National Nutrition Month 2021

Happy Tuesday annnnd happy MARCH! Woah, did January and February fly by for anyone else? I truly believe in the saying that the days go slow but the months/years go fast. I try to remember that and have my days enrich my months which enrich my year. Did you know that enrichment can actually help tame our need for immediate gratification. Read on to learn more.

In our society, we are becoming more and more needy of immediate gratification. We went from dial up Internet to high speed. From always home cooked meals to having fast food and microwaves. Magazines advertise we can drop ___ pounds in 20 days…or LESS. Or maybe a coworker pops by minutes after they email you asking if you saw their email. Immediate gratification sounds good in the moment, but overtime it can catch up to us and leave us not truly gratified or happy.

Traveling is another thing that enriches my life – see trip above from 2019 Brussels, Belgium

Enriching our lives can help tame this need by fulfilling our brain’s desire to feel gratified. So what can you do to enrich your day? That depends! It can range from spending time on activities that bring you joy like painting, dancing, running, cooking, organizing, cleaning, flossing, or spending time with friends and family. On the daily, I try to incorporate something that enriches my life. It helps me feel like I’m living and not just letting the days pass by. Another way to enrich your life is to personalize your food, cooking, and meal ideas to suit your needs and preferences.

This goes with the theme that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics picked for National Nutrition Month this year, “Personalize Your Plate.” What I like about this theme is that it is focused on making nutrition and health applicable to people of all bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes. This is a passion of mine because I never think a cookie-cutter plan can help people truly make changes. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t love when people just ask me for a handout or a recipe. Sure, I can provide you that but a dietitian can do SO much more.

By the way, want to read my story about becoming a dietitian? Click HERE

As a dietitian and a human who works hard to enrich her life on the daily, personalizing my plate goes a little like this: Find ingredients that taste good, cooking methods that bring out the best in food, and stay on a budget that suits my families’ needs. So how the heck do I do that!?

First, I have preferences for what food tastes best to me but it’s so important to try foods over and over again because you never know when you might like something. I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re limited to three vegetables, two fruits and don’t think they can expand their meal plans beyond that. Enriching the cooking experiences means taking some risks and trying new things. A recipe might be a bust but the more you practice the more confident you’ll be in adjusting recipes to fit your needs best.

Second, so often I hear things about hating a certain food, let’s use brussel sprouts as an example. Someone will tell me that they always hated them growing up so I like to ask how were they prepared? Their response usually goes something like this, “UGH they were always so soggy and bitter.” Okay, I promise the only way to eat them is not soggy and bitter! This just means you didn’t like the preparation method and we need to find a new option. You could try baking, roasting, sautéing, grilling, or even mixing in with a soup! Cooking methods and seasonings make a world of difference.

Third, I like to set-up a budget for myself for our weekly shopping. I am privileged that my budget is more flexible and I have security in this way. So for us, I’ve looked into our finances as a whole and tracked what I spent on groceries for a few months. I realized that I could tighten up the budget more so I started setting a goal to cut it back by $25 a week, saving $100 a month. It felt like a doable goal and also a challenge. Don’t worry, I’ll do a full on food budgeting post in the near future!

Food budgeting for me can mean this canned green bean recipe! Grab it here

Personalize Your Plate with Culture

One thing I would like to add that helps enrich my meal plans is planning meals that align with my cultural background. I’m a white girl raised in the mid-west (Michigan!) with two white parents. But when we look into our families’ ethnic background there’s a lot more there than I ever realized! I’m German, Welsch, Finnish, Bohemian, and Irish. I’ll be the first to admit that I do not know enough about my ethnicity but I want to learn! So I look up recipes and cultural traditions that align with who I am and they help me feel more connected to my family line. I encourage you to try it too!

No matter how you enrich your life or celebrate the month with me, I would love to see it! Either drop a comment below or head to my Instagram page and let’s be friends. Let’s share pictures and meals with each other that fit our personal needs, our backgrounds, and push the boundaries on new foods. Thinking of which, I’m hosting a giveaway for the first week of National Nutrition Month! Click on this link or the photo below to go to Instagram and enter to win a cookbook by and RD friend of mine and a colorful knife set!

Share your thoughts!

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