Recipe column: ‘Savor the flavor of eating right,’ nutritionists advise

by Lori Wuellner

Developing mindful eating patterns that include nutritious and flavorful foods is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle and should include a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy and lean proteins.

As part of National Nutrition Month 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” How, when, why, and where you eat are just as important as what you eat. Take time to enjoy the traditions and appreciate the great flavors and social experiences food can add to your life.

Tips to savor the flavor of eating right:

Experiment with herbs and spices. Discover new and exciting tastes while trimming fat and sodium from cooking. Innovative use of herbs and spices offers a flavor advantage, especially if the goal is to cook with less fat and sodium. Keep a basic assortment of dried herbs and spices on hand such as oregano, garlic powder, thyme, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, Italian herb seasoning blend, thyme, and rosemary. Remember to store dried herbs and spices in airtight containers in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry.

Enjoy food traditions and social experiences. Food nourishes the body and provides fuel to help us thrive and fight disease. Food is also a source of pleasure and enjoyment. There is an obvious social factor to food, whether it’s a family dinner, special holiday occasion or social gathering, food often plays a central role. Research indicates that family meals promote healthier eating and strengthen family relationships. Prioritize family meals and enjoy the food traditions that accompany any type of social gathering.

Appreciate the experience and flavors of food. Take time to appreciate the flavors, textures and overall eating experience. In today’s busy world, we often eat quickly and mindlessly. Try following this tip to help you savor the flavor of your food: Eat slowly. Eat one bite at a time, and focus on the different flavors and textures. Stop and take time between bites. Eating slowly not only allows you to enjoy your food, but can also help you eat less by giving your stomach time to tell your brain you are full.

Develop a mindful eating pattern. How, when, why and where you eat is just as important as what you eat. Being a mindful eater can help reset both body and mind and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle. Think about where you eat the majority of your meals. Many eat lunch at their desks or dinner in front of the television. Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to find a nice place to mindfully eat instead of multitasking through meals.

Reduce sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. Choose foods and beverages with no added sugar whenever possible. Read food labels and avoid buying foods with added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, honey, agave or maple syrup. Most sodium consumed in the United States comes from salts added during commercial food processing and preparation. Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare sodium content of foods and choose products with less sodium. Reduce your intake of saturated fats by replacing them with unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fat, which includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, is found in foods like oils, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.

Check out more resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at:

(Adapted from Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Nutrition Specialist. Healthy Bites Newsletter,, March 2016.)

Lori Wuellner is a Wyandotte County Extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, K-State Research and Extension, 1216 N. 79th St., Kansas City, Kan. Telephone 913-299-9300, email

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Warm Walnut Vinaigrette Recipe

March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.

Think your family doesn’t like Brussels sprouts? Think again. Slice ’em extra thin and toss with pasta and walnut vinaigrette for a tasty meal everyone will enjoy.

6 ounces uncooked whole grain linguini noodles
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced/shaved (about 8 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

Walnut Vinaigrette
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt/pepper, to taste

½ cup walnuts, toasted
1-2 lemons, juiced
Salt, to taste
1. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. In food processor, combine vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
3. In skillet, sauté Brussels sprouts in olive oil and garlic for 12-15 minutes, until tender and caramelized. Pour in vinaigrette, toss and take off heat.
4. Combine cooked and drained pasta with Brussels sprout-vinaigrette mixture.
5. Top with toasted walnuts, lemon juice and salt.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 Cups
Serves 4
Calories: 412; Total Fat: 19g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Trans Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 212mg; Total Carbohydrate: 53g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugars: 6g; Protein: 16g; Vitamin A: 25%; Vitamin C: 250%; Calcium: 10%; Iron: 25%.
(Recipe source: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and author)