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Nutrition Month 2020: More Than Food

Victoria Hall RD

Like most, around the new year I like to come up with some healthy living resolutions for myself. By March, those resolutions are either a well-established habit (good for you!), or they have fizzled and may need some tweaking. Nutrition Month is a great time to reflect on our healthy eating habits and maybe even try some new ones. Last year, Nutrition Month was focused on introducing Canada’s Food Guide and the healthy plate snapshot. This year we are taking a deeper dive and reflecting on how nutrition and heathy eating is MORE THAN FOOD.

Be mindful of your eating habits

Try taking a single raisin and test your senses; Can you picture it transforming from a grape to a raisin? What does it smell like? What does it feel like on your tongue? Take one bite, what does it taste like? Being mindful does not mean you have to eat all your food like you did with this raisin test, but if you can’t recall what you had to eat earlier today, you are probably in need of more mindfulness at mealtimes. A big part of mindfulness is avoiding distractions like screens, work, driving, or any other multi tasking you tend to do while you eat. Practicing mindfulness can help you to listen to your body when you are hungry and when you are full.

Cook more often

I love to cook, and like how I can control the salt and fat, include more vegetables in my meal, and save money. With that said, I probably don’t cook at home as often as I think I do. Without realizing, a lunch out here, Friday pizza there and dinners out, all these instances can add up quickly!

If you are new to cooking at home, start by planning 1-2 times a week that you will cook and build from there. It can be as easy as a nut butter on whole grain toast with a piece of fruit for breakfast or a hearty vegetable soup for dinner. Try planning around your vegetables to make sure you are aiming for that half plate of vegetables. Cooking at home is also a great opportunity to involve the whole family to share the work while you pass along food skills to your children.

Enjoy your food

Often when we try to make changes to our eating patterns, we tend to be too restrictive and forget that food is more than just nourishment. Food is part of our culture, our traditions and our social life. Make sure that healthy eating goals you make don’t keep you from enjoying foods with friends and family. On the other hand, it is also a good practice to reflect on your food traditions. Are there traditions and social activities where you can celebrate without food? Maybe Friday night take-out pizza could become a Friday night game night or family snowshoe, followed by family cooking (you could even try these flatbread pizzas)!

Eat meals with others

All the things mentioned above are improved with company. Enjoying your secret family recipe is only as delicious and rich in flavour as the company you share it with. Next time you’re celebrating a birthday, consider hosting a potluck, or making something simple to enjoy together, Hoisin Lentil and Turkey Lettuce wraps are one of my favourite quick meals!