The month of March has been designated National Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.1
According to the Academy, this month is focused on helping people make informed food choices. The 2017 theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” meaning that even small changes in eating and drinking habits, such as cutting out or reducing soda consumption, can add up in a big way over time.
The Academy has a toolkit that includes PowerPoint presentations, press releases, handouts, and social media material, among other useful items.2
However, you will probably want to find ways to personalize how you promote National Nutrition Month for the patients in your practice. The best way to do this is with something tangible that they can use to improve their eating habits. The reason for this goes back to a very basic marketing concept known as the four Ps: Place, product, promotion, and price.3
You will want to focus more on product and promotion. As the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) explains in terms of health communications, the goal of having a tangible product is to help promote the positive behavior you want your patients to follow.4
Here are some ways you can use tangible rewards to help inspire your patients toward better nutrition.
Grow your own way
You’ve no doubt talked to your patients many times about adding more fruits and vegetables into their diets, as well as given them handouts. Sadly, odds are good that much of that information will end up either forgotten or ignored not long after they walk out your office door. There may also be environmental factors that make it difficult for them to easily access fresh produce, such as cost or lack of nearby markets (particularly in dense urban areas).
Consider instead handing out goodie bags with seed packets, small pots, and growing instructions, so that your patients can start their own container garden. Not only do they benefit from healthy vegetables and fruits, but they can develop a sense of accomplishment at growing their own garden, as well as passing that knowledge on to their children.
One way in which your patients can work toward healthier eating is by preparing more nutritious meals. However, this can be difficult if they don’t understand how to do so, particularly for certain types of ethnic cuisine. Why not host a cooking demonstration and hands-on class using fresh, healthy ingredients that features a healthy alternative to a comfort or ethnic food recipe?
Your patients can not only watch how to prepare a family favorite meal in a healthy way, but it will inspire them to rethink other meals.
If your patients work full time and have school-age children, they often may not have time to think about proper nutrition for themselves or their kids. Evening meals may become fast food, picked up on the way home from work, and school lunches turn into either processed pre-packaged kits or money for fast food or cafeteria lunches.
A class showing your patients how to plan, prepare, and store lunches and dinners for the entire week can help them not only save time and money, but also make healthier food choices.
The key to a successful promotion of National Nutrition Month is to provide your patients with tools that are the building blocks they can use to work toward healthier eating. These tools should be more than just flyers or booklets, but instead the actual means to allow them to accomplish the goal of improving the quality of their food and their food choices.
- National Nutrition Month. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Accessed 2/16/2017.
- National Nutrition Month Celebration Toolkit. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Accessed 2/16/2017.
- Understanding the marketing mix concept – 4 Ps. Accessed 2/16/2017.
- What is health communications? Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Accessed 2/16/2017.