Melissa Fernandez is the Chapter Representative for the CON SNP National Executive, a PhD student at Université Laval, and a registered dietitian. She is the regional representative for Nutrition Month in Quebec City. You can find out more about Melissa here.
The Dietitians of Canada have been hosting Nutrition Month for over 30 years and every year it gets better with more resources, more partners and more engagement from the public.
1. A great strategy
This year’s theme highlights the fact that a lot of Canadians have daily struggles with making healthy food choices for themselves and their loved ones, and this does NOT need to be the case. Eating and feeding your family doesn’t have to be a “fight”, so the Dietitians have Canada outlined three steps to help overcome common challenges:
- Spot the problem.
- Get the facts.
- Seek support.
Check out the free fact-sheets for examples!
2. Free resources and tools for the public
No need to be a member of professional association to access credible healthy eating resources. The Dietitians of Canada provide free resources and tools available for download by private institutions, health professionals and the public. A team spends an entire year developing content and attractive material to put into these resources, which fit very conveniently into workplace health programs, educational settings or community services. There are healthy recipes, ambassador toolkits, “Take the Pledge” certificates, ready-to-use ads, messages for Twitter, posters, fact-sheets and videos. Personally, my favorite resource are the recipes that come out every year. They look delicious! For a full list of free resources check-out the Nutrition Month website.
3. National mobilization
From coast to coast, dietitians are putting out the same messages and creating awareness about healthy eating. This type of mass-media health promotion strategy is a winner. A single overarching message, that is being reinforced and repeated by multiple national partners and individual dietitians, avoids confusing the public with different messaging about food and healthy eating.
4. Events all month long!
Dietitians and organizations in cities across Canada put together special activities for the public from conferences to kiosks. These activities are hosted in schools, work places, communities, and by health professional or groups of people interested in creating awareness about healthy eating. In Quebec, our local Nutrition-Month committee has partnered with the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods to host activities for the public, for our affiliates and for local dietitians. Check out the Canada Activity Map to find out what’s going on in your area.
5. Recognition of professionals
Dietitians belong to professional associations and have to be licenced to practice and provide primary care, private consulting services or information to the public. As part of licencing requirements, dietitians update their skills on a regular basis so that they stay abreast of the latest science and best standards in their field of practice. They are the most qualified professionals to provide you with information about nutrition and your diet. Every year, to recognize dietitians across Canada, the second Wednesday of March is “Dietitians Day”. This year, on March 15, dietitians across the country opened their ears to the public.
We’re nearing the end of nutrition month, but that’s no reason to end your commitment to eating better. Small changes to your diet sustained throughout the year can have big impacts on your well-being.
Spread the word about Nutrition Month and stay tuned for March 2018!