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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

National Nutrition Month® 2024 promotes farm-to-fork nutrition.


National Nutrition Month® is a campaign of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, held each year in March, when “everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.” It started in 1973 as National Nutrition Week and became a month-long celebration in 1980.

 

The theme for National Nutrition Month® 2024 is "Beyond the Table."

“This year's theme addresses the farm-to-fork aspect of nutrition, from food production and distribution to navigating grocery stores and farmers markets — and even home food safety and storage practices. It also describes the various ways we eat — not only around a dinner table, but also on the go, in schools and restaurants, at games and events. This theme also includes sustainability, for instance, decreasing food waste from school and work to home and beyond.” https://www.eatright.org/national-nutrition-month 

 

Each year, in addition to selecting an overriding theme, the Academy creates messages that support the theme. This March, there are 4 key messages with four actionable tips to put each one into practice.

 

Week 1: Stay nourished on any budget.

  • Learn cooking, food preparation and meal planning skills.

  • Use a grocery list and shop sales when purchasing food.

  • Learn about community resources such as SNAP, WIC and local food banks.

  • Practice home food safety.


Week 2: See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

  • Ask your doctor for a referral to an RDN.

  • Find an RDN who specializes in your unique needs.

  • Receive personalized nutrition information to meet your health goals.

  • Learn about the many ways RDNs can help people live healthier lives.


Week 3: Eat a variety of foods from all food groups. 

  • Include your favorite cultural foods and traditions.

  • Eat foods in various forms including fresh, frozen, canned and dried.

  • Experiment with recipes using different ingredients.

  • Try new foods or global cuisines.


Week 4: Eat with the environment in mind. 

  • Get creative with leftovers and ways to reduce food waste.

  • Enjoy more plant-based meals and snacks.

  • Buy foods in season and from local farmers when possible.

  • Grow food at home or in a community garden.


What makes the NNM messages effective?

Look at each weekly message and tip and consider the communication principles employed to make them successful:

  • They are declarative statements that tell the audience clearly what to do.

  • They use simple language and avoid the use of jargon. We eat rather than consume.

  • Each statement begins with a verb – learn, eat, enjoy, use, find, grow…

  • The statements are concise and to the point. No unnecessary words.

  • The statements are positive action steps. None use a word such as avoid.

  • Each statement supports the overall theme.


Celebrate National Nutrition Month!

Each year, the Academy provides numerous ideas for celebrating National Nutrition Month. Here are 50 ideas.

Here is the complete list of NNM resources.


Previous posts about NNM:


“A lot of people have tried so many diets that they have unrealistic and confusing beliefs about food and nutrition. I explain to people that food is connected to our very identity — it's in our memories, holidays and traditions, religions, and ideological beliefs.” ~ Ken Roberts, MA, RD, LDN


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