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March National Nutrition Month® - Create healthy meals combining taste and nutrition

The 2014 National Nutrition Month is all about enjoying the taste of eating right. Learn how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the dietary guidelines.

March is National Nutrition Month®. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that we “enjoy the taste of eating right.” Consumer research reports and confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why particular food is purchased over another. Many factors play a role of why people are likely to eat certain foods – like social, emotional and health. March 2014 key messages for National Nutrition Month® will focus on how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

Michigan State University Extension along with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers these tips and ideas on how to add taste to food while keeping it nutritious. These are just a few of the many possibilities to making food taste great and keeping it healthy.

Tips for flavoring your foods without the calories:

  • Citrus and vinegar: Adds sharp flavor, especially to neutral foods like fish, chicken and salad greens. Try balsamic vinegar on salmon or salad and raspberry vinegar on cooked carrots!
  • Herbs: Perfect for seasoning meat, vegetables, grain and bean dishes. Add towards the end of cooking to preserve flavor.
  • Spices: Try cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and mint to help reduce the amount of sugar used in desserts, breads and other baked goods to add flavor.
  • Seasoning vegetables: Onions, garlic and celery add intense flavor without adding calories. Add to broiled fish or grilled chicken to add flavor.

Enjoy these ideas for healthy eating while out:

  • Order an appetizer in place of a dish on the main course menu section.
  • Boost the nutrition of sandwiches; add onions, cabbage, avocado, peppers etc.
  • Ask for dressings/sauces on the side.
  • Ordering a pizza? Load it with veggies or lean meats like chicken.
  • Try a smoothie with juice, fruit and yogurt for a snack/meal on the go.
  • Keep healthy snacks at your desk to avoid vending machines, like peanut butter and crackers, fruit or trail mix, popcorn or a whole grain raisin muffin.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dieteticseat right” section also has a list of ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables, instead of just eating them ordinary and plain. Some of these are great ideas to try with kids to increase their fruit and vegetable intake:

  • Grill vegetable kabobs filled with tomatoes, green pepper, red pepper, mushrooms and onions.
  • Puree apples, berries or peaches in a blender for thick and sweet sauce to use on grilled poultry, seafood, or even pancakes.
  • Stuff an omelet with all your favorite veggies.
  • Create fruit kabobs, grill on low-heat until the fruit is warm and golden.
  • Make fruit your dessert, slice a banana and top it with yogurt and nuts.

Looking for more tips? More tips on the categories listed above or other healthy options can be found at eatright.org in the national nutrition month section.

These are only a few fun ways to add taste and nutrition together to create delicious, healthy meals. This is what National Nutrition Month® is all about – it is a great time to encourage family and friends to try new foods and flavors and promote healthy eating.

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