March is Nutrition Month and across Canada, Registered Dietitians are spreading the word to promote healthy eating. This year’s Nutrition Month theme is: Unlock the Potential of Food. We want to help Canadians realize the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together. The Clinical Dietitians at Ontario Shores believe in the power of food to enhance lives and improve health, and our goal is to help the staff and patients of Ontario Shores to discover the potential of food in improving overall health and well-being.
Even though people often think of food as pretty simple, when you actually stop to think about it, food is quite complex. Working as a Registered Dietitian, I see many different challenges that people have with food. Whether it be the need to restrict certain foods due to food allergies or intolerance, making food-related habit changes to help with weight loss or weight gain or to manage a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease, the need for different food textures to manage dysphagia, unhealthy relationships with food – such as eating disorders, and the list goes on.
Now that I am a mom, I also see food from a different lens when I think about the nutritional needs of my children. Feeding children nutritious foods that meet their nutritional needs is so important, yet can be so challenging considering all of the “less healthy” options that taste so good and are readily available…not to mention at the perfect eye level of our kids at the grocery store.
But getting back to this year’s Nutrition Month theme, if we really think about food as fuel, for discovery, for prevention, to heal and to bring us together, we see that food can be pretty powerful. The way that I see those words above might be very different from how you see them. I may think of food as fuel for everyday tasks, whereas somebody else might be thinking about fuel to help them run a marathon. My first thought when I think of food related to the word discover, I think of babies discovering new foods and textures, on the other hand, somebody who is a picky eater, may discover that they actually like a new food prepared a certain way. When I think of food as prevention, my first thought is the prevention of chronic disease’s through healthy eating, whereas others may first think of using food as prevention when providing care for clients with behavioural issues. When we think of food for healing, it could be a holistic view of using plants for healing, or a different view of using food as comfort. I love the power that food has to bring us together, whether it’s eating daily supper together as a family or the social benefits that eating meals with others has for seniors and those who tend to isolate themselves from others. There are so many benefits to preparing and eating food together, whether it’s as a family at home or a cooking group here at Ontario Shores. I challenge you to see food from your own personal view as fuel, for discovery, for prevention, to heal and to bring us together.
Hopefully I have helped you to Unlock the Potential of Food. For more information on nutrition, including resources and recipes, check out the following websites: www.nutritionmonth2018.ca, www.dietitians.ca, www.eatrightontario.ca, and www.cookspiration.com.