To culminate this NNM, themed Enjoy the taste of healthy eating, I´d like to share two aspects of Argentina´s food culture: family meals and simplicity:
In Argentina, we usually take the time to sit and have a meal. In the big cities, many people have lunch at work but they do share the other mealtimes with family. It has been shown that shared mealtimes makes family members feel loved, confident and happy. Also, homemade food in Argentina includes many preparations from scratch with few processed ingredients. Sharing mealtimes with your kids and involve them in the cooking process will make them have better eating habits since childhood.
Enjoying food prepared with fresh and minimally processed real ingredients is a national tradition. When you visit the supermarket you will see that there is not much variety of frozen meals or processed food boxes. Supermarkets aisles are not that overwhelming like in other parts of the world. Another example of simplicity: in Argentina the typical salad dressing is oil and vinegar (commonly olive oil and balsamic vinegar). That’s what the waiter will bring you to season your salad if you are eating out. And, don’t look for salad dressings in the supermarket, you won’t find much. Some of the typical condiments are mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and salsa golf (an Argentinean creation that resembles Thousand Island dressing). Just make your own dressings and toppings with real ingredients and bring in simplicity to your dinner table!
Meats are also lightly seasoned with just a pinch of salt and pepper (and sometimes chimichurri). No one puts butter or other toppings on a grilled steak, there is no need. And, recently, the province of Buenos Aires banned the salt shaker from restaurant tables in an effort to combat high blood pressure. It will be available upon request, but only after the guest have tasted the food. The new restaurant trend in Argentina is to get back to basics, value regional meals and natural ingredients.
Healthy eating doesn´t have to be boring. This year´s NNM theme remind us to enjoy food. What I like to do is to experience food ingredients from other cultures and take healthy and tasty ideas from each one. For example, it is known that many Americans don´t eat very well...but not all is wrong. For example, in the US I´ve learn to have dinner earlier (usual dinner time in Argentina is 9pm) and have a better digestion before going to bed. Also, I´ve seen that many Americans respect seasonality of fresh fruits and vegetables, making certain dishes at certain times of the year. Seasonal produce is less expensive, more nutritious, taste better and is more natural. When I was in Brazil, I took from them the idea of having fresh fruits at all meals. From Mexico, I took the idea of adding onions and peppers (even the spicy ones) to many recipes reducing the amount of salt when cooking, as well as adding avocado to many dishes. There are many other examples. Like Japanese, one of the healthiest cuisine, with sushi (most sushi is low in fat and has lots of fresh ingredients). Another pretty healthy cuisine is Greek, with its dark leafy veggies, fresh fruit, high-fiber beans, lentils, yogurt, olive oil, and omega-3-rich fish.
As an Italian (my dad was born in Calabria), I´ve learn to eat lots of vegetables and mainly the pleasure of food. Because of the Italian immigration, this was an influence in the Argentinean food culture too. Meal times are moments without any rush, where you can share with family and friends while enjoying food.
I use to take one day of the week (Fridays work for me) to enjoy a different ethnic meal. Sometimes I have to tweek ingredients that are not available here, but it´s fine and FUN!
Tomorrow, March 12th, is Registered Dietitian (RD) in the United States. It is a day to celebrate, share and congratulate dietitians for they work. As I said in the previous post, there was no RD day prior to 2008. This is the 6th time that is celebrated in the US. But, what about other countries? Some have a long tradition celebrating dietitian-nutritionist day like Argentina. In Argentina nutritionist day is every August 11th to commemorate Dr. Pedro Escudero, the father of the profession in the country and Latin America. We don´t have nutrition month in Argentina.
A few days ago, we were having an online conversation with colleagues in the American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA), the international affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, when we found out that many countries don´t have dietitian day. We thought that this is a great opportunity for dietitians abroad to promote a dietitian day, maybe using the American one. Here are some examples about dietitian or nutritionist (name of the credential may vary in each country):
Argentina: August 11 th
Australia: March 14 th
Brazil: August 31th
Costa Rica: No dietitian day
Germany: No dietitian day
Hong Kong: No dietitian day. AODA members adhere to US dietitian day
Venezuela: October 2nd
Singapore: No dietitian day
South Korea: No dietitian day. Celebrates Nutrition Day
If you need more information about the profession in other countries, I always recommend to visit the International Confederation of Dietetics Associations (ICDA). Click here: http://www.internationaldietetics.org/NDAs.aspx
I want to congratulate also my DTR (Dietetic Technician Registered) colleagues for the wonderful job they do every day. Let’s all celebrate and make our contributions visible to the world!
HAPPY DIETITIAN´S DAY!!!
March is the National Nutrition Month ® in the United States, where Registered Dietitian Nutritionist day is celebrated on March 12th. It was 2008 (while I was working in the US as a DTR) when the Academy (back then the American Dietetic Association) created this tradition (2008) to commemorate the dedication of RDs and DTRs as well. Then moved back to Argentina where I work as a dietitian. The nutritionist/dietitian day here in Argentina is celebrated every August 11th.
It doesn´t matter that March is not nutrition month here. But because I love to share what dietitians are doing around the world to advance the profession, I will be blogging each week of March about NNM. Thank you Academy for inspiring us bloggers! So, don´t miss upcoming post in Global Dietitians:
- Dietitian/Nutritionist´s Day in other countries: how colleagues from around the world celebrate
- Enjoying the taste of eating: take the best of ethnic foods.
- Keep it simple: real food, real taste.
I really like this year theme “Enjoy the taste of healthy eating”. I believe that it´s essential to let people know that healthy eating doesn´t have to be boring or tasteless. If you don´t enjoy doing something it´s probably that sooner or later you quit. We, as food and nutrition experts, are specially positioned to educate people on how to make food enjoyable and eat well all life long!
Find NNM catalog, handouts and other resources at www.eatright.org/nnm.
Happy Nutrition Month!
Global dietitians is a fun place to share and network between for food and nutrition professionals from around the world. Made for dietitians by dietitians.