(Editor’s Note: This guest blog post comes courtesy of Rebecca Turner and the Southeast Dairy Association)
Get Your Plate in Shape is the theme for National Nutrition Month which is in March. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) encourages everyone to â€œshape upâ€ by including healthy foods from all food groups. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products contain the nutrients we need to maintain healthy lifestyles.
As a registered dietitian, I know eating right is the key to health and wellness but it can be hard to know how to get started. This year’s theme promotes eating the recommended amounts of nutrient rich foods daily. Creating a plate based on nutrient rich foods provides more vitamins and minerals per bite with fewer calories.
Here’s how to Shape up your plate no matter what the meal!
Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, make wise food choices each morning. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high-fiber foods that fill you up – yet they add minimal fat to your plate.
Prepare homemade low-fat granola and top with low-fat yogurt or fat-free milk to start your day with whole grains, protein and calcium-rich dairy. Need something hardier? Try a scrambled egg and mozzarella breakfast pizza on a whole grain English muffin add a cup of fruit and cold milk which provides a unique combination of protein and eight other essential nutrients.
Just as breakfast gives a much-needed energy boost to kick start your day, eating lunch fuels the second half of your day. A balanced lunch helps you avoid the vending machine midafternoon. Build a light but filling plate with these three healthy ingredientsâ€” protein, bread and vegetable.
Pack a salad for a convenient lunch. Not only will you get a bounty of nutrients from the vegetables but you can also add foods that offer other vital nutrients to your meal. Mixed beans, lean meats, and low- fat cheese can help you meet your protein needs. Add nuts and seeds for heart healthy fats and added crunch. Make a batch of mango-curry chicken salad for the week. This recipe is popping with flavor and good nutrition.
Providing a quick and healthy dinner can be the ultimate challenge to busy moms. Family life can be chaotic and many don’t have the luxury of preparing meals. The crock-pot or slow-cooker makes it possible to preserve family mealtime and maintain a hectic schedule. It’s like having a personal chef!
This slow cooker fresh veggie lasagna is made with fresh ingredients and only takes less 20 minutes to put together. No pot-watching required! Just chop your vegetables, mix the cheeses and layer everything into the pot. In a few hours this delicious dinner will be waiting. All you have to do is sit down at the dinner table and enjoy.
Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian and certified sports specialist in dietetics. Read her blog at Dairy Delivers and follow her on Southeast Dairy Association Facebook and Twitter @sedairy.