Managing your website, blog, and social media accounts as an RD with a professional online presence takes thoughtful research and planning. Keeping people engaged is a constant challenge, but National Nutrition Month®, with its resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, provides you with an array of ideas for new content in March. There’s even a social media toolkit with GIFs, banners, and sample posts.
This year’s National Nutrition Month® theme is “Go Further With Food.” Using the Academy’s 2018 National Nutrition Month® key messages for inspiration, you can engage your clients and followers with fresh content from your unique perspective. Remember to promote new posts across social media platforms so you reach a variety of different audiences. And also share the work of colleagues to further amplify our messages and heighten the visibility of RDs as the nutrition experts.
Ideas for content using the Academy’s key messages include the following:
1. What can an RD do for you? Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day on March 14 offers you the opportunity to promote both our profession and your services to clients or potential clients. Not everyone knows the difference between RDs and noncredentialed individuals claiming nutrition expertise, and it’s our job to distinguish ourselves as the nutrition authorities. If you have a new product, service, or upcoming event to promote, this is a great way to show people what you do and how they can work with you. Highlighting RDs in different areas of practice (public policy, sports nutrition, foodservice, long term care, etc) supports colleagues and educates people on the scope of our profession.
2. Waste not, want not. Organizations all over the country are working to close the gap between our significant food waste and the number of food-insecure people in the United States. By featuring local food recovery programs, you can promote and support their efforts. Post some of the shocking facts about food wasted in America each year (for example: “Did you know that about one-third of the food produced in the United States annually goes uneaten?”), and give your followers a call to action. Outline practical steps people can take in their own communities, such as donating canned goods they won’t eat, or even taking dinner to a neighbor when their new baked ziti recipe makes more than their family can eat.
3. Safety first. Learning about food safety is part of our dietetics education, but it’s also a growing area of interest for the public with the increasing prevalence of food allergies. Create a series of posts teaching people how to ensure a safe home environment for a child or family member with a food allergy, the eight most common food allergies, or how to look for allergens on Nutrition Facts panels. Incorporate other elements of food safety, such as minimizing foodborne illnesses and storing food properly to keep it fresh (or frozen) longer.
4. Variety: the spice of life. Think of new ways to present messages people have heard before, such as eating a balanced variety of foods from every food group. If you like to cook and share recipes, consider challenging your audience to try a new vegetable each week of the month. Then post two or three recipes of your featured vegetable of the week to show people how to incorporate it into meals. Encourage interaction by telling people to take pictures of their creations and share them with you on social media.
Keep your messages about food positive, and always remind people where they can go to follow or get in touch with you. Social media is a great tool to use for connecting with followers and other RDs, building your brand, and making yourself visible and accessible to people you may not otherwise have reached.
— Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, is a nutrition communications consultant in Dallas working with a variety of food and nutrition organizations and companies to promote science-based nutrition information. A long-time leader, she received a 2012 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Medallion Award and the 2016 Texas Academy Outstanding Preceptor Award.
— Amy Adams is a dietetic intern in the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s coordinated master’s/internship program who will graduate in August. She completed a two-week nutrition communications rotation with Neva in February.