National Nutrition Month® is upon us! March is the month that has been proclaimed National Nutrition Month®, not only across the nation, but right here in Rome, Georgia. The theme this year is “Enjoy the taste of Eating Right”. Recent research has shown that people would rather eat something that tastes good (even when it’s not healthy). What if there is a way you can eat something nutritious but also feel the same enjoyment as you do when you eat something that tastes good?
Well, research also shows that eating fruit, vegetables and herbs at the peak of freshness can change the way you feel about eating a nutritious diet. Children and adults who are involved with growing a garden or buying from a farmer’s market eat approximately 50% more fresh fruits and vegetables compared to those who are not, and tend to be at a healthier weight.
Imagine eating a home grown tomato in the summer with its ruby red through and through deliciousness. If your only tomato experience was a store bought, clear, mealy, mushy, winter tomato, of course you don’t like tomatoes! Not every fruit and vegetable is meant to be eaten all the time. That’s why we have seasons. Eating nutritiously and loving it is as easy as learning when food is at its best. Chard, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, radishes, English peas and sugar snaps are some of the foods are at their best in Georgia, right now. If the last time you ate broccoli was last summer, it likely came from far away. Packed away for long periods of time or grown under artificial circumstance can alter the fresh broccoli states that’s available right now. So try it again, please. In season, fruits and vegetables are usually less expensive (on sale) at the grocery store too! And if you can’t find any local vegetables, you might think about finding a farmer’s market, or maybe… growing your own.
Home gardening is quickly gaining popularity in all areas of the United States. People are learning how to garden resulting in fewer grocery visits. Growing a garden can give a sense of ownership resulting in higher consumption of the harvest. This is where taste and health meet. The pickiest eaters ever, children, are even shown to eat more fruits and veggies if they are involved with the process. Being part of something as important as growing food can make you feel better about yourself resulting in you wanting to continue to take better care of yourself, like making sure you get all of your fruit and veggie servings every day and being physically active. Remember, your children are watching. Why not give them the gift of knowing how to grow delicious and nutritious food? Gardening can also be a way for a community to come together. If you garden with friends, you’ll enjoy it more and you may learn something that can be useful to you.
Enjoy the taste of eating right. Find the foods that are in season in your area, you might be surprised. The next time you choose one food over the other, please think about this post. If after reading this you do decide to follow this advice, Bravo! You have done something great for your health, your wallet and for your family.
– Andrea Lee, Dietetic Intern
If you are interested in gardening contact your local extension office, or ask the downtown development on information about community gardens near your home. $2 worth of seeds can give you a whole lot of yum! For more information about including fruits and vegetables in your diet go to http://www.myplate.gov. And for more information on National Nutrition Month© visit http://www.eatright.org