Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics chooses a theme for National Nutrition Month® in March, and the 2021 theme is Personalize Your Plate. So what does that mean?
It often feels that there’s an elusive “right” way to build your plate. You’re constantly bombarded with nutrition information, fad diets, and chatter about what’s “good” or “bad” to eat. But there’s no one right way for everyone. Each person has unique tastes, cultural backgrounds, nutritional needs, and so much more. There are many ways to eat and many different reasons you select the foods you do at any time. Your plate is personal and meets your individual needs at each meal and snack.
SAGE’s All Foods Fit philosophy means there are no “good” or “bad” foods. It’s important to honor and celebrate all the reasons for eating:
- Fuel: Food gives your body energy to function and grow properly, fuels athletic performance, prevents illness, and makes it easier to recover quickly when you do get sick or hurt. Food is fuel, and it’s essential to life. The SAGE Spotlight Program® provides nutritional guidance based on nutrient density and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Teaching students the principles of variety, balance, and moderation helps them build a plate that will fuel their school day. Our Performance Spotlight® program fuels student athletes to give their best effort on game and training days.
- Exploration: Through food, you’re able to learn more about the world around you. When trying new flavors, cuisines, or recipes, you can challenge your palate and expand your mind. Through our Seasonings® and Educational Seasonings events in the dining hall, students learn about a variety of foods and try something new.
- Culture: Food is a huge component of culture. It provides an opportunity to learn about other cultures but also your own. Culture is passed down through recipes and food traditions from generation to generation. Especially around the holidays, your family likely makes dishes that hold meaning and bring nostalgia. Students can explore authentic Latin and Asian cuisine at our Paquito’s® and Pacific Thyme stations.
- Togetherness: One of food’s greatest superpowers is bringing people together. It’s typically the center of any gathering. Food is one thing everyone has in common, and the best way to enjoy it is together! At SAGE, we focus on inclusive dining, create unique menus for each community, and ensure that students with food allergies have access to a variety of safe and delicious meals.
- Enjoyment: Food is fun! It tastes good and fosters happiness. Through food, you can celebrate special occasions, feel joy, and create memories. Our Chefs constantly introduce innovative recipes and pay attention to what’s trending. We like to see our communities enjoying the food we serve, building a positive relationship with food, and having fun in our dining halls!
Food not only affects physical health but also is a core part of social, emotional, and cultural well-being — which all support overall health. Our All Foods Fit philosophy captures the multifaceted value of food. On top of keeping you alive, food brings joy and meaning to your life! We hope you take some time during National Nutrition Month to think about how you personalize your plate and reflect on how the foods you select nourish you.