March is National Nutrition Month. This is the time for us all to focus on broadening our nutritional awareness and our healthy eating habits. This year’s theme, “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” is also encouraging us to focus on the flavor of healthy eating.
FoodFacts.com thinks that this is a great new direction for the occasion! Too many Americans still associate healthy eating with a lack of flavor. Some of us even have some bad memories of our moms attempting to include different versions of health foods into family favorites. My own mom was no exception. Many decades ago, when adding bran to your diet was a popular, healthy addition, my mother got a little carried away. Growing up in an Italian household, meatballs were a Sunday meal staple. She decided to substitute bran for the bread in her meatballs one Sunday. It was rather unforgettable and it would be difficult to accurately describe the look on my dad’s face when he bit into a meatball. If you know anything about Italian Sunday meals, you know they’re rather long, boisterous affairs. That one wasn’t. At all.
We’ve come so far in defining healthy eating and healthy habits. These many decades later, there are so many flavorful ways to incorporate healthy foods (and healthy cooking) into our diets. We can “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” without sacrificing taste or meal satisfaction. So we want to share some ideas with our community to help you get the most enjoyment from your healthy diet.
Fruit in the fridge
Apples, pears, bananas, grapes, peaches, apricots, cherries, melons, berries … we love them all. We sometimes notice though, that we don’t get as much of them as we would if we have them readily available. Many of us like to choose a variety of them, slice up those that aren’t bite size and mix them together in a container to keep in the fridge. Great mid-afternoon snack. Perfect for taking care of a little craving after dinner.
Parfaits for breakfast
They’re appealing. They’re tasty. And when you make them yourself, they’re healthy. Good quality plain yogurt, low-fat granola and the fruit of your choice make for an interesting and satisfying breakfast. Kids love these, too. They look like dessert!
We really like this idea. With all the research that’s come out regarding plant-based diets, the mediterranean diets and the benefits of plant-based proteins, many of us here really enjoy reserving one day of the week for meatless meals. It allows us to be creative and experiment. This winter we’ve enjoyed a variety of soups — mushroom barley, potato, tomato and broccoli to name just a few. Beans and root vegetables can make a great, flavorful stew. Let’s move away from the idea that vegetarian meals can’t be hearty and delicious.
Nuts and seeds
In the last twelve months or so we’ve seen some great, meaningful research some out about a variety of nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds and chia seeds come to mind, but there are so many options. Sprinkle them in oatmeal or yogurt. Enjoy them over salads. Incorporate them into sauces. They add a distinctive crunch and depth of flavor to whatever dish in which they’re included!
Kids in the kitchen
Looking for ways to encourage your kids to make better food choices? Get them cooking! Kids are naturally creative souls and there’s no better way to put that creativity to work. Their involvement in food preparation actually helps them to try new foods and gets them excited about their meals. Even if they’re not old enough to slice and dice, there are still many different ways they can help out. They can learn to measure and mix ingredients, choose different herbs and spices and help to create new recipes. They’ll love it and you’ll have a great time. And who knows, with a little encouragement you may have a future Bobby Flay or Mario Batali in the family!
However you choose to celebrate National Nutrition Month, make it healthy and delicious for the whole family! “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” throughout March and all year long!