National Nutrition Month®: Fuel for the Future
By: Kristin Kessler, RDN, CDN, CYT, Project Manager, Department of Health and Wellness, City of Kingston
Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program
March is here again, which means it’s time to celebrate National Nutrition Month® again! If this is your first time celebrating, National Nutrition Month® is an annual month-long campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics when everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.
This year’s theme is “Fuel for the Future.” Just like how what we eat can affect our bodies, what we eat can also affect the health of our planet. Below are some suggestions on how to eat in a sustainable way to nourish both your body while also protecting our environment. A bonus for eating sustainably is that it encourages less food waste, which is great for your wallet as well!
Ways to Eat for Our Planet
Choose Plant-Based Foods More Often
Choosing foods that come from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, is a great start for the environment. We know that these foods have a lesser impact on our environment than animal-based foods. You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to make a difference! Even starting off by making a meatless meal just one night of the week is a step in the right direction. Check out Meatless Mondays to get recipe inspiration.
Buy In-Season and Shop Locally
Not only does buying in-season help the planet, but it also provides you with the tastiest option! And shopping locally helps to reduce carbon emissions by reducing the lengthy distances that food gets transported when it’s grown halfway across the globe.
We’re fortunate in the Hudson Valley to be surrounded by many farms! You can buy from farms a few ways: 1) visit a farmers’ market, 2) buy at the farm stand, or 3) join a CSA (community supported agriculture) Check out this map from Ulster Corps to find many of these options we have close to home!
Shop smart and use leftovers strategically
Another great way to eat for sustainability is by reducing food waste. Consider planning out your meals on a weekly basis so that you shop just for what you need. A great way to reduce food waste is to use leftovers strategically. Cook once to eat twice by doubling your recipe. Use leftovers in a salad, wrapped in a tortilla, or in a sandwich the next day. Stack recipes with similar ingredients when you don’t need the whole piece of produce. For example, if you have a recipe that uses half a head of cabbage for a slaw, plan to use the other half in soup the next night.
Sustainability at the City of Kingston
If this is all right up your alley and you want to learn how to do more or what the City of Kingston is doing for everyone, there are plenty of programs to learn about through our Office Of Sustainability either at https://kingston-ny.gov/Sustainability or at https://engagekingston.com/. Programs such as:
A fancy way to talk about composting, the City of Kingston in partnership with the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council, the Climate Smart Kingston Commission, and the Hudson Valley Regional Council, undertook a feasibility study for diverting food waste produced at municipal buildings as well as by residents and small businesses. The City is taking the results of that study to develop a plan for implementation that is due to be available as a draft to the public in late winter 2023.
How does this help the environment? Reducing the amount of food waste that goes to the landfills can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoided tipping fees. Reducing the number of trips dump trucks take to the landfill also reduces the emissions of greenhouse gasses. When the financial benefits from implementing such a program exceed the implementation and operating costs, it is a win all around. Kingston’s goal is to discover if the City can get this win like other like-minded communities have nation- and state-wide.
Contribute your voice! There will be a public input meeting to present the Draft Organics Diversion Plan on Tuesday, March 28th at 6pm in City Hall.
The Bike Share Program
The Sustainability Office, with support from the Complete Streets Advisory Council, the Live Well Kingston Commission, and the Climate Smart Kingston Commission, is in development of an ordinance permitting the use of e-bikes, e-scooters, and shared micro-mobility services within the City of Kingston. Developing such an ordinance will allow the City to implement safety regulations. These types of devices are helpful for the environment because they will support and encourage people who are seeking to reduce their reliance on vehicles, which is an essential climate change action. Many of these e-bikes still allow their users to pedal, just with some assistance. This is both helpful for our health because it can increase physical activity while increasing equity for those who might be unable to pedal a regular bike.
The Draft Ordinance is currently under review by Corporation Counsel and has been sent to the Laws and Rules Committee of the Common Council for consideration.
If you’ve made it this far, then you’re clearly excited about sustainability. Come join others who feel the same passion as this year’s Earth Fair! Hosted on Saturday, May 13th, Earth Fair is an event that promotes sustainability and will include live music, food trucks, vendors, games & activities, a free swap market, electric vehicle displays, green education, sponsored boat rides, and more. Details below and find out more at https://www.kingston-ny.gov/earthfair.
- Date: Saturday, May 13th, 2023
- Time: 10am-5pm
- Location: TR Gallo Park, 30 Rondout Landing, Kingston, NY
Interested in Learning More?
Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC), is a program of the City of Kingston’s Department of Health and Wellness that supports policy, system, and environmental changes to make it easier for everyone in Kingston to make healthy choices. The goals of CHSC are to improve food and nutrition guidelines in food service venues, support the planning to increase safe and accessible physical activity, and improve policies and practices to support physical activity and improved nutrition in schools and early care and education centers.
If you are a workplace or community organization with a food venue that is interested in developing a food and nutrition policy, contact:
Kristin Kessler, RDN, CDN, CYT