And speaking of feeling badly, I really hate that light-headedness that a too-empty stomach gives me. Sometimes I get so involved in what I’m doing I don’t realize how much time has passed since I’ve last eaten, and I get a little shaky and unfocused. Since I’m lucky enough to work from home I can restore myself to a thinking level with a quick trip to the kitchen.
Millions of others in this country, and throughout the world, don’t have that luxury. In fact, the ranks of the hungry just in the USA alone are staggering, with 50 million Americans struggling to put food on the table as of 2011. And sadly “food-insecure” households with children make up the bulk of that category. The term “food-insecure” is defined by the non-profit organization, Feeding America, as being unable to consistently access the adequate amount of nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. And virtually every county in the country has food-insecure residents. Find your county here.
But good nutrition is considered to be vital to healthy development from in-utero through the early formative years. So that means we, as a nation, are getting an “F” in feeding our future.
What can we do about it? Plenty! Both on a micro and a macro level.
This is National Food Bank Week, and October 16th is World Food Day. As you might suspect, the two events overlap.
National Food Bank Week focuses on growing food banks to help reduce the number of food-insecure families in our nation. Find a local food bank where you can donate resources here.
World Food Day is used to raise awareness of food issues affecting our planet. This year its emphasis is on Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. While focusing on food security, world food day is also intended to raise global awareness of what constitutes sound nutrition, increasing food production to keep up with the increase in population growth, improving our food systems on a macro level (the delivery of food from field to table,) and on a personal level by making good purchasing and use choices, and by finding ways to reduce how much food we waste.
Here are a few things we can each do to support both events.
1. Take the time to plan your meals around your activities. Make a grocery list of only the items you need. Meal planning reduces food waste significantly which helps on a global level and has a positive impact on your personal budget.
2. If you lack the time or the interest to plan, find a resource that does it for you. If you can’t afford a food trainer or personal chef, use a book that does the work.
3. Make sure you eat a healthy diet and feed your family from the five basic food groups. And use your leftovers!
4. Set a reminder on your calendar to check your cupboards and pantry on the same day each month. Use the items you forgot about or take them to a local food bank.
5. Pay attention to food issues. Support the brands that support the environment, your health, and global food issues.
Help promote access to good nutrition today, this week, and all year long.
Photo Courtesy of Rawich / Free Digital Photos