March is Nutrition Month

Having a healthy diet or “plate” is essential for overall health. Many experts even argue that 80% of your health comes directly from your plate and 20% comes from physical activity. Having a healthy plate can help protect you against chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Further, avoiding filling your plate with excess salt, sugar, and saturated fats is essential for health.

To raise awareness about the importance of nutrition and healthy plates, Dieticians of Canada is involved in March Nutrition Month. This is a time when individuals can explore key ingredients on their plate to make decisions for a healthier tomorrow. Dieticians of Canada created a number of resources to help others get involved in Nutrition Month. Some resources include:

  • Education about food security: learn about what resources your community needs and what supports are available to ensure your community is well fed
  • Food literacy: know about trustworthy nutrition information and build confidence in food skills
  • Food sovereignty: every Canadian has the right to food and it should be produced in a sustainable way
  • Sustainable food choices: provide and learn about how to live sustainably for our food system
  • Nutrition care and prevention: how to live a healthier lifestyle through dietary behaviour changes in the present to lead to a healthier tomorrow
  • The resources also include a recipe e-book and how to find a dietician if you have any questions or concerns.

Northern Hearts, a non-profit charity looking to increase education and health programming supports nutrition month and often incorporates heart-healthy recipes into their weekly social media posts on Facebook (@NorthernHeartsThunderBay), Instagram (@NorthernHeartsThunderBay), Twitter (@northernhearts8), and LinkedIn (@Northern Hearts Non-Profit Organization).

To relate nutrition month to heart health, Northern Hearts asked one of their board members who went through quintuple bypass surgery in 2006 how their “plate” has changed since then and what makes their plate healthy. For reference, a quintuple bypass is the most intricate heart bypass surgery and includes all five of the major arteries.

The one general “rule” they follow now is the general awareness about how much fat, sugar, and salt goes into the food they eat and they explained that the following is not a strict rule, but a rule they often follow to ensure they are at their healthiest. Their plate now includes an abundance of vegetables and an avoidance of boxed foods due to the extra salt and fat content. They often substitute potatoes for yams and have introduced salmon and pickerel to their plates, often being mindful of the differences between fried food and baked food. In terms of salad dressing, they tend to avoid creamy and stick to the simple oil and vinegar dressings. They also mentioned the importance of assessing restaurant food, as it is often loaded with salt with little nutrition added, however, there are some healthy options available depending on the restaurant.

Nutrition month is a time to explore new foods, start healthier habits, and enjoy the benefits of a healthier plate. Please take the time to explore the webpage below on all things nutrition month and try one thing that can make your day a little bit healthier.

Nutrition Month Resource Link:

Submitted by: Kayla Waddington, Program Coordinator, Northern Hearts