Originally launched in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, since 1980, March has been National Nutrition Month®, providing a month-long opportunity for everyone “to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.”
This year’s National Nutrition Month® theme is Personalize Your Plate. On the campaign’s website, you’ll find resources in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and Filipino to help craft comprehensive dietary plans that meet an individual’s nutrition needs as well as their personal taste and lifestyle.
As part of National Nutrition Month® 2021, the campaign is emphasizing the need for people to adjust their eating habits to meet the nutritional needs of their bodies during all stages of life. “What works for you in your twenties won’t necessarily work for you in your fifties. As you age and evolve, so do your health and nutrition needs. It’s important to eat right for life,” according to registered dietitian nutritionist Dr. Colleen Tewksbury. Among her suggestions, Dr. Tewksbury offers the following tips:
- Teens to 20s: Build bone density by eating and drinking calcium-rich foods and beverages such as fat-free or low-fat dairy milk. Non-dairy sources of calcium include fortified cereals, beans, and some leafy greens.
- 20s to 30s: Reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease by eating more dietary fiber, including whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Women of Childbearing Age: Get enough folate by choosing sources such as beans, peas, and dark-green leafy vegetables. Eat foods fortified with folic acid such as breads, cereals, and other grain products.
- 30s to 40s: Eat a variety of nutritious foods, especially plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, and lentils in order to get enough vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
- 40s to 50s: Fine tune your healthful eating habits and continue regular physical activity to help your body adjust to fluctuating hormones and slowing metabolism. Focus on ways to limit foods and beverages with added sugars, salt, and saturated fat.
- 60s and beyond: Include a variety of protein-rich foods to maintain bone strength and incorporate strength-building activities to maintain muscle mass. Good sources of protein include seafood, lean meats, eggs, beans, tofu, and nuts.
The National Nutrition Month campaign points to the recently published 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as an authoritative source that people can turn to to learn more about dietary needs at all stages of life. Recently, ASN presented a three-part webinar series dedicated to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines. ASN members can access the slides and recordings of these three webinars for an in-depth discussion of the science used to inform the development of the guidelines as well as guidance on how to best navigate the publication.
Upcoming ASN Webinar: Research Designs to Account for Diversity and Inclusiveness and Impact Food Guidance Policy
March 11, 2022, 12:30 – 2:00 PM EST
This webinar focuses on the consideration of diversity and inclusion when conducting research to inform and implement food and nutrition guidance policy. This webinar is part of the CASP Nutrition Policy Webinar series, designed to help ASN members better understand the interface between research and nutrition policy.
In addition, ASN is a National Strategic Partner of MyPlate, which provides practical, consumer-friendly tips to help consumers put the recommendations of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines into practice. Developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPlate recommends visualizing your plate as nutrient-rich sections with one quarter reserved for grains, another with protein-rich foods and the remaining half with fruits and vegetables, along with a serving of low-fat or fat-free dairy.
At ASN, we encourage our members to learn more about National Nutrition Month® and to help spread the word on the value of good nutrition throughout life.