instead of shopping for new items, and prepping mindful portions. You should strive to buy only what you can reasonably consume within a few days. Get familiar with expiration and best-by dates for all of your foods so that you don’t accidentally buy more than you can use within a reasonable timeframe. Learn how to upcycle your food to use as many food components as possible, like saving your meat bones in the freezer until you’ve stashed enough to make a batch of bone broth! And take care to store your food well so it doesn’t spoil earlier than necessary.



The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Fay and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Fay only to confirm educational value and audience interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with a healthcare provider.


Sources
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 



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Maeve Ginsberg

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Maeve Ginsberg is a health and wellness writer with a personal passion for fitness. As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and former powerlifter, she loves combining her interests in health with her writing. Maeve has a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. 

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Rita Faycurry, RD

Medically Reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

Rita Faycurry, RD is a board-certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in clinical nutrition for chronic conditions. Her approach to health is centered around the idea that the mind and body are intimately connected, and that true healing requires an evidence-based and integrative approach that addresses the root cause of disease. In her books and articles, Rita offers practical tips and insights on how to care for your body, mind, and spirit to achieve optimal health and wellness.

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