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March is National Nutrition Month

Whether it's starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help reduce food loss and waste. For National Nutrition Month® 2018, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics urges everyone to "Go Further with Food." There are many ways to interpret this so we’ll go through a few here:

“Go Further with Food” by Cutting Out Sugar

What exactly is sugar? Sugar is a substance extracted from plants like cane and sugar beet which is refined into a white crystalline like substance. This is actually the same process used to make flour. Flour is obtained through grinding and refining of grains into an oddly similar white substance. Since their effect on the blood stream, insulin and the brain are the same they are both considered sugar in the context of this article. So why is it that sugar is so addictive? Sugars are addictive because they cause a supernatural release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter involved in addiction in fact multiple studies have shown that sugar can not only substitute addictive drugs like cocaine but can even be more enticing. It’s been proven that the brains of those addicted to drugs and those addicted to sugar are virtually the same!

“Go Further with Food” by Planning Meals

Preparing several meals on the weekends can provide balanced meals that can easily be reheated throughout the week. It's also a great way to eat healthfully, save time during the week and reduce food waste. After you choose a day to prepare meals, decide which recipes you want to use and create a grocery list. When possible, choose meals made with ingredients you already have at home to get the most out of your food. Cooking in bulk saves money and allows you to portion and freeze meals for later. Instead of reheating an entire dish, only reheat a single meal. After reheating food in the microwave or the oven, use a thermometer to ensure leftovers reach a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Create a meal prep plan that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods.

“Go Further with Food” by Shopping Local

Shopping locally can be a great way to add healthful foods to your diet while conserving natural resources. That's why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to "Go Further with Food" by choosing foods that are healthful to the environment and their bodies during National Nutrition Month®, celebrated each March. Food purchased at farmers markets often is more affordable and tastes better than at commercial grocery stores because it is locally grown and naturally ripened. Buying locally grown food also helps conserve natural resources and has a minimal effect on the environment. Supporting local farmers markets enables us to produce healthful food today and for generations to come. Plan ahead when you shop locally. Bring a shopping list and purchase foods you know how to prepare.Sustainability is about making the best possible choices for your health, the health of the community, the environment and those producing your food.

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