Nutrition Month: Healthy Eating is about More than Food

This year’s Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month theme of More than Food certainly provides food for thought. It’s not just about what we eat but how we eat including how to enjoy food, the importance of eating meals together and how to cook more often by involving others in the planning and preparation of meals.

But there’s another aspect of food that we often neglect: respect for food and traditions. I don’t mean cultural traditions- not that they don’t deserve respect – but I’m referring to the tradition of how we treat the actual act of eating.

Food has traditionally been used to nourish ourselves and has always been placed high up on the order of importance of daily routines. The timing and makeup of meals in many cultures was always a given.

I remember being told in a shoe store in Italy as I was about to make a purchase that I needed to come back as the sales staff was closing the shop for lunch. (Nowadays though people in these countries are unfortunately starting to follow our lead).

But somehow we have moved away from the concept of food being important during the day. While we do know that food is indeed a necessity, in the course of a day, feeding ourselves may seem to come last.

It often comes after you have finished your work or a task because you don’t want to take the time and stop to eat.

When I talk to clients about eating on a regular basis, it’s not unusual for me to be told that “No one else at my office does that so I feel strange when I say that I need to stop to eat lunch.“

Those who think they’re carrying excess weight often feel this stigma more so than the person who is thin. They’re embarrassed taking time out to eat when their peers or friends don’t even mention food.

We’ve become a society where instead of food being considered important as fuel, it ends up being a reward or being used as relaxation after the work is done.

While I’m definitely all for food being an important part of celebrations or social events, eating regularly is also about fuelling up and feeling energized and should not be looked at as being strange or food-obsessed.

Even when you’re busy, stop and practice self-care and that includes putting eating near or at the top of your agenda.

Over the course of the month of March, I’ll have more Nutrition Month nuggets for you. Stay tuned.

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Categories: Nutrition Month

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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