Nutrition Education: Take Action!

What individuals can do to change the food system.

Be a conscious consumer. Ask questions about the food you purchase and eat. Find out where your food comes from and how it was grown and/or processed. Use your food dollar to make choices that are healthy for you and for the planet.

Increase media literacy. Get a diverse media diet and be able to discern hype from reality. Check out the Nutrition and Education Links & Resources section for suggested sources of information on health and nutrition. Be aware of the billions of dollars being spent by corporations to influence your food choices and other habits. Know how to read food labels. Share what you know with others.

Promote good nutrition starting with yourself. Work to develop a healthy attitude towards food consumption and to dispel misconceptions about body image and fad diets. Embody healthy habits, such as an appreciation of the taste and variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Learn new cooking skills and prepare meals that celebrate food, culture and good health. Encourage friends, family members and others around you to do the same. Help any children in your life to develop healthy eating habits from the start.

Promote efforts to increase access to healthy foods in your own community, especially among under-served populations. Support your local farmers market, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, community garden, food co-op, or independent store committed to supplying locally-sourced, nutritious food. If your community is lacking in any of these resources, work with others to start a new community food initiative. Work to ensure that all community members have access to healthy foods, regardless of income level, age, race or ethnicity.

Advocate for healthier food in schools and other institutions. Support efforts to replace highly processed foods with more wholesome, nutritious foods. See the Farm to Cafeteria topic for ideas on how to do this.

Support breast-feeding as a natural way to ensure good nutrition from the start of life. Support initiatives that promote breast-feeding awareness and promotion, such as the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and La Leche League.

Stop aggressive marketing of unhealthy food to children. Take part in campaigns, such as the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, to stop corporations from aggressively marketing food and other products to children to the detriment of their health and well being.

Help to transform the emergency food system. Work with your local soup kitchen, food pantry or food bank to offer healthier options to emergency food recipients. Involve emergency food providers in broader community initiatives to make healthy food accessible to all community members, thus decreasing reliance on emergency food. See WhyHunger publications Building The Bridge: Linking Food Banking and Community Food Security (PDF) and Serving Up Justice: How to Design an Emergency Feeding Program and Build Community Food Security (PDF) for guidance.

Advocate for government programs that support good nutrition. Take part in campaigns advocating: 1) for the expansion and enhancement of existing government programs that have been successful in promoting good nutrition, such as the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs; 2) for the implementation and appropriation of funding for important new programs, such as Farm to School; and 3) against any cuts to funding for programs supporting good nutrition. Alerts on government programs are frequently posted in the Food Security Learning Center’s Action Alerts section.