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By Louisa PaineNNM2016_meme2

The theme of National Nutrition Month this year is Savor the Flavor of Eating Right, a message that encourages us all to stop and enjoy our food. If you’re like me, sometimes food and mealtimes take a backseat to the rest of our busy lives. Despite this, there are some things we can do to savor the flavor of eating right every day! Here are some of my favorites:

Cook together
I love cooking with my family and friends. It’s a time to bond and share our love of healthy food. Take the time to prepare food as a family. Have your children pick a recipe or choose their favorite vegetables at the supermarket. Invite all your “co-chefs” to taste the food along the way and suggest herbs and spices to add. Turn food preparation into a time your family can enjoy together.

Take your time
Sometimes I catch myself rushing through my meal so quickly that I don’t even taste my food. Eat slowly in order to fully enjoy your meal. Chew each bite thoroughly and put down your fork between bites. Take note of the taste and texture of the food. This slower way of eating will help you to feel more satisfied with less food (helpful if you’re trying to cut calories) and help you digest your food better!

Cook ahead of time
I know I’m not the only one who dreads the idea of cooking at the end of a long and busy day. If you know you’ll be too tired during the week to enjoy cooking nutritious, tasty meals, cook them ahead of time on the weekend! You won’t feel so rushed, and you’ll have much more time to experiment with new healthy recipes. You can then store the meals in the refrigerator and reheat them in the oven or microwave up to two or three days later. Or, freeze them and serve them another time within the next two or three months.

Experiment with flavor
Quite often I find myself getting into a rut when it comes to seasonings. However, there are so many other herbs, spices and flavorings available, all with many health benefits! Experiment with new spices by adding a pinch or two at a time, and increasing the amount if it tastes good to you. Flavorful seasonings and herbs will help reduce the need for extra salt, too. Some of my favorites are ginger, smoked paprika, oregano, and garam masala. Have fun with herbs and spices by creating your own unique spice blends!

With some planning, mindfulness, curiosity, collaboration, and experimentation, we can all savor the flavor of eating right!

Louisa Paine is a dietetic intern at Simmons College.

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