Superior HealthPlan Offers Food Literacy Tips for National Nutrition Month
Eating nutritious food can be a challenging task for households, especially those experiencing health disparities that affect their access to healthy options. In recognition of National Nutrition Month in March, Superior HealthPlan encourages Texas residents to explore habits and tips to help improve diet, nutrition literacy, and healthful outcomes all year long.
The roots of health disparities go deeper than an individual choosing a healthy lifestyle, as inequalities are driven by economic, social, and environmental barriers. For example, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have lower healthy eating index scores, consume less fruits and vegetables and more added sugars, and have higher rates of obesity than non-participants. Research also shows limited health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes and can disproportionately affect minority populations, older adults, and persons with lower education and/or lower incomes.
National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to encourage everyone to learn about making informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits to achieve optimum health. Here are some of the ways Superior is helping:
- In the last 7 years, Superior employees have donated $1.6 million to Texas chapters of United Way, an organization that often supports low-income residents through food assistance and other programs.
- Superior provided funding for our partner, Salvation Army of North Texas, to purchase a food trailer used to serve thousands of community members and families each month.
- Prospera Housing Community Services received funding from Superior to establish an on-site food pantry in Laredo, Texas. This video further highlights this partnership.
“While we support local food organizations in making a positive difference for Texans, we recognize that it is not enough just to make food accessible to households in need,” said Dr. David Harmon, Chief Medical Director at Superior HealthPlan. “There is significance in helping Texans improve nutrition literacy, which may help improve nutritional decisions and health outcomes year-round.”
To improve nutrition literacy, Superior encourages Texans to adopt healthy diet habits. Below, find tips that can prepare households to make knowledgeable food choices:
- Learn how to read a nutrition facts panel. This trusted label is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on most packaged food and provides nutritional information by serving size.
- Read the ingredients contained in foods. Minimize consumption of these ingredients: trans fats, nitrates and nitrites, excess added sugar and artificial sweeteners, dyes, and preservatives.
- Utilize a grocery list when shopping. Following a list helps shoppers stay intentional with their healthy food choices.
- Use guidelines when estimating food portions. Learn ways to measure food portions without a scale such as utilizing hands or measuring cups.
- Share meals together as a family when possible. Eating together is just the first step. Sharing new healthful food choices and ideas is another way to come together as a family.
For Texans experiencing food insecurity or other issues, visit https://superiorhealthplan.findhelp.com/.