March is National Nutrition Month® and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the professional association of Registered Dietitians) has created the the theme “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” to celebrate. Since I am a Registered Dietitian, I wanted share with you how I enjoy the taste of eating right.
Far too many times, I hear people who complain that eating healthy automatically means it won’t taste as good. And it drives me crazy! There is no reason to think that eating smart means you can’t enjoy your food. I’ll go one step further- eating smart doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite foods either. If you want to start living a healthier lifestyle, you have to enjoy the changes or they’ll never last.
Advice to Get Started
- Learn to cook
- Find new recipes
- Be creative in making healthier upgrades to favorite foods
Some Ways I’ve learned to Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right
It was a gradual process, but I have learned to cook from a few different sources. As a teenager, my mom and grandmothers taught me how to cook. I was most interested in learning how to make my favorite foods on my own (which is a good tip to get started teaching your own kids to cook). This is how I learned to cook eggs (one of my favorite foods) and spaghetti (one of the things I ate a lot of as a teenager). Once I moved out into my own place, I learned how to cook new things by searching for recipes and just following the directions. Sometimes it turned out great, other times it didn’t. (I may have exploded a glass baking dish in the oven one time…) I also learned to cook in some of my nutrition classes in college. You can probably find cooking classes in your area at grocery stores, Cooperative Extension and Family Nutrition Program classes, or even by watching online videos.
I LOVE finding new recipes. This passion for recipe collecting is actually how I got into nutrition and decided to become a Registered Dietitian. When I first moved out into my own place, I found recipes in magazines and collected cookbooks. Now, I’m all about Pinterest for finding and saving new recipes. Recipes give me new ideas for flavors and ingredients to try as well as teaching different ways to cook things- grilling, roasting, poaching, etc. I also highly recommend using a recipe as a starting point and modifying it to fit your unique tastes and available ingredients.
As far as healthy upgrades go, I am addicted to popcorn and actually like my homemade version so much more than microwave popcorn bags. When I first made the change to homemade popcorn, I used the DIY microwave paper bag method. It worked okay, but I occasionally burnt it (which is one of the stinkiest cooking fails). I then found out you can use a microwave-safe bowl with lid and that worked better than the bag. But now, I use an air popper and I’ll never go back to any of the other methods. It is awesome! And air-popped popcorn is a blank slate that you can flavor a thousand different ways. I usually drizzle it with some olive oil and sprinkle on dried dill and a pinch of salt. Sometimes I even shake on some (okay, a lot) hot sauce, another of my favorite foods.
To me, enjoying the taste of eating right means being creative in the kitchen, learning new cooking skills and recipes, and finding foods you love that you can prepare in healthy ways. What does it mean to you?