How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. That is why for National Nutrition Month 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging everyone to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” Take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to your life.
There is an obvious social component to food. Whether a nightly family dinner, special holiday occasion or social gathering, food often plays a central role. Research indicates that family meals promote healthier eating and strengthen family relationships. Prioritize family meals and enjoy the food traditions that accompany any type of social gathering.
Take time to appreciate the flavors, textures and overall eating experience. In today’s busy world, we often eat quickly and mindlessly. Instead, try following this tip to help you savor the flavor of your food: Eat slowly! Eat one bite at a time and focus on the different flavors and textures. Stop and take time between bites. Eating slowly not only allows you to enjoy your food, but it can also help you eat less by giving your stomach time to tell your brain that you are full.
Be aware of how, when, why and where you eat. Be a mindful eater! Many eat lunch at their desks or dinner in front of the television. Take time to plan nutritious meals that include flavorful foods and then find a nice place to eat. Stop multitasking through your meals.
Plan ahead for snack time. Have healthy snacks such as colorful fresh fruits and vegetables ready to go. Snack foods are often high in sugar and sodium. Make an effort to cut back on food and beverages high in added sugar, sodium and saturated fats. Read food labels and compare foods. Avoid buying foods with added sugars and compare sodium content of foods and choose products with less sodium.
During National Nutrition Month, slow down; enjoy the flavor and traditions of the foods that you eat. Be aware of what you are eating and make small changes that can improve your health.
The Academy’s website (eatright.org) includes helpful articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Consumers are also encouraged to follow National Nutrition Month on the Academy’s social media channels including Facebook and Twitter using the #NationalNutritionMonth hashtag.
Cheryl Vermillion is the WIC director at Madison County-London City Health District and can be reached at 740-852-3065.