Monday, March 19, 2012

March is National Nutrition Month

Happy National Nutrition Month! This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has urged Americans to "Get Your Plate in Shape!"

RDs and RDs-to-Be have been asked to blog about what that means to us. What does a healthy plate look like? For me, the idea is simple. Be sure at least half your plate is full of fruits and vegetables. I try to live by this simple rule every day, at every meal. Yep... breakfast, lunch and dinner! I keep a running log of "recent eats" right here on my blog, but if you are looking for ways to get more fruits and veggies into every meal, here are some ideas:

For Breakfast:

- Add sliced strawberries or bananas to cereal. (No time to cut and dice? Add blackberries or blueberries instead.)
- Instead of eating fruit flavored yogurt, try plain or vanilla, and add your own fruit. This works great with frozen fruit that's been defrosted and is extra juicy.
- Toss a big handful of spinach into your morning smoothie. The color will be a little off, but trust me, you'll never taste the greens!
- Top your 100% whole wheat bagel with a little light cream cheese and a lot of sliced cucumbers or fresh green or red peppers.

For Lunch:
- Heating up soup? Add some diced frozen mixed veggies as well for a heartier and healthier bowl.
- Top your sandwiches with sprouts, spinach, pickles, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Think Dagwood-- stack it up!
- Pack a piece of fruit for desert. Oranges already come wrapped.

For dinner:
-Start with cut fruit, a green tossed salad or a light vegetable and broth based soup before the meal even begins. This gives you additional fruits/veggies AND fills you up.
-Serve a side. Serving chicken, pork, fish or beef? Choose a vegetable that compliments it well. It can be fresh, steamed, roasted, canned or frozen. And don't be afraid to try new vegetables when you are stuck in the "green bean" rut. Roast parsnips, steam purple cauliflower, or pop halved plum tomatoes under the broiler.
- Into one-dish dinners? Casseroles, Stir-frys and stews offer a great opportunity to throw in whatever vegetable happens to be on hand. Veggies like celery, onion, peppers, carrots, beans and mushrooms blend well and play nicely with lots of flavors, whether you are cooking Indian, Italian, Mexican or Mediterranean.

For more information on how to get YOUR plate in shape, visit

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