March is National Nutrition Month®, a time to spread awareness about healthy eating. This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” which focuses on combining taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Typically, people choose foods for taste, not nutrition. The good news is you can have both – taste and health! Here are some tips for finding delicious foods that are also good for you:
- Try one new fruit or vegetable every time you go to the grocery store. Fruits and vegetables can expand your options when you are cooking at home. Wake County’s Farmer’s Markets offer a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Find a way to modify a favorite dish by incorporating more vegetables. For example, add another helping of carrots and celery to a pot of soup.
- When eating out, try a new cuisine! Asian restaurants tend to offer a variety of healthy options. You can also find a local restaurant that specializes in using seasonal ingredients.
- Garnishing entrees and meats with herbs, spices and lemon juice can help you experiment with different flavors. Replacing salt with other spices can also help you cut down on your sodium intake. Check out these articles from the WakeMed Voices blog for more “flavorful” advice: How to Flavor your Food and Super 7 Spices and Herbs.
- Consider “volumetrics.” Instead of filling your plate with pasta, try adding sautéed spinach or broccoli to increase volume with fewer calories. You could also top yogurt, oatmeal or cereal with fruit.
- Certain beverages can be delicious and nutritious. For example, add lemons or berries to water to give it an extra nutritional zest.
To celebrate National Nutrition Month, the registered dietitians at Cary Hospital will host an interactive display in Points West Café from noon to 1 pm every Wednesday during the month of March. Stop by for tips on creating healthy meals, chat with a nutrition expert, and learn the basics on heart health, diabetes and weight loss.
Additionally, Raleigh Campus’ Café 3000 will feature a new healthy recipe every Friday in March. The recipes will include nutritious ancient grains, spicy flavors, local ingredients and flavorful teas. Learn more here. Remember you have approximately 10,000 taste buds, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors and recipes!
To learn more about healthy eating, check out these blogs:
Amy Bowen is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital, and Kelli Wood is a dietetic intern from Meredith College. With questions for the dietitians, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For individual nutrition counseling, call WakeMed Cary Hospital Outpatient Nutrition Services at 919-350-2358.