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Celebrating a World of Flavors

Celebrating a World of Flavor

March is National Nutrition Month®, and this year, we want to help you meet your health goals through tasty and nutritious meals by embracing the flavors and foods of different cultures. There are more than 100 different types of cuisines, all using their own combination of ingredients, cooking practices, and traditions.  Differences in cuisines are usually dependent on geographic location and the ingredients native to that area, differing flavor combinations with various herbs and spices all blended using a specific process or tradition unique to the culture. So, if you are open to expanding your palate and embracing diversity, look at a few of our suggestions below to get started.

  1. Learn from a neighbor or friend. Do you know someone that has a different ethnicity or cultural background then you? Or maybe you have a friend or coworker who has had the opportunity to travel and learn about many traditional foods that would be willing to impart their knowledge and experience to you.  Learning from someone first-hand is a great way to embrace and celebrate our diversity as people, and to have some fun creating delicious meals together.
  2. Purchase a cookbook. Stop by your local bookstore or browse online. You can find books on a variety of cuisines from all around the world.  As an added bonus, you will have the recipes to repeat as much as you’d like.
  3. Take a cooking class. Not only is this a great hands-on experience, but you will likely get to learn from someone who is well-versed in that particular culture and cuisine and may learn some great tips for cooking in general. Plus, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor and eat your hard-won dish!  If you are local to Billings, consider taking a class from one of these locations: Yellowstone Art Museum, Perch, Zest,
  4. Visit an ethnic or international grocery store. Or, if you prefer to shop online, find a global market that sells ingredients native the area in which your cuisine of study originated. If you are local to the Billings area, here are a couple stores to consider: Isabela Asian Market, Amaya Oriental Market, Abarrote Asuncion

Exploring new cuisines can be a great way to break out of a bland meal planning rut and find new ways to combine different foods, herbs, and spices that will not only help you meet your health goals but will take flavor to the next level.  It’s also a great way to connect with others around you who have different traditions and styles of eating.  So, let’s celebrate a world of flavors, together!

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McKenzie Johnson, RDN

McKenzie Johnson, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist with the Billings Clinic Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism Center.

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