National Nutrition Month®:
Sustainability and Health
National Nutrition Month®: Sustainability and Health
March is designated as National Nutrition Month® by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as Nutrition Month by Dietitians of Canada. It also includes Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and Nutrition and Dietetic Technicians, Registered Day in the United States and Dietitians Day in Canada.
At Computrition, we are proud to have a significant number of employees with backgrounds in Food & Nutrition Services. With their knowledge, we constantly strive to develop software solutions to continue supporting caregivers and other hospital staff. Watch the following video to learn more about some of our dietitians and nutrition experts!
The 2023 National Nutrition Month® theme is “Fuel for the Future,” which emphasizes sustainable, age-appropriate choices in addition to unique nutrition needs. When it comes to Food & Nutrition Services, leveraging software solutions can be useful in promoting what’s best for our planet and its people.
Inventory and Production
Foodservice production begins with ingredients, so it is imperative to manage stock accurately. Overordering can result in food waste, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary expenditures. Inventory software can help operators monitor supply levels, track expiration dates, and enhance ordering to protect the environment and their budgets.
Software functionality like post-meal counts can provide further insight into which dishes perform well and which may require adjustment. Operators can then use this information for forecasting, thereby enabling data-driven ordering and requisitions.
Menus and Patient Ordering
Hospitals can also implement automated menu planning to develop menus that are not only nourishing and tasty but also responsible. Local, seasonal, and plant-based options can help reduce the environmental impact of operations, support local farmers, and encourage healthier dining choices.
While incorporating sustainable options is an excellent first step, it is also vital to consider the patient experience. Patients and their guests will be more likely to select a healthy, eco-friendly meal if it sounds appealing. Enticing descriptions can influence meal selections via BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), edutainment systems, and room service. Not to mention, digital ordering systems eliminate the need for paper and therefore save trees!
There are numerous ways to promote National Nutrition Month® in a retail environment. For example:
- Like the patient experience, it is crucial to evaluate the customer experience. Digital menu boards present a fun opportunity to draw attention to certain dishes; attractive descriptions and photos can increase sales. A legend with icons can highlight specials featuring local, seasonal, and/or plant-based ingredients.
- Proper nutrition labels help customers make educated decisions when browsing prepackaged foods or different cafeteria stations. On top of nutrition facts, labels and placards protect patrons from potential risks by displaying allergy information.
- Operators can implement a customer loyalty program to reward healthy, sustainable choices. Other benefits include incentivizing patrons to dine on-site and drawing repeat customers.
- Styrofoam and plastic containers significantly impact the environment due to their lengthy decomposition time. When packaging take-out and grab-and-go items, foodservice facilities can utilize compostable and biodegradable alternatives to demonstrate ecological consciousness.
Food & Nutrition Services for the Future
In summary, foodservice operations can adopt many sustainable plans aligned with National Nutrition Month®, and technology can support these goals. With the right software and initiatives, operators can reduce waste, cultivate healthy lifestyles, and maximize funds.
Disclaimer: This article does not serve as an endorsement of Computrition’s products by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or by Dietitians of Canada.