March is Nutrition Month
In 2022, the theme for Nutrition Month is Ingredients for a Healthier Tomorrow. We spoke to a few dietitians – alumni of our Food, Nutrition and Health program (Dietetics major) about their thoughts on this theme, which centres around actions that support a healthier tomorrow. That could mean improving food literacy and food sovereignty, making sustainable food choices, to raising awareness of nutrition care and prevention.
Eating less meat contributes to a healthier tomorrow by reducing your diet’s carbon footprint and land use, as well as overall reducing your impact on animals and the environment! Eating more plant-based proteins can increase your intake of dietary fibre, soy protein, and unsaturated fat as well as lower your intake of saturated fat, which can help decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. We love plant-based proteins such as soy products (tofu, tempeh, and edamame), legumes and pulses (beans, peas, lentils), nuts and seeds (and their butters!), seitan, and other meat alternatives. Not only can they be incredibly tasty (see our delicious peanut noodle salad recipe that features edamame and peanuts as the protein), plant-based proteins are also incredibly healthy for you. Unsure of how to incorporate more plant-based proteins in your diet? Take small steps like using half lentils and half ground beef in tacos, bolognese, and sloppy joes. You can also check out our website for more delicious, plant-based recipes!
To me, one of the most important ingredients in creating a healthier tomorrow is for dietitians to use their voices to better advocate for food sovereignty in Canada. The health of Canadians is determined by social and economic factors that affect their ability to make healthier choices, such as: the availability of clean water – which is not yet universal in our country – as well as access to a living wage so that healthy foods are more affordable to all.
It is important for dietitians to educate ourselves in the ways that our profession has centred colonial + Euro-centric approaches to nutrition care, to learn more about culturally safe dietetics practice and to amplify the voices of Indigenous, Black and dietitians of colour in order to foster safe and inclusive spaces for all Canadians to engage with nutrition care so they may live their healthiest lives.
Gerry Kasten and Jennifer Black
Fortunately, we have all of the ingredients we need here in BC! The key ingredient for a healthier tomorrow is to be sure that folx have enough to eat: people living in poverty, those earning low wages, and university students are all very much at risk for not having enough money for food.
Our recipe for a healthier tomorrow is:
- Ensuring everyone has enough income to meet their needs with dignity
- Access to housing that is affordable, adequate, safe and provides access to the space and tools needed to eat well
- Accessible, high quality child chare and educational opportunities
- Drug and Dental Plans
- Bridge funding for artists, gig employees and students
- Adequate parental leave and supports for workers who do care work
- A just food system that nourishes bodies, relationships, communities, land and water and cares for the people who grow, transport, prepare and serve the foods we rely on
Then let marinate, to create: