Celebrating National Nutrition Month®

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics announces a new theme for National Nutrition Month every March. This year’s theme is Beyond the Table. Celebrate this month by following a healthy eating pattern, practicing food safety at home, and eating sustainably. Keep reading to discover how you can begin going Beyond the Table today. Also, stay tuned for an exciting invitation to a new way you can access all the fantastic blogs and tips provided by UGA SNAP-Ed! 

Follow a Healthy Eating Pattern  

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide a breakdown of the core foods we should eat daily and what we should limit [1]. Core foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, protein foods, and healthy oils. We should limit added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and alcohol intake. 

More Tips for Following A Healthy Eating Pattern  

  • Try different forms of food like fresh, frozen, canned, and dried.  
  • Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and mix up recipes.  
  • Bring a grocery list and explore sales!  

Practice Food Safety at Home  

Foodborne illness is a serious issue that affects millions of people each year [2]. To avoid getting sick, you should practice food safety at home. Here are four basic steps that can help you [3]: 

  1. Always wash your hands, counter, and cooking utensils with warm, soapy water.  
  1. Use separate plates and cutting boards when handling raw food.  
  1. Cook food at safe temperatures using a thermometer. 
  1. Chill your food correctly.  

Some more food safety tips: learn to meal plan to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and keep hot food at or above 140°F and cold food at or below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth [4]. For more details on the basics, check out our food safety blog

Eat Sustainably   

Eating sustainably means eating with the health of the environment and future generations in mind. You can eat sustainably by reducing food waste, buying seasonal foods, composting leftovers, and eating plant-based meals and snacks. Another great way to be sustainable and save money is by growing your own food at home or in a community garden. Even though National Nutrition Month® is in March, it’s always a good time to start eating healthier, being safe with food, and helping the environment.  

[1] https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf 

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/symptoms.html 

[3] https://www.fda.gov/consumers/womens-health-topics/food-safety-home 

[4] https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/danger-zone-40f-140f 

Published on March 28th, 2024

Written by Holly Cothern, MS/DI Student | Edited by Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RDN; Tristen T. Webb; the nutrition education team