Celebrating National Nutrition Month:
By Jenni Wolf
What does nutrition mean to you? What are your definitions of nutrition and nutritious food?
Now is a good time to reflect on those questions given that March is National Nutrition Month.
Spoiler alert: All food is nutritious since all foods contain protein, carbohydrate and/or fat, along with some vitamins and minerals; and those are the nutrients our bodies need to survive.
It is easy to get caught up in the world of diet culture and the loud chatter about “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” foods. So, hopefully understanding that all foods have the capacity to nourish your body is helpful.
Another important consideration about nutrition is that it’s a very personal thing. What’s nutritious and nurturing for one person may not be for someone else. That’s a good reason to steer clear of diets and food rules—How can a diet possibly “work” for everyone? It can’t! But that’s why many of us get stuck on the diet-merry-go-round or find ourselves trying to keep up with the latest nutrition trends.
So, if you’re looking to explore how you’re nourishing your body and interested making some changes, these might be some helpful questions to ask:
• Am I getting a variety of food groups at most mealtimes? Our bodies prefer a balance of carbs, fat and protein throughout the day. Each is essential to our body’s functioning and satisfaction. Missing out on one of these can lead to feeling hungry again soon or having cravings later in the day.
• Am I drinking water throughout my day? Just like food, our bodies need hydration. You might giggle at this, but the easiest way to assess hydration is to take note in the bathroom. If your urine is light in color (think lemonade), that can be a good indicator that you’re meeting your fluid needs.
• Am I eating every three to four hours? Our bodies need a stable supply of energy to maintain blood sugar, mood and overall physical functioning and well-being. Most of us should shoot for somewhere in this range between meals.
• Am I including a variety of produce throughout the week? There will be days where we find ourselves without a vegetable on our plates and that’s OK. We do need the fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants fruits and veggies provide. However, we can also get some of these things from other foods.
And, don’t sweat the small stuff.
• Instead, explore. Explore seasonal produce offerings, use fresh, frozen and canned options, keep your favorites in the rotation; and you’ll be likely to get what you’re needing and figure out what you enjoy most!
Jenni Wolf is a member of the Como neighborhood and a practicing registered dietitian in the community who is passionate about helping others nourish a positive and balanced relationship with food.