Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
#DietitiansAreKey: the meaning behind More than Food and what it stands for.
March is Nutrition Month in Canada – an exciting time for dietitians. This year’s theme “More than Food” is dedicated to going beyond food and nutrition. It encourages Canadians to focus on how they consume their food, and not solely on what they eat. Every year, the public awareness campaign reaches millions of citizens within the country, therefore; it is important it contains messages that are informative and responsible.
The theme: More than Food And Nutrition
It is an important topic and discussion for dietitians of Canada and the public, with different meanings for various groups of people. Dietitians have the fundamental responsibility of counselling their clients and patients regarding food and nutrition, along with individual food habits. Food is important from a nutritional and sustenance standpoint, however; “More than Food” takes a comprehensive view of the features that influence healthy eating – including how we eat.
Canada’s latest Food Guide strongly advocates the healthy consumption of food and good nutrition. It talks in detail about food education and availability, and that is directly linked to this year’s theme for Nutrition Month 2020.
Positives of More than Food and Nutrition:
Canada’s Nutrition Month recognizes that healthy eating habits should be part of our daily lifestyles. The new Food Guide also stresses upon nutritional guidelines, therefore; many positives of the theme “More than Food” can be broken down into the following points and what they stand for:
1) Take time to eat and chew food:
This is incredibly important and embraces mindful eating principles. Healthy digestion and nutrient absorption begin with the simple act of eating with concentration. When food is properly chewed, our bodies release digestive enzymes in the stomach that help in breaking it down which is then converted into energy. In cases of indigestion, there are possible risks of heartburn, constipation, migraine headaches and low spiritedness.
2) Notice hunger and fullness signals:
It is necessary to understand our hunger and fullness cues. This means that we must eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’re full. Yet, innumerable people struggle with putting this principle into practice. This is why excessive eating can be conflicting as individuals simply lose touch with their bodies. The same applies to stomach hunger and skipping meals. Physical symptoms intensify in the form of aches/cramps, and oftentimes people resort to binge-eating after crossing the breaking-point of ravenousness.
3) Cook often and plan meals:
There are so many benefits of cooking often and prepping meals in advance. Not only do we rely less on ready meals and ultra-processed food, but also pass these accomplishments on to future generations as cooking is an important life skill. We are in total control of the ingredients going in our daily meals, save money on eating out, and practice portion control. My Desi meal plan is also based upon the reasons mentioned here. It is the perfect blend of plant, chicken and fish-based recipes. It offers a mixed variety of vegetables, healthy whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), poultry, fish and fruit – all necessary for a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet.
4) Enjoy cultural cuisine:
Food is directly linked to culture and is an important, if not the most significant part of it. Every country and culture have their own version of a well-balanced diet. Health Canada encourages citizens to be more inclusive, and try cultural variations of foods. Healthy food and nutrition is more than just roasting or mashing up a healthy fruit like pumpkin. It also includes diversification such as transforming it into a delicious curry, or turning it into a healthy Desi burger.
5) Share meals and avoid distractions:
Healthy food consumption also includes eating together with families. Sharing meals has the potential to strengthen bonds as there is a designated time for everyone to get together and rid themselves of technology for a few hours. Family meals attribute to healthier food choices, which often lead to better eating into adulthood.
6) Be creative:
Cooking and culinary activities are more than just consumption – they are an art. Healthy eating provides us with the chance of getting creative with food and trying unique recipes. For us to be mentally and physically fit, our food does not have to be dry, bland or boring. In accordance with nutrition guidelines, it is an incredible opportunity to experiment with hearty ingredients and give our well-balanced diet a kick.
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Shahzadi is an award-winning registered dietitian (RD) regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario and certified diabetes educator (CDE), approved by the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board. A YouTuber and notorious foodie, she’s dedicated to helping you end your cooking wars, transform your health, and be the best version of yourself! Shahzadi is an on-air nutrition expert for CTV Your Morning and a regular contributor for Global News and other national media outlets.