My good friends at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York alerted me to the fact that March is National Nutrition Month, which is great because it gives me a chance to blog about one of my favorite things: cooking. I really enjoy cooking, and I think learning how to cook can change your relationship with food.
It’s no secret that most people in this country don’t eat the right amount of vegetables. I can’t help but think that the shift to convenience foods that was made in the middle of the 20th century is responsible for this. When I was growing up, vegetables were usually steamed from frozen and served as side dishes. We rarely ate anything fresh, except for corn during the summer, and that too was steamed in the microwave. More often than not, we ate those mixtures of corn, peas and orange cubes that are supposed to be carrots.
Now that I’m all grown up, I hardly ever buy frozen vegetables. Instead, I buy fresh kale and slow-cook it with garlic and olive oil. I roast Brussels sprouts in the oven until the outer leaves get crispy. I brighten up just about any dish with red, yellow and orange bell peppers. We never had kale at home when I was a kid; now I crave it. Kale has a very high nutritional value as it contains beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and calcium. It also contains sulforaphane which is known to fight cancer. I get all these things on a regular basis, all because the way I view vegetables has changed.
So what’s your relationship with things that are green? And how do you help other people change the way they view food, so that that they learn not only to eat healthier but to enjoy it?
(Note: if you need some advice on how you, as a caregiver, can cook healthy meals for your caree, read these tips from VNSNY, 10 Cooking Tips for Caregivers).