Written By: Minna Sabbahi, RD | Program Manager, Common Threads
Every March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hosts National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Fuel for the Future”; it aims to promote the health and well-being of both individual people and the planet as a whole. As we continue to uplift ourselves, our communities, and the nation, let’s make time to understand the interconnectedness between nutrition and sustainability. Through resilient informed decision-making, we can find ways to nourish ourselves while also protecting the environment.
Sustainable nutrition involves choosing foods that are nutrient-dense, while also being environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. The foods that we eat and how they are produced can have a significant impact on the environment. Here are some ways that you can play a part in your day-to-day life to make yourself and the planet healthier:
- Plant-based: Plan your meals to include plant-based items from each food group. Choosing more plant-based foods, including protein sources, can increase your intake of various nutrients and minerals, but also can reduce the environmental impact of food production. Plant-based foods typically require fewer resources to produce and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than animal-based foods.
- Local Produce: Support your local or regional farmers by shopping at farmers’ markets and eating more seasonal, locally grown foods.
- Food Waste: Reduce food waste by planning your meals, seeing what food you have at home before purchasing more, storing food properly, and, if possible, composting.
- Local Resources: Access resources around you, such as community gardens, to further build connections to others and acquire supplies.
- Exploring Different Cultures: Find ways to enjoy cooking at home either by yourself or with loved ones and be sure to incorporate different cultural foods and traditions that are important to you. Try new Common Threads culturally-responsive recipes to kick-start your food journey around the world.
- Advocacy: Advocate for policies that promote regenerative agriculture and food systems that encourage biodiversity and optimal soil health and truly support farmers.
- Food Justice: Educate yourself on food justice, a movement that seeks to create a just world in which all individuals have access to affordable, nutritious foods produced through sustainable agricultural practices. Learn about efforts occurring in your community surrounding sustainable nutrition and food justice. Fueling the future requires that we are all uplifted together.
Although it may seem like a feat, do not doubt the positive influence your daily actions have on creating a more just and sustainable world in which we develop healthful eating with the environment in mind.
P.S. What better way to uplift and educate ourselves on how to “Fuel for the Future” than to also commemorate Women’s History Month. Women’s contributions have helped us and continue to pave the way to create a more equitable and sustainable food system that benefits all people. If you are in NY, check out some women-owned food cooperatives and community-supported agriculture programs that aim to provide access to healthy, affordable foods while supporting local farmers and promoting regenerative agriculture, such as: Rise and Root Farm and Soul Fire Farm.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Minna has been with Common Threads as a Program Manager covering the boroughs of Queens and Staten Island in NYC for the last three years. She is a trained Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a background in clinical and community Nutrition. Her overall interests lie in food security and justice. She hopes to continue to work within social justice movements aimed at building systems of resilience.