This year, Savor the Flavor of Eating Right has been a national eating theme that many of us haven’t truly taken advantage of. It gives us the opportunity to pause and really consider what it means to take pleasure in a healthy approach to eating as well as the many factors that go into this enjoyment. If you love food (like I do!) then this theme delights, as it puts a spotlight on the importance of the experience of eating… not just how much kale and chia you had that day. It reminds us that there is so much to savor.
Food is the cornerstone of tradition. A recipe can transport you to a holiday dinner or a smell may remind you of days in the kitchen with family and friends. These moments are about the experience and about celebrating the way food connects us. Part of being a healthful eater is knowing when to focus on these moments, how to be fully present for them, and understanding that some foods are meant to be good for your soul, not just recorded on your tracker app.
Anyone can add salt to a dish, bread and fry it, or douse it in a creamy sauce. But, putting together a delicately prepared recipe that uses fresh herbs and spices, light amounts of oil, wine, or no-salt-added broths lets you experience flavor without added sodium and fat. This year offers many opportunities to celebrate the home cook with recipes, home delivery services, and a plethora of other resources to turn you into a home chef that knows how to create dishes full of flavor.
Time… the currency we all seem to struggle with. When deadlines loom and your day is a busy combination of work and carpooling, it seems like your plate is full before you even get to the kitchen. Slow down. When we run around all day, we rush into the kitchen to rapidly pull together a meal, maybe sit down, and will likely eat too fast. As if this doesn’t sound bad enough, we often devour food while our mind is focused on other tasks at hand. This nightly exercise causes us to deny ourselves not just the opportunity to sit, breathe, and relax a moment, it also causes us to eat faster than our brain and stomach can communicate. The result is an overwhelming experience that often leaves us fuller than we meant to be due to mindless overeating.
We generally don’t make time for food, but rather squeeze it in when hunger strikes, and then usually just grab what we can. Right along with slowing down, savoring food is key to eating right, and no doubt critical to savoring the flavor of food. While I know we will never be a country that sits for a two-hour meal (maybe 30 minutes at least?) we can do more to plan and prep foods ahead of time, create space for mini meals throughout the day, and find a way to savor food.
When we are mindful of our choices and how they impact our overall health, we are able to follow a path to better living and savor every step of the journey. Take a moment or two to consider what it means to you to “savor the flavor of eating right.”
Allison Stowell, MS, RD, CDN, is the registered dietitian for the Guiding Stars Licensing Company, a company devoted to helping you find the good, better, and best choices at the supermarket. A working mom of two, Allison enables individuals to make positive, sustainable changes in eating habits by stressing conscious eating, improving relationships with food, and offering a non-diet approach for reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.