National Nutrition Month is celebrated every March to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. This year’s theme is Fuel for the Future. “This message encourages us to think about making food choices that are both good for the future of our health as well as the health of the earth and the environment,” said Susan Jones, RDN, HJAHC resident nutritionist. By making sustainable food choices, we can help reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.
Here are a few steps you can take.
Instead of purchasing water, carry a water bottle and fill from the tap or a filter.
Growing Your Food
If you don’t have a backyard or little space to work with, try growing produce on a patio or a windowsill. Herbs, cucumbers, and tomatoes are easy to grow. By growing our own food, we reduce transportation costs and the energy needed to store and package food.
Choose Plant-Based Meals
Eating with sustainability in mind doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as choosing more plant-based meals and reducing food waste. Susan Jones, RDN recommended plant-based foods, such as whole grains, fruits, beans and lentils, and vegetables. These all have a lower environmental impact than animal-based foods because they require fewer resources to produce.
Buy Locally Grown Produce
Buying locally grown produce helps to reduce the carbon footprint associated with food transportation. By purchasing food from local farmers and farmers’ market, you are supporting your local community while also reducing your environmental impact. New Jersey has a lot of local produce available, from corn, greens, tomatoes, blueberries, peaches, and more!
The Fuel for the Future theme also highlights the importance of fueling our bodies at every age. A healthy diet is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the risk of chronic disease (such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer), and improving overall health and well-being. It is never too late or too early to start making healthy food choices.
Children require proper nutrition to support their growth and development. Encouraging children to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will not only support their physical growth but also establish healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.
Choose foods that are helpful for the environment and your body. This will result in a positive, long-term impact for you and the planet. We invite you to make informed food choices and develop healthy eating and physical activity habits. “Let us try and eat more foods that keep both our bodies and Mother Earth healthy,” suggested Susan Jones, RDN.
HJAHC offers nutritional services for all ages. To make an appointment, please visit www.henryjaustin.org/services or call 609-278-5900.