National Nutrition Month: Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

20130425_0190By Amanda Czerwin, DTR, CLE, and Nichole Balandran, DTR, CHOC Children’s Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services

March is National Nutrition Month, and CHOC Children’s dietitians join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in encouraging everyone to enjoy the taste of eating right in 2014.

Research shows that taste is the No. 1 reason for choosing the foods we eat. You don’t have to give up foods that tantalize your taste buds to eat healthfully. Studies have shown that taste can be adaptable. Experimenting is the key to broadening your taste buds. So, next time you make a trip to the grocery store, try one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain. Use your discovery in a new, tasty recipe and see if you can find a new flavor to love.

Just as processed foods can become a habit, so can sweets. Retrain your taste buds to enjoy natural fruit sugars or even small amounts of honey instead of sugar or alternatives. An easy way to retrain your taste buds is to have more fruit nearby for easy-to-grab snacks or create fun fruit-based desserts, such as baked apples with cinnamon.

If you are trying new types of produce, try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Fresh food at its peak season tends to be more flavorful, look better and be on sale. This month is a great time to purchase asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, artichokes, mangos and spinach, which are all foods packed with essential vitamins and minerals. You can discover which fruits and vegetable are in season by visiting www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. This site not only tells you what fruits and vegetables are in season, but also how to best prepare, store and enjoy the produce.

Another great way to rev up your taste buds is to utilize your spice rack or start an herb garden. Just a little bit of herbs or spices can turn a new food into your all-time favorite. Fresh or dried herbs and spices contain healthful antioxidants and very little salt, sugar or fat. Ditch the salt shaker for rosemary, thyme, garlic, basil or parsley. These are just a few examples of seasonings that can boost the flavor of vegetables or meats, while also providing long-lasting health benefits.

From your local grocery store to your kitchen, make every meal time a healthy, colorful, tasty creation. Remember, March is National Nutrition Month and what better time than right now to enjoy the taste of eating right?

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