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If you are already slacking on your New Year’s resolution to get healthy, don’t worry, here’s your chance to get back to it. March officially marks the beginning of National Nutrition Month, which will give you all the motivation you need to lead that healthier lifestyle you’ve always talked about with your friends and family. Here’s everything you need to know about National Nutrition Month.
What Is National Nutrition Month?
National Nutrition Month is a nationwide campaign put together by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to inform and educate the public about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. The campaign focuses on helping people develop healthy eating and exercise habits by highlighting the benefits of both.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics does have a secondary motive for their National Nutrition Month campaign. The Academy hopes that through their efforts, the public will see them as the highest authority when it comes to nutrition and exercise information, which is clearly stated on their website.
”In addition, National Nutrition Month promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.”
Furthermore, National Nutrition Month includes a Dietician Nutritionist Day on the second Wednesday of the month. For the Academy, promoting a healthy lifestyle is just as important as promoting the importance of their work, and rightfully so. It’s about time people start to take health a bit more seriously and use reliable sources for all their information needs.
A Brief History
In 1973, the first national nutrition campaign was launched as a week-long event. It was actually a pretty big deal, as it received backing from the government and the media, which included public service announcements from various outlets.
The national nutrition month gained popularity in its first years of existence, and to meet the demands of public interest, the week-long campaign turned into a month-long ordeal. In 1980, National Nutrition Month became an annual campaign that would take place each March to promote public health in the US. March 2018 will mark the 45th anniversary of National Nutrition Month.
This Year’s Theme: Go Further With Food
Each year, the Academy comes up with a new theme, and this year, they chose Go Further With Food.
Go Further With Food is an effort to teach people the importance of what they put in their body, and how it can affect your daily life. The theme is also hoping to minimize food loss and waste and promote healthier food options within the community.
The Importance Of Food
Your food affects not only health but your energy levels as well. Healthy food options can lead to healthier weight and even reduce your likelihood of certain diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. The timing of this year’s National Nutrition Month theme couldn’t have come at a better time.
The US is notorious for poor nutrition and food choices. In fact, it’s estimated that about one-third of the adult population is obese, which is a staggering number. Seeing how food has such an influence on our health and ability to exercise, it’s hard to ignore how important this year’s National Nutrition Month theme is.
Fun Ideas And Activities For National Nutrition Month 2018
If you want to participate in National Nutrition Month, there are tons of awesome resources available to you, and even your organization. Schools, hospitals, and other organizations across the country are putting together fun ways to get people excited for a healthier lifestyle, and you can too!
Nutrition Month Ideas And Activities For Kids
Teaching kids about the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise habits can set them up for a better future. However, when the goal is to get kids excited, not just throw some veggies on their plates and tell them to eat the veggies or no dessert. Here are some great ideas for kids during National Nutrition Month:
- Get excited about healthy food: Kids often look up to adults or older siblings when they are developing. If you get excited about an eggplant dish the same way you do for a pie of pizza, it could work wonders for their eating habits.
- Set aside time for activities: The weeks can get hectic, especially when you’re working and raising a family, but try and set aside some time for your kids to get outside and be active. Fly a kite at the park, play a game of hide and go seek tag, or take them for a swim on a hot day.
- Grow your own veggies: You can get easy starter kits for growing food at home or even make some room in your yard. Make sure your kids are involved in the process and even let them choose what to grow next.
- Teach your kids how to cook: You do want to be there to supervise, but find a dish or food they like, and teach them how to cook it! Next time they are hungry, instead of reaching for the chips or cookies, they can make themselves (and maybe even you) a healthy dish.
- Make it a game: You can set up challenges for the week with a prize if they meet their goals. Print out a food pyramid with some healthy food options, and see if they can eat all the items for the week.
Fun Ideas And Activities For Adults Too
National Nutrition Month isn’t just for the kids, but for adults too! There are plenty of activities that your friends can partake in. Even if you don’t have the healthiest habits, some of these fun activities and ideas.
- Pick a recipe: There are so many cookbooks available, it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that speaks to you. Once you pick a cookbook, have a get together each week, or just do it on your own, and try a new recipe each time.
- Track your steps: By now you have probably heard of Fitbit. It’s a sleek, wearable piece of technology that tells you just how far you walked each day. You can even set up challenges with your friends to see who takes the most steps in a day, week, month, or even year.
- Try the farmer’s market: If you want fresh food, you can hit up your local farmers market. There are tons of healthy treats that you can try before you buy, so you can turn it into a fun outing with friends and find a new snack you like.
- Pick up a sport: Remember how excited you used to get for kickball as a kid? Well, there are social organizations that let you relive those childhood memories with adult kickball, volleyball, basketball leagues. If you can play it, there’s probably a league for it. Put together a team with friends, or put yourself out there and make some new ones!
- Buy a new water bottle: Most people don’t drink enough water each day, so why not change that? Get a water bottle that is portable, and may even fashionable that you would be happy to carry around.
No matter what you end up doing, try to take advantage and enjoy this year's National Nutrition Month. It's a good way to get yourself on track for a better future, and if you are looking to help educate others, explore all the free resources available to you.