The Edmond Sun

March 6, 2014

Explore new foods during National Nutrition Month

OSU Extension
The Edmond Sun

STILLWATER — Research confirms taste is the No. 1 reason why one food is purchased over another. So what are consumers to do when the taste of favorite foods starts to lose its luster? As part of the 2014 National Nutrition Month theme, “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to explore new foods and flavors, keeping taste and nutrition on your plate at every meal.

 It is easy to fall into a rut of eating the same foods over and over, said Diana Romano, family and consumer sciences educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension Service and a registered dietitian.   

“Fortunately there’s a whole world of tasty and nutritious foods available today that are just waiting for you to discover them,” said Romano. “Adding more nutrition and different tastes to each meal is as easy as expanding the range of foods you choose. Consumers have lots of options at the grocery store, in restaurants and in the foods they prepare at home.”

When grocery shopping, make it a point to try one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain every week. It can be something as simple as trying a different type of apple or a new flavor of whole-grain rice. Every new thing you try may not become a favorite, but it is important to expand your taste buds.

Instead of choosing the family’s favorite restaurant when you have an occasion to eat out, choose one that features ethnic foods from Asia, Europe or Africa. Romano said these restaurants often feature menus filled with healthy options that will be new to you. “You also can find a local restaurant specializing in seasonal ingredients,” she said. “You will be able to order your favorite dish but with a new and exciting flavor twist.”

Consumers do not have to give up the staple dishes they enjoy preparing and serving, but these foods can be switched up a bit simply by varying the ways you cook them. Grill or broil the chicken you typically bake. Roast potatoes instead of mashing or frying or sauté your favorite vegetables instead of steaming them.

“Another way to add variety to the meals you prepare is to become very familiar with your spice cabinet. A pinch of this or a dash of that can add zest and breathe new life into an old favorite. Something as simple as a splash of fresh lemon juice on vegetables will give you a different flavor,” she said. “Remember, you have about 10,000 taste buds, so don't be afraid to experiment with new flavors and foods.”

While you are adding a variety of new tastes to your menu, it is vital to make sure your body is still getting the nutrients it needs. Enjoying healthy foods is important.