Each March, National Nutrition Month is celebrated in an attempt to bring awareness to health and nutritional issues families face daily, many because of financial hardship. This year, the theme of the month is "savor the flavor of eating right." And to help the cause this month, the Lawton Food Bank began emphasizing the importance of including fruits and vegetables in well balanced diets.

Lower income families are the most at risk at suffering vitamin and mineral deficiencies in their day-to-day live, mostly because many of their diets don’t include produce. It is difficult for these families to get their proper nutritional supplements. Families face these deficiencies simply because the necessary fruits and vegetables to balance their diet are too expensive.

Sheryl Crow Joins One A Day Women's Nutrition Mission Grant Competition Winner At NYC Food Pantry
Jamie McCarthy
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Until recently fruits and vegetables weren't offered through the Lawton Food Bank, but six months ago, it began offering fresh produce, after realizing how many people, and more important, how many children, were surviving on diets that were nutritionally deficient. Jeri Mosiman, the Lawton Food Bank’s executive director, says they were shocked to see how many people deprived themselves of the essential nutrients because it wasn't in their budget. The Food Bank hopes to give a healthy option to those who in the past haven't had that choice, with the only choice they’ve been left with in the past is eating junk food in order to be able to pay their rent. Fresh produce can be expensive, but the food bank is doing everything thy can to make healthy food options the norm for their patrons.

Another change at the Lawton Food Bank, is that now, clients can receive food once a month, instead of every six weeks as it was in the past. That went into effect March 1. The change went into affect because of the new choices of fresh produce includes oranges, potatoes and beets, and that produce has a shorter shelf life.

Sheryl Crow Joins One A Day Women's Nutrition Mission Grant Competition Winner At NYC Food Pantry
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bayer HealthCare
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source: NSWO news, eatrightPro.org, Academy of Nutrition