by Staci O’Connor, MS, RD, CDN
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign that was created annually in the month of March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses our attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging everyone to take the time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, flavors, and social experiences that food can add to our lives while developing a mindful eating pattern..
This year the academy is encouraging everyone to experiment with new combinations of herbs and spices while still following a healthful eating pattern. Experimenting with herbs and spices offers a real flavor advantage, especially if a person is looking to cook with less fat and sodium. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Libby Mills offers a top ten list of popular ethnic cuisines and the flavors associated with them and recommends keeping dried herbs and spices on hand as well as exploring new flavor combinations:
- China: Low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine, ginger
- France: Thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, lavender, tomato
- Greece: Olive oil, lemon, oregano
- Hungary: Onion, paprika
- India: Curry, cumin, ginger, garlic
- Italy: Tomato, olive oil, garlic, basil, marjoram
- Mexico: Tomato, chili, paprika
- Middle East: Olive oil, lemon, parsley
- Morocco/North Africa: Cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger
- West Africa: Tomato, peanut, chili
The Academy is also encouraging everyone to take the time to appreciate textures and the overall eating experience since in our busy world we often eat too quickly and mindlessly. It is important to focus on eating slower so that food is enjoyed and less is consumed. Being a mindful eater can help you rest your body and mind and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.
The Academy’s website, www.eatright.org, has 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.