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Balance Nutrition & Taste



March is National Nutrition Month® which is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association. Every year the campaign stresses the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right
This year the theme of National Nutrition Month is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” The focus is to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that implement the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. It is a good time to return to the basics of healthful eating. Choose nutrition-packed foods from the five MyPlate food groups every day. A simple way of incorporating these food groups into meals is to start by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Then add lean protein, a grain with emphasis on whole grains, and some fat-free or low-fat dairy.

 

The foods we tend to eat most of the time are the ones we enjoy the most so it is important to make taste a priority when preparing nutritious meals. Balance good nutrition and taste at every meal and regularly try new flavors and foods.

 

10 Ways to Enjoy the Tastes of Foods

  1. Try a new fruit or vegetable each week.
  2. Add a different salad green like slightly bitter escarole, the feathery leaves of fennel, or kale to a green salad.
  3. Enjoy raw sliced Jerusalem artichokes or strips of jicama on a raw vegetable tray.
  4. Serve spaghetti squash instead of pasta with a marinara sauce.
  5. Frequently enjoy wonderful fruits such as blood orangesmango chunks, papaya and kiwi.
  6. Have some type of fruit with breakfast every day.
  7. Include berries on cereal, fresh citrus segments like orange and grapefruit or a banana in a smoothie.
  8. Keep a bowl of applespears and bananas available for snacking.
  9. Enjoy a fruit salad or add fruit such as sliced strawberriesgrapes or mandarin orange segments to a green salad.
  10. Serve a fresh fruit cup for dessert.
 

The goal is to eat a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits every day.

 

Another way to add flavor is to experiment with recipes from different ethnic cuisines by incorporating seasonings common to the cuisine. Often these seasonings can be used instead of salt and/or fat to add unique and delicious flavor to foods without added sodium or calories.
Become familiar with seasonings and foods used in various ethnic cuisines to create new flavors in dishes. For example, West African cuisine commonly uses chili peppers, ginger and coriander, and sweet potatoes and peanuts are staples. The Sweet Potato Peanut Soup recipe below is a West African recipe using many ingredients common to the cuisine. This is a totally different way to eat sweet potatoes from how most of us normally eat them!

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