By Emily Maresca, Keene State College Dietetic Intern
Every March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month. The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”
In our busy, on-the-go lifestyles, we often lose mindfulness around eating. This month we encourage you to take a step back, and allow yourself the time and opportunity to notice and enjoy the great flavors of healthy eating. This month’s concept encompasses much more than just what we choose to eat, but also focuses on how, when, why and where we are eating.
Pay Attention to What You Eat
Creating mindfulness around eating begins with the ingredients. Choosing whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and lean sources of protein sets you up for success in building a nutritious meal. Visiting farmers markets, building a garden, or joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) exposes you to how and where your foods are being grown.
Prepare Simple Meals
Preparing these wholesome foods doesn’t need to be complicated to be delicious. In fact, the simpler the recipe, the more you’ll be able to appreciate the natural flavor profile from these fresh ingredients. The simple addition of herbs and spices can enhance your meal in an easy and healthy way.
Eat Slowly, Enjoy Your Meal
Allow yourself enough time to enjoy the meal you’ve prepared. It is too easy to get lost in the rush of the day and find ourselves mindlessly eating behind the steering wheel or a computer screen. Making the effort to sit at the table, and shut off work and distractions will help you to engage fully in and appreciate the meal you’ve prepared.
Create a Relaxed Dining Experience
Creating a warm and comfortable environment contributes to the dining experience. Including friends and family at the dinner table is the perfect flavor enhancer. Taking an extra moment to light a candle or include fresh flowers on the table adds a little something extra to the meal. Having loved ones at the table builds traditions and positive social experiences around healthy foods.
We hope you can use these tips and tricks to engage in healthy eating habits, and savor the flavor of eating right. Will you take extra steps during National Nutrition Month to improve your nutrition? Tell us about it!