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March 6, 2012

Most of you are aware that every March we celebrate National Nutrition Month®.  But did you know that National Nutrition Month® first started as National Nutrition Week in 1973?  The first theme for National Nutrition Week was “Invest in Yourself- Buy Nutrition.”  Former president Richard Nixon gave a proclamation for the campaign followed by public service announcements, bumper stickers and news releases.  The American Dietetic Association, now known as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, used this campaign to promote the profession and educate the public about nutritional values. 

National Nutrition Week grew rapidly.  In 1980, The House of Delegates extended it to National Nutrition Month®.  The first symbol of healthy eating was created in 1977.   It was a cartoon character of a bird with a carrot for a nose and a body of lettuce called Nutribird.  Nutribird appeared on TV, T-shirts, songs and radio shows declaring “Eat a Balanced Diet Every Day!”  As the campaign and the ADA grew and changed, so did the symbol. 

Today’s food icon which complements the US Dietary Guidelines is MyPlate.  The theme for  National Nutrition Month® 2012 provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is “Get your Plate in Shape.”  This theme is about being physically active, getting back to the basics of healthy eating and thinking outside the box to make meals more enjoyable.   Over the last 39 years, the annual themes have changed but the emphasis on healthy eating revolves around eating fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein, low fat dairy and moderate portion sized meals.  

So, stop and take a look at how YOUR plate measures up!  Do you need to work on getting your plate “in shape”?  Remember the following tips and before long you will feel and be in the best shape of your life:

  • Make half your plate fruits and veggies
  • Make at least half your grains whole
  • Switch to fat-free or low fat milk
  • Vary your protein choices
  • Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
  • Enjoy your food but eat less
  • Be physically active each day

Let me know what changes you are doing to get your plate in shape during March National Nutrition Month®!

 To learn more about National Nutrition Month®, visit

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