March is National Nutrition Month®. Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics creates a new theme geared toward helping the public eat a healthier diet, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This year’s theme is: “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”.
I’m always excited about National Nutrition Month® because it’s all about highlighting the great work that registered dietitians do to help people make informed choices – that is, understanding the facts about food and nutrition so that you can enjoy eating a healthy diet. This totally goes along with the Rust Nutrition philosophy and tagline:
“True-to-life, science-based nutrition information that helps people enjoy eating for good health!”
I truly want to help people understand what’s good for them, and sharing the facts can help them remove any guilt or burden of eating right. Nutrition isn’t just about eating. Everyone has different food preferences, and making choices about what to eat is very personal. So many things have an impact on how and what people eat – cultural backgrounds, geographical location, school or work schedules, family size, and budgets – just to name a few. I totally agree with the Academy statement:
“How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat.”
In addition to “healthy eating”, how you eat is so important – in other words “how” = the behaviors around the foods or beverages we choose during the day. Eating should be an enjoyable experience and should encourage social engagement. It’s okay (and encouraged) to appreciate the pleasures that food can bring – especially when it’s shared with those you love, but it’s also important to develop healthy eating behaviors. This could mean you just need to slow down and be more mindful when we are eating or snacking, and get back to basics – enjoy a balance of a variety of foods. I still believe that it’s important to help people understand the concept of moderation when it comes to portions.
Let’s Turn Confusion into Clarity
Consumers are so confused by so many conflicting messages in the news about nutrition and eating. Just about every day you probably hear something about a “miracle food” or a “diet” or “what to never eat!” Just today I saw an actress-turned-nutritionist recommend bone broth as a must-have food everyday. Her “energy diet plan” included 1/2 cup of brown rice and bone broth through the day and was quite calorie-restricted. There is absolutely no science or evidence that bone broth is going to automatically give you energy and make you feel better. If you want to make some broth, fine; it won’t hurt you – but it’s not magic (and if it isn’t at all appealing for you to drink bone broth daily, then by all means don’t!)
My hope is that during National Nutrition® you will start tuning into the voice of reason – well-balanced registered dietitians – who can understand your individual needs, and who don’t offer you “The Diet” that everyone should follow. Our job is to help you find a way to eat a healthier diet, not to tell you exactly what to eat.
Follow our conversations on Twitter by using the hashtags #NationalNutritionMonth, #NNMchat and always look for the RD or RDN credential when reading about food and nutrition advice. Let the actresses and chefs do their thing, and we’ll do ours.