While social, emotional and health factors play a role in the foods people choose to eat, the foods we enjoy are the ones we eat most. That is why, as part of National Nutrition Month 2014, the Mid-Ohio Valley WIC Program along with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”
Each March, the Academy encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthful eating through National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme focuses on combining taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
“Taste is an important factor in choosing the foods we eat. Finding a balance between the foods we like and the nutrition we need is a key to healthful eating,” said June Rhodes, a registered dietitian with the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.
The Academy strives to communicate healthful eating messages that emphasize balancing food and beverages within an individual’s energy needs, rather than focusing on any one specific food or meal. To this end, it is the Academy’s position that improving overall health requires a lifelong commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors, emphasizing sustainable and enjoyable eating practices and daily physical activity.
“Physical activity along with enjoying healthy foods is an important part of developing a healthy lifestyle we can maintain for years,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes offers these practical ways to add nutrient-rich foods and beverages to your daily diet:
Make oatmeal creamier by using fat-free milk instead of water. Mix in some raisins, dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries, too.
- Make sandwiches on whole-grain bread, such as whole wheat or whole rye. Add slices of avocado, tomato or cucumber to lean roast beef, ham, turkey or chicken.
- When eating out, look for nutrient-rich choices, such as entrée salads with grilled seafood and low-calorie dressing, baked potatoes topped with salsa, grilled vegetables and reduced-fat cheese and yogurt parfaits made with strawberries and blueberries.
- Drink nutrient-rich, low-sugar beverages such as low-fat or fat-free milk or 100-percent fruit juice.
- Top foods with chopped nuts or reduced-fat sharp cheddar to get crunch, flavor and nutrients from the first bite.
- Spend a few minutes to cut and bag vegetables so they are in easy reach of every family member: some ready-to-eat favorites include red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower flowerets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or radishes.
- Serve meals that pack multiple nutrient-rich foods into one dish, such as hearty, broth-based soups that are full of colorful vegetables, beans and lean meat. Make chili with a dollop of low-fat yogurt. Serve these with whole-grain breads or rolls.
- For dessert, enjoy a tropical treat by blending mango, plain low-fat milk, ice and a splash of pineapple juice, or stir chocolate syrup into a cup of coffee-flavored yogurt, freeze and enjoy.
The Academy’s National Nutrition Month website – www.eatright.org/NNM/ – includes a variety of helpful tips, games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition based on the “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” theme.
The WIC Program has been providing nutrition education and supplemental foods to pregnant and breast-feeding women, infants, and children for 40 years. “WIC supplies families not only with healthy food choices but the information to choose healthy food which we like to eat as part of healthy living.” Rhodes said.
For more information about National Nutrition Month or the WIC Program, contact the WIC Office by calling 304-647-7430, or visiting our website at http://ons.wvdhhr.org. WIC is an equal opportunity employer and provider.