March is National Nutrition Month
Since 1973, nutrition professionals have dedicated time to proclaim the importance of nutrition and health. The challenge to Americans is to emphasize the fact that good food choices are directly related to good health. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest group of nutrition professionals, and this year, the theme that has been selected for the month of March is “Enjoy the taste of eating right.”
We know that food choices that we make are based on many factors: for example, cultural preferences, social norms, emotional selections, quick meals and health factors. And what is clear is that we choose foods that taste good.
In my years of practice, I have helped patients, clients, friends and family decipher what the media touts as the latest super food. Something I read recently may just sum up the answer regarding what is best. The author suggested that producers of the Dr. Oz show come up with those ideas! Really? I think not; those of us who have studied nutrition have known for some time that super foods are really not that dramatic nor sensational.
We know that a diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, low fat dairy, low fat meats, poultry and fish, along with beans, are healthy selections which contain lots of nutrients for not a lot of calories. These are the true super foods!
So, how can we enjoy the taste of eating the right foods? May I suggest flavor options?
Make oatmeal (a whole grain) creamier using milk rather than water. Flavor with cinnamon, add walnuts or dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries.
On sandwiches made with whole grain (of course) bread, buns, bagels or other types of breads, add sliced tomato, avocado or cucumber, with hummus, or lean meat.
Serve meals consisting of lean meat and/or beans, with a variety of vegetables. Prepare soups seasoned with basil, oregano, turmeric or pepper.
Season foods with powders (garlic, onion) or herbs (rosemary, sage) that contain no sodium, as an alternative taste.
For your sweet tooth, try using fruits accompanied with yogurt, or low fat ice cream. Or for an interesting flair, combine fruit with herbs or spices. Try watermelon with mint, or pineapple with cinnamon.
Members of the Minot Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics organization will have displays at the Town and Country Shopping Center during the month of March. Stop by and take a look. Topics will include ideas for dining out, as well as ideas for including flavors to your favorite foods.
In addition, members of the organization will be providing nutrition information to the public in the form of newspaper articles. Stay tuned for upcoming articles that promote healthy eating. For more information see (eatright.org).
(Sandra Horob is the director of nutrition services at Trinity Health.)