Hey, did you know? March is Nutrition Month! This is a great time of year to pause and reflect on the food on our plates, and that’s exactly what Dietitians of Canada are asking us to do with this year’s “Get the Real Deal on Your Meal” campaign. Busting common food myths in an age of information sharing about food and nutrition is central to this year's campaign focus.
While getting the real deal on your meal by checking out the Dietitians of Canada website, you may also consider nutrition more broadly. What are the foods that help you feel healthy? How do you balance your plate? Is putting food on the table a struggle for you and your family? Nutrition month can be a time to think about our own plates, as well as food security within our communities.
Chances are, my diet and yours differ in some ways. This is most likely a result of differences between our eating preferences, but we also know that income level, regional food availabilities, physical accessibility to food, culture, and even ethics related to eating choices all contribute to what winds up on our plates (or doesn't). Dietary restrictions as a result of illness also contributes to our eating habits, in much the same way as our eating habits contribute to our overall health. Each of us most likely makes our food decisions within some field of constraint. Perhaps the key to nutrition month is learning more about what our bodies need, being mindful about our consumption, and practicing food habits that meet our dietary needs and contribute to personal well-being.
These questions - about food accessibility and nutrition - are some of the things that we think about, and work on at the Food Security Network. Considering these issues can go a long way to ensuring that all people, at all times, have access to safe, affordable, nutritious, sustainably produced food that allows them to lead a healthy life. While much of our health is a result of personal habits and decisions, it is important to remember the societal, economic, environmental and personal factors that contribute to what we eat.
Focusing on how the food on our plates arrives there (who grows, catches, harvests, and distributes it - and hey! Who prepares it) can also help us learn more about the food we eat, and how food choices and availabilities affect our own health, the livelihoods of food producers, and the health of the environment. Nutrition Month might also be a good time to thank those who serve up our meals every day.
This month, I'm thinking about how food preservation activities in fall would help me to maintain local food sources year round.
Will you be marking the month in any special ways? Do you plan to take this as an opportunity to reconsider your meals by including healthy foods? Tell us about the food on your plate, or any Nutrition Month activities that are going on in your community.