March is National Nutrition Month

Each March, Dietitians of Canada celebrates National Nutrition month. This year’s theme is Take a 100 Meal Journey – make small changes one meal at a time.

Each month, we eat about 100 meals. That’s 100 opportunities to choose healthy, local and sustainable food. Try making one change along this 100 meal journey this month.

We can also think of this journey in terms of our health. Aim to make small, nourishing changes one meal at a time. Whatever your goal is, make sure you enjoy the journey.

To make a difference, changes don’t need to be big. Here are some ideas:

  • Try having vegetables or fruit with each meal. Vegetables and fruit are important for good health as they are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.1 Canada’s Food Guide recommends 7 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day depending on your age and if you are a man or a woman.
  • Choose water instead of sugar sweetened beverages. Water is a sugar-free and calorie-free way to quench your thirst. Drink more water when you are active. Keep a refillable water bottle on hand. If you don’t like the taste of water, try making your own flavoured water with lemon, mint leaves, orange segments or cucumber slices.
  • Eat fresh, on the cheap. With the recent rise in the cost of foods, it can be a challenge navigating the best buys at the grocery store. Scan any sale items and plan your weekly menu around these items. Choose frozen or canned vegetables and fruit prepared with no added salt or sugar.
  • Reduce food waste. We waste hundreds of dollars a year on wasted food. Reduce waste by only purchasing exactly what you need at the grocery store, properly storing food in the fridge or freezer and composting food scraps for your garden. 
  • Choose more pulses. Pulses are versatile and can be added to many dishes for an affordable protein boost.

March is still early for many local food programs in Halton Region. However, it is still a good time to start thinking about starting a garden and sourcing local Halton foods over the coming months.

  • Choose local Halton Region foods. Purchase seasonally from farmer’s markets or from pick-your-own farms. There are plenty of vegetables and fruits that are available in Halton region throughout the year.
  • Cooking at home – there’s an app for that. Download the Cookspiration App from Dietitians of Canada. Cookspiration is an interactive cookbook app. The app automatically suggests recipes based on the date and time of day. Recipes can also be selected by categories, such as Fast N Easy or On-The-Go. Recipes can be found on the Cookspiration website.
  • Consider purchasing a CSA – Community Shared Agriculture. With a CSA, you pay an upfront fee (share) prior to the growing season. In return, you receive boxes of farm fresh food directly from the farmer. Click here to find a farm near you.
  • Start a garden. It could be in your own backyard, in a community garden or in a windowsill. Different vegetables and herbs grow at different times, so it is important to start planning your garden early. Check out local seed sales nearby.

1 EatRight Ontario. (2016). How many vegetables and fruit do you need? www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Food-guides/How-many-Vegetables-and-Fruit-do-you-need.aspx#.Vq_lLaTSnIU