National Nutrition Month – Beyond the Table

Feb 28, 2024

Richland Center, WI – March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is Beyond the Table. The Richland Hospital and Clinics’ team of Registered Dietitians is reminding everyone to look beyond the table when making choices regarding their health and the environment.

As a farming community, we recognize the hard work that goes into growing food. Surprisingly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates each person wastes about 220 pounds of food each year. This waste not only affects our wallets but also the environment. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working toward achieving a dramatic reduction in food waste by the year 2030. Fortunately, there are healthy ways to fuel your body and reduce food waste.

Plan meals with foods you have in the kitchen:

Before making a grocery list, check to see what you have lingering in the refrigerator, the freezer, or the pantry. Prioritize foods that are about to expire and produce that may soon go bad. Using these food items first will not only save you money, it will also eliminate waste.

Get creative with leftovers:

If you’re not a fan of eating the same thing the next day, try to transform your leftovers. Use leftover cut vegetables and prepared meats for soups, salads, or sandwiches. The possibilities are endless – never underestimate the power of adding leftovers to eggs, a tortilla, pasta, or rice. Keep in mind, leftovers should be eaten within three to four days.

Don’t let your eyes eat more than your stomach:

Be mindful of portion sizes and start with a smaller amount. This not only benefits your health but also reduces food waste on the plate. Restaurants typically provide a large quantity of food; don’t be afraid to take some of it home in a to-go container. Consider freezing foods as well. Soups, breads, and many meals freeze and reheat well.

You can contribute to the USDA’s goal of reducing food waste by half before 2030. The ideas shared in this article are not an exhaustive list of ways to help decrease the amount of food loss. Shopping at local markets, buying from community farmers, and donating to food pantries are other ways your choices can make a difference. Challenge yourself to think Beyond the Table this month by implementing at least one of these tips in your daily routine. For more information, visit https//www.epa.gov/recycle/preventing-wasted-food-home#toolkit

The Richland Hospital and Clinics is a nationally awarded health care facility dedicated to caring, educating, and healing. Providing compassionate care for nearly 100 years to residents of the greater Richland County area, TRHC operates an independent, integrated group medical practice in three locations, including rural health clinics in Spring Green and Muscoda and a critical access hospital at its primary location in Richland Center, WI.