By Lisa Zarny, MS, RD, CD-N, Clinical Nutrition Manager
March is National Nutrition Month sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The theme this year is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”, an idea that pushes us the think about how, when, why, and where we eat our food rather than just what we are eating. This concept not only encourages healthy eating, but also inspires us to enhance the eating experience. Below are a few ways you can live by the theme this month:
SAVOR – Rather than simply eating to feel full, take the time to enjoy your food and appreciate the flavors you are eating. Practice mindful eating and revel in the beauty and the aroma of the foods on your plate. Take the time to taste each bite before you move on to the next mouthful. Being aware of the taste and texture of each morsel can help you feel more satisfied and help avoid overeating.
FLAVOR – Enhance the flavor of the food by employing various cooking techniques. Food tastes differently depending on the way it is prepared, so be creative with different cooking methods. Braising, roasting and grilling foods can add to its flavor without adding extra fat by frying or losing nutrients through boiling. Use natural herbs and spices to season the food rather than commercially processed seasonings that often have extra salt and additives.
In addition, try using mixed herbs like Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning when grilling or roasting meat and fish. Fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, oregano, and pepper in soups and salads will make each meal more flavorful. For a delicious dinner, chicken and fish can be stuffed with fresh thyme, parsley and cilantro and topped with lemon slices and a bit of olive oil before baking.
EATING RIGHT – Choose nutrient dense foods throughout the day. Choose nuts over candy, veggies with hummus instead of chips and dip, and Greek yogurt as a substitute for ice cream when you need a pick me up. Even when eating healthy, it is important to watch your portions during meal or snack time in order to maintain a healthy weight. Also, keep in mind that skipping meals and late night eating can affect your metabolism, so those two things should be avoided.
Use this month to learn to appreciate the whole sensory experience that food gives us. By taking the time to savor the flavor, you can enjoy the pleasures of healthy eating!
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