It's Time to Unlock the Potential of Food
As we round the corner into spring and start appreciating the longer days, the warmer weather and the smell of fresh flowers, it is also time to celebrate Nutrition Month. This March, join dietitians across Canada, as we unlock the potential of food! Food is nourishment, but it is also a lot more. Food is what brings friends and family together at the dinner table, it can improve our health, prevent disease and keep us well and energized. Take the challenge this Nutrition Month to unlock the potential of food! Now, let’s talk about the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together.
The Potential to Fuel
Stay energized by planning nutritious snacks into your day. Snacks are foods or drinks that are consumed between meals. The secret to a good snack is protein & fibre, as both nutrients fill you up and give you energy to last until your next meal. Need some inspiration? Try these delicious snacks:
- Carrots and peppers with hummus
- Almond butter on banana slices
- Greek yogurt topped with berries
- Cheddar cheese and apple slices
- Handful of trail mix made with nuts, seeds and raisins
- Roasted chickpeas and popcorn mix
- Whole grain cereal with milk
- Sliced vegetables with yogurt dip
- Tuna on crackers
- Whole grain toast with avocado and sesame seeds
The Potential to Discover
Foster healthy eating habits in children by teaching them to shop and cook. Children can make the best sous chefs as they love to help and get dirty, so cultivate little healthy eaters by involving kids in meal preparation.
Here’s a guideline of kitchen skills based on age:
- 2-3 year olds can wash vegetables and fruit or tear lettuce and salad greens
- 3-4 year olds can mash potatoes and bananas or mix together batters
- 4-6 year olds can measure dry and liquid ingredients or set the table
- 6-8 year olds can toss salad ingredients together or make a simple breakfast
- 8-12 year olds can make their own school lunch or help to plan meals
- Teens can follow more complicated recipes or assemble and mix most ingredients. They can also be in charge of making one meal per week.
The Potential to Prevent & Heal
Food can help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating rather than a formal diet plan. It features foods eaten in Greece, Spain, southern Italy and France, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. More and more research is showing that by following this way of eating we can lower our risk of certain diseases, improve our mood, boost our energy levels and keep our heart and brain healthy. It’s not a coincidence that these guys are living until they are over 100! So, eat like the Italians by enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds and fish.
The Potential to Bring Us Together
According to a recent Ipsos poll, 30% of Canadians said it’s challenging to find time to eat meals with friends and family. If this sounds like you, remember that sharing family meals doesn’t have to mean dinner only! If your evening schedule is hectic, share breakfast meals or have brunch together on the weekends. Most studies done on the benefits of family meals start with sharing at least four meals together per week. They all count! So, enjoy the benefits of bringing families and friends together with food in your own way.
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