March is in full blast and, as you may have noticed, this post was published March 14th. Coincidence? I think not! In addition to being Pi Day (everybody gets to eat a slice of pie for that one!), March 14th is also Dietitians’ Day! Woot! Woot!
The theme for this year’s nutrition month is Unlocking the Potential of Food. What does that mean? Well, it means that food is more than just calories to sustain our bodies. Food is an integral and very much needed part of our day. So what is the potential of food? There are many answers to that question, but we will tackle 5 of them together today:
As I am sure you have noticed that foods are made of calories. Calories are the unit of measurement of energy. In simple terms: food gives us energy. That being said, you can get different qualities of energy because food is not all made equally. You only have one body, and you have the power to CHOOSE the best fuel that enters it. So do yourself a favor and opt for more nutritious foods. Where to start? I will write a post on a balanced diet in the future, but for today, I would like to highlight the importance of protein and fiber. Both these things have something in common: they give you satiety. Satiety is when you are satisfied after a meal, like you have eaten enough and your fuel gauge is back up. This also means that you will have the energy necessary to do your daily activities for longer, as opposed to eating a quickly absorbed sugar that makes your energy peak and crash, leaving you feeling tired shortly after your meal.
How many parents let their children cook at a young age? How many parents take the time to teach their children how to enjoy cooking? Too few, that’s the answer. Children are exposed to over 25 million food and drink advertisements per year, 90% of them being of products high in sugar, salt and destructive fat. Without the adequate knowledge obtained while being in the kitchen at a young age, children are more prone to rely on these pre-made products. But we have the power to do differently! There are many resources online with kid-friendly recipes that are mouth-watering! For example, these No-Bake Energy Balls (see link below) are fun to make and can be a nutritious (and delicious) snack. Children will for sure be proud of their creation! And it doesn’t stop with children! Tasting foods from different countries is a great way for everyone to experience different cultures. Not to mention that sharing recipes with family and friends is a great bonding experience!
Find recipe here: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/245429/no-bake-energy-balls/
3) & 4) The Potential to PREVENT and to HEAL
I’ve decided to merge these two topics because they are very closely related. Dietitians are an integral part of the healthcare team in hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, etc. We work with medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists and many more professionals to heal your body. Our specialty: healing through food! As I am sure you have heard, you are what you eat. Your body will regenerate itself using what you feed it. Dietitians are present to adapt a meal consistency in case of dysphagia, helping heal the gut in case of irritable bowel disease, make lifestyle choices to prevent chronic diseases, and much more. Did you know that lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes up to 70% and cardiovascular diseases up to 80%? Take a moment to let that sink in. Chronic diseases are, as the name states, chronic. For this reason, they are greatly affected by your lifestyle habits. Opting for healthier habits such as eating balanced meals, exercising and ensuring proper sleep are quite preventative. And the good news is that it’s never too late! Whether it’s reducing medication dosage or completely silencing the disease, positive changes can be found through food.
I will be honest and tell you that this is my favorite topic in this year’s nutrition month. Imagine this: you have a long lost friend that you would like to catch up with. What do you do? Meet up over supper! Easter is around the corner and your family will all gather together over what? Food! You had a long day at work and want to catch up with your spouse and kids, when is the best time to chat together? Suppertime! Unfortunately, a quarter to a third of families say that they never or rarely eat together, mostly due to lack of time. For this nutrition month, I would like to reinforce the importance of eating together around the dinner table. Children who regularly eat meals with their family also tend to do better in school and have reduced chances of developing weight problems and eating disorders. Children and adults alike tend to make healthier food choices when eating together, at the table. For these reasons, I encourage you to take the time to sit at the table and talk those that are sitting with you.
Say it with me: This nutrition month, I will unlock the potential of food!
Source: Dietitians of Canada campaign for Nutrition Month
For more information, visit www.nutritionmonth2018.ca