Heads up! March is National Nutrition Month©, a month recognized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) as a reminder to pay attention to our nutrition and that of our families. For everyone it should a no brainer to think about good nutrition 365 days a year rather than just during the month of March.
This year’s reminder about healthy eating brings an element of fun to the message. The 2022 theme, Celebrate a World of Flavors, embraces cultures, cuisines and inclusion. How fun to think about embracing the cuisines and flavors of other cultures and countries. If you have curious taste buds, take time to explore new recipes and prepare a few new dishes always mindful of eating to be healthy.
Many chronic medical conditions like weight, diabetes, heart disease, or digestive issues can be improved by intentional and mindful thinking about what and how we eat. That can be daunting. Seeking the help from a registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) can help you decide a plan and then coach you through steps to establish healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests engaging in National Nutrition Month© by working through the following checklist.
Week 1. Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods
- Include healthful foods from all food groups.
- Learn how to read Nutrition Facts labels.
- Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and traditions.
Week 2. See a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN).
- Ask your doctor for a referral to an RDN.
- Find an RDN who specializes in your unique needs.
- Receive personalized nutrition information to meet your health goals.
Week 3. Plan your meals and snacks.
- Choose healthful recipes to make during the week.
- Use a grocery list to shop for nutritious foods.
- Make healthful food and drink choices when away from home.
Week 4. Create tasty foods at home.
- Learn cooking and meal preparation skills.
- Try new flavors and foods from around the world.
- Enjoy your meals with friends or family, when possible.
Be a global gourmet. Practice learning world of flavors. Gather a group of friends for a meal when everyone prepares and brings a dish from a country or area of the United States you might not have explored before.
Most of all, make every meal a healthy meal every day. Good food is good medicine.
For information about all things related to nutrition and health, go to the AND website. www.eatright.org
Braised Red Cabbage with Sweet Apples and Onion
Popular in cuisines of Central Europe, including the Czech Republic and Germany, braised red cabbage seasoned with caraway seeds is a traditional and popular side dish. Its sweet-sour flavor complements roasted chicken, pork loin and root vegetables. Bringing health and flavor together, red cabbage adds to the rainbow on your plate, delivering anthocyanins, a type of phytonutrient with antioxidant benefits.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 small head red cabbage, cored and shredded (about 4 cups)
2 sweet apples (such as Fuji, Gala or Jonagold), cored and cubed
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
½ cup apple juice
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring for about 5 minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent.
- Stir in cabbage and apples. Cook just until the cabbage wilts, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Combine brown sugar, apple juice and red wine vinegar in a small bowl and then stir the mixture into cabbage and apples. Add caraway seeds and bay leaf. Stir well.
- Bring the cabbage-apple mixture to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to a simmer, cover, cook for 20 to 25 minutes until cabbage is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Before serving, remove bay leaf.
- To toast the caraway seeds, put seeds in a small heavy dry skillet over medium heat to bring out the aroma, shaking the skillet frequently for 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Substitute 5 whole cloves for caraway, if desired; remove before serving.Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¾ cup
Calories: 120; Calories from fat: 25; Total fat: 3g; Saturated fat: 0; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 220mg; Total carbohydrate: 25g; Dietary fiber: 5g; Sugars: 17g; Protein: 2g
Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, is author of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and 365 Days of Healthy Eating.
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Written by: Mimi Cunningham, Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, Diabetes Educator
Mimi Cunningham is a dietitian-nutritionist living in Eagle, Idaho. Her nutrition specialty is diabetes education and management. She loves writing about embracing healthy eating as fun plus a route to good health. She serves as a member of the Idaho Foodbank board of directors addressing food insecurity as a challenge to good health for Idaho children and adults.
On behalf of Smart Strategies for Successful Living, our sincerest appreciation goes to Mimi Cunningham for her contribution to our community website and commitment to healthy living and aging.