Officials at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain this week offered a handful of nutrition tips in honor of March being National Nutrition Month.
Under the theme of "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right," nutritionists at the hospital are highlighting research that reveals taste as the top reason why one food is bought more than another, and why people who enjoy the flavor east those foods more often.
"Most people know that a healthful diet rich in plant foods reduces the risk and improves the outcomes of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity, but what they often don't know is how delicious, satisfying and affordable this way of eating can be," Nancy Oliveira, an outpatient dietitian at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, said in a statement.
To help spread the word of this insight, Oliveira and Ericka Stachura, RD, LDN, are offering one-on-one nutrition coaching, cooking classes, supermarket tours and healthy eating lectures to expose people to foods they might not have tried, and also instruct them how to incorporate them into everyday meals.
Oliveira and Stachura offer the following suggestions for individuals to maximize flavor:
- Herbs and spices are rich in disease-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants. Sprinkle cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on oatmeal, Greek yogurt and even coffee to enhance sweetness. Add mild-tasting sodium-free spices like garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and curry to savory dishes like pasta, rice, casseroles, stir-frys, and roasted vegetables.
- Make a sodium-free marinade for meat, fish or vegetables with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 2 teaspoons honey or Stevia to taste.
- It’s not uncommon for people to avoid fruits or vegetables because of one bad experience with a sour orange or tough-to-chew asparagus. Visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for handy tips on buying fresh produce in-season, storing them properly, and eating them at their peak ripeness to improve your chances of getting a delicious bite! Also try dried fruits and frozen fruits and vegetables that are rich in nutrients but offer more consistent flavor.
- Cooking vegetables with dry heat (roasting, baking) instead of wet heat (steaming, boiling) enhances their natural sweetness. Brush chopped carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, asparagus or broccoli with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and spices, and roast in a 400 F oven for 30-40 minutes.
For more information and to schedule a nutrition counseling appointment, contact the hospital's nutrition clinic at 617-983-4455 or email BWFHNutritionClinic@partners.org.