Every March, Canadians celebrate Nutrition Month! This year’s theme focuses on how Dietitians can use their expertise and skills to help create a more sustainable food system. Dietitians have been major influencers in leading change towards creating a more sustainable food system. There are a ton of ways that we can make a difference in this sector.
We’re sharing 5 different “ingredients” needed to spark change and how Dietitians can help take lead to a healthier tomorrow for individuals, communities and the planet! Checkout some of the activity ideas to use in Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes as well:
1. Food Security – Exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to food, which is safe and consumed in sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and is supported by an environment of adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life.
How can Dietitians help? Dietitians can address food insecurity by considering Resident choice, preferences, access to safe foods and cultural expression to meet their needs and promote quality of life.
Activity – Host a Meal Event – Connect with your Residents and source ingredients to prepare a recipe they would like to share from their culture. This would be a great opportunity to share with the Residents and consider adding to your menu.
2. Food Literacy – Includes five main components: food and nutrition knowledge, food skills; self-efficacy and confidence; food decisions; and external factors (i.e. the food system, social determinants of health, and socio-cultural influences and eating practices).
How can Dietitians help? Dietitians value the importance of food literacy and can help support individuals with the five main components using their knowledge and expertise.
Activity – Create or Show a Video – Educate on a specific food skill (i.e. video on cutting techniques, cost effective ways to make high fibre muffins with minimal ingredients, ways to add flavor using herbs and spices, etc.).
3. Food Sovereignty – Is the right of peoples to have healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.
How can Dietitians help? Dietitians can help advocate for increased access to food, add traditional and culturally appropriate choices to menus, and provide food skills training so people can grow and cook their own food.
Activity – Start a Garden Project – Consider growing a vegetable or herb garden at your Home. Now is the time to start seedlings inside!
4. Nutrition Care & Prevention – Dietitians work on approaches that aim to build supportive nutrition environments and policies which help make the healthy choice the easy choice while also supporting quality of life.
Activity – Create Awareness – Attend a meeting with your Residents or create a poster to explain the Dietitian role in your Home and how they can be supported.
5. Sustainable Food Choices – A sustainable food system is a food system that delivers food and nutrition security in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised.
How can Dietitians help? Dietitians are able to translate evidence-based nutrition messages when providing practical tips and dietary recommendations to help make sustainable food choices.
Activity – Buy Locally Grown – Get in touch with local farmers and incorporate local foods in a fun recipe.
Keep an extra eye out for all our Social Media posts this , we’ve got TONS to share for #NutritionMonth. You do not want to miss it!