National Nutrition Month: Take the time to savor the flavor!

Somewhere 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 definitely not the case," said Allison Taormina, RD, lead dietitian at the Nutrition Counseling & Diabetes Center at McLaren Macomb. "You don't have to eat flavorless food or sacrifice taste if you want to be healthy. You can absolutely have the best of both worlds."

First and foremost, Taormina says, would be to change your whole approach to eating, specifically when it comes to meal preparation.

"We're all busy and crunched for time. The first important focus area is the time we spend on meal preparation," she said. "Taking time out to meal prep whether it's daily or weekly is important to incorporate and begin doing consistently. A few simple meal preparation steps can create positive changes that will allow you to reach your goal to eat healthier."

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

Taormina and her colleagues at the Nutrition Counseling & Diabetes Center suggest taking time to reflect on this and try cooking with some new herbs and spices that create bold and exciting new flavors, and incorporating them into your dishes as opposed to the salt and fats you may be used to using.

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 several dishes.

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

"Make eating an event," Taormina said, "and not just something to be rushed through. Putting the fork down between bites and taking your time will allow your stomach to tell your brain when it's full, leading to less overeating."

The Nutrition Counseling & Diabetes Center at McLaren Macomb is staffed by registered dietitians and certified diabetes educators, and offers diabetes education programs recognized by the American Diabetes Association and Michigan Department of Community Health along with Medical Nutrition Therapy for weight loss and other disease management.

Learn more about the Nutrition Counseling & Diabetes Center at McLaren Macomb and the services it provides, visit mclaren.org/macombnutrition.