Since 1973, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics has celebrated nutrition every March, encouraging Americans to learn more about the food they put in their bodies and to develop healthy eating habits through the National Nutrition Month campaign.
“Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” is this year’s National Nutrition Month theme. “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” promotes mindful eating behaviors that strike a balance between nutrition and pleasure. After all, eating is just as much about nourishing our bodies as it is about enjoying food traditions, social interaction, and flavors.
Although it’s still winter here in Vermont, there are plenty of nutritious and flavorful local foods available through cold storage and other methods. Think: root veggies, winter squash, carrots, and cabbage. However, many residents of Addison County struggle to gain access to fresh, healthy foods. Organizations like HOPE, the Vermont Foodbank, and others work to expand access through food shelf services and initiatives such as Gleaning, VeggieVanGo, and more.
Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM), a student organization on campus engages and educates local children and families around issues of nutrition, working towards the mission of National Nutrition Month year-round.
Chelsea Colby, president of NOM, describes National Nutrition Month as “encouraging people to return to the basics of healthy eating. We are asked to recognize that there is no one right way to eat but that it is important to incorporate an array of healthy foods,” Colby says.
NOM introduces children and young adults to new fruits and vegetables they may never have tasted before and sends them home with print-out recipes.
“Even if they don’t like it the first time we know that children are more likely to try a food again if they are already familiar with it. So, every exposure counts,” Colby says.
Going further than exposure to new foods, NOM also teaches young people about different ways to consume healthy foods. Whether challenges arise to eating healthy foods due to cost impediments, lack of variety in preparation, or even picky eating habits, NOM works with young people to find ways to overcome these barriers and to connect students with helpful information and services in Addison County.
This semester NOM hopes to attend the Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Action Conference in May and continue their local programming and outreach in schools and beyond.
Interested in attending the Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Conference? Want to learn more about NOM and the chance to join the organization as a volunteer?
Visit go/nom, or email Chelsea Colby, firstname.lastname@example.org.
~Alison Haas ’16, CE Communications Intern