Dissecting Healthy Ingredients for National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is: Beyond the Table. Nutrition starts with the quality of ingredients used to make delicious meals. Before food reaches the table, it is grown, harvested, processed, and shipped to grocery stores. It’s important to be aware of where your food comes from to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Shop Local
Look for ingredients that are close to home. There are many benefits to shopping local. Buying honey from nearby can help fight against seasonal allergies. This is because the honey harvested comes from bees that collect pollen from local flowers. Buying locally-produced products mean less time between when it is harvested to when it reaches your dinner plate. The fresher the ingredients the more enjoyable your meal will be. Locally-sourced ingredients are also beneficial to the environment as a whole. Less time traveling means less CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

Organic is Key
Organic ingredients mean no fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides were used when growing fruits and vegetables. With animals, no antibiotics or hormones are given. Again, this method is beneficial to the environment, as well as your body. Using organic ingredients in meals provides more nutrients and less toxins that can enter your body. Additionally, eating organic foods can help fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Read the Food Label
When fresh isn’t an option, make sure to look at the food label of pre-packaged food. Some brands will be better for you than others. For example, canned foods are usually loaded with salt, so try to find ones that have the lowest amount of salt. Also, make sure to check the expiration dates. Look at the back for when the food will go bad. A better alternative might be to check the freezer section. For instance, if you can’t find fresh green beans, it would be better to buy frozen over canned, as generally this option will have less preservatives.

To help you get started, familiarize yourself with the current food guide with this helpful free downloadable poster of the MyPlate Food Guide or Canada’s Food Guide. Then, click here for more resources on Nutrition.

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