March is the month for St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break, March Madness, and… if you are an RDN, or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, March is National Nutrition Month®.
National Nutrition Month® (NNM) is an annual campaign spearheaded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of good nutrition and position registered dietitian nutritionists as the authorities in nutrition.” The celebration originated in 1973 as a week-long observance, which expanded to the entire month of March beginning in 1980.
In an age with months and days commemorating everything from soup (Feb 4th) to nuts (Oct 22nd), how can National Nutrition Month® stand out? That is up to us, as RDNs and members of the Academy, to promote within our communities and workplaces.
I have been involved in NNM activities since its early days. As a new dietitian in the early 1980s, I served our district as NNM chairman. I initiated an annual NNM breakfast hosted at one of our local hospitals and invited local dignitaries and our members. The mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette signed proclamations to recognize the month as NNM.
Also in those early years our district had a full-size “Nutribird” costume which made many visits to schools and health fairs, especially during NNM. Our members also volunteered to be guests on local radio and TV news shows to promote NNM.
During the decade in which I wrote dozens of nutrition songs for young children, several were written to highlight the annual NNM theme. After writing new songs for a number of years, I wrote and recorded “Eat Right America” to celebrate NNM year after year no matter what the theme. This goes along with the Academy’s decision this year to go “theme-less” and simply celebrate National Nutrition Month®.
Eat Right America
(tune: “O, Beautiful for Spacious Skies” by Samuel A. Ward)
O, eating right and keeping fit
My health is up to me.
I choose to eat the foods I need
To be all I can be.
America, America, Eat Right America!!
Stand strong and tall, give life your all,
Eat Right America!!
©1991, B. Mayfield, MS, RDN
To hear the song as recorded more than 25 years ago, go to the resources page with kids club lessons and songs. The song has been added at the top of the page: https://www.nutritioncommunicator.com/kids-club-lessons-and-songs
The picture depicted above was commissioned to go with this song in my songbook/coloring book titled, “Nutrition Notes.”
In more recent years, I oversaw countless Purdue students educating and entertaining school children of all ages with presentations about good nutrition. Schools are one of the main avenues for NNM celebrations and observances. Feel free to use one of the lessons on the resources page for ideas.
One of my favorite NNM activities was a food demonstration at our local food bank along with other members of our district. There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate NNM and promote good nutrition. Share in the comments your favorite ideas for NNM.
To access the NNM toolkit, go to: https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/national-nutrition-month-celebration-toolkit
For 40 ideas for celebrating NNM, go to: https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/36-ideas-to-get-involved-in-nnm
“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”
~ La Rochefoucald
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