Tag Archives: eat right

Go for the Green, But Think Outside the Leafy Box

by Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian at LMC

It’s National Nutrition Month! Time To savor the flavor of eating right.

Laura Stepp

Laura Stepp

All colors of food are important to include in our meals, but since it’s March and I’m part Irish I think we need to explore the world of green foods. Besides the obvious green leafy choices, there are several excellent foods coming into season that will help put new life into our spring meals.

Asparagus and Brussel sprouts “spring” to mind. Both can seem scary due to their natural chemical makeup that can sometime cause them to smell (and sometimes taste), well, not so good. Both vegetables offer a variety of nutrients that are beneficial to our health and both can be used in several ways to increase flavor and variety to our recipes.

Green_veg_3___Read-Only___Compatibility_Mode_Eaten on their own and simply prepared allows asparagus and Brussel sprouts to show off just how good they really can taste. One of my favorite ways to prepare and eat either of these vegetables is to roast them in a 400 degree oven. If you are roasting Brussel sprouts, first cut them in halves or quarters. Drizzle a little olive oil and cracked pepper over the top, and then toss well before spreading on a cookie sheet in a single layer. I roast for 15 mins and check them. Brussel sprouts will need to be tossed and put back in for another 10-15 minutes depending if they were cut in half or quarters.

Oven roasting brings out and enhances the natural nuttiness of the vegetables without the smell that typically turns most people away. In addition to oven roasting, grilling or sautéing (stir-fry) will also enhance the flavor. (Tip: Choose asparagus that is thin, not thick, and trim the hard white ends off before cooking) A squeeze of lemon and some fresh grated parmesan cheese is an excellent way to finish off this simply heart-healthy side.

Creative Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Thank you to the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics for these important tips on ways to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. These benefits are packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.
food heart
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.

veggie tray4. 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.

fruit_28. 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.

Arugula & Grissini17. 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.