Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes National Nutrition Month®, a time when Americans are encouraged to return to the basics of healthy eating. This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month and the theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”.
This year’s theme helps to promote that eating healthfully doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. Instead,” consumers are encouraged to include favorite foods as part of a healthful eating plan that is tailored for their lifestyles, traditions, health needs and, of course, tastes”, says registered dietitian and Academy President Ethan A. Bergman.
The Academy strives to communicate healthy eating messages that emphasize a balance of food and beverages within energy needs, rather than any one food or meal. To this end, it is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. Most favorite foods can fit within this pattern, if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy has a list of the 10 Top Reasons to Consult a Registered Dietitian. A registered dietitian or “RD” serves as an integral liaison in helping individuals and communities make changes for a healthy delicious diet.
1. You have pre-diabetes and want to stave off diabetes. A registered dietitian can change your life by teaching you skills that will help you lose and keep off weight and keep diabetes at bay.
2. Your community has high levels of obesity. A registered dietitian can work with public health, government, school and other local leaders to create wellness programs that promote healthful eating and physical activity for everyone.
3. You are a marketing manager for a large food company and know consumers’ preference for good-tasting food that is healthy. A registered dietitian can make the connection and work with your food scientists to develop new products that will be successful in the marketplace.
4. You want to improve your performance in sports. A registered dietitian can help you set goals to achieve results – whether you’re running a marathon, skiing or jogging with your dog.
5. You have had gastric bypass surgery. Since your stomach can only manage small servings, it’s a challenge to get the right amount of nutrients in your body. A registered dietitian will work with you to develop an eating plan for your new needs.
6. You realize you need to feed your family healthier foods but you do not cook. A registered dietitian who has special culinary skills can teach you how to cook in a simple, convenient way.
7. Your teenager has issues with food and eating healthfully. A registered dietitian can assist with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and overweight issues.
8. Your community wants more local foods to be available. A registered dietitian can lead efforts to make sure food will not only be healthy but also will positively affect the local economy.
9. You just had your first child, are concerned the baby is not eating enough and need help and confidence for breastfeeding. A registered dietitian can provide guidance and assurance that you and your infant are getting enough fluoride and B vitamins.
10. Your mother, who is increasing in age, wants to stay in her home. A registered dietitian leading a local concrete dining and home delivery meals program can obtain a nutrition screening to make sure that this happens.
Just this past week the Academy announced that it has approved the option for Registered Dietitians- RDs, to use the credential RDN – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, if they choose.
The option was added to communicate a broader concept of wellness (including prevention of health conditions beyond medical nutrition therapy) as well as treatment of conditions. This RDN designation also differentiates the rigorous credential requirements and highlights that all registered dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians.
The Academy’s National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition based on the “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” theme. Visit the Academy at eatright.org or the Maine affiliate, the Maine Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) at eatrightmaine.org.
Georgia Clark-Albert, is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and
certified diabetes educator (CDE). She provides nutrition consultant
services through Mainely Nutrition in Athens. Read more of her
columns and post questions at bangordailynews.com or email her at