March is National Nutrition Month® (NNM). NNM was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is a campaign to promote nutrition education with the focus of the campaign to highlight the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. NNM was initiated in 1973 as a week-long observance and became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to a growing interest in nutrition. NNM occurs annually every March.
The theme this year is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”. Research shows that taste is one of the most influential factors driving food choices. The Academy’s aim this year is to encourage finding balance between foods we like to eat and foods that provide the necessary nutrients our bodies need. It is in this respect by which the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hopes to achieve its goal by combining taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The theme, “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” implies that taste and eating healthy foods is not a mutually exclusive concept. Therefore, in keeping with this year’s theme, I encourage you to explore and try new foods and flavors by combining taste and nutrition on your plate at every meal. Often times, people will only try one new healthy food once in a while. If you like that one healthy food, then you tend to eat it all the time. However, by falling into this pattern you may be missing out on several nutrients and delightful tastes of other healthy foods.
In order to embrace the theme of this month, here are some suggestions to trying new nutritious foods:
- At the grocery store, purchase one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain each week.
- In choosing a restaurant for dinner, choose an ethnic restaurant that you haven’t been to before. You might happily surprise yourself by choosing a healthy menu option that tastes great.
- Cooking at home may provide a good opportunity for trial and error when trying new foods and spices. Change up the way you prepare meals, grill or broil meat, fish or poultry instead of baking. Steam vegetables instead of sautéing, or roast potatoes instead of roasting them. Exploring new spices is also a good way to experiment with new foods, typically most foods take on the spices you add and can open your eyes to different foods and meals.
Now it’s your turn to take action: What will you do this week to embrace National Nutrition Month’s® theme “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”? Please share in the comments below.