It’s National Nutrition Month® and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is focusing on the theme “Go Further with Food”. The topics includes making informed food choices, having a healthy food plan in place and limiting food waste.
About 31 percent of all edible food is wasted in the U.S., and American households throw away nearly 28 percent of fruits and vegetables. Check your fridge and pantry for foods you may need to use up to help plan out your week. Create a grocery list including the items you don’t have on hand. To help save time, pick one day to prep food for the week. Plan out your week’s worth of meals and snacks so you have a game plan when food prep day arrives.
I try to take some time on Sundays to do this. The times I don’t and decide to just wing it are the weeks when veggies are scarce at dinner and there’s unneeded stress to throw something together.
Some helpful tips are to:
1. Nerd out and use a spreadsheet for the week
2. Get trendy and write down meals on a chalkboard
3. Have a theme for every day of the week: Meatless Night, Taco Night, Slow cooker Night, Soup and Sandwich Night, Breakfast for Dinner Night etc.
4. Make a double batch so you have leftovers for later in the week or to freeze
5. Keep staples on hand (rice, pasta, quinoa, frozen fruits and vegetables, eggs, yogurt, cheese, bread).
6. I also like the idea of having a place in the house for on ongoing grocery list. Family members can add to the list when they notice something is low or they have something else to add. Being THE person in charge for planning everyone’s meals can be overwhelming at times, so I like to leave the floor open for others to contribute.
Other Key Messages this month:
- Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
- Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
- Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
- Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you.
- Continue to use good food safety practices.
- Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
- Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.