Each bite counts during National Nutrition Month® (NNM) and every month! Sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, NNM this year calls us to “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” NNM is my excuse to put out a boatload of (bordering on too much) nutrition and lifestyle advice, tips and recipes to my clients and social media followers. Putting my best fork forward means a lot of different things to me.
The Eating Fork
No eating in the car or throwing a meal down as fast as possible. Use that fork, which is nearly impossible to do if eating while driving or otherwise racing to finish a meal. I’ll remind my clients and followers that they can make good use of their forks by sitting down to eat their meals and by focusing on the tastes, textures, aromas, pleasure and fullness sensations.
The Cooking Fork
Though there’s nothing wrong with eating out, we have the greatest control over our food when we prepare it at home. I’ll share recipes to help my clients keep their food choices interesting, nutritious and delicious. I’ll continue to encourage ample fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, plant-based proteins, fatty fish and good fats. I’ll encourage my clients to cook vegetables with canola oil, spread peanut butter on whole grain toast, slice avocado for sandwiches, sprinkle walnuts on oatmeal, snack on almonds and fruit, lunch on tuna or salmon patties and explore other ways to shift away from foods rich in saturated fats and toward foods rich in unsaturated fats.
The Pitch Fork*
I’ve been fortunate to meet some farmers and visit a few farms in the last several years. Wow, have these guys and gals earned my respect! Honestly, I had very little idea of what it took to get my food to me. I’ve seen machines shake the living daylights out of walnut trees to release the nuts I love to snack on. I’ve learned that pig farmers work with swine nutritionists to feed their pigs 10 different and precise diets over 22 weeks. And I’ve learned that canola growers use GPS to be certain that each inch of land receives exactly the amount of fertilizer necessary and not a drop more or less. So much science, technology, respect for the earth and hard work goes into bringing us safe and delicious food! I’ll use NNM as an opportunity to tell some of the agriculture story and to encourage people to visit local farms and farmers’ markets and to use their own “pitchforks” to grow tomatoes, herbs, blueberries, anything at all as a way to connect to their food.
The Fork in the Road
The fork in the road is an opportunity to make one decision over another. Some people react. They may, for example, eat a doughnut or two just because they saw a box of doughnuts in the office kitchen. Others may see this as a choice point and act instead of react. I’ll ask my clients to notice the choice and then act with self-awareness and self-kindness. Whether or not they choose to eat the doughnut is of less importance than to eat it without noticing the choice point and making a thoughtful decision.
Cheers to putting all of our best forks forward!
*Some of this information was obtained from sponsored conferences and farm tours, including a recent session on farming, which was sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. I was not asked to include this information in my blog post.