March is National Nutrition Month®


National Nutrition Month® is a time to promote the benefits of eating a healthy, balanced diet. As you work to make healthy living easier where people live, learn, work, and play, nutrition is an important area to focus on. Helping community members access healthy foods and encouraging them to make small changes to their daily routines can make a big difference for the overall health of the community.


Get Started

This grab and go packet will help you get started promoting National Nutrition Month®.

In this packet, you will find:

  • Talking points for communicating with community members
  • Top 10 Tips for nutritious eating
  • Sample announcement for a newsletter, blog or listserv to community members
  • Sample press/media release
  • Various articles related to National Nutrition Month®
  • Sample tweets and Facebook posts for promoting National Nutrition Month®
  • Helpful Infographics
  • Additional resources that may be helpful to you as you develop messages targeting your specific audience(s)

 

 Top 6 Actions Communities Can Take To Improve Nutrition

There are many ways you can promote National Nutrition Month®.

  • Work with local schools, workplaces, and grocery stores to offer and promote healthy foods. For example:
    1. Collaborate with neighborhood or faith-based organizations that provide nutrition-related events.
    2. Partner with a grocery store to hold healthy eating demonstrations, offer samples of healthy fruits and vegetables, or provide coupons for healthy foods.
    3. Work with schools to offer different fruits each week for students to sample.
    4. Help organize mobile markets or a grocery store shuttle program.
    5. Local school leaders can remind students and parents about the importance of having breakfast.
  • Local grocery stores can display signage about the health benefits of lean proteins.Poll people in the community about their access and barriers to affordable, healthy food. Host a listening session for decision makers, the media and other partners to share the results.
  • Identify local partners – government agencies, faith-based organizations, media, and nonprofit groups. Ask them to help promote your message by supporting nutrition initiatives in the community.
    1. Work with WIC and farmers markets to bring mobile markets to WIC clinics.
  • Be a local leader: Ask your local grocery stores and supermarkets to feature healthy foods throughout National Nutrition Month® by offering healthy recipes to try out a new fruit or vegetable.
  • Ask local markets and farmers markets to offer discounts on healthy foods or hand out coupons in support of National Nutrition Month®. Addressing affordability is key, as cost is a barrier for many people who would otherwise shop at local markets and farmers’ markets.
    1. Work with WIC and SNAP programs to have low-cost items available at farmers markets.
  • Worksites can do a lot to promote National Nutrition Month® among employees. Work with companies to offer healthy snacks, advertise farmers’ markets near the company, or collect healthy recipes from employees to share in a newsletter.


Talking Points: Making the Case for Healthy Eating

When communicating with various audiences, it’s important to talk clearly about the issues. Here are some talking points to get you started. Tailor these messages to specific audiences or concerns in your community.

 

Why eat healthy?

  • To lower your health risks. Choosing healthier foods can help you lower your risk for chronic health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • To stay strong and active. Healthy foods have the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs to stay strong and live a longer life.
  • To manage your weight. A healthy diet and physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight.
  • To set a positive example. If you have children, the healthy food options your child sees you make now can impact their eating patterns throughout their lifetime.
  • To save money. When a person eats healthy and lives a healthy lifestyle, he or she is less likely to develop costly chronic illnesses in life. A healthy lifestyle can help you avoid spending thousands of dollars on doctors’ visits and medications later in life.
  • To improve mood and mental health. What you eat has a direct impact on your brain which regulates your mood. Also, eating healthy foods can help to keep your mind from feeling foggy and distracted.
  • To help improve your quality of sleep. People who avoid large amounts of caffeine and foods high in sugar and fat are more likely to have higher quality sleep.

 

The Facts

  • More than 1 in 3 of adults and nearly 1 in 5 children or adolescents are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, which are among the leading causes of illness and death.
  • Fewer than 1 in 3 adults get the recommended amount of vegetables each day.
  • Approximately 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.
  • More than 23 million Americans — including 6.5 million children — live in food deserts. Food deserts are neighborhoods, cities, or towns that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.
  • Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

  

Tailor Messages to Your Audiences

When communicating about nutrition with community members, focus on:

  • How eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive — there are many healthy, affordable food options.
  • Healthy food can be fast food — learning about meal planning, making meals ahead of time, and buying ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables (like apples and bananas) can make healthy eating quick and easy.
  • Small, low-cost or no-cost changes that improve your diet, like choosing whole-grain bread instead of white bread or adding chopped vegetables to pasta sauce.
  • The benefits of healthy eating — particularly how making healthy options can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • Provide examples specific to the culture or eating patterns of your population. For example, many Mexican foods are fried in lard, high in sodium, and loaded with cheese, but can be prepared more healthfully.

 

When communicating about nutrition with community leaders, employers and partners, focus on:

  • How improving access to healthy foods and nutrition can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease among community members.
  • The positive impact good nutrition can have on controlling or decreasing long-term health care costs.
  • The role we can all play in making healthy living easier where people live, learn, work, and play

 

Sources for the facts

https://www.fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/

https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/leading-health-indicators/2020-lhi-topics/Nutrition-Physical-Activity-and-Obesity

 

Top 10 Tips for Nutritious Eating

It is important to give community members practical steps they can incorporate into their everyday lives. Provided below is a list of tips you can distribute to individuals in the community to help them develop a healthier lifestyle.

 

The following list contains 10 easy ways to develop a healthier lifestyle:

  1. Drink lots of water — aim for 8+ glasses a day!
  2. Don’t skip breakfast! Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast to keep you feeling full throughout your morning. (example: scrambled eggs with peppers and onions.)
  3. Pack a healthy lunch with fruits and vegetables. (Packing a lunch rather than eating out every day is also a great way to save money.)
  4. Cook with brown rice instead of white rice.
  5. Use dried beans whenever possible. They are lower in sodium than canned beans.
  6. Snack on fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots.
  7. If you eat out, split the meal with a friend or only eat half.
  8. Be cautious with condiments, which tend to be high in fat and cholesterol. For example, using non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream is a great substitute.
  9. Use corn or whole wheat tortillas. Regular tortillas are usually made with white flour, which lacks many nutrients that can be found in the whole-wheat varieties.
  10. When it comes to protein, choose options that include lean poultry, beans, and fresh seafood. Also, remember that a serving size of meat should be approximately 6 oz (the size of a deck of cards).

 

Healthier Mexican Food Alternatives

 

Traditional Foods Healthier Substitutions
Tacos or enchiladas made with beef Chicken, shrimp, ground turkey
Guacamole dip Black beans, salsa
White rice Brown rice
Lard or butter for cooking foods Baking, steaming, broiling or grilling
Canned beans Dried beans
Canned refried beans Fat-free refried beans
Full-fat Cheeses Queso fresco, reduced-fat cheeses
Sour Cream Reduced- or no-fat sour cream, Greek yogurt
White flour tortillas Wheat or corn tortillas

 

Source:  American Diabetes Association, My Food Advisor® Recipes for Healthy Living, http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/tips/2012-05/do-latino-foods-and-diabetes.html

 

Community Gardens and House Plants

A healthy diet includes a large amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are multiple ways individuals can assure they have access to fruits and vegetables, including having a garden or being a member of a community garden. If individuals do not have the space or do not want to make the commitment to a garden, they may consider having a few small plants in their house. Additionally, it is important to remember that some fruits and vegetables are not in season year-round.  By buying fruits and vegetables that are in season, individuals are more likely to eat produce that is rich in vitamins and minerals and it will save them money as well!

 

Community Gardens

Many people who live in cities or highly populated areas have little to no access to a yard. Therefore, community gardens are a great way to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Most community gardens have the option of buying an individual plot where you can plant and harvest produce that you prefer. Community gardens are a great way to bring people from all areas of the community together. By working and harvesting crops at a community garden, you can increase the availability of fresh produce, educate the community about the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and raise community morale.

Find a community garden near you by looking at the website of the American Community Gardening Association. The website provides a list of gardens that can be found by searching for address, city, or zip code. If you cannot find a community garden near you, the website also offers information about starting your own!

 

House Plants

If individuals do not want to make the commitment to a community garden, there are a few options of plants that can easily be grown in a home. Some of the options do not require a large amount of sunlight.

The following is a list of plants that are easy to grow inside your house:

  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Lemon
  • Bell pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Mint

 

Just be sure to do your research so you know what type of environment works best for each plant!

 

Seasonal Produce Chart

As previously mentioned, consumers can save money by buying fruits and vegetables when they are in season. The following is a table that lists when some fruits and vegetables are in season. This list may be distributed at local grocery stores, schools, businesses, and health care facilities for educational purposes.

SEASON FRUIT OR VEGETABLE IN SEASON        
 

Spring

 

Apricots, Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocados, Bell Peppers, Collard Greens, Grapefruit, Green Peas, Guavas, Mangos, Oranges, Papayas, Rhubarb, Strawberries

 

 

Summer

 

Apricots, Avocados, Bell Peppers, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Corn, Grapes, Green Beans, Green Peas, Honeydew, Mangos, Nectarines, Okra, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Yellow Squash, Zucchini

 

 

Fall Acorn Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Grapes, Green Beans, Honeydew, Kiwi, Okra, Pears, Pomegranates, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips

 

 

Winter

 

Avocados, Brussels Sprouts, Collard Greens, Grapefruit, Guava, Kiwi, Oranges, Tangerines, Turnips

 

 

Year-Round Apples, Bananas, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Onion, Kale, Leeks, Lemons, Lettuce, Limes, Mushrooms, Onions, Pineapples, Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach

 

Tweets – National Nutrition Month®

The following are examples of tweets that can be used by community leaders and individuals. Remember to check the National Nutrition Month® website each year for details about the month.

 

Community leaders:

  • You can eat well and spend less! Check out this infographic to learn how: http://www.sophe.org/images/NNM-infographic-PNG32.png
  • Healthy eating can be affordable! Check out these tips for healthy eating on a budget: usa.gov/1E8zjjX #NNM #Partnering4Health
  • You can eat well and spend less! See how you can do it http://tinyurl.com/jocpn59
  • #DYK eating healthy can help prevent type 2 #diabetes? @healthfinder has more info: http://1.usa.gov/17Ky9Ji #NNM #Partnering4Health
  • Next time you’re on the go, skip the fast food — pack one of these healthy snacks instead: http://1.usa.gov/1LhsCKp #NNM #Partnering4Health
  • @American Heart tips for choosing healthy meals when dining out: ly/23oRhbd #NNM #Partnering4Health #AHA_ANCHOR
  • INFOGRAPHIC: Help others learn how to eat the @MyPlate way: usa.gov/20bKTBQ #NNM #Partnering4Health [twitpic]
  • Spread the word about how WIC can help women and children get healthy foods: usa.gov/1kMuwpW #NNM #Partnering4Health #gr8rwithwic
  • Use the new edition of the Dietary Guidelines to help develop healthy eating patterns: http://bit.ly/dga-2015 #NNM #Partnering4Health

Individuals:

  • #HealthTip: Next time you go shopping, buy vegetables and fruits in a variety of colors. #NNM #Partnering4Health
  • Know someone who could use help eating healthy? Use these tips to start the conversation: usa.gov/X30mSU #NNM #Partnering4Health
  • Celebrate National Nutrition Month® by trying a healthy new recipe today! usa.gov/1K2B5UD #NNM #Partnering4Health
  • Spread the word about how WIC can help women and children get healthy foods: usa.gov/1kMuwpW #NNM #Partnering4Health #gr8rwithwic

 

Facebook – National Nutrition Month®

The following list contains examples of posts that could be made by health professionals in order to promote National Nutrition Month®.

  • #DidYouKnow most kids in the United States are eating too much salt? Check out this infographic from CDC for tips on reducing kids’ salt intake. #NNM #Partnering4Health

http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/children-sodium/infographic.html

  • There’s a lot you can do to help prevent type 2 diabetes — and eating right is a great place to start. This National Nutrition Month®, learn more about preventing diabetes. #NNM #Partnering4Health

http://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/take-steps-to-prevent-type-2-diabetes

 

Sample Announcement for Newsletter or Blog

Cut and paste this text into your newsletter, listserv, or media release. Add relevant details and quotes from your organization.

 

[Date]

 

March is National Nutrition Month®

[Organization] is celebrating National Nutrition Month® by promoting the many benefits of eating a healthy and balanced diet. National Nutrition Month® highlights the importance of nutritious food options in keeping our community strong and healthy. Beginning in March, we encourage everyone to act by trying new, healthy foods and recipes!

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive — there are many low-cost or no-cost alternatives – choose whole-grain bread instead of white bread or add chopped vegetables to pasta sauce. And simple changes can make a big difference — eating healthy can help lower the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

It’s important to start children with healthy eating habits. Children who start eating healthy food at a young age are more likely to enjoy healthy foods and stay healthy throughout their lives.

To get started, check out these activities offered by [Organization]<insert link to community activity listing>. Together we can help build a healthy future for our community!

 

For more information, contact [insert contact information]

 

Sample News/Press Release

For Immediate Release – March 1, 2017
Infographic Available

 

CELEBRATE NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH IN MARCH BY EATING NUTRITIOUSLY
It’s time to make one positive change for health this month —

10 Tips for Healthy Eating

 

[CITY, STATE]  – One out of three adults and nearly one out of six children are overweight or obese. March is National Nutrition Month® which offers an opportunity for Americans to jump start eating nutritiously, says the [Name of organization].

“Often, eating a healthy diet and making lifestyle changes can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task,” [said organization representative]. “Thankfully there are tools and strategies that people can use to incorporate nutrition and healthy eating in a seamless manner.

National Nutrition Month® presents an opportunity for everyone to learn more about nutrition and try new and healthy foods.

Eating healthy foods can help you manage individuals lower the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. And the younger people develop healthy food habits, the more likely they are to stay healthy throughout their lives.

SOPHE offers people 10 tips to help eat nutritiously:

  1. Drink lots of water — aim for 8+ glasses a day!
  2. Don’t skip breakfast! Start your day with a protein packed breakfast to keep you feeling full throughout your morning.
  3. Pack a healthy lunch with fruits and vegetables.
  4. Cook with brown rice instead of white rice.
  5. Use dried beans whenever possible. They are lower in sodium than canned beans.
  6. Snack on fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots.
  7. If you eat out, split the meal with a friend or only eat half.
  8. Be cautious with condiments, which tend to be high in fat and cholesterol. Using non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream is a great substitute.
  9. Use corn or whole wheat tortillas. Regular tortillas are usually made with white flour which lacks many nutrients that can be found in the whole wheat varieties.
  10. When it comes to protein, choose options that include lean poultry, beans, and fresh seafood. Also, remember that a serving size of meat should be approximately 6 onuces – the size of a deck of cards.

-more-

“We want to help communities, families and individuals overcome the barriers to good health,” [organization representative]. “We want to make healthy living easier where people live, learn, work, and play.”

Currently, the [Name of organization] is a partnering in the National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention nationwide project. There are 97 projects in communities across the nation assisting people and communities in living healthier lives.

Follow: #Partnering4Health
Media contact:

 

###

 

[Organization boilerplate]

 

Infographic: MyPlate

This infographic was designed by the United States Department of Agriculture. It can be used to help you visualize what a healthy plate of food should look like. First and foremost, it is important to have a balance of the main categories of food including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Second, it is important to have a large emphasis on the vegetables which tend to be the most nutrient dense category. Also keep in mind that a serving of protein should only be approximately 5-7 ounces
 

Infographic: MiPlato

This infographic was designed by the United States Department of Agriculture. It can be used to help you visualize what a healthy plate of food should look like. First and foremost, it is important to have a balance of the main categories of food including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Second, it is important to have a large emphasis on the vegetables which tend to be the most nutrient-dense category. Also keep in mind that a serving of protein should only be approximately 5-7 ounces.

 

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/multilanguage-spanish

 

Additional Resources

Partnering4Health ads

http://parrotee.com/partnering4health/

The shared messaging ads were developed by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) for National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention project cohorts. Many of the layouts are customizable to allow you to include your organization’s name and/or website.

 

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association has helpful tips for substituting traditional Mexican foods like tortillas with healthier options.  Incorporate these tips in your media alerts or at cooking demonstrations.

 

American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association offers tips for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, including recipe ideas, infographics and live interviews in Spanish.

English & Español

 

National Nutrition Month® Toolkit

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has developed a toolkit to help you plan a successful National Nutrition Month® event. Get ideas for how to celebrate National Nutrition Month® in your community.

 

How to Plan a National Health Observance

The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion developed a guide to help you plan a successful National Nutrition Month® event. Use these tips to help you plan, promote, and implement a great event.

 

Healthy Eating Resources

For more practical information on healthy eating visit:

 

Eat Healthy from healthfinder.gov

Check out a variety of resources on eating healthy — including quick tips, questions for the doctor, shopping lists, conversation starters, and more.

 

The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is designed to help public health professionals support Americans in achieving healthier eating patterns. Read the latest version of the DGA.

 

SuperTracker Nutrition and Fitness Tool

SuperTracker helps users plan, analyze, and track nutrition and physical activity. Learn more about SuperTracker.

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Community Health: Making Healthy Living Easier

A collection of free and low-cost, audience-tested advertising and support materials produced by state and local health departments, nonprofit organizations, and federal agencies. These materials are designed to create awareness about obesity and other chronic conditions and to promote healthy living.

 

Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Here you can find data, statistics, and toolkits about being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

 

Infographic: Eat well. Spend less.

Use this infographic as a visual reminder of nutritious and healthy eating. Download http://tinyurl.com/jocpn59 or http://www.sophe.org/images/NNM-infographic-PNG32.png

 

Increasing Access to Healthy Foods Community Toolkit

This toolkit was created by the Society for Public Health Education to help guide efforts to make healthy living easier where people live, learn, work, and play — with a particular focus on increasing access to healthy foods.