National Nutrition Month® is officially underway! If you'd still like resources to help you and your clients make the most of this week, check out the post Get Ahead: Everything You Need to Know for Week One of Nutrition Month!
And if you're ready to prepare for Week Two (March 8-14), then you've come to the right place.
Week Two's theme is Plan Your Meals Each Week! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends emphasizing the following ideas...
- Use a grocery list to shop for healthful foods.
- Be menu-savvy when dining out.
- Choose healthful recipes to make during the week.
- Enjoy healthful eating at school and at work.
- Plan healthful eating while traveling.
Now, that might be enough to inspire you and get you ready for the week ahead. But if you'd like some ideas from my team, we've got a whole bunch on each topic, all of which come together to help your clients really internalize the message "Plan Your Meals Each Week." Plus, these help lay the groundwork for Week Three, which will be here before you know it!
Use a Grocery List to Shop for Healthful Foods:
- Not sure where to start? Here's a free printable grocery list handout! Your clients can simply mark the foods they'd like to buy for the week and they'll have a great roadmap for healthful grocery shopping. This can also be the inspiration you need to help your audience craft their own personal grocery shopping lists. Sometimes remembering that a variety of healthful options exist and are available can be a huge help!
- Shop Fast and Smart: 3 Grocery Store Strategies also has some helpful guidance for grocery shopping that actually facilitates meal planning for the week. It was written before the pandemic, though, so you might want to make a modification or two to the tips.
- And, of course, my team and I have put together a whole series of PowerPoints about healthful grocery shopping. These are great for info sessions and can also be adapted for newsletters, blog posts... you name it!
- Navigating a restaurant menu can be tricky. Don't miss the blog posts 6 Strategies for Dining Out Healthfully and Avoid 8 Dining Out Danger Zones, which take a straightforward route out of a complex problem. (And if you're not already a member, consider joining today to get access to these articles along with hundreds of others).
- Plan a virtual "trip" to a fast food restaurant with your group. Have them navigate the online menu and choose 2-3 healthful meal options on their own, then come back as a group to share answers and strategize. What constituted a good meal? Why? Were there any traps or pitfalls that made things harder?
Choose Healthful Recipes to Make During the Week: This may be my favorite idea for Week Two, and I have the perfect resource for you: The Food and Health Recipe Archive. This thing is massive, with over 1,000 free and delicious (chef-tested) recipe ideas. Many recipes have photos and nutrition information and all of them have intuitive, step-by-step directions to help your clients find success in the kitchen, no matter how familiar they are with cooking. If you're not sure where to start, check out this link to my personal favorite recipes.
Enjoy Healthful Eating at School and at Work:
- The USDA School Snack Guide – Smart Snack List for Parents, Teachers and School Foodservice Directors might come in handy for this particular aspect of Week Two. And of course if any of your clients are not able to work remotely right now, this guide to Worksite Wellness has a few tips that may come in handy.
- I've also got posters, handouts, and PowerPoint resources on these topics in the Nutrition Education Store!
Plan Healthful Eating While Traveling:
This topic is a little loaded, especially since it's still wise not to travel if you can possibly avoid it. If your clients have to travel, try any of the following...
- 3 Healthful Recipes to Eat on the Go has lots of great advice, straightforward recipes, and a free printable handout!
- Eating on the Go is another popular handout with good ideas for what to try when you're away from home. Again though, now is not the time to be traveling if there is any way out of it.
Remember, there are also lots of resources at the Celebrate National Nutrition Month® Toolkit page from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics -- have you visited it yet?
And finally, my team and I have lots of other useful tools at the Nutrition Education Store. Stop by and I bet you'll find exactly what you need!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.