This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavors.” It is important to recognize that people can follow healthy patterns of eating and appreciate the diverse flavors of the world at the same time. Culture is an integral part of a person’s identity with connections as broad as the country they live in (or are from) to their immediate household. A person’s culture can be expressed through religion, writing, clothing, music, and food. Here is how we can use the four weekly themes of National Nutrition Month to celebrate a world of flavors:
- Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods: Rotating in new dishes from other cultures helps us to include foods that we do not consume regularly. Many Asian Indian dishes center around non-animal proteins like lentils and beans. A new “Meatless Monday” meal might include Bhindi masala (sautéed spiced okra, onion, and tomatoes) with dal (lentils) and whole grain roti (bread).
- Plan Your Meals and Snacks: Meal planning is a great strategy to organize your week and incorporate new cuisines. Expand the classic “Taco Tuesday” meal by trying new traditional Latin American plates like pupusas (masa corn cake filled with cheese, beans, or meat) with salsa and curtido (cabbage slaw) or “Ropa vieja” (shredded beef in a spicy tomato sauce) with rice, black beans, collard greens and avocado. As a snack try eating raw vegetables with guacamole or hummus, a traditional Mediterranean dip made from chickpeas.
- Create Tasty Foods at Home: Just as equally important as trying new foods from other cultures, enjoy your own traditional dishes as well! We may have heard recommendations of leaving traditional foods behind if we want to eat healthier, but that is far from the truth. Cultures from around the world present a variety of foods that fit onto any healthy plate.
See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN): Our team of Registered Dietitians at Avance Care can help you explore ways to meet your health goals while incorporating your traditional cultural foods and/or trying new dishes! Find more information about our Nutrition Services available.
Chelsea Hawkins is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. Her approach to nutrition and diabetes care begins with putting the person first. She aims to provide a space where clients feel comfortable to express their concerns, ask questions, work through barriers, and celebrate successes. Chelsea collaborates with each person on their own individual journey meeting them where they are. One of her favorite mottos is, “Do what you can, how you can, when you can.”