March Is National Nutrition Month

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March is National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign created 50 years ago by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During the month of March this campaign promotes healthy eating habits and physical activity. This year’s theme is “Fuel for the Future.” Not only can we protect our mental and physical well-being with healthy food choices, but we can also make a positive impact on our environment.

How can you eat with the environment in mind? 

Enjoy more plant-based meals and snacks. What is a “plant-based” diet? Not to be confused with a vegan or vegetarian diet, plant-based diets are exactly what they sound like, primarily full of plants. Many meals in the American diet focus on the animal protein instead of the vegetable as the center of the meal. In contrast, plant-based meals focus on vegetable proteins, such as beans, or contain smaller amounts of animal proteins such as fish, poultry, eggs, cheese and meat. The Mediterranean diet as well as the Blue Zone’s philosophy of eating would be considered plant-based diets. See some plant-based snack suggestions below.

Consider purchasing foods with minimal packaging. Try buying foods in bulk such as lentils, seeds, nuts and trail mix and bring your own reusable packaging from home. Another method of buying in bulk, but not often considered, is buying regular sized items instead of snack-sized. Then package these items in reusable containers once at home. This will not only help cut down packaging waste, but may also help with portion control. Oftentimes when we eat from the container we lose track of how much we have eaten. By eating a pre-portioned amount during our snacking times it is easier to know how much was eaten while savoring each bite. Yet another trend to cut down on waste is using reusable bags. Many of us have been given a reusable bag or bought one in efforts to use at the grocery store; however, sometimes these bags do not make it inside the store. One method to think about is keeping these bags in the trunk of your vehicle, so when you get to the store they are already with you.

Start your own garden and grow food at home. Gardens can take many forms, including container gardens on a porch or even inside your home. Do you need support with your current garden, or maybe you don’t know where to start? Feel free to reach out to your local NC State Extension to guide you through all of your gardening needs. The only silly question is the one that was never asked! Reach us at 828-884-3109.

Buy foods in season and shop locally when possible. Come out to our Transylvania Farmers Market in downtown Brevard every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Winter Hours). Spring is just around the corner and new items will be available soon.

Plant-Based Snack IdeasApple slices with peanut butter

  •  White Bean Hummus and Carrots
  • Peanut butter and Apple slices
  • Almonds and Dried Cranberries
  • Chocolate Hummus and Strawberries

For more information on National Nutrition Month