Nutrition Month

Celebrating ingredients for a healthier tomorrow with Nutrition Month

Canadians are looking for ways to promote healthier eating, a healthier planet, and affordable food. To celebrate the 40th annual Nutrition Month, dietitians are focusing on the connection between food, public health, and the environment.

During Nutrition Month 2022, dietitians will explore the key “ingredients” needed to change our food systems for a healthier tomorrow, says Dieticians of Canada. These ingredients will take the form of actions that can improve an individual’s health in addition to systemic changes that can be made, not just for today, but for the future.

The sustainability movement has been growing in Canada and around the world. Lucia Weiler, award-winning dietitian and co-founder of Nutrition for Non-Nutritionists, defines some key ingredients for a healthier tomorrow and sustainable food system.

Key ingredients for a healthier tomorrow

You probably know that dietitians provide life-changing advice on nutrition and food choices to manage illness and promote health. But many dietitians are also involved in these areas of sustainability that could help create a healthier tomorrow.

Improved food security

“Food and nutrition security exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to food, which is safe and consumed in sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and is supported by an environment of adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life.”

Food literacy

“Food literacy includes five main interconnected components: food and nutrition knowledge; food skills; self-efficacy and confidence; food decisions; and external factors such as the food system, social determinants of health, and socio-cultural influences and eating practices.”

Food sovereignty

“Food Sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.”[4]

Sustainable food choices

“Sustainable diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.”

Sustainable food systems

A food system that delivers food and nutrition security for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised.” 

What do sustainable food systems look like in Canada?

According to the Dietitians of Canada 2022 Nutrition Month Activity Guide, there are several characteristics of sustainable food systems in Canada:

  • They steward and enhance ecosystems and respect the needs of species in those ecosystems.
  • They are sovereign and self-sufficient while supporting other nations’ food sovereignty.
  • They support food literacy.
  • They support equitable and just access to food for all Canadians in a way that is empowering, inclusive, dignifying, and respectful.
  • They support a healthy relationship with food, such that Canadians value food, its origin, and its quality, and express identity and culture through foods.

RELATED: Double down on reducing food waste

How to join the conversation and support action  

It can be challenging to know where to start with change towards a healthier you and a healthier planet.

The Dietitians of Canada share five tips for reducing the environmental footprint of your diet:

  1. Reduce food waste
  2. Eat to satisfy your hunger and support your health
  3. Buy local products
  4. Choose a healthy and balanced diet
  5. Talk to a dietitian for credible, life changing advice

This article was originally published by Nutrition for Non-Nutritionists.