The 2017 National Nutrition Month theme was “Put your best fork forward.”  A very worthy and meaningful theme.  But it leaves me to ponder, “What about the spoon?”

Forget the fork

With documentaries like Forks over Knives and well-respected nutrition researchers such as David Katz, MD, touting the mantra, “Feet, Forks and Fingers,” I just wonder why society has shunned the spoon. Maybe I’m biased because of my love for broth-based soups, lentils and beans.  And, of course, consuming whole grain cereals wouldn’t be the same without the beloved spoon. 

Fill your spoon with fiber

The spoon comes in many sizes to meet your needs at every meal throughout the day.  And so many minimally processed, high-fiber foods are more easily consumed with spoon in hand.  The average American currently only consumes about 15 grams of fiber while the recommended minimum for a healthy adult is over 25 grams daily. 

Steak with a spoon?

Maybe you’re wondering how you would meet your protein needs if you didn’t have the dreaded fork to puncture your meat-based meal.  With over 15 grams of protein per cup of most beans, once again the spoon comes in handy.  Also, most whole grains like brown rice, amaranth, bulgur, spelt, quinoa and oats contain a noteworthy amount of protein and can be conveniently scooped up with any spoon.  By selecting spoon-friendly, plant-based protein options we are able to boost our fiber while meeting our daily protein needs.

The always reliable spoon

For those who enjoy cooking and food preparation, there is no substitute for an accurate set of measuring spoons.  And, of course, the wooden cooking spoon has been used for generations.  Historians date the spoon back to 1000 BC.  So as catchy as it is to always speak of the fork, sometimes we need to broaden our horizons by focusing on the important and versatile spoon.

For the love of spoons, I implore you to cook up some oatmeal for breakfast; enjoy homemade lentil soup for lunch; and finish your day with a flavorful mixed dish of quinoa, black beans and vegetables.  Your spoon and your health will thank you for it!

Greg Salgueiro, MS, RD

Greg Salgueiro, MS, RD, LDN

Greg Salgueiro, MS, RD, LDN, is director of well-being for Lifespan Human Resources and a clinical dietitian.