National Nutrition Month 2016
Savor the Flavor of Eating Right
By: Rebecca Cline
Every year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims the month of March as National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is Savor the Flavor of Eating Right which is intended to encourage us to take time to enjoy food traditions while appreciating the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences that food can bring into our lives. Focusing on how, when, why, and where we eat should be just as important as what we eat. All of these questions seem to intertwine when practicing healthy eating behaviors. There is not one specific rule that tells you exactly how to create an eating plan; instead, nutrition becomes individualized as one needs to eat right for his or her own lifestyle. For many of us, our fast-paced lives keep us from taking advantage of mindful eating techniques. Several also choose to feed our emotions or eat when we are distracted. Take the time to enjoy healthy food traditions and the great flavors that food has to offer. Consider these questions:
HOW are you eating?
Are you fully engaged with what you are eating? Slow down and take time to engage all five of your senses to enjoy your food experience, and try to include a variety of foods from each food group every time you sit down to eat. By consuming an assortment of foods, your body can utilize several vitamins and minerals.
WHEN are you eating?
Try to avoid skipping meals if possible and only eat when you are actually hungry. Sometimes, it is helpful to plan your meals and snacks for your day ahead of time so that a binge does not occur later in the day.
WHY are you eating?
As previously mentioned, eat when you are actually hungry. Feelings of stress, boredom, frustration, sadness, or celebration are all emotions when someone feels the need to feed their feelings. Keeping a food journal of the foods you eat will bring awareness to what and why you are choosing to eat.
WHERE are you eating?
Are you sitting down at the table to eat or are you sitting in front of the TV? Research shows that distracted eating leads to overeating. Be sure to eliminate any screen time and distractions during meals to avoid consuming unnecessary calories and gaining weight.
WHAT are you eating?
Remember that your plate should be filled with bright colors and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to nutrition labels, ingredients, and portion sizes to create a wholesome and healthy meal.
Becoming aware of how we design our plate and what is going on around us during meal and snack times can improve healthy decisions. Mindlessly going through the motions and meal times can hinder health statuses. Truly “savor the flavor” by eating slowly and enjoying the company whom you are sharing your meal with. Visit the National Nutrition Month website for additional information, games, and tip sheets.