By: Victoria Cretelle, Nutritionist for SPCC’s WIC Program (Women, Infants & Children)
With spring right around the corner it’s time to celebrate National Nutrition Month! Back in 1973, National Nutrition “Month” was celebrated for a week. Now it is a month-long campaign; 31 days focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. As a WIC Nutritionist, I believe we are on the right track in helping to educate parents and children about the importance of food for health and wellness.
This year’s theme is “Go Further with Food”. By making small changes to the way we think about eating, we can help reduce food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help us all “Go Further with Food”, while saving both nutrients and money. At WIC we counsel on this daily with all of our participants. When it comes to food and nutrition, everyone has an opinion. Did you ever hear someone say, “It is SO expensive to eat healthy!”? This really is a fallacy, and we can ALL go further with food!
In celebration of National Nutrition Month we are highlighting for families 30 Ways in 30 Days to Stretch Your Food Budget. Visit the SPCCWIC Facebook page to access 30 helpful tips. I think you will be surprised how easy stretching your food budget can be! The food you choose can make a real difference, and preparing foods to go further at home can have a positive impact, not only for you, but also for our environment. At WIC we LOVE helping families adopt healthier eating styles, while also reducing food waste and overall cost. For example, did you know that using coupons could actually be more expensive and lead to greater food waste? Only use coupons for items that are on your grocery list! This will help you to avoid buying extra, sometimes unhealthy food, which will save you money and cut down on waste.
SPCC’s WIC program is here to help guide and support new parents in so many ways. When a woman becomes pregnant, her journey and relationship with food changes. So many new things to worry about, and now she also needs to think about eating healthier for her growing baby. A mother’s journey with food continues through her growing family’s life. We offer moms tips to eating healthier during pregnancy, breastfeeding education and support, age appropriate portion sizes, tips on using leftovers, new recipes, and so much more. We hope to inspire and educate our families so that each choice they make is informed and not based on myths or fads. By the time families graduate from our WIC program, many have adopted healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.
Healthy eating is a journey. It takes small changes over a long period of time, and is typically easier to do alongside someone else. Consider engaging a friend, a family member or a co-worker to make small changes together. Try new foods and recipes. Make changes that are somewhat comfortable, yet also daring and fun! This journey doesn’t need to be a long and hard one, but with the right attitude it can be exciting and rewarding! Let’s work together to make this our healthiest and most delicious National Nutrition Month yet! Bon Voyage!