Food is fuel. Food is medicine. Food is memories. It’s so easy to get caught up in this year’s trendy diet that we forget our nourishment can mean much more than what’s on our plate or what calories we’re consuming.
Whether it’s feeling inspired, hoping for the best or cherishing the moments that take our breath away, food is always in the background of our emotions or playing a starring role in the traditions that are central to our families’ identities. Culturally, food shapes who we are; and emotionally, food can support us, bring us joy or even help us find peace.
In honor of Nutrition Month at the Center for Health & Wellbeing, we are sharing five ways – and their associated moods– to lift your spirit with food:
Joy — Indulge in Dessert
There are the joys of cooking… and then, there are the joys of indulging in a piece of cake, donut or whatever sweet or savory is your guilty pleasure. While regularly engaging in a healthy lifestyle, an important note to remember is that balance is key. With everything in life, balance is what keeps us grounded and relaxed. Keeping a balanced regime creates a path for success. Indulge in moderation…and experience the joy that comes with it.
Gratitude — Drop Off A Meal for A Friend in Need
Friends who feel like family are the best kind of friends. Sometimes, those honorary family members are dealing with their own hurdles and challenges… alone. What better way to show your thanks for a lasting friendship than by serving gratitude on a platter? Having a well-prepared meal after a long day or during a difficult time can lift their spirits up, if not put them at ease. After all, at the end of the day, there’s no greater joy or comfort than seeing your loved ones happy and relaxed.
Serenity – Cook a Family Meal
Old habits die hard. It’s easy to stick with old habits, having our meals standing in the kitchen, in our bedrooms or on the couch in front of the television screen. But, taking time to gather you family around the dinner table can spark serenity and happiness in ourselves and in our loved ones.
So, savor the moments together with food as your common uniter. Whether it’s a Homemade Pizza Night or an Afternoon High Tea, create family “theme” get-togethers as celebrations. Embrace these celebrations as the cherished moments you’ve been able to experience with your family during quarantine. Use this time to be bold and adventurous — go outside your element and try new cuisine or herbs and spices. As Author Michelle Sassa once said, “it’s in the doing that we are living.”
Excitement — Grow Your Own Food
Time in the garden can not only be meaningful for you and your family, but the harvest – the bounty of your labor to come – can be well worth the wait. That, in itself, can feel exciting. What’s most exciting is seeing your “ingredients” breaking through the soil, making it out alive, and what — in the literal sense — you’ll forage from your “farm” and bring to your table. Nothing beats fresh basil leaves from the garden for your pesto sauce, or sweet peppers for banana pepper jars.
Fresh fruits, vegetables and grains from the garden can improve your mood and your food, elevating the flavors of old or new recipes. Consider registering for Herb Gardening with Fleet Farming, a free, virtual CHWB Community Education Program, to learn the basics of setting up your own herb garden, including herb propagation and herbal recipes. Mix an assortment of colorful plants. Then, reap what you sow and show it off to your friends and family, delighting their senses in the process.
Inspiration — Invest in Your Nutrition
Food inspiration helps us connect the greatness in food to the potential in ourselves. But while inspiration is all around us, it’s ultimately up to us to keep our eyes wide open to the possibilities. So, buy the cookbook. Use the latest in food appliances…air fryer, anyone? Wander the local market. Create a scrapbook of all your recipes if you have not started. Don’t hold yourself back in food inspiration.
Nourish Your Soul.
Stop by Nourish Coffee Bar + Kitchen at the Center for Health & Wellbeing for a well-deserved meal, smoothie or cup of joe. Nourish is open for take-out, curbside delivery and patio dining. Click here to take a peek at the newly released Spring Menu.