March is National Nutrition Month, and the theme for 2014 is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” Following a healthy diet should not make you feel deprived – instead, eating a diet filled with foods that are delicious, beautiful, and nutritious should make you feel satisfied and content.
Nutrition Month may be coming to an end, but your resolution to eat better doesn’t have to. Here are three goals to incorporate more enjoyment into your diet:
- Focus on flavor: Seek out foods you enjoy so that eating well doesn’t feel like a chore. Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season (tomatoes will be much more flavorful in August than they are now!), try new and appealing recipes from healthy cookbooks or websites (I love EatingWell magazine and website), and make sure to incorporate lots of variety so you don’t get bored with your diet (chicken breasts…again?). Make a weekly meal plan to help ensure your meals are healthy, varied, and fit within your budget.
- Savor your meals: Do you feel like meals have become one more thing to check off your to-do list? Turn off the TV and set the table! Make mealtime more meaningful by minimizing distractions, sitting down, and allowing yourself to enjoy your food. This will help you better control your portions, reconnect with loved ones, and set a good example for your kids—little ones who see their parents eating fruits and vegetables are much more likely to eat these foods themselves.
- Eat with your eyes first: In order to get maximum enjoyment from a healthy diet, it’s vital that foods look as good as they taste. As a bonus, the more visually appealing the food, the better the chance any picky eaters in your family will dig in!
- Take advantage of the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables to add visual appeal to your plate. Again, choosing produce that is in season will be more vibrant and beautiful. Use this list for new ways to increase your fruits and veggies this month.
- Use small amounts of fruit or veggie purees or other sauces to add pizzazz to meals.
- Use fresh herbs, citrus fruit, or even edible flowers as creative (and healthy!) garnishes.
- Ready to unleash your inner Top Chef? Use these tips to start plating meals like a pro.
I feel so fortunate to live in Oregon, where we have such great access to a variety of fresh, gorgeous, and delicious fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Soak in the first hints of spring this month as you enjoy the taste of eating right!
Tracy works with the OHSU Surgical Weight Reduction clinic and Cardiac Rehab program, and also provides medical nutrition therapy for General Adult Outpatient Clinics at OHSU.