By Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Nutrition Month is recognized annually in March. According to the National Nutrition Month website, the theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” encouraging people to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives. How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods – that’s the best way to savor the flavor of eating right.
20 ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables
1. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.
2. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
3. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
4. Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
5. Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
6. Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*
7. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.
8. Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.
9. Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.
10. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
11. “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.
12. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
13. Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.
14. Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
15. Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.
16. Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
17. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
18. Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*
19. Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
20. Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.
See “Color Your Plate with Salad” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets for more tips on creating healthy salads.
25 healthy snacks for kids
When a snack attack strikes, refuel with these nutrition-packed snacks. (You may need an adult to help with some of these snacks.)
1. Parfait: Layer vanilla yogurt and mandarin oranges or blueberries in a tall glass. Top with a sprinkle of granola.
2. Inside-Out Sandwich: Spread mustard on a slice of deli turkey. Wrap around a sesame breadstick.
3. Rocky Road: Break a graham cracker into bite-size pieces. Add to low-fat chocolate pudding along with a few miniature marshmallows.
4. Mini Pizza: Toast an English muffin, drizzle with pizza sauce and sprinkle with low-fat mozzarella cheese.
5. Spread mustard on a flour tortilla. Top with a slice of turkey or ham, low-fat cheese and lettuce. Then roll it up.
6. Sandwich Cut-Outs: Make a sandwich on whole grain bread. Cut out your favorite shape using a big cookie cutter. Eat the fun shape and the edges, too!
7. Banana Split: Top a banana with low-fat vanilla and strawberry frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with your favorite whole-grain cereal.
8. Apple Pie Oatmeal: Make one packet of microwave oatmeal with low-fat milk. Mix in 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. Sprinkle with apple pie spice or cinnamon.
9. Mix together peanut butter and cornflakes in a bowl. Shape into balls and roll in crushed graham crackers.
10. Microwave a cup of tomato or vegetable soup and enjoy with whole-grain crackers.
11. Fill a waffle cone with cut-up fruit and top with low-fat vanilla yogurt.
12. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on hot popcorn.
13. Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze.
14. Spread celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with raisins.
15. Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon.
16. Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.
17. Smear a scoop of frozen yogurt on two graham crackers and add sliced banana to make a yummy sandwich.
18. Microwave a small baked potato. Top with reduced-fat cheddar cheese and salsa.
19. Make snack kabobs. Put cubes of low-fat cheese and grapes on pretzel sticks.
20. Toast a whole-grain waffle and top with low-fat yogurt and peaches.
21. Mix together low-fat cream cheese, mixed dried fruit bits and shelled sunflower seeds. Spread on a toasted English muffin.
22. Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana for thirty seconds for a delicious smoothie.
23. Make a mini-sandwich with tuna or egg salad on a dinner roll.
24. Sprinkle grated Monterey Jack cheese over a corn tortilla; fold in half and microwave for twenty seconds. Top with salsa.
25. Spread peanut butter on apple slices.