July 20th, 2018

From Our Table: Hippity hoppity, Easter is on its way

By Medicine Hat News on March 27, 2018.

Easter is almost here! It’s time to start preparing for festive family and friend celebrations. Easter is a bit earlier this year coming at the end of March. Since we are still in March it is coming to the end of Nutrition Month.

This year’s theme of Unlock the Potential of Food discusses several “food potentials” such as the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together.

The “potential to prevent” discusses how food can help prevent chronic disease such as heart attacks and stroke. Lifestyle factors including what we eat can keep us healthy. The best eating pattern is one that is balanced and that you can stick with over the long run and most importantly enjoy. Research has shown that eating patterns in the Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets help prevent heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes (type 2) and some types of cancer. They include lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, milk, cheese and yogurt, fish seafood and poultry and olive oil.

Food also has the potential to heal. Healthy food can promote healing in certain conditions such as celiac disease, swallowing problems, heart conditions, cancer and more.

There is also the “potential to discover.” Food is a wonderful way to teach children so many positive things. You can start inspiring them at a very young age to shop, cook and prepare food to get them going on a lifetime of healthy eating. A great way to teach about food is to let them shop and cook with you. This upcoming Easter break is a perfect time to spend time together in the kitchen. It’s important to be a positive role model and to keep it fun. There’s lots of teaching opportunities with cooking in math, reading, science, etc but if it’s not age appropriate and lots of fun they likely won’t want to participate. You are also going to need to be ok with a bit of a mess, it’s pretty inevitable but well worth it. Great memories made together!

Food also has the “potential to bring us together.” This is my favourite. I’ve mentioned before how important I believe family meal time is to our families and to our society as a whole. With Easter just a few days away what a perfect time to start enjoying food at the family dinner table together. It’s not just about special occasions it’s about getting into a healthy habit of family meals all year long. It is proven that children who eat meals with their family have healthier diets, better grades in school, less chance of being overweight, lower consumption of high sugar drinks and they eat more vegetables and fruit. Teens who eat meals with their family are less likely to smoke, use drugs or alcohol, participate in fights and get better grades. Adults who eat with friends and family also eat more veggies, drink less pop and have healthier weights. It’s a win win for everyone.

I hope you are inspired to Unlock the Potential of Food in your own healthy diet.

From my family (who will all be home for Easter!) to yours I wish you a very happy Easter celebration with lots of laughter and great food shared with family and friends.

Here’s a wonderfully easy recipe even the littlest ones can help make for Easter breakfast before they dig into their Easter hunt treats.

Happy Easter!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Monterey Jack and Egg Pita Pockets (From Cookspiration)

1/2 cup pizza sauce

4 eggs scrambled

2 1/2 cups grated veggies of choice (celery, onion, peppers, zucchini)

6 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated

12 mini pitas or four large cut in half

Mix all ingredients except pitas together then stuff into pita halves.

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