How can we celebrate on our plate every day? March is the perfect time to talk about this because it’s National Nutrition Month®, and this year’s theme, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” is just perfect to talk about how those better choices stack up when your taste buds are in charge.
Close your eyes and picture your favorite meal or snack. Picture someone offering to make it for you and how happy that makes you feel. Now, picture yourself enjoying it. Chances are, there’s at least one component that is better for you, like a seasonal fruit or vegetable. And chances are, there’s also one component that’s a little decadent. That’s a great canvas for balanced eating over time.
- Fruit-full. Is there anything more delicious than biting into a sweet strawberry in spring? Or a peach that is so juicy in summertime that you need a napkin to help you clean up after every flavorful bite? And yet, you probably don’t say when enjoying a ripe piece of fruit, “wow, this nutrition tastes so good!” It’s more like, “wow, this tastes delicious!” This a great example of how eating something that tastes good is good for you, too. Choose fruits in season and learn how to select and store them properly. Then simply wash, eat, and enjoy.
- Vegetable Ever notice that a veggie platter at a party is usually one of the first things to be gobbled up? Sometimes, we just want to crunch while, at a party, watching the game, snacking with friends, or even while sitting at our desks.. Veggies that are washed and arranged on a tray seem like such a bright and sunny treat. And veggies weigh in at around 25 calories per serving, while chips can be over 100 calories per serving! Swap out your crunch for better color, nutrition, and calorie savings with veggies.
- Whole grain While many grain foods (bread, cereal, pasta, etc.) may look similar, looks can be deceiving. With grains, it’s what’s inside that counts. Read labels, choose wisely, and enjoy your favorite grain dishes knowing you’ve made those choices count in terms of nutrition, without necessarily adding more volume.
- Dairy Broccoli with cheese. Fresh fruit with yogurt. Soup made with 1 percent milk. The possibilities of pairings with dairy and other food groups or ingredients is almost endless. This versatile food group is great on its own or as part of a meal or snack, and provides loads of nutrition. Grab a cheese stick and apple for a snack out the door, or find a favorite recipe that includes multiple food groups for convenient meals on busy nights.
- Protein Protein is found in so many foods, regardless of what we feel like eating, we can find something to fulfill our nutritional needs and taste desires. From a bean and cheese quesadilla to a roast in the oven, what you make can easily fit into your schedule, budget, and cooking skills.
What’s on your plate tonight?
I originally wrote this blog for IGA. You can see/read it here: http://igabetterchoices.com/uncategorized/savor-the-flavor-of-eating-right/