March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “Go Further with Food. To go further with food is to get more healthy foods in your diet starting with a healthy breakfast. You’ll go further with food by planning meals and snacks in advance, so you’re more likely to make nutritious choices. Since food is the fuel we all need to live healthy, active lives, reducing food waste will help our entire planet go further with food.
Your eating habits can affect your hunger, leading to uncontrolled eating and weight gain. Skimping on breakfast is one habit worth breaking. Breakfast should provide about ¼ of your daily calories, which is about 350-500 calories for most people. A sustaining breakfast should include whole grains, about 10-20 grams of lean protein, some heart-healthy fat, and a high fiber fruit or vegetable. Try an egg (cooked in olive oil) on a piece of whole grain toast smeared with ¼ avocado, 1 piece of fruit, and a glass of nonfat milk as a delicious way to start your day.
Planning ahead and making meals in advance that can be reheated later can help you meet your healthy eating goals. Try making a meal plan each week, and make a list when you go grocery shopping. That way you will get everything you need, and you are less likely to buy extra items on impulse. Before you head to the store, shop your pantry and refrigerator, and try to build meals around the foods you already have. You’ll save money and waste less.
Sometimes food is wasted simply because it’s forgotten. Think about those beautiful fruits or veggies you bought that were shoved in the back of the fridge and spoiled before anyone ate them. It happens all the time. Store the perishable food items like fruits, veggies, and dairy in the front of your fridge where you can see them, so you will choose them before less healthy options and so you don’t forget that you have them.
Oftentimes food goes to waste simply because it is not stored properly or, maybe, leftovers are forgotten. Learn how to repurpose leftovers. Use leftover cooked veggies in casseroles, frittatas, or omelets, and add leftover protein to soups, stews, and casseroles. Try to buy the amount you will use when you go to the grocery store, and freeze foods that you will not be able to use up right away. Be sure to refrigerate all pre-cut fruits and veggies. Remember the 4-day throw away rule on leftovers to be safe. Always use good food safety practices: wash your hands often, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Going further with food will help you eat more healthfully every day. Meal planning will help to stretch your food dollar and making eating healthy easier. Buying the right amount of food and storing it properly will reduce food waste. Go further with food to fuel your body and promote good health!