March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition education and information campaign created and sponsored annually by the AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association).
It was started in 1973 as a week-long event and then became a month-long event in 1980 in response to the public’s increasing interest in nutrition.
Each year, the AND encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthful eating through National Nutrition Month®. This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” It focuses on combining taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Consumer research shows that taste outweighs nutrition as the main reason people purchase one food over another. While social, emotional, medical and health factors can also play roles in choices, the foods that people enjoy most are likely the ones they eat the most. The AND encourages everyone to explore new foods and flavors, while keeping taste and nutrition in your meals. Try different varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables while working your way up to trying something you never have. Change the way you cook a particular dish. Grill the chicken you would normally bake. Sauté the vegetables you would normally steam. Roast the potatoes you may normally mash. Try quinoa as a side dish in place of rice. Experiment with different herbs and spices until you find those that best compliment the foods you like to eat the most.
As part of this year’s National Nutrition Month®, AND wants you to know that registered dietitians play a critical role in helping people eat right, their way, every day. If you need nutrition information, seek the assistance of a registered dietitian in your area.
Also as part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics public education campaign, the AND’s website www.eatright.org/nnm offers helpful and healthy tips, games and more information on this year’s National Nutrition Month®. You can also visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information on the MyPlate program.
Sherry Munoz is a registered dietitian at DaVita Dialysis Centers and Banner Churchill Community Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome--send questions to Sherry Munoz, R.D., L.D., C.D.E. in care of this newspaper.