March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape,” which I’m pretty sure is designed to go along with the new dietary guidelines of making half your plate fruits and veggies. Sadly, if you walk through any cafeteria or restaurant, chances are you’ll see a lot of plates that are in dire need of some help. The MyPlate guidelines make it easier to do just that and if you consider that ALL forms of fruits and veggies count toward filling half your plate, it’s pretty darn easy!
A mistake many people make is to think that only fresh produce counts when filling half their plates with fruits and veggies. Not so! Add canned beans to salads, canned veggies to soups and canned fruits (packed in fruit juice) make a great dessert. Frozen fruit and vegetables are perfect for quick side dishes. Frozen spinach is great when thawed and used in casseroles. Frozen fruit is ideal to throw into your blender for a quick smoothie. I like dried fruits for snacking or baking. Plus, raisins are great for cereal or oatmeal. And, don’t forget the juice–just make certain it’s 100% juice, with no added sugars.
If you make the effort to add all the different forms of fruits and vegetables, you’ll not only be making your plate healthier, you’ll also be adding more flavor and variety. A recent Insider’s Viewpoint from Jewel-Osco Dietitian, Kim Kirchherr, provides even more info on the different forms as well as a really tasty pasta recipe you’ve got to try! There’s no better time to get your own plate in shape than National Nutrition Month. Who knows–you might be surprised at how easy it is!