It’s March, and we are officially one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Wow! That’s a sentence I never thought I would write. Rather than look back at the year that was, I feel it’s important to “Spring” forward and look ahead. After all, March is National Nutrition Month, and nutrition is a big part of our vision of creating a stronger, healthier region where no one goes to bed hungry.

Lately, I have been thinking about the words of Registered Dietitian and advocate Michelle Allison because they speak to my experience over the last year.

“Eating is an act of self-defense, and your body belongs to you,”

To be honest before I started working at the St. Louis Area Foodbank three years ago, “nutrition” wasn’t consistently on my radar during this month. Not having proper nutrients can affect a body’s sleep patterns, cognitive ability, energy level, and resilience to sickness. It can also cause many chronic conditions. I share this with you because I was not focused on nutrition as an act of self-defense during the earlier months of the pandemic and it took months of intentional habit changes to undo the harm that caused me.

Thankfully, the Team here at the Foodbank remain keenly focused on the health and nutrition of all 26 counties in the bi-state region that we serve. By piloting and launching new programs, we work to educate and inspire people to make informed choices when shopping. For example, are you watching our SNAP cooking demos on Facebook or YouTube? Our team of Registered Dietitians and SNAP professionals create these videos using simple, affordable, and healthy recipes. The best part is all recipes can be made using ingredients found at a food pantry or purchased with SNAP benefits.

These videos, along other efforts we are excited to launch in the near future, are part of our efforts to provide simple ways to make healthier choices – one meal at a time. We will continue working to eliminate barriers to ensure equitable access to nutritious foods for all. Everyone should have the ability to prevent and overcome food-related conditions no matter what month, year, or circumstance. The St. Louis Area Foodbank is leaning into nutrition in a big way because our focus is always to build a stronger, HEALTHIER bi-state region where no one goes to bed hungry. Get involved and lean in with us!