March is National Nutrition Month. How will you be celebrating? It’s crucial to consider all areas of healthy eating — and this includes not just what we eat, but how we cook, and with whom are we sharing these great meals. One way is to get back into the kitchen, not only for our health, but to give our wallets a break, too.
Many will say that’s easier said than done. Statistics Canada reports 30% of Canadian food budgets go to eating out, up from 27% in past years.
“That’s why it’s more important than ever for Canadians to take the time to cook and enjoy their food and share mealtimes with others,” note the Dietitians of Canada, a professional association with a mandate to advance health through food and nutrition.
“As dietitians, we know food is an important part of healthy eating, but it’s only the beginning, says Amy Yiu, dietitian and Nutrition Month spokesperson. “Personally, I see first-hand that many Canadians struggle with ‘how’ to eat in our fast-paced world… when I meet with clients, we talk about more than food and health; we talk about things like why their culture and food traditions matter, how cooking at home can help them reduce food waste and how to notice when they are hungry and full.”
Yiu says that sharing food cultures and traditions “are important – to increase our enjoyment of food, preserve our traditions and also help others grow their skills and knowledge.”
Throughout March, dietitians will inspire their communities and workplaces through events and on social media to share healthy eating habits that go beyond food. Resources, including healthy eating tips, a free, downloadable recipe e-book and support in finding a local dietitian are available at NutritionMonth2020.ca and Unlockfood.ca.
According to a ProdegeMR study, nearly 30% of Canadians said they began eating healthier in 2019 in order to improve their overall health, but that easy access to highly processed foods, loss of food skills and other factors have impacted heavily on Canadian eating habits:
- Stats Canada reports the amount of money Canadians spend on highly processed foods has increased significantly, with research showing Canadians spend about 30% of their food budget on restaurant meals.
- Almost six in 10 Canadians are managing at least one chronic disease through food and diet as reported in the Tracking Nutrition Trends Survey in 2018.
- Over half (54%) of Canadians eat out once a week or more, citing convenience and socializing as main reasons, while 52% eat out to spend time with friends and family and 40% do it for convenience because they have no time to cook, or don’t know how.
Enjoy the following recipes courtesy Dietitians of Canada (all recipes and photos courtesy of Cookspiration.com).
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