Savor the Flavor

March is National Nutrition Month, and the theme this year promoted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” The Academy is a professional organization representing thousands of registered dietitian nutritionists, including me, and I like the message of this year’s theme. Here’s why the rhyming words are so important.

Savor” means enjoying something to the fullest. With food it’s that mmmmm factor – the moment where you sit back (maybe even put down your fork), and hold a delicious morsel on your taste buds for a few minutes. Savoring food is a great pleasure, but also (this may surprise you) a healthy eating strategy. When you savor food you are by definition eating “mindfully” – paying attention. And, when we eat mindfully we eat more slowly, and are more aware of when we’ve had enough.

However, there is no “savor” without “flavor.” In fact, one thing I frequently see is people who seem to think eating healthy means, almost by definition, giving up flavor. However, the key to eating healthy is enjoying food – healthier food – and it’s not hard to find healthy dishes you can love.

I’ve been videotaping diabetes-friendly recipes developed by my registered dietitian nutritionist colleagues on my website for years, and here are some secrets I’ve picked up from them by sampling the dishes I’ve prepared:

  • Herbs and spices excite the taste buds, and enhance flavor – dill, basil rosemary, ginger, and cilantro are fresh – cumin, chili, mustard, bay leaf, oregano, and smoked paprika are zippy.
  • Citrus zest adds incredible freshness
  • Mushroom or low sodium broths add richness, and are savory
  • Onions, shallots, or garlic blends with the flavor of meat or fish in a unique way
  • Nuts are healthy, satisfying due to their fat content and add texture to your dish

The most important advice I can give you, however, is to simply refuse to accept dishes that aren’t both healthy and delicious. Find recipes that sound good, and try them – you’ll be surprised.

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