March is Nutrition Month and this year, Canadian dietitians are talking about how healthy eating is about so much More than Food! For dietitians, it’s not just about considering what Canadians eat, but how they eat – how to enjoy food, the importance of eating meals together and how to cook more often by involving others in the planning and preparation of meals. Nutrition Month is the perfect time for Canadians to learn more about how food impacts their health and to connect with a dietitian.
Nearly 30 per cent of Canadians said they began eating healthier in 2019 in order to improve their overall health, according to a ProdegeMR study. However, dietitians know that easy access to highly processed foods, loss of food skills and other factors have impacted eating habits. The amount of money Canadians spend on highly processed foods has increased significantly in recent years and according to Statistics Canada, Canadian households spend about 30 per cent of their food budget on restaurant meals. To help address these challenges, dietitians across Canada will focus on the habits that support healthy eating this Nutrition Month, such as cooking with others and planning ahead.
“As dietitians, we know food is an important part of healthy eating, but it’s only the beginning. Personally, I see first-hand that many Canadians struggle with “how” to eat in our fast-paced world,” says Amy Yiu, dietitian and Nutrition Month spokesperson. “When I meet with clients, we talk about more than food and health; we talk about things like why their culture and food traditions matter, how cooking at home can help them reduce food waste and how to notice when they are hungry and full.”
Almost six in 10 Canadians are managing at least one chronic disease through food and diet as reported in the Tracking Nutrition Trends Survey in 2018; many more are looking to improve their health more generally. Dietitians work alongside family doctors, pharmacists, nurses and in the community to support Canadian families to make healthy food decisions.
“Dietitians are an essential resource for Canadians looking for support in making nutrition a key part of their overall health. Our studies have shown that nearly 70 per cent of Canadians understand that dietitians are a high-quality and regulated source of nutrition information,” said Nathalie Savoie, CEO of Dietitians of Canada. “This Nutrition Month, we want to help Canadians understand the positive impact a dietitian can have on their lives – an impact that is about so much more than just food! For example, dietitians are required to stay on top of emerging research skills and techniques so they can recommend innovative treatments, services and tools to their clients and patients.”
Throughout March, dietitians will inspire their communities and workplaces through events and on social media to share healthy eating habits that go beyond food.