National Nutrition Month supports sustainability of both Earth and body
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Dietitians from around the country are spending the month of March, National Nutritional Month, inspiring their clients to be the “fuel for the future.” The theme looks to promote the knowledge of healthy eating habits while being aware of where our food comes from and the effects it has on the Earth.
But dietitians are still fighting the battle that healthy eating habits extended beyond daily exercise paired with fruits and vegetables.
Nebraska Nutrition Services dietitian Amy Harshman said an obstacle to healthy habits is diet culture.
“We have to challenge that assumption that going on a diet is going to get us the body or the health that we want,” she said.
Sustainability is a common term associated with this year’s theme. Harshman recommends shopping at whole food markets or local farmers markets; anything to avoid the temptation of grab-and-go processed foods.
“To be able to have access to food and shake hands with the person who grew it or raised it is pretty amazing,” she said.
Harshman said she recommends taking small steps when changing your eating habits since habits can lead to something bigger.
“You can start by drinking more water, maybe you add 8 ounces over the week,” she said. “If your body is not used to pounding down water, you’re not going to be able to.”
These are ideas that dietitians discuss during an initial consultation to gauge where each client is on their health journey.
Amanda Jochum, a Hy-Vee dietitian, said they meet their clients on an even level to have conversations to find realistic goals.
“A healthy diet is a realistic approach to lifelong healthy eating,” she said. “A healthy diet does include healthy foods but occasionally some treats too.”
Jochum said Hy-Vee is working with this year’s theme to grow children’s interests in what they eat and to get them involved with cooking in the kitchen. The Five a Day Challenge is being advertised in stores to get customers to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables to start a journey to healthy eating habits.’
“It’s just a simple way to boost that nutrition,” she said. “We are offering free Omega-3 screens as a way to learn more about your heart disease risk.”
Risk for chronic illness is something both dietitians said was important to take steps toward preventing. Harshman said individuals who visit her office sometimes feel unseen with their health conditions, which has made it difficult to seek help.
“They want information but they don’t know where to get it so they go down the rabbit hole of the internet,” she said.
Harshman called social media a place for self-proclaimed nutrition experts to hand out unhealthy diet plans that don’t meet the needs of the individual. Instead of using the internet, dietitians may recommend checking insurance providers to learn more about the costs of seeing an expert.