In March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating National Nutrition Month® and encouraging Americans to eat a healthy and balanced diet and develop lasting physical-activity habits as part of the festivities. This year the theme of the nutrition campaign is “Get Your Plate in Shape.”
GET YOUR PLATE IN SHAPE
When you’re trying to create a balanced diet, there are a few key messages to remember:
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. That includes fresh, frozen, canned and dried. Also supplement your daily meals with a few healthy snacks.
- Eat whole grains. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends checking the ingredient list on food packaging to ensure that at least half your servings of bread, cereals, and crackers be 100 percent whole grain (oats, brown rice, barley, etc.)
- Drink skim or low-fat milk.
- Eat a variety of proteins. The healthiest options tend to be seafood, nuts, beans, lean meat, poultry and eggs.
- Avoid high-sodium foods with empty calories. Things like hot dogs, cheese, pizza and most desserts should be occasional indulgences.
WELL-BALANCED MEAL IDEAS FOR EVERY WEEKNIGHT
Tuscan Bow Ties: Overloading on carbohydrate, like pasta, is usually a diet no-no, but there are actually plenty of delicious pasta recipes that stick to the healthy-plate rules. This recipe features plenty of vegetables, like spinach and red bell peppers, plus protein-packed white beans. The light sauce uses olive oil instead of butter and cream. Use whole-wheat pasta for a balanced one-dish meal.
Shrimp Paella Salad: Salad for dinner can sometimes leave you craving a snack by bedtime, but this Spanish-inspired dish is full of satisfying goodness. Sweet peas, bell peppers and lettuce form the base, and there are flavorful shrimp and a bit of rice for extra taste and substance. Although this recipe calls for bacon, you can always eliminate it for a lower-calorie meal.
Sweet and Sour Chicken: Rather than dunk the chicken in the deep fryer, as most restaurants would, you can make this Chinese dish healthier at home by cooking it in a skillet over medium-high heat. You’ve got your bases covered with a helping of whole-grain brown rice and veggies.
Pan-Grilled Halibut With Chimichurri: Halibut is a mild-flavored fish with lots of protein, B vitamins and omega-3. This recipe has bright flavors, and a tangy herb sauce, tomatoes, corn and chopped zucchini.
Two-Bean Turkey Chili: A hearty soup packed with protein, veggies and beans is a satisfying dinner. This recipe features lean turkey plus corn, celery and Great Northern beans.
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