March is the month to celebrate healthy eating habits and Registered Dietitians everywhere making an impact on our nation’s nutritional health. Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes National Nutrition Month by selecting a theme to support Americans in making informed and sound decisions with their dietary intake. In 2013 the theme is Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.
What does that this mean?
We are each unique individuals with different ethnicities, cultural practices and traditions, food preferences, and health concerns. These factors guide and influence our food choices on a daily basis. There is a common misconception that “eating healthy” means cutting out certain foods or feeling deprived. RD’s recognize that all foods can be healthfully incorporated into a well balanced, daily eating plan within a person’s energy needs.
National Nutrition Month at Swedish
In honor of National Nutrition Month, the Nutrition Services department at First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, and Issaquah has been featuring a nutrition booth in the cafeteria celebrating the health benefits of different country’s cultural cuisines. Swedish Registered Dietitians and Diet Technicians have been present each Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., providing healthful eating tips, handouts, and food samples from the featured country of the week!
The first week of National Nutrition Month highlighted foods from the Philippines. The native dishes displayed were Pompano and pinakbet:
Pompano, often described as “the world’s most edible fish”, is high in omega 3 fatty acids and low in calories. This fish makes an excellent addition to any diet. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish per week to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and chronic diseases. Click here for a sample recipe.
Pinakbet is a popular vegetable dish typically consisting of 8 or more vegetables including eggplant, tomatoes, okra, string beans, and bitter melon spiced with fresh ginger and garlic. Daily servings of vegetables is an important part of any meal plan to contribute dietary fiber for healthy digestion and antioxidants including Vitamins A and C. Lightly sautéed in nutrient rich and heart healthy olive oil, Pinakbet is a fun way to increase your daily vegetable intake! Try this Pinakbet recipe.
To complete this meal, steamed white rice is typically included as it is a common staple at most meals in the Philippines. You can up the nutritional ante by aiming to switch to brown rice. Per cup, brown rice contains 213% more vitamins and minerals than white rice, plus 3 times as much fiber to boot! Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate as it digests more slowly than white rice, which is helpful in keeping us fuller longer and helping to reduce food cravings. Plan ahead though, because brown rice requires a longer cooking time than white rice.