National Nutrition Month – Celebrate A World of Flavors!
“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics holds an annual campaign each year in the month of March to celebrate Nutrition. The goal is for individuals to learn about informed food choices and develop healthful eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavors”.
For staff to get involved in this year’s campaign, we encourage you to start discussions with the children about cultural foods eaten at home. Families may have unique recipes to share with the center. Remind children the recipes do not need to be international; they can think regionally for example, such as Southern hush puppies or Chicago-style pizza.
Ask children to bring in recipes to share with each other. Find one recipe the center could turn into a cooking or food experience. Have the children experience different herbs or spices through sensory if cooking is not an option.
For families, try to prepare together some of the following recipes.
Black bean and corn flautas are seasoned with cumin (originally from the Iran/Mediterranean region) and chili powder (origin is Central and South America). Have children involved in the mashing of beans or rolling the tortillas.
Green Veggie Ramen uses tamari, a Japanese blend sauce which is vegan and gluten-free. Get children involved by whisking up the ingredients to make sauce as well as chop up broccoli and shell edamame.
Mediterranean Chick Pea Salad uses parsley, a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region that is an excellent source of Vit K for bone health and Vit A and C to help our immune system. Teach children knife safety before having them assist chopping the veggies.
Take time this month to experience new flavors through healthy recipes. As children are involved in the process the likelihood of trying new foods will increase. If we couple that with adults and caregivers role modeling healthful eating habits, the outcome will be a successful experience!