National Nutrition Month!

 National Nutrition Month, March 2017

National Nutrition Month, March 2017

Putting your best fork forward suggests for us to think about the foods we are eating and strive to get the best nutrition possible. One of the best ways to do this is to be in charge of what you are eating by cooking more at home. You do not have to be a gourmet chef, just willing to experiment and try new things. 

We all know to have better nutrition, we need to eat more vegetables. Just by knowing that fact does not mean it translates into action. Most people will eat more vegetables if they are delicious.  So we all know broccoli is healthy and probably even know it is a superfood and can help prevent heart disease and may be protective against some cancers. Some may be motivated to eat steamed broccoli on the side of their plate solely for the health value. Many though will become tired of this and need variety. In my last newsletter, I posted a broccoli soup recipe. Other yummy ways to enjoy the same food are in a salad version or roasted with other satisfying flavors. 

From Food and Nutrition Magazine

Top: Broccoli Salad with Almonds and Creamy Dijon Dressing Sara Haas, RDN

Above: Lemon Thyme Roasted Broccoli Jamila Rene' Lepore, RDN 

One of my favorite ways to increase vegetable intake is to add them to what I am already making. For example, you can make plain quinoa below as a side dish or with a couple extra steps, you can boost the nutrition and flavor by adding sautéed additions. 

 To increase the flavor of Quinoa, toast it first in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes

To increase the flavor of Quinoa, toast it first in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes

Sauteed mushrooms in olive oil and a bit of white wine, added to quinoa and topped with green onion really increase the flavor (pictured in first 2 photos above). Last photo shows minced shallot, mushrooms and kale which were sautéed and later added to cooked quinoa on another day. Spinach could work in place of the kale but added way at the end of the sautéeing process since it wilts quickly. Kale can stand the longer cooking time as it is tougher.

Same idea with brown rice. Instead of just a plain side of brown rice, how about adding some onion, celery and carrot? Neither of these vegetable additions mentioned will get us to 1/2 plate of veggies however, they give us a head start and make a side dish a little more intersting and definitely more nutritious!

Chop 1/2 onion, 1-2 celery stalks, 1 carrot and soften a bit in pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add brown rice and stir for 1 minute. Add vegetable or chicken broth and cook as directed. Yum!

 Simple goals for a salad, pick three colors and then vary those colors each time.

Simple goals for a salad, pick three colors and then vary those colors each time.

Those of you who know me, have heard me suggest, "pick three colors for a salad." If you choose vibrant colors, you are getting great nutrition. A simple and easy combo is green, orange and red. Immediately you might think of lettuce, carrots and tomato but red pepper works great too. Some pre-shredded or pre-chopped veggies may help you get the job done when crunched for time. Some of my favorite convenience veggies are shredded purple cabbage and shredded carrots. Enlist the help of family members to get the vegetables on the table!! Kids love to twirl salad spinners! Vary your lettuces to keep it new. Arugula adds a spicy flavor. 

There are so many places to get inspiration to try new things or add vegetables in a new way. Some of my favorites are Cooking Light and Eating Well. Head over to pinterest to find loads of inspiration. I am regularly adding recipes to my own pinterest page. Feel free to check it out for some ideas. 

Have a great week! Be Well!

-Brenda