Way to Grow is happy to celebrate National Nutrition Month through our Cooking Matters classes for our children and parents! National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and awareness campaign held in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In a partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension Services, Way to Grow offers Cooking Matters, a six-week cooking and nutrition course for parents and their children. Skills for healthy cooking, eating, and shopping are presented throughout the sessions. This course teaches families how to use healthy recipes and plan meals on a tight budget. A professional chef demonstrates how to prepare healthy meals, and participants are given the opportunity to cook their own healthy meal after each demonstration. In addition, participants take home the recipes and groceries to prepare the meal on their own at home.
There is no singular diet that is right for everyone, so it is important to establish a healthful eating plan specific to your lifestyle and budget. Positive eating habits and a nutritious diet offer many physical and mental health benefits, including:
- Disease prevention: Healthy eating lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome by reducing blood fats and helping your blood flow smoothly. The more healthy foods you eat, the better your “good” cholesterol levels will be, helping prevent disease.
- Better sleep: Nutrients found in many healthy foods promote quality sleeping habits. Certain foods can calm your nervous system and trigger sleep-inducing hormonal response, helping you rest better.
- Improved brain function: Consuming a variety of nutritious foods boosts memory, concentration and overall brain function.
- More energy: Eating certain types of food in particular can help prevent fatigue. Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from nutrient-rich foods are important for increasing and maintaining your energy throughout the day.
- Strong immune system: You can boost your immune system and help reduce the chances of catching the common cold or flu with balanced diet that includes such healthy foods as spinach, broccoli, and yogurt.
- Improved mental health: Food choices have a direct effect on mood and attitude, and research has found that a healthy and balanced eating plan is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. When your diet is full of healthy nutrients, you significantly lower the risk of depression and help support mental and emotional well-being.
To find more information on National Nutrition Month, as well as tips on healthy eating, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website at www.eatright.org.