CHICAGO, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Food preferences, lifestyles, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all affect our food choices. That is why, as part of National Nutrition Month ® 2013, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130301/DC69505) Each March, the Academy encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthy eating through National Nutrition Month. This year's theme emphasizes the advantages of developing a healthful eating plan that incorporates individual food choices and preferences. This year marks the 40 th anniversary of National Nutrition Month. "There can be a misperception that eating healthfully means giving up your favorite foods," said registered dietitian and Academy President Ethan A. Bergman. "Our 'Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day' National Nutrition Month theme encourages consumers to include the foods they love as part of a healthful eating plan that is tailored for their lifestyles, traditions, health needs and, of course, tastes." The Academy strives to communicate healthy eating messages that emphasize a balance of food and beverages within energy needs, rather than any one food or meal. To this end, it is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. Most favorite foods can fit within this pattern, if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity. Initiated in 1973 as a week-long event, "National Nutrition Week" became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. To commemorate the dedication of registered dietitians as the leading advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of each March is celebrated as "Registered Dietitian Day." This year marks the sixth annual Registered Dietitian Day, which will be celebrated March 13. "The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' vision of optimizing the nation's health through food and nutrition is strengthened each March as we celebrate National Nutrition Month. As registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered, we are able to translate sound science-based research into helpful information that people can understand and apply to their everyday lives," Bergman said.