National Nutrition Month "“ Take the time to savor the flavor!

Fruit on heart shaped plateSomewhere along the way, the decision to eat healthy meant that you had three options for meal time "“ plain, bland or boring.

Basically, it meant you had to sacrifice flavor for nutrition.

"This is so not that case," said Dawn Dahl, RD, lead dietitian at the Nutrition Counseling & Diabetes Center at McLaren Macomb. "You don't have to eat cardboard-flavored food and sacrifice flavor if you want to be healthy. You can have the best of both worlds."

First and foremost, Dahl says, would be to change your whole approach to eating, specifically to meal preparation.

"We're all busy and crunched for time and, honestly, one of the first sacrifices we make is the time spent on meal preparation," Dahl said. "That needs to change. A few simple meal preparation steps can create positive changes that will allow you to reach your goal of eating healthier."

Meals made quickly are more often high in unhealthy fats and sodium "“ leaving you further away from your goal.

Dahl and her colleagues at the Nutrition Counseling & Diabetes Center suggested taking time this month to sample and incorporating some new herbs and spices to create bold and exciting new flavors without using salt or unhealthy fats.

Oregano, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder and so many more (just walk down the supermarket aisles and start pointing!) can each be used to add new, fresh and, best of all, healthy flavors to many different dishes.

And once the dish is made, next take the time to enjoy it and avoid "mindless eating". Acknowledge the experience and take the time to enjoy the different textures, fully appreciate the flavors

"Make eating an event," Dahl said, "and not just something to be rushed though. Putting the fork down between bites, and taking your time will allow your stomach to tell your brain when its full, leading to less overeating."

The Nutrition Counseling & Diabetes Center at McLaren Macomb is staffed by certified diabetes educators "“ registered nurse and dietitians "“ and offers diabetes prevention and education program recognized by the American Diabetes Association and Michigan Department of Community Health. The institute provides a wide range of nutrition counseling services to the community.