By Liz Johnson
March is National Nutrition month, giving us a chance to assess just what it is we’re putting in our bellies and how it might be affecting things such as our insulin production, brain health or even our moods. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are several ways to get your gut healthy without feeling it’s a forced march.
Read up on it
Short on time? Pick up a cookbook that features healthy recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less. Interested in trying to make a recipe from your favorite ethnic restaurant? Find a cookbook that features food from a certain region. Wondering what the difference between a protein and a carbohydrate is? Pick up a book on overall nutrition. Plus, learning something new increases dopamine levels, which wards off hunger.
Tip: Hunterdon Happening List Finalist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Joel Fuhrman, based in Flemington, has written six books on nutrition. He also offers retreats, classes and a membership program.
Take a Class
Nutrition classes abound these days, whether hosted by a local hospital or medical clinic, a restaurant or even your favorite grocery store. And who doesn’t want to take a class that ends with a delicious meal rather than a test? For the best result, grab a group of foodie friends and make it a play date.
Tip: Check out classes hosted by Hunterdon Happening List Winner ShopRite, which feature topics such as Dumplings from Around the World, Eat Well Be Happy and Kids Cook.
Smoothies, juicing and fermented teas are now the nutritional rage. They can offer a more healthful bang than a full meal. While drinking something thick and green may not look appetizing, leave it to your taste buds to be the final judge.
Tip: Try a wheatgrass shot at The Kombucha Bar in Flemington, a Hunterdon Happening List Winner. One 2 ounce shot is equivalent to 5 pounds of raw vegetables, according to the bar’s Web site.
Visit a Farmer’s Market
There’s a reason they call New Jersey the Garden State. We’re known for our tomatoes, blueberries, corn and cranberries, among other produce. With the increasing popularity of farmer’s market, you can buy local produce just about any time of year. New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture keeps a list of markets at findjerseyfresh.com. It also includes recipes.
Tip: Hunterdon Happening List Winner Hunterdon Land Trust hosts a winter farmer’s market at Dvoor Farm on Route 12 on the first and third Sundays through May.
Eat Out, Eat Clean
Many Hunterdon County restaurants have joined the farm-to-table craze, creating fabulous fare that features local produce. Don’t you just love it when a nutritious meal is also a delicious meal?
Tip: Clinton’s Clean Plate Kitchen in Clinton is run by a dietician and a chef. It’s a Hunterdon Happening List Winner. You can also view our list of 10 Ways to Eat Healthy in Hunterdon County here.
Get Your Kids Involved
As kids may be your biggest food critic, it can help to get them involved in mean preparations. Sign up for a class or hand them an apron and a giant spoon to get them stirring. Cooking also reinforces math skills they’re learning in school.
Try a Meal Service
If your excuse for not eating right is not having the time to cook, then consider using a meal service. There are plenty online to choose from. Dream Dinners in Flemington or Jane’s Kitchen in Ringoes offer local services.