March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to inform the public about helpful eating choices and habits1. The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month® is Beyond the Table2. This theme refers to the idea that our daily experience with food is much more than just sitting down at a table and eating a meal. In addition to nutritional considerations, there are also environmental and financial aspects to making healthy food choices.  

From a nutritional standpoint, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a diverse diet. They recommend consuming a range of different food groups, forms (fresh, frozen, canned, and dried), and cuisines2. They also suggest seeing a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who can provide specialized and personalized dietary treatments and plans1

The concept of Beyond the Table also promotes the idea of being mindful of the environment in our food choices. Practical applications of this include buying locally grown produce and seasonal foods, being creative with the use of leftovers to decrease food waste, and growing food at home or in community gardens1

The final aspect explored in the Beyond the Table theme is the financial consideration in making healthy food choices. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims that anyone can be nourished on any budget. A few practical ways to begin this principle include learning to cook and correctly prepare food, developing meal planning skills, using a grocery list while shopping, learning about community resources, and practicing home food safety2.  

In 2024, National Nutrition Month® serves as a reminder that our food choices lie far beyond the plate at the dinner table. They travel with us physically as we move throughout the day and transcend into areas of our lives that are much bigger than our physical bodies.  

Eatright.org, a website for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has a number of wonderful resources that provide very practical ways to make our dietary goals a reality3.  

https://www.eatright.org/national-nutrition-month/resources

Sources:  

1.Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics. (2024). Beyond the Table [PDF]. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/-/media/files/campaigns/eatright/nnm-2024/english/tip-sheets—eng/beyond-the-table.pdf?rev=900b6608f15440499595274ce6cc71dc&hash=FBC42BAAE3F1141553D572F3B178DFF1 

2.Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics. (2024). National Nutrition Month 2024 Presentation [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/-/media/files/campaigns/eatright/nnm-2024/english/presentation—eng/national-nutrition-month-2024-presentation.pptx?rev=4a4cfa1ea5cd45d7ad0b493ca0812ae3&hash=DB7A5D452C95C1A80F384EAE31F1EDFA 

3.Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (n.d). National Nutrition Month ® Resources. EatRight.org. https://www.eatright.org/national-nutrition-month/resources   

By Trilla Teague  

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