March is Nutrition Month and this year I am excited to be part of the Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month Campaign. We are celebrating Nutrition Month 2019 by helping Canadians unlock the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together. Dietitians are a key resource to unlocking the potential of food and will work with you to understand and enjoy food while considering your individual objectives, needs and challenges. We are passionate about the potential of food to enhance lives and improve health and we enjoy sharing this passion with others. When working with a Dietitian, you are guaranteed to receive reliable and up-to-date advice that goes beyond the current fads and gimmicks. In this post I will be focussing on unlocking the potential of food, as I believe there are always new ways to learn and discover when working with food.
The wonderful thing about food is that there are always new ways to discover, no matter your age or experience level. Whether you a veteran in the kitchen that has been whipping up culinary masterpieces for years or you are a child using the toaster for the first time, there will always be new food discoveries in store. Here are 3 tips to help you to discover with food:
- Step Out of Your Comfort Zone – Try That Mysterious Ingredient!
You are walking the isle of the grocery store and you pass by an unfamiliar object. You aren’t quite sure if this is a vegetable, a fruit, whether you need to cook this or eat it raw. This is the perfect opportunity to learn something new! Try to step out of your comfort zone and give that mysterious ingredient a try. If you are unsure of how to prepare an ingredient, the internet is a great tool for finding tips and tricks on food preparation. You may also find some helpful feedback from people who have had successful attempts and not as successful attempts at preparing an ingredient. The worst thing that could happen is you don’t like the end result and you can check a mysterious ingredient off your list of ingredients to try. The best-case scenario is you will enjoy the finished product and you have a new ingredient to integrate into your culinary repertoire.
- Discover Where Your Food Comes From
Where do you get your food from? Are you purchasing from the grocery store, buying from a local market or have you harvested ingredients from your own garden? It can be a very eye-opening experience to learn where your food is coming from and the process involved in getting your food from the field to your plate. One of the ways that you can learn about this process is by visiting a local farmers market and connecting with the farmers. Many farmers are happy to discuss their farming practices with customers, and some may even allow you to visit their farm to see the process up close. Another option is to participate in a community garden or plant a garden of your own. Both options provide an opportunity to learn and appreciate the work that goes into producing your favorite fresh foods.
- Learn About Different Cultural Cuisines
Consuming food is a common practice among people all around the world. However, the methods of preparing and consuming food vary from culture to culture. Food is an important part of culture as it is often used to express a culture’s identity. Food is also used to bring people together and is often a staple for many celebrations and cultural gatherings. Unlock the potential of food to discover new cultural cuisines. You can do this by visiting local restaurants that focus on traditional cuisines, this will provide you the opportunity to try traditional foods without having to learn the proper methods of preparation. If you are interested in learning how to prepare different cultural dishes, try speaking with friends and colleagues to gain insight on their cultural cuisines and traditional dishes that they have grown up with. It is always fun to share your culinary experiences with friends.
These are some examples of ways that you can unlock the potential of food. However, there are many more ways that you can discover with food. Food is an important part of our day to day lives and is unique just like each of us as individuals. The same distinctive and characteristic qualities apply to the abundance of foods that are produced around the world. By discovering these different foods, you will not only be providing a variety of nutrients to your body, you will develop a stronger appreciation for your food and where it comes from.
Heather Deck BScAHN, RD