March is National Nutrition Month, and this year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has highlighted the importance of a mindful eating pattern through the theme “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” The theme stresses the idea that healthy eating is about more than just eating fruits and vegetables; it’s also about enjoying food and tuning into how food choices are made. Savoring the flavor of eating right involves four important components that work together to create a happy, healthy eating experience.
Enjoy food traditions and social Experiences. Eating is a social experience that deserves to be appreciated and enjoyed. People bond over food, be it over a family dinner, an ice cream outing, or a holiday meal. It is important to enjoy healthy foods in these settings and recognize the positive experiences they can bring to our lives.
Appreciate food pleasures and flavors. Bringing awareness to all the components of food can increase the overall experience of eating. Try to notice the texture, smell, and flavors of foods. Being able to notice these details about foods often involves eating slowly and avoiding distractions. This can be a challenge in the fast-paced world we live in, but it has great benefits and enhances the taste and pleasure of eating. Challenge yourself to take one slow, fully-aware bit with each meal and see if you notice a difference in how the food tastes.
Develop a mindful eating pattern. Mindful eating involves bringing consciousness to how one makes food decisions. This involves the how, when, why, where, and what of eating. Reflect on the how, when, why, where, and what’s of your eating patterns to see if you are making the most mindful decisions you can.
Consult a registered dietitian nutritionist. There are many healthy eating guidelines out there, but every individual has different needs and goals. Talk to a nutrition professional to get personalized feedback on your needs, goals, and questions.
Health Promotion and Wellness offers free individual diet analysis and nutrition guidance for those striving to improve their lifestyle. Faculty, staff, and students can meet one-on-one with a Health Promotion and Wellness nutrition graduate assistant at no cost.