How food can become your “fuel for the future”


In this article:

  • It’s time to celebrate National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is “Fuel for the Future.”

  • You may want to ask your provider for a referral to a registered dietitian (RD), who can help you with food choices that will keep you well.

  • Learn how to save money with healthy eating.

Walk into a grocery store today and you can find plenty of options — both good for you and very bad for you. With so many choices available, how can you determine what would be the best ones for a healthy future?

We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ National Nutrition Month during the month of March. The 2023 theme is “Fuel for the Future,” and the Academy encourages all Americans to eat right with sustainability in mind — both for our bodies and the environment.

The Academy offers five messages for us to focus on throughout the month that help us become laser-focused on our health. Here, we take a look at those five nutrition tips and how you can apply them practically to your life.

Eat with the environment in mind.

Our planet gives you everything you need to live a healthy life — you just need to make the most of what is offered. Here are some ways you can do so:

  • Eat more plant-based meals and snacks. Not only are plant-based foods good for your health, they’re also good for the planet. These types of foods contain no or low amounts of animal products and include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Buy foods with small amounts of packaging. Do most of your shopping in the produce aisle and bakery department, rather than buying processed foods that use large amounts of plastic.
  • Buy foods in season and shop locally. Two hundred years ago, your ancestors only had the food that was available during that time of the year. Make a conscious effort to eat the foods that are in season and support local farmers.
  • Start a garden at home. Nothing tastes better than a tomato or fruits and veggies you grew yourself. Invest in some seeds and start growing your own produce. That way, you will be adding to the earth’s rich bounty, rather than taking away from it.

Seek help from a registered or licensed dietitian.

Clinical dietitians at Providence can help you make the nutritional choices that will allow you to accomplish your health goals, by providing nutrition education and information. A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help you speed up your recovery process from a disease, injury or surgery; lose weight or maintain a healthy weight; adapt to a new diagnosis, such as celiac disease; or adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of heart disease.

If you think a dietitian can make a difference for you, ask your provider for a referral. They can help you find a dietitian who specializes in your unique needs.

Learn more about the dietitians at Providence.

Stay nourished and save money.

Sometimes, it can seem like eating healthy costs a lot more than buying processed foods — and in some cases, that’s true. But there are ways you can be a penny-pinching healthy eater:

  • Plan your meals and snacks. Make a list of the meals you plan to cook and the snacks you think you will be eating. Then, create your meal plan and shopping list based on the ingredients you need. Promise yourself you won’t stray off your healthy food shopping list.
  • See what foods you have at home before purchasing more. Once you’ve finished your shopping list, hunt through your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer to make sure you don’t already have the ingredients you need. You may also consider planning your meals based on what you already have — particularly in your refrigerator, as those items are more likely to spoil.
  • Shop the sales. Flip through the advertisements from the local grocery stores before you shop for the week. You will notice that you can save significant money by shopping the sales. In some cases, you may even want to stock up on items that are on sale so you won’t have to buy them again for a while.
  • Learn about community resources such as SNAP, WIC and local food banks. If money is tight, there are ways you can find the food you need without having to spend so much money. If you’re unsure where to start, contact your local municipality and ask them to point you in the right direction. 

Eat a variety of foods from all food groups.

Aim for plates that incorporate a wide variety of colors. Look for vegetables and fruits that are green, orange, yellow and purple; add grains of several different colors; choose lean meats; and top it all off with some low-fat dairy choices such as different kinds of cheeses, yogurt and milk.

Avoid fad diets that encourage unnecessary restrictions, such as eliminating all carbohydrates or eating mostly proteins. The best way to stay healthy is to vary your diet.

Make tasty foods at home.

Restaurants are a nice treat, but let’s face it — the best way to eat healthy is to keep track of exactly what’s going into your meals. You can do that best at home, by:

  • Learning new cooking and meal preparation skills. There’s nothing quite like a new recipe that hits the spot. These days, you can find ways to incorporate any ingredient into your meals by searching online. Challenge yourself!
  • Finding creative ways to use leftovers. Take leftover meat and turn it into a stew. Transform a casserole into a new mix of flavors. There are countless ways to creatively use leftovers.
  • Eating with family and friends whenever possible. Food is meant to be shared with others. Rather than always eating on the run, take the time to truly enjoy your food around the dinner table.

It takes a little extra effort to eat healthy and change our eating habits — but it’s so worth it!


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Related resources 

Start the new year with healthy habits

Food delivery program

Eating healthier

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

About the Author

We are all about food! The Providence Nutrition Team loves to talk about and share our expertise on how to help you find the right diet, food types and maintenance tactics to help you live life to the fullest...while also enjoying the best foods that mother nature has to offer.

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