How to Celebrate National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month began as a one week focus, but quickly evolved into a month-long observance. Find out how to join in on the festivities with these 36 ideas!
National Nutrition Month 2021 is a campaign started almost half a century ago. The campaign began as a one-week focus, but quickly evolved into a month-long observance. During dietary week 2021, national nutrition takes the cake.
Read on to learn more about how National Nutrition Month 2021 is being celebrated this March. Also find out how to join in on the food-focused festivities, including 36 ideas for how to get involved!
What is National Nutrition Month?
The aim of National Nutrition Month is to promote educational nutrition messages to the masses. These messages are meant to spread the idea that nutrition is an approachable, applicable aspect of food. Nutrition can help individuals not just survive but thrive.
During the month of March, nutrition and food professionals focus on basic concepts and interact with the public in their community. The idea is that culinary professionals, chefs, students, dietitians, and nutrition experts alike can come together and promote positive food practices.
A Brief History: From Week to Month
The first National Nutrition Week was started by the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) in 1973. By the 1980s public interest was peaking, and the week-long celebration began evolving into more.
National Nutrition Month kept the vision of its original observance week while it grew. As the dietetic profession expanded globally, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals remained steadfast to their mission.
The aim of the Academy's awareness campaign is for nutrition professionals to work together for a world in which all can thrive through the powerful properties of food.
Modern Day Nutrition Month
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics invites everyone to join in celebrating National Nutrition Month during the month of March. The theme of 2021 is "Personalize Your Plate".
Individuals and communities can work together to better understand four themes, one for each week of the month of March:
Week 1: Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day!
Week 2: Plan your meals each week!
Week 3: Learn skills to create tasty meals!
Week 4: Consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)!
Nutrition professionals in the modern-day recognize that the way food is presented needs to address the concerns of the community. For example, meal programs can be a significant and important part of an individual or family's nutrition plan. Healthy eating does not have one path or design.
An important part of National Nutrition Month is presenting multiple options for healthy eating. Many people are unaware of the resources offered in their community or organizations that can help them achieve healthy dietary patterns. The goal of nutrition professionals and community advocates during National Nutrition Month is to help connect people and highlight helpful resources.
How to Get Involved
Whether an individual, family, friends, or organization, there are many ways to promote National Nutrition Month. Free downloadable materials, as well as National Nutrition Month Games, are available wanting to raise awareness without any spending.
Need more ideas and inspiration? Here are 36 different ways for everyone to get involved.
Organizations and Communities
Organizations such as offices, schools, and grocery stores play a big role in making nutrition accessible to the community. Community centers can also help promote positive relationships with food and nutrition professionals.
Below lists places and ideas where National Nutrition Month can be prominently featured in the month of March:
1. School or workplace menus
2. Bulletin boards
4. Newsletter articles
5. Raffle prizes
6. Grocery stores or supermarkets (i.e. newsletters, bulletins, online resources)
7. Vote for favorite fruits and vegetables to learn more about members
8. Start a community garden
9. Host a healthy recipe contest
10. Discount healthy meals at cafeterias or cafes
11. Distribute vouchers for nutritious meals, snacks, or drinks
As a nutrition or food professional, there are many ways to offer expertise to the community. The following are ideas and inspiration regarding how to get involved:
12. Offer presentations with topics that might discuss how to create and stick to healthy eating and physical activity habits.
13. Create and promote educational flyers to share information.
14. Post blog articles discussing how to make informed food choices, offering new cooking tips, etc.
15. Host a virtual storytime or nutrition programs at a local library.
16. Host a presentation at a local senior center.
17. Explore food recovery options available in your community.
18. Answer a "question of the day".
19. Highlight diverse cultural foods and prepare healthy menus using international cuisines.
20. Decorate a common local area with National Nutrition Month materials.
21. Provide a free exercise class online and offer nutrition guidance on hydration and fueling with food for a workout.
22. Host a "lunch and learn".
23. Teach a lesson on composting and provide free take-home resources or handouts.
24. Work with local stores and groceries to promote each week's theme.
25. Provide a virtual supermarket tour or host a supermarket scavenger hunt.
26. Teach a class on eating healthy on a budget.
27. Create healthy meals from leftovers and then host a contest.
Individuals and Families
Activities for National Nutrition Month do not have to be big to make a difference. Small steps taken as an individual or family to promote healthy habits are just as valid and important.
The following are tips for individuals or families wanting to get in on the action during National Nutrition Month:
28. Ask the mayor or governor to declare March as National Nutrition Month. (Proclamation forms that can be found in the Academy's toolkit under "planning materials".)
29. Invite an author, dietitian, or nutrition expert to speak at a book club, community meeting, or group setting.
30. Invite a dietitian to host a virtual cooking class or nutrition event with you.
31. Sponsor a "dial-a-dietitian" night through a local television or radio station.
32. Organize a food donation campaign for a local pantry/shelter.
33. Commit to trying one new fruit or vegetable each week during the month of March.
34. Prioritize eating more family meals during National Nutrition Month (and beyond).
35. Learn how to correctly read a nutrition label.
36. Have a dietitian take over your social media page for a day.
The Bottom Line
Nutrition is not one-size-fits-all. With the theme "personalize your plate", dietitians across the world celebrate individuality this National Nutrition Month while promoting universal nutrition principles.
With so many different ways to get involved, each person deserves to feel nourished and know the healing power of nutrition. There is no "right" way to get involved as long as the result promotes healthy eating habits.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 5 Most Asked Questions about National Nutrition Month ®. Eatright.org. https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/most-asked-questions-about-national-nutrition-month. 2021.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 40 Ideas to Get Involved in National Nutrition Month ®. Eatright.org. https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/ideas-to-get-involved-in-nnm. 2021.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Academy: Personalize Your Plate During National Nutrition Month® 2021. Eatright.org. https://www.eatrightpro.org/media/press-releases/national-nutrition-month/nnm-2021-personalize-your-plate. Published January 26, 2021.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.National Nutrition Month®. Eatright.org. https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month. 2021.