Tips brought to you by Emily Holysz, Bronson dietitian intern
March is National Nutrition Month. The theme of this year's celebration is Celebrating A World Of Flavors. Eating foods from cultures around the world is a tasty way to nourish ourselves and appreciate our diversity. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes. Check out these five Nutrition Month tips!
Five Ways to Veg Out this Month
Incorporating more vegetables into our diets is important. Some easy ways to increase your vegetable intake include:
- For a crunchy snack, make vegetable chips! Roast thinly sliced zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes or kale leaves in the oven. Enjoy with hummus or a yogurt-based Tzatziki sauce.
- Make a stir-fry incorporating a wide range of vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, broccoli, onions, bell peppers, and more.
- Spiralize zucchini, squash, carrots, or even sweet potatoes. Enjoy with your favorite sauce for a new fun take on pasta.
- Try making a cauliflower crust the next time you have pizza (don’t forget to load the pizza with even more veggies).
- Make and enjoy a vegetable-based soup such as gazpacho.
Sugar makes foods sweet and taste delicious, and while it is fine in moderation, it is not always the healthiest option. Ways that you can decrease the amount of sugar in your diet without sacrificing any of the sweetness include:
- Flavor your water with lemons, limes, cucumber or other fresh fruits. This is a great way to add flavor into your water without added sugar and can help reduce your soda and juice consumption. You can do this with carbonated water, too!
- Top pancakes with fresh or cooked fruit such as apples, blueberries or peaches instead of maple syrup. Or, try swirling canned pumpkin into oatmeal instead of adding brown sugar.
- Add pureed prunes or soaked dates to brownies or blend together frozen banana slices in a food processor to make a creamy and delicious ice cream.
Try out some of these sweet tips today and remember, enjoying the occasional sweet treat is okay!
Salt-free? Flavor Overload!
Did you know that 1 teaspoon equals 2,300 mg of sodium? Try to consume less 2,000 mg of sodium per day by utilizing fresh herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, lemon juice and other salt-free seasonings to pack a flavorful punch without the added salt. Here is a great “Spice Blend Recipe” that is salt-free that can be enjoyed with various protein and vegetable dishes!
Spice Blend Recipe (Courtesy of the Nutrition Care Manual):
Makes approximately 1/3 cup
- 5 tsp. onion powder
- 2 ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 2 ½ tsp. paprika
- 2 ½ tsp. dry mustard
- 1 ½ tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ¼ tsp. celery seed
The Snacking Solution
Finding ways to incorporate healthy snacks into our daily routine enables us to eat more nutritiously throughout the day while providing our bodies with the energy that it needs to work its best. Ways to snack more effectively include:
- Prepare snacks ahead of time that are ready-to-eat when you are hungry. Try roasted chickpeas with spices or protein energy bites.
- Pre-portion snacks such as popcorn, trail mix, pre-chopped vegetables, low-sodium jerky, sunflower or pumpkin seeds into single-sized servings. This can help you avoid overeating.
- Snacking on minimally processed foods such as whole fruits, unsalted or lightly salted nuts and seeds, hard-boiled eggs, vegetables and hummus, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, low-fat string cheese or whole-grain crackers with peanut butter are fantastic snack choices that are filling, satisfying and nutritious.
Build Your Own Grain Bowl!
In Michigan, the winter can seem long, and there’s nothing more comforting than a delicious bowl of oatmeal! Oats and other grains such as bulgur, farro, barley and brown rice are all excellent sources of whole grains and providing us with fiber, vitamins and minerals. The best part is that you can dress it up anyway that you would like! Here are some ideas of how to enjoy your next bowl of grains:
- Pick your protein: chicken, steak, tuna, shrimp, or tofu are all great choices.
- Spice it up! Adding different ethnic spices and seasonings can add tons of flavor to your grain bowl.
- Drizzle with a sauce like tahini, or top with avocado for a creamy and delicious addition as well as some extra protein and healthy fats.
- Add sweetness as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your grain bowl by topping it with your favorite fruits such as berries, apples or bananas.
- Make PB&J oats! Mix in peanut butter and no sugar added jam or jelly for a twist on the classic sandwich.
- Add nuts, seeds, ground flax, chia seeds for added healthy fats, flavor, crunch and taste!
Looking for more tips for eating well? Visit bronsonhealth.com/nutritioneducation for tons of healthy recipes, articles and more!