Enjoying Fruits & Veggies Beyond The Table

As the sun shines brighter and the days get warmer, it’s time to “spring clean” habits and routines and take a fresh look at health and wellness goals. March marks National Nutrition Month®, and this year’s theme invites us to think “Beyond The Table” when it comes to our health and the environmental impact. Our daily choices, from breakfast to midnight snacks, has a ripple effect on the world around us. 

School and family meals are crucial to better health, but healthy living isn’t just about what’s on our plate. It also involves knowing where our food comes from, having ready access to nutritious foods, choosing satisfying snacks, eating well on-the-go, enjoying a meal out with friends and so much more.  

Why It Matters: Focusing efforts “Beyond The Table” is vital as it highlights how food choices impact both personal health and the environment. Promoting more fruit and vegetable consumption boosts individual well-being and helps create a healthier future for all. 

How can you play a part in extending “Beyond The Table?” We’ve got some ideas! 

Exploring The Farm-to-Fork Journey 

Understanding the food journey, from production to consumption, enlightens consumers and informs dietary choices. Supporting local farmers and sustainable agriculture ensures quality produce and fosters environmental stewardship in communities. 

  • Team up with local farms or partner with a produce brand to host guided tours or create behind-the-scenes footage to share on social media. 
  • Host a seasonally focused, farm-to-table style meal where the menu is creating using locally-sourced products. Invite growers to mingle with diners and/or provide additional resources on growing practices and nutrition benefits of menu items.  
  • Invite a local grower to give a presentation at your workplace to learn about their growing methods, arming you with talking points when providing nutrition education to consumers.   

Stay Nourished On Any Budget 

Figuring out what to eat, when to have it, how to make it, where to buy it…there’s so many barriers that come into play when deciding on meals and snacks. Share your expertise on navigating grocery stores and farmers’ markets, preparing diverse foods, and maximizing nutritional value within budget constraints. 

  • Host cooking classes where you teach basic cooking skills and provide participants with new meal ideas and recipes.  
  • Help consumers navigate utilizing community resources, such as SNAP, WIC and local food banks through short videos, educational resources or by hosting a sign-up clinic. 
  • Create sample grocery lists and/or meal planning templates that can be downloaded as a free resource from your website.  
  • Take consumers on grocery store tours and teach them how to take advantage of sales, seasonal produce and purchasing all forms of produce – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice – to help maximize nutritional value while minimizing expenses.  

Foster Diverse Eating Environments 

Eating extends beyond the traditional dining room table. Whether consumers are eating at home, school, restaurants, on-the-go snacks or during events, embracing mindful eating practices during different eating occasions empowers individuals to make nutritious choices, aligning with the mantra: Every Time You Eat, Have A Plant®. 

  • Share recipes on your website and/or social media accounts to encourage easy and delicious ways to enjoy more produce. Gather inspiration from our recipes 
  • Curate newsletter content to include tips for boosting flavor or highlight various cooking methods to encourage new ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables.  
  • Create fun conversation starters centered around eating meals together to share on social media.  
  • Host a dinner party or a themed meal night highlighting cultural foods and traditions for all to enjoy.   

Eat With The Environment In Mind 

Understanding the importance of sustainable nutrition emphasizes the need for adopting eco-friendly eating habits. By aligning dietary choices with environmental consciousness, individuals can play a meaningful role in preserving natural resources and mitigating the effects of climate change for future generations. 

  • Demonstrate creative ways to use leftovers or reduce food waste through quick tips on social media. 
  • Embrace plant-forward meals and snacks. Create menus geared towards plant-forward dishes, highlighting both the nutritional and environmental benefits of doing so.  
  • Encourage shoppers to purchase seasonal produce or participate in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs to contribute to sustainable food systems.  
  • Educate athletes on how to include plant-forward meals and snacks into their pre- and post-workout fueling routine.  

It’s evident that consuming more fruits and vegetables is crucial for expanding “Beyond The Table” and linking dietary choices to a vibrant future. We all have a vital role in enhancing overall well-being through enjoying produce. So, remember – Every Time You Eat, Have A Plant® – and let’s keep fostering a culture of increased fruit and vegetable consumption for a happier, healthier world. 

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