For National Nutrition Month, Celebrate a World of Flavors!

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Every year, February goes by way too fast -- which means that it’s nearly March and ‘thyme’ for National Nutrition Month! For food and nutrition 'neRDs' like me, it’s a month of celebrating food, health, and nutrition professionals.

This year’s theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavors” to encompass international cultures, cuisines, and diversity in the field. National Nutrition Month started with a week in 1973 and was quickly expanded to the full month of March in 1980.

In 2008, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics began the first “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day." This special day falls on the second Wednesday of the month and will be held March 9th this year. The celebrations are many and varied -- in New York City, a dietitian is recognized in Times Square every year!

How Can We Celebrate National Nutrition Month This Year?

As mentioned above, this year’s theme revolves around celebrating global flavors. We hear a lot about the Mediterranean diet, which includes delicious flavors from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Syria and Morrocco to name a few. Garlic, oregano, lemon, basil, rosemary and fennel are popular ways to season Mediterranean cuisine. But don't stop there!

Did you know there are 5 distinct regions in Asia including Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Western Asia? Within these regions, we can celebrate food from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Cambodia, Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Iran, the Philippines, and Singapore to start.

Herbs, spices, and seasonings used in the various types of Asian cuisine bring color, flavor, and depth to our meals. These may include ginger, soy sauce, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and curry as well as coconut, cardamom and fennel. Flavors may be salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and spicy.

Experience the various flavors of East, West, North or South African cuisine which feature peanut butter, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions and spices including turmeric, nutmeg, black pepper, curry and red pepper.

Many of these spices have antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. They’re not just another pretty face! Help your clients expand their horizons during National Nutrition Month.

Here are Some Ways for Your Audience to Celebrate a World of Flavors:

  • Try grated ginger in oatmeal or quinoa for breakfast.
  • Add turmeric and curry to squash or lentil-based soup.
  • Use garlic or Thai basil to season green beans or broccoli.
  • Drizzle soy sauce over cooked cabbage or other greens.
  • Use cinnamon and cardamom in cooked grains or baked goods.

Check out the handout that features each of these ideas: Celebrate a World of Flavors

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

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