March is National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The annual campaign highlights the importance of balanced eating and aims to help people reset their habits as they head into spring.
The theme for 2018’s National Nutrition Month® is "Go Further with Food," reminding us to think about how our food choices impact not only our physical health, but also the environment. Oftentimes, the healthiest foods for our bodies are also the best for the planet.
Preparing food that is both nutritious and environmentally responsible is at the core of HandCut Foods’ mission, making this year’s National Nutrition Month® theme especially easy to relate to. Whether you dine with HandCut Foods or not, you can care for your body and the planet by incorporating one (or all!) of our favorite methods for “going further with food.”
4 Ways to Go Further with Food
- Start with whole ingredients. Most food-manufacturing activities deplete the natural nutrient content of food. For example, high-temperature processes can destroy heat-sensitive vitamins in foods, while standard milling processes remove healthy fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals from grains. Working with whole ingredients ensures you’re maintaining the highest possible levels of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients, and antioxidants in your food. Additionally, by reducing your use of manufactured or processed ingredients, you reduce your consumption of packaging.
- Cook from scratch. Preparing your meals and snacks at home gives you total control over the ingredients you’re putting into your body. On the flip side, packaged and pre-prepared foods are notorious for containing “hidden” ingredients such as chemical preservatives, artificial flavor enhancers, and excessive amounts of sugar and salt. If you dine with HandCut Foods, you can rest assured that your meals away from home are cooked from scratch.
- Stay seasonal. Using in-season and locally grown ingredients reduces your carbon footprint by minimizing your “food miles”—the distance traveled from harvest to plate. Additionally, seasonal ingredients are packed with fully developed flavors and nutrients because they are harvested at their peak ripeness (rather than picked underripe to compensate for shipping time).
- Get creative with leftovers. Before you head to the grocery store to pick up new ingredients, see what’s in your fridge or pantry. Leftover chicken and vegetables? Turn it into a soup. Stale bread? Add eggs, cheese, and herbs for a simply delicious stratta. Utilizing leftovers can greatly decrease a household’s annual food waste—not to mention it can save money.