Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right
It’s about taste. Do you know what consumers consider to be the most important factor influencing their decision to buy one food over another? Taste is the answer, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2013 Food and Health Survey of more than 1,000 American adults nationwide. While a variety of factors including price, healthfulness, convenience, and sustainability impact our decision to buy foods and beverages, taste is the top driver of food and beverage selections.
“Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” is the theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While nutrition is important when it comes to choosing what to eat, taste or flavor is the key motivator to eating right, according to the Academy. This year’s theme focuses on combining taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The campaign encourages everyone to enjoy healthful foods.
Taking the taste test. As a Registered Dietitian, I do my best to get the nutrients I need by choosing a variety of foods in moderation that I like from the basic food groups. However, I realized that I’ve lately been in a food-rut, tending to choose the same, tasty foods. So, I decided to make a concerted effort to expand the range of nutritious foods I choose at the grocery store, at restaurants, and when cooking at home. This of course can be done by selecting nutrient-rich foods from any or all food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.
Consider dairy foods, for example. Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt deliver a powerhouse of nutrients and unique health benefits in a tasty, affordable, and readily available way. A stroll by the dairy case reveals an abundance of new dairy product innovations with diverse flavors to meet the preferences of any health-conscious individual, foodie, ethnic group, or older adults with aging taste buds. For information on new dairy food innovations, visit Daily Dose of Dairy™. Some dairy products such as cheese and yogurts can also be characterizing flavor ingredients for a variety of foods.
As the dairy industry develops new products to meet specific health needs – be it products lower in calories, total fat, added sugars, sodium, or lactose – taste is paramount. If consumers don’t like the taste of a food, they will not consume it. When the dairy industry developed flavored milk lower in added sugars and calories to comply with new nutrition standards for school meals, a key question was whether or not school children would like the taste of the new flavored milk. A recent study suggests that elementary and middle school children accept lower calorie flavored milk.
There’s certainly an abundance of dairy foods to choose from -milks differing in fat content, lactose-free milk, flavored milks, plain yogurts, flavored yogurts, Greek-style yogurts, kefir, and an endless variety of cheeses. Although I’m just beginning my quest to expand my dairy food repertoire, I’ve already found some new dairy products that taste great and will become part of my regular dietary fare. I encourage you to enjoy the taste of eating right by trying new nutritious foods from the dairy and other food groups.
Try new dairy recipes. Visit UDIM’s website for a library of milk, cheese, and yogurt recipes to meet your taste preferences and nutrition needs. This recipe for mango yogurt smoothie is just one of my new favorites!