Celebrate A World of Flavors

Patrice Powers-Baker, OSU Extension, Lucas County
The Truth Contributor

The 2022 nutrition theme is “Celebrate A World of Flavors”. National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares the following advice.

Eat a variety of nutritious foods. Include healthful foods from all five food groups for meals and snacks: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Learn how to read nutrition facts labels to know that you’re choosing the best options of high nutrition as well as serving sizes.

Meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks, or manage a chronic disease, consult the experts. Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice. Ak your doctor for a referral to an RDN.

Plan your meals and snacks. Make healthful food and drink choices when away from home. Choose healthful recipes to make during the week and use a grocery list to shop for nutritious foods.

Celebrate a World of Flavors. Trying foods and recipes from various cultures is one way to include different flavors into your healthy eating routine. Many cuisines offer dishes which include foods from each food group, so it’s possible to plan meals that are nutritious, well-balanced, and bursting with flavor. You might be adventurous and try to make your own new recipes or visit restaurants that offer cuisines from other parts of the world.

Start your morning meal with ideas from around the world:

  • A smoothie with low-fat yogurt or buttermilk and tropical fruits, like papaya or mango. Look for frozen fruit to make a smoothie. It will likely be less expensive than fresh fruit. Sometimes fresh fruit from other continents of the world is not readily available locally. Frozen and even canned fruit is one way to try new foods in smoothie recipes.
  • Za’atar is the name of a spice mixture associated with Middle Eastern recipes. Za’atar can be  mixed with a little olive oil and spread on whole wheat pita bread, then topped with tomato slices, olives, cucumber, and fresh mint.
  • Scottish oatmeal or bulgur with low-fat or fat-free milk or fortified soymilk with a topping of fruit and nuts or nut butter.
  • Congee, a Chinese rice porridge, can be served plain or with vegetables and a protein food, such as cooked chicken, meat or fish.
  • Vegetable upma, an Asian Indian dish, that can be made with semolina or rice, spiced with ginger and other seasonings.
  • A Spanish omelet with potatoes and other veggies, topped with a sprinkle of cheese.  Or, try an omelet filled with fried rice, known as omurice in Japan.

The following cold dish recipes from around the world do not require heating:

  • Gazpacho, a type of soup served cold, which can be made with tomatoes, peppers, and onions or a mixture of those vegetables with watermelon as the base.
  • Salads that include different types of produce along with whole grains, dairy, and protein foods. Many options exist, such as tuna salad made with Greek yogurt, onion, celery and whole wheat pasta.
  • Spring rolls, a Vietnamese dish that’s served cold with a dipping sauce and includes fresh vegetables and a protein food, such as tofu, stuffed inside thin sheets of rice paper.

Around the world, variations of foods like soups, stews and roasted foods, are hot, healthy and flavorful. Which ones have you enjoyed before?

  • Munggo gisado is a stew native to the Philippines, featuring mung beans, leafy greens and seafood.
  • A spicy lentil and vegetable stew, known as Sambar, originates from India.
  • Da pan ji is an example of a Chinese stew made with chicken, potatoes, ginger, and garlic.
  • Vegetables like cabbage, eggplant or zucchini can be stuffed with seasoned mixtures that may include meats, grains, and sauces. One example is mahshi, a Middle Eastern dish, made of zucchini stuffed with cooked rice, lamb and spices served in a tomato-based sauce.

Healthy snacks include foods from different food groups, such as:

  • Fruit chutney eaten with bread or cheese.
  • Raw veggies with hummus or tzatziki, which is a creamy yogurt-based dressing made with cucumbers, garlic, and dill.
  • Baba ganouj, a mixture made of roasted eggplant and tahini, which is a sesame seed paste, served with whole wheat pita bread.
  • Or, for a crunchier snack whole grain tortilla chips with guacamole or a salsa made with veggies or fruit. Healthful eating options span the globe. Plus, many recipes can be modified based on personal food preferences or to accommodate different budgets.

It’s a great time to try something new at a restaurant or in your own kitchen. You might not be traveling around the world but you can enjoy foods and recipes from all over! Information is from www.eatright.org National Nutrition Month. OSU Extension, Lucas County is posting in-person and online classes this springtime at www.lucas.osu.edu and on Facebook at OSUExtensionLucasCounty.