It’s March 14th which means…HAPPY REGISTERED DIETITIAN DAY! And March is National Nutrition Month. The theme this month is “GET YOUR PLATE IN SHAPE”, so I have 15 ways to shape up your plate. Challenge yourself and try them all for the remainder of the month!
1) Add fruit to every main meal. It is recommended that a person consumes at least 2 servings of fruit per day. Add berries to your oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, apples or pears to your salad for lunch and apricots to your stew for dinner.
2) Make it colorful- have at least 3 colors going in your meals. It can be a form of a salad or vegetable medley. This technique helps you choose a variety of fruits and vegetables which increases your intake of a variety of vitamins and minerals.
3) “Meatless Monday”- dedicate one day of the week to make a vegetarian meal. They are low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals.
4) Make salad your main meal. Add your favorite vegetables, fruit, cheeses and lean protein (grilled shrimp, anyone?) to make a beautiful, generous size salad that will fill you before you can even say, “That was delicious!”
5) Use the plate method. It allows you monitor your portions by having half of your plate vegetables, one-quarter starch, one-quarter lean protein.
6) Choose ground turkey or chicken more often than beef. They are lower in fat and cholesterol.
7) Experiment with Tofu. Consider it the “blank canvas” of proteins. You can make it into anything you want. Marinate it with teriyaki sauce and include it in your stir fry, mix in barbecue sauce and add it to a veggie skewer for grilling, throw some silken tofu and blend it with some roasted red peppers to make a “creamy” red pepper pasta sauce.
8) Aim to have a minimum of 3 major food groups per main meal.
9) Aim to have a minimum of 2 major food groups per snack.
10) Make your own soups. Many soups include beans and vegetables as the main ingredient. Its a great way to get your veggie and lean protein intake.
11) Beans! They are high in fiber and iron, they are low-fat and a great source of protein. Explore the beauty of beans and try some vegetarian burgers with beans as the main ingredient, make a low-fat chilli, a mexican bean dip or bean burritos.
12) Visit a farmers market. There is no better way to get the most nutritional value of fruits and veggies than buying them as close to their picking time as possible. The quality is better, they will taste better and you are supporting your local farming community.
13) Go for the Grain! Rice and pasta are not the only starches out there, cook some grains for a super healthy starch option. I highly recommend Quinoa (pronounced: keen-wah), as it is high in nutrients and protein. Experiment with barley, bulgur, steel-cut oats.
14) Cut back on salt and use fresh herbs/vegetables/spices for flavor. Minced garlic, grated ginger, fresh parsley, dill, cilantro, corriander….the list is endless. Each adds an experience to your meals that will make it super yummy and healthy.
15) Drink Water…lots of it! Be creative to give it flavor. Add some fresh slices of fruit such as oranges, lemons and limes. Add a splash of cranberry juice and a lime wedge. It’s very important to stay hydrated with fluids that contain minimal to no sugar added.