Happy National Nutrition Month! National Nutrition Month has evolved from a one-week celebration in March to a month-long observance. This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” The idea behind this is to enjoy all aspects of food: taste, temperature, smells, texture and color. Many of us are busy and our food choices get put on the “back burner,” whether that means we skip meals entirely or we don’t take the time that we should to make healthy food choices. So many of us eat at our desk or while driving in our car. We do not stop and actually enjoy what we are eating!
A huge component of the theme this year is “mindful eating.” What exactly does that mean? Mindful eating means eliminating distractions and enjoying the food in front of you! We have so many distractions on a daily basis—TV, phone, computer, etc. It is important to be aware of those distractions and eliminate as many as possible to be able to return to food and focus. Mindful eating can provide the opportunity to make changes in what we are eating and how we are eating. It can also help us change our relationship with food. Are we seeing food as a type of pleasure and comfort, or are we seeing food as fuel—nutrients that the body needs to function? Mindful eating provides us with an opportunity to become more “in tune” with physical hunger versus emotional hunger (stress, boredom, sadness, etc.).
A great goal for Nutrition Month (and every month!) is to make as many meals at home in the company of those in your home! Be mindful of what you are eating—McDonald’s hamburger and fries or shredded Italian Chicken and fresh veggies at home? Choose whole foods, like fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains and proteins. Use olive oil, shallots, green onions, garlic, ground black pepper, and/or red pepper flakes to bring out robust flavors and smells in healthy dishes!