National nutrition month: March Madness

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. 

By Cathleen Kronemer

Last week, when the 20th of March heralded the beginning of spring, I for one remained unconvinced.  The chill in the air, coupled with nasty winds and the looming threat of snow, propelled me to find something else equally as worthy as springtime that I could embrace without fail.  As it turns out, March is National Nutrition Month, an event we can march right into, regardless of the temperatures outside.

The notion of rectifying a year’s worth of menu mishaps and food faux pas with a resolution made on Jan. 1 seems overzealous.  Even if we do start the new calendar year with good intentions, the Chocolate Fairy comes back to taunt and tempt us on Feb. 14!  So it seems wise that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics waited until March to declare a month in which we should focus our attention on the importance of making informed food choices, coupled with the development of sound physical activity habits.

This year’s theme, celebrating the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month, is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”.  The beauty of this premise is that it encompasses individual food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions, as well as health concerns.  Each of these components will have an impact on the foods we choose. As such, what constitutes a “healthy meal plan” for you may look vastly different than your neighbor’s equally healthy nutritional regime.

The madness we so often encounter when trying to “clean up” our meals is a direct result of the onslaught of cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all diets that the media flings at us, especially this time of year. The goal, therefore, of this month of awareness is to find a way to honor your individuality and carve out a healthy eating/physical activity plan that works for you today, next week, and every day after that.  Registered Dietitians and nutritionists can be a valuable resource in this endeavor.  Now you can enjoy March… without the Madness!