In case you missed the memo, October is Health Literacy Month, a term USDA defines as “the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.” To celebrate, the Feds invite you to investigate five web sites dedicated to food and nutrition where you can find pretty much everything you need to know to build a healthful diet.
1.Nutrition.gov’s Expert Questions and Answers
Begin with the basics: Is last Tuesday meatloaf still safe to eat? That’s one issue this site addresses along with how your body digests the food you feed it, the occasionally unpleasant side effects of supplements, weighty matters such as how many calories you need to burn to lose one pound, how to shop, cook and plan meals made of recipes from different cultures and traditions, and last but hardly least some notes on food labels like the law that requires listing ingredients known to trigger allergies.
2. Nutrition.gov’s new Nutrition Misinformation & Fraud
Next up, a list of the places to peruse in search of solid info enabling you to identify and avoid fake facts and incomplete or misleading information about foods, nutrients, diets, supplements, and weight loss products.
3. FNIC’s Diet and Health
This site, run by USDA’s National Agricultural Library Food and Nutrition Information Center, is packed to the limit with life stage nutrition advice. Translation? The nutrition needs of human people in eight distinct age groups: Pregnant, Breastfeeding, Infant, Toddler and Preschool, Child, Teen and Young Adult, Adult, Older Adult. Pick your bracket and dive in.
4. USDA MyPlate Resources
The Plate diagram, which replaced the Food Pyramid in 2011, draws on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for facts and features regarding food composition, labeling, and a variety of other topics all designed to make your menu smarter while keeping you in tiptop form.
No need to explain that this one makes it a cinch to plan a weekly menu to fit your very own personal health needs and palate pleasing preferences. The current list of more than 100 recipes offers dishes based on vegetables, grains, protein (i.e., beef, chicken, and such), grains, and fruit. Plus some kid-friendly suggestions every nutrition-minded parent will welcome.