Healthy Eating for Summer Barbecues

It’s that time of the year again – break out the grill!  Nothing says summer like a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park.  It’s the perfect time to start flavoring up your favorite summer foods and drinks the healthy way! The key to creating a healthy summer BBQ is quality foods and ingredients.

Keep on reading to learn how to make your favorite summer foods healthy and flavorful.

Healthy Eating for Summer Barbecues on TV in Baltimore 

I recently appeared on WBAL with ideas for flavorful and healthy summer foods and drinks. Watch this clip for my tips and ideas, and check out the highlights below.

Featuring: Sunkist Grilled Marinated Rib Eye Steaks with Grapefruit Recipe, McCormick Asian Refrigerator Pickles Recipe, Wonderful Pistachios, The Real Deal Natural Snacks veggie chips, Pom Wonderful Juice Blends 

 

Add Flavor and Nutrients with Sunkist Citrus Fruits 

Sunkist offers a huge variety of premium quality fresh citrus year-round!  One of my favorite fruits to use in my summer dishes is grapefruit.  A true superfood, grapefruit provides antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, giving you the nutrients that promote heart health and glowing skin. Sunkist has a delicious Grilled Marinated Rib Eye Steaks with Grapefruit recipe that I love.  The rib-eyes are marinated with grapefruit juice, ginger, soy, and a little brown sugar for an amazing, zesty flavor, and then they’re grilled and topped with sauteed mushrooms.

Sunkist Valencia

The Sunkist recipe for Orange and Honey Grilled Chicken Strip Skewers is another favorite in my house. The chicken is marinated and basted with Sunkist Valencia oranges, green onion, cilantro and honey, and then grilled.  Sunkist Valencia oranges are at peak season now, and are ideal for juicing and marinades.  This recipe takes just 15 minutes and makes the perfect entree for your backyard barbecue!

 

Eat Colorful Summer Vegetables – Grilled or Pickled

Get your vitamins and minerals by eating all of those colorful summer veggies! Give your veggies a boost of flavor by using McCormick spices and herbs.  You can easily take advantage of fresh summer produce and make what’s good-for-you taste great with this simple Mixed Vegetable Grill recipe.  All you have to do is grab all of your favorite veggies and mix them in a bowl with a sweet and spicy blend of McCormick basil leaves, garlic powder, and black pepper with a touch of brown sugar.  Drizzle olive oil on top and then mix.  Once mixed, grill for about 10 minutes and you’ll have those great tasting veggies everyone will love!

McCormick Pickles

There’s always that new summer trend everyone’s talking about and wanting to try.  Well this summer, the latest trend is “quick pickling”.  Show off this new trend with the perfect Asian Refrigerator Pickles Recipe from McCormick.   These pickles are made with just English cucumber, red pepper, radishes, and carrots.  I personally use McCormick’s mixed pickling spice, because it gives you the right combination of spices and herbs, without the hassle of a full canning process. Check out McCormick.com for these recipes and tips to add more summer produce to the table and make your celebrations delicious.

 

Elevate Your Snacking Spread – Wonderful Pistachios

When looking for that great tasting crunchy summer snack, Pistachios are the way to go!  They make the perfect snack for munching on at your backyard BBQ while waiting for the grill, and they also go great with a cold beer.  They offer three times as many pieces per serving than potato chips and are a great source of protein and fiber.  We need protein in our diet for our body to repair and maintain itself, and fiber to prevent heart disease and lower our cholesterol!  If you want to add some flavor to your pistachios, don’t worry, Wonderful Pistachios come in many different flavors.  My favorite is Sweet Chili flavor which goes great paired with fresh watermelon.  This makes the perfect healthy snack to munch on during a hot summer day!

pistachios

 

Smarter Snacks 

Another better-for-you snack to enjoy while soaking up the sun at your backyard BBQ are veggie chips by The Real Deal Natural Snacks.  They taste a lot better than those plain old boring potato chips and are all-natural, gluten free, vegan, kosher and have 80% less fat than potato chips!!  They are made with real green peas, corn and rice, and there’s a serving and a half of vegetables in each ounce!  They come in two great tasting varieties: Original, and Sriracha which gives a spicy flavor kick!  Add these to a burger if you’re looking for that crunch, or just set them out in a bowl for everyone to enjoy!

Real Deal Sriracha

 

Hydrate with 100% Juice and “Mocktails

It’s always important to stay hydrated, especially in hot summer weather.  POM Wonderful‘s refreshing 100% juice blends are a delicious choice for healthy summer hydration.  They come in three thirst-quenching blends:  POM Coconut, POM Hula and POM mango, each combining the beneifts of 100% pure pomegranate juice with refreshing flavors.  POM Coconut, a blend of pomegranate juice with coconut water is especially good for hydrating before, during, and after exercising because it delivers potassium and only 140 calories per 12 oz bottle.  POM Mango and POM Hula are perfect on their own or as cocktail or “mocktail” mixers for all your summer parties.  This POM Princess is one of my favorites – it combines POM Hula, lemonade, and sparkling water for an amazingly refreshing drink.  Get POM blends in a 12 oz bottle perfect for on-the-go hydration or family friendly 48 oz packaging.

POM blends

 

What are your favorite healthy summer foods?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to @ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite tips for flavorful and healthy summer cookouts.

 

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Sunkist, McCormick, Wonderful Pistachio, The Real Deal Natural Snacks and POM wonderful to do the tv segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

Happy Meatless Monday!

We all know it’s sometimes a hassle to get dinner on the table. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to come home after a long day to a cooked meal waiting in the fridge?  This Grilled Vegetable Lasagna is that meal!  You can definitely dig in the day you make it, but this is also a great dish to prep on Sunday and then just reheat later in the week. This lasagna is a one stop shop filled with nourishing veggies, tender noodles and plenty of gooey cheese. It’s so satisfying you wont even miss the meat.

This wholesome dish is made with hearty eggplant and zucchini, which are a perfect match for the noodles, cheese and sauce.  If you have other vegetables on hand, feel free to throw them in – the more veggies the better!   I love that this recipe uses grilled vegetables – the  smoky flavor makes this dish a stand-out among other lasagnas. Hope you and your family love it!

 

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

From: www.myrecipes.com

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • eggplants cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 pounds)
  • zucchini cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
  • red bell peppers quartered and seeded
  • 1 (15-ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese divided
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • lasagna noodles divided
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar tomato-basil spaghetti sauce divided
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1/4 cup commercial pesto

Directions:

  • Preheat grill.
  • Coat eggplants and zucchini with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Grill eggplant and zucchini 1 1/2 minutes on each side or just until tender. Cool; combine in a large bowl.
  • Place bell peppers on grill, skin-side down; grill 3 minutes or until tender. Cut into (1-inch-wide) strips. Add bell peppers to eggplant mixture.
  • Combine ricotta cheese, egg, 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, basil, parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions, omitting the salt and the fat.
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over tomato sauce. Top with half of eggplant mixture. Spread half of ricotta cheese mixture over eggplant mixture; sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Arrange 3 noodles and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over cheese; cover with the remaining eggplant mixture. Top with remaining ricotta mixture. Spread pesto over ricotta; sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover with remaining 3 noodles.
  • Spoon 1 cup spaghetti sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Asiago cheese and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 375° for 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

To make ahead of time, bake for 45 minutes, let cool, and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.  Reheat, covered, at 375° for 30 – 40 minutes, and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per Serving:

Calories: 318
Fat: 10.4g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 728mg
Fiber: 3.2g
Protein: 15.2g

 

 

 

31 Easy Ways to Eat More Plants: Celebrating National Vegetarian Awareness Month

31 Days in October, 31 Healthy Eating Ideas… Coincidence? I think Not!

October is National Vegetarian Awareness Month. It’s a great time to focus on incorporating more plant-based foods into every meal and snack.  As part of my relationship with Silk (I’m a #SilkBlogger, one of two RDs on the team), I’m bringing you this post chock full of easy ideas to help you get more good stuff.

Why Aim for More Plants?

Eating more plants is a good choice for your health and the environment.  Plants are loaded with beneficial fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, and other nutrients your body needs to feel energetic, keep your digestion going “smoothly”, and fill you up. Eating more plants is environmentally friendly because it helps reduce your carbon footprint – it’s a more sustainable way of eating that you can feel good about.

200207-omag-good-mood-diet-300x205-1

And for all the non-vegetarians, (like me), don’t worry, you don’t have to be “meat-free” to reap the benefits of eating plant-based. It’s all about balance. I love incorporating the two together. Use your eggs, fish, and meat as an ingredient in the dishes.

Improving your health can be as simple as adding an extra serving or two of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, or soy each day.  So how can you do that in a way that’s quick and easy?

Here are 31 easy ways to eat more plants everyday:

  1. Add up to 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree to your favorite pancake or waffle recipe.
  2. Blend meat with mushrooms.  Mushrooms add fiber, potassium, and Vitamin D.  You can either swap the meat out completely like in these grilled caprese portabello caps , or you can blend them with ground meat to make meatballs.  When I make them I usually swap out 50% of the ground beef for mushrooms, but you can use up to 80% mushrooms if you’d like.
  3. Make an almond milk latte.  Try almond milk with your coffee. Silk PureAlmond Unsweetened has only 30 calories per serving which is less than half the calories of skim milk.  Plus it’s saturated fat and cholesterol-free.
  4. Make vegetables the focus of your meal instead of just an afterthought. Head to your local farmers market and look for something that grabs your interest. Acorn squash is one of my favorites.  Try it roasted and stuffed with whole grains and other veggies
  5. Legume and vegetable soups and stews are wonderful at this time of year.  They’re warm and filling – perfect for a cold night.
  6. Substitute cauliflower for cream as shown in this butternut squash soup with cauliflower cream.  You’ll save on saturated fat and calories, and get all the nutrient benefits of cauliflower.
  7. Incorporate vegetables/beans into traditionally meat-heavy dishes.  I loaded these sloppy joes with beans and veggies.  They still taste like a favorite comfort food, but each sandwich has a full serving of vegetables and lots of fiber.
  8. Make your oatmeal with new Silk Pumpkin Spice soymilk for a fabulous fall oatmeal without any artificial colors or flavors. Non-dairy milks add flavor, calcium, and protein.
  9. BLD – eggs with any veggies you have on hand make a quick and easy meal any time of day. I love mushrooms, tomato, onion, and spinach.
  10. Swap beans for meat in a salad or pasta for an easy weekday lunch or dinner.  The beans will help you feel full while reducing your intake of fats and cholesterol.  They’re heart-healthy and support good digestion thanks to their fiber content.  Just one cup of Garbanzo beans has 12 grams of fiber, about half your daily needs.
  11. Add vegetables and fruits to baked goods – my carrot quinoa bread is full of apples, carrots, nuts, and whole grains.  Tasty, filling, and good for you.
  12. Spice up a humdrum vegetable tray by serving your guests something fun and creative. My baked parmesan zucchini fries are delicious, especially with marinara or tzatziki.
  13. Make a vegetarian entrée. I like this tortilla lasagna which is a new take on the traditional noodle and cheese dish.  This one has lots of vegetables and beans, and it’s great for a group because you can prepare it ahead of time.
  14. Kids (and plenty of grown-ups) love to dip things.  Dip veggies into guacamole, black bean dip, and salsa (OK and a few tortilla chips too!)
  15. Try quince! These caramelized quinces make a delicious fruit-centered dessert. Quince is in season right now.  It looks and tastes like a cross between a pear and an apple, but make sure you cook it – it’s inedible raw.
  16. As the weather gets cooler, sip on Silk chocolate soymilk or dark chocolate Almond milk warmed up for an instant chocolately cocoa.
  17. Incorporate tofu into your meals.   Unlike most plant proteins, soy protein is “complete”, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids – the building blocks of proteins – in sufficient quantities to meet your body’s requirements. Try this recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Tofu Mushrooms and Hazelnuts.
  18. Pumpkin drinks don’t have to be served hot. Try a pumpkin pie smoothie.
  19. Stock up your pantry when you see canned fruits and vegetables on sale.  Canned fruits work well in smoothies and canned vegetables (think artichokes, mushrooms, and tomatoes) make a quick and easy weeknight pasta.
  20. Fill your tuna salad with vegetables. Start by swapping out the mayo for hummus and then add chopped spinach, celery, cherry tomatoes, and avocados.  Stuff the tuna into a whole wheat pita pocket and add more leafy greens for a satisfying, nutritionally balanced sandwich.
  21. Serve fruit for dessert. Fall and winter bring an abundance of apples and pears. Try making a fruit cobbler. I love apple cranberry crisp.
  22. Break out your slow cooker.  Lentils, beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables all cook beautifully in a crock pot.  Plus, portions are usually large, so you can cook once and eat twice. Make an entire portion of vegetable stew and freeze half for a busy weeknight when you don’t have time to cook.
  23. Make your own veggie burgers.  Instead of buying pre-made veggie burgers, I prefer to make mine with beets, sweet potato, and black beans. Make a big batch and freeze extras for later.
  24. Mason jar salads.  Try making a layered salad in a mason jar to keep all the vegetables fresh and crisp.  Put the dressing in the bottom of the jar and add your firmer, heartier vegetables next (broccoli, cabbage, radishes, beans, onions).  Then put in your leafy greens, grains, and fruit.  Seal up the jar and store in the fridge.  When you’re ready to eat, give the jar a couple of good shakes to distribute the dressing. Enjoy!
  25. Sneak beans into brownies.  It may sound crazy, but it really works! These black bean brownies are dense, fudgy, and delicious – you’d never know what the “secret ingredient” was unless someone told you.
  26. Prepare overnight muesli for breakfast.  Make it ahead of time by combining 1 C Silk soy yogurt with 1/2 C dried oats.  In the morning, enjoy the cereal with your favorite fruits (dry or frozen both work wonderfully) and nuts/seeds.
  27. Need some “crunchy” in your life? Snack on healthy homemade chips.  Try making your own beet, sweet potato, or kale chips.
  28. Be inspired by ethnic cuisines.  Many cultures throughout the world focus on plant-based diets that are linked with lower instances of heart disease and diabetes.  Try an Indian lentil daal or a stir-fry of all your vegetables.  Enjoy the dishes with brown rice or another grain of your choice.
  29. Roast your vegetables.  Roasted veggies are one of my favorite fall side dishes.  I love that you can throw just about any type of vegetable in a dish and roast them in the oven.  Their flavor develops and all the natural sweetness of the vegetables becomes really prominent.  Some of my favorite vegetables to roast are broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, mushrooms, carrots, and turnips. Try this roasted cauliflower parmesean dish.
  30. Drink your protein!  Smoothies can be an easy way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet at any time of day.  Choose soymilk for plant protein with 50% more calcium than dairy milk.  Check out Silk’s website for delicious and nutritious smoothie recipes.
  31. Above all, focus on incorporating plant foods into your diet in ways that YOU enjoy.  If you’re trying to force yourself to eat something you don’t like, it’s not going to work long-term.  There are a myriad of ways to add vegetables, fruits, soy, and nuts to your meals, so find works for you.  Try new ingredients and cooking methods – don’t be afraid to experiment!

Whew. I hope you like these ideas for how you can get more plant foods into your diet.  What are your favorite ways to incorporate vegetables, fruits, soy, and nuts into your meals?

Disclaimer:  I am one of a handful of Silk Blogger Ambassadors.  Learn more about us here. All opinions contained in this post are my own.

Learn more about Silk and their non-GMO project here.      

Healthy Eating for a Summer on the Move

Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors — whether you’re headed to the beach, the pool, a long bike ride or a picnic in the park.  When its hot out, if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to spend too many hours sweating in the kitchen, but still want to eat healthy, delicious food.  During my recent segment on Let’s Talk Live DC, I shared some summertime tips for eating well.

Check out my fun, healthy ideas for grilling, simple breakfasts, and quality snacks.  You can watch the full video here or check out highlights from my segment below.

Tip #1 Fire up the Grill!

Not only is grilling the most popular way to cook in the summertime, it is also easy, fast and healthy.  You can grill Mazola+Corn+Oil+40+oz+Imagealmost anywhere—by the side of the lake or in your backyard.

I love using heart healthy Mazola Corn Oil for grilling. It provides 4 times more of the cholesterol blocking plant sterols than olive oil and 40% more than canola oil.  It also very heat stable, making it a great choice for a hot grill.

Try grilling fresh fish (check out a delicious tilapia recipe here)—it cooks in under 10 minutes and can easily be paired with summer vegetables like squash, onions, peppers & tomatoes.  Tip: wrap the fish and veggies in foil pockets for easy clean up!

Think beyond meats– you can grill almost anything!  Some fun recipes from the Mazola website include grilled guacamole, grilled banana splits or grilled bloody mary’s! For great recipes like these just visit www.mazola.com.

Tip #2 Try Versatile Lamb

f31ec1d9187b98ee64441b2433264e83Getting bored with BBQ chicken or burgers?  Give lamb a try!  I love using lamb because it is lean, packed with flavor and adds a novel twist to summer BBQs.  In addition, you might be surprised to hear how versatile it is—lamb is great ground into burgers or cubed to stick on kebabs between vegetables (try these balsamic and rosemary kabobs).

Stuck with leftovers?  Transform lamb and vegetables from last night’s kabobs into a healthy, scrumptious Mediterranean salad– Just add arugula (or any green), feta, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, some mint and red wine vinegar, mix in a big bowl and enjoy!

For more recipe ideas like these visit www.leanonlamb.com.

Tip #3 Simplify Breakfast

59995-GreatGrainsCinnamonHazelnut1-mdEven when you’re eager to hit the road and get to the beach, don’t make the common mistake of skipping breakfast! Breakfast gives your body the fuel it needs to play hard! Breakfast is also a great opportunity to get in nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and fiber, not to mention for preventing an emergency fast food stop 30 miles down the road.

Great Grains by Post is a great option for a nutritious cereal.  Made with less processed ingredients such as whole grain flakes from actual wheat berries, real fruit and nuts, just add milk or greek yogurt for a complete breakfast.  Their “Protein Blend” cereals have 8 grams of protein per serving and come in delicious new flavors such as Honey, Oats & Seeds or Cinnamon Hazelnut.

Want to prepare a treat to take with? Try this banana nut chocolate chip crumb cake recipe from www.greatgrains.com.  Using the Banana Nut Crunch cereal as a base, along with low-fat yogurt, bananas and chocolate chips, it is healthy with a delicious crunch!

Tip #4 Snack on Whole Foods:

It is normal to feel hungry every 3-5 hours, depending on the size of your last meal.  When out and about and there’s no time to stop for a meal, snacks provide a great bridge to the quiet those stomach gurgles.  Snack smart by choosing whole foods such as fruits, nuts & seeds that are nutrient dense and satisfying.

nuts-spices-mixed-casep-mainThere are a lot of packaged snacks out there, but some are higher quality than others.  KIND bars is one of my favorites for “on the go” energy. With simple ingredients that you can pronounce and only 5 grams of sugar, they also come in fun flavors.  Try their new “nuts and spices” line including Dark Chocolate Chili Almond (has a little bite to it!) or their Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt with an awesome sweet & salty combo.

Craving dessert?  Try crumbling a chocolate KIND bar on natural vanilla ice cream—YUM!

What are you favorite summertime recipes?

I love adding to my recipe collection — leave a comment below and share your favorite summer recipes!

Disclosure: I worked with Mazola, the Tri-Lamb Group, Post, and Kind Snacks for the TV segment, but did not receive compensation for writing this blog post.

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Cauliflower is a low calorie, nutrient dense, and cancer-fighting food. One serving of this great side dish or snack will cost you less than 100 calories and provide plenty of flavor. Cauliflower is very low in fat and one serving provides about 5% of the recommended daily fiber intake. This vegetable is a great source of phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Emeril Lagasse’s recipe is quick and easy. It is a great option for a side dish for your family or a quick snack and has tons of healthy benefits!

Ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 cups cauliflower florets, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (from 1 medium cauliflower)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Chopped chives, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large sauté pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the sauté/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parmesan. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately while still warm.

Nutrition Info per Serving (serves 6):

Calories 91 | Fat 8 g | Sat. Fat 1 g | Cholesterol 1 mg | Sodium 125 mg | Carbs 4 g | Fiber 2 g | Protein 2 g | Calcium 17 mg

Reviving the Family Meal: It’s Good For Your Health

Picture 1

Time is a precious commodity nowadays. Our schedules aren’t getting any less crammed, anytime soon, and many times one of the things that gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list is the family meal.

In my recent US News “Eat + Run” blog I talked about the importance of family mealtime, and the many benefits that result from more meals eaten together. Benefits like improved grades in school, healthier eating patterns and greater emotional well-being have all been reported. Who wouldn’t want those things, right?

If you’re looking to make family meals a priority in your home, here are a few of my ideas to help make the “revival” a little easier:

1. Talk to your “significant other.” This means talking to whoever else shares in the decision-making and must agree that this is an important and necessary change. Decide together that you want to make family meals a priority.

2. Come up with a realistic plan. How often can you sit down together? And how can the family divide responsibility between planning, shopping, prep and clean up? This should not all fall on mom’s to-do list.

3. Make “the food” the easy part. There are plenty of ways to get quick, healthy meals on the table. Not everything has to be made from scratch, so don’t feel like you need to chain yourself to your stove all day if you simply don’t have that kind of time. Here a few fast meal tips and ideas that you can try:

  • Keep your “tried and true” recipes on hand, along with the necessary ingredients. That way you’ve always got a reliable, easy recipe that you’re confident about at your fingertips.
  • Boil some pasta and serve it with jarred marinara and a bagged salad. You can even add fresh or frozen veggies to your jarred sauce to jazz it up a little.
  • Heat frozen, pre-seasoned fish or frozen pre-cooked shrimp and serve with steamed frozen veggies.
  • Order your favorite take-out, but make it “half-plate healthy” by adding a bagged salad or veggies that are fresh, frozen or canned.

For more ideas, and to read the full article, click here.

What changes have you made to your family dynamic?

What other things have you done to try and improve the quality of your family togetherness time? Leave a comment below to share your stories and ideas.

Struggling With Balanced Eating Habits? Choose My Plate!

If you have ever played darts, or even if you just understand it, then you know how to use “Choose My Plate” to help you put together healthy plates at each meal. Choose my plate is the guide (and best I’ve seen) from the USDA to empower people to make healthy food choices.


Why darts?

I compare “Choose My Plate” to darts because of the “bullseye”. In darts, you strive to hit the bullseye. You aim to get as close as you can pretty much every throw, and sometimes (let’s face it) you’re happy to get on the board!

That is how I view the realities of healthy eating. There’s really nothing perfect at all about the factors that influence our decision of what goes on our plates and in our bodies. We have so much to do between work, taking care of the family, and exercise (remember that?)

I don’t know many people who get through their day effortlessly. We might forget to bring our lunch to work or race out of the house without breakfast. We need to have something very simple and memorable to help guide our food choices whether we’re at the grocery store, restaurant, or a gas station. (I have been hungry at a gas station and have had access to a banana and yogurt so it’s possible!)

Let the Plate Guide You

“My Plate” is just the kind of simple guide that can help you no matter where you’re at in healthy eating. Each meal is a chance to try to hit the bullseye. Even if you come close, and you replace some of the less healthy choices you’ve been making, you are making a difference. I bet you will feel better from an energy standpoint and feel better about eating well.

Looking at the plate, half fruits and veggies (not an or — I find many people think OR veggies — you can’t avoid ‘em, peeps) is a good visual. Some of my fave ways include:

  • “Green smoothies”
  • Eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and a side of berries
  • fajita bowl with beans, brown rice, tri-color peppers, pineapple, and chicken

Be Comfortable Full

No matter what is on the plate, enjoying your food and being in touch with your fullness trump all else. You know that uncomfortable feeling – a sign you ate to much. Your body is telling you something. Oh well, you aren’t perfect, but perhaps its a learning experience.

What do YOU think of “MyPlate”?

Check ‘em out on Pinterest!

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