During National Nutrition Month, registered dietitians are encouraging consumers to focus on finding enjoyment in the taste of food and food flavors to build a healthy diet. Yep, that means it’s no longer necessary to choose food solely on nutritional content; instead it’s OK to find a happy medium eating foods that are good for you and taste good too. What a concept!
"When taste is the most influential factor driving what consumers eat, it is important that we find the balance between choosing the foods we like with those that provide the nutrients we need," says Dr. Glenna McCollum, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President. "This year’s 'Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right' theme reinforces that the two choices are not mutually exclusive."
The Win-Win of Taste and Health
If you love the taste of roasted Brussels sprouts, steamed shrimp, grilled flank steak, baked butternut squash, and even a morning latte with skim milk – then you’re right on track with healthy eating goals that please your taste buds, heart health and waistline. Craving bacon? Choose center-cut bacon, which is lower in fat than regular bacon and has 20 percent fewer calories. Such a win-win!
Play with Your Food
What about the youngest and often toughest critics of healthy foods?
To encourage children to enjoy eating more fruits and vegetables, registered dietitian Liz Weiss, co-author, No Whine with Dinner and The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers, recommends setting up a smoothie bar complete with toppers—100% fruit juice, Greek yogurt, frozen berries, bananas, and even sprinkles—and let the kids blend up their own. Or turn the kitchen into a pizza parlor. Lay out whole-wheat pita bread rounds and various toppers—things like pasta sauce, shredded cheese, sautéed onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and baby spinach.
Just Don’t Over-Enjoy
What if you really enjoy ice cream and cake? Well, then the topic turns to portion control. Proposed FDA rules for improving nutrition facts on food labels include a plan to increase serving sizes to reflect portions commonly eaten. Looking for more nutrition label advice? Read it before you eat it.
To learn more ways to 'Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right' visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at www.eatright.org.
Jen Haugen, RD, offers a way to tame the crazy breakfast routine.
Melissa Dobbins, RD, demonstrates how to put your best fork forward.
Carolyn O'Neil, RD, breaks down the new nutrition label.