Did you know the entire month of March is devoted to nutrition awareness? Food plays such a vital role in our daily lives, health, and traditions. It deserves a full month! This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”.
Our focus is to encourage everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives. Food is more than nourishment; its memories, traditions, and culture. In a fast-paced world it’s easy to forget where our meals come from, who made it, and how to really enjoy the taste of food.
Imagine yourself standing in front of a beautiful forest full of wild flowers and bird singing the trees. The open blue sky brings a soft breeze with the scent of untouched earth and fresh pine. What if you had to walk through the forest and couldn’t see the beauty, hear the trickle a nearby stream, smell the flowers, or feel warm breeze on your skin? We often sprint through life taking the speed train through a dark tunnel instead of strolling through its beautifully created scenery. What can you do to slow down and savor the flavor of eating right? Food can bring us so much joy and value when we take the time to not only learn its journey but also cherish the time with those who we enjoy it with. While we treasure our own traditional recipes and favorite foods, why not savor the flavors and ingredients other cultures treasure?
Exploring ethnic dishes with your kids is a great opportunity to teach them about other cultures, backgrounds and new ingredients. Consider allowing kids to help you pick out new vegetables like bok choy and fresh beets at the grocery store or famers market. Allowing them to explore new foods with you might help them be more likely to try it at the table. Do you have a friend, family member or co-worker from a different background from your own? Perhaps ask them for a new recipe to try with your family or have your kids help you find a new recipe to try online.
Need some inspiration now? Give the following recipe for Filipino Pancit a try. Asian cuisine relies heavily on plant-based proteins like tofu and soybeans but this dish is often prepared with chicken or pork. The recipe is very versatile as you can use the vegetables and protein source you want and it can easily be made gluten free by using rice noodles and gluten free soy sauce. It can be ready in less than 30 minutes and feed up to eight people, leaving you more time to “Savor the Flavor!”
• 1 8oz package of pancit or brown rice noodles
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1 cup of sliced cabbage or bok choy
• 1 sliced red bell pepper
• 3 carrots, peeled and julienned
• 3 gloves of garlic
• 1 cup frozen thawed soybeans (shelled edemame)
• 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
• salt and pepper to taste
• garnish is fresh green onion and lemon
1. Add oil to a large skillet or wok and sauté garlic and onions
2. Add broth, vegetables and soybeans. Cook for about 10 minutes, stir occasionally until vegetables are tender
3. Add noodles and soy sauce and cook 5 more minutes until noodles are soft.
4. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with lemon and green onions.
*Substitute vegetable and protein sources as desired such as: skinless chicken breast, tofu, pork loin, celery, mushrooms and green beans.
For more information and resources, see National Nutrition Month.