Deborah Rhoades

Deborah Rhoades

Developing a healthful eating pattern is not a one-size-fits all endeavor. The key is tailoring your favorite foods to meet your individual nutrient needs.

In March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses attention on healthful eating through National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme, Personalize Your Plate, promotes creating nutritious meals to meet individuals’ cultural and personal food preferences.

“America is a cultural melting pot, so you can’t expect everyone’s food choices to look the same,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Su-Nui Escobar, a national spokesperson for the Academy. “Eating is meant to be a joyful experience. As supermarkets increasingly diversify their shelves to meet the needs of their customers, it’s becoming easier to create nutritious meals that align with a variety of cultural preferences.”

During National Nutrition Month, the Academy encourages everyone to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits they can follow all year long. The Academy encourages seeking the advice of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN’s) — the food and nutrition experts who can help develop individualized eating and activity plans to meet people’s health goals.

“Variety is the spice of life and that’s how people should view their meals,” Escobar said. Spice up your menus with the foods and flavors you enjoy and add new flavors to spark excitement in your cooking. “Developing healthful eating habits does not require drastic lifestyle changes. A RDN can help you incorporate the foods you enjoy into your life.”

They can help clients fine-tune traditional recipes, provide alternative cooking methods and other healthful advice for incorporating family-favorite foods into everyday meals.

To find a registered dietitian nutritionist near you, use the Academy’s online Find An Expert service at www.eatright.org/find-an-expert.

Enjoy these spicy recipes to Personalize Your Plate.

Deborah Rhoades, MA, RD, FAND, is a licensed Registered Dietitian, Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics and Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences.

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