(formerly the American Dietetic Association) chooses March as the month of awareness for nutrition and healthy lifestyles. This year, the theme of National Nutrition Month® is one that we really like – “Get Your Plate in Shape”. Our version of getting your plate in shape is based on putting together simple and convenient meals that use mostly whole foods.
Here are some of our key tips for getting your plate in shape fast – the whole foods way. Then, check out some of our favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate ideas.
Work out your early morning breakfast plate:
Aim to incorporate 1/2 cup of fruit (equal to 1/2 of a medium to large piece of fruit) 1-2 servings of whole grains (1 serving = 1/4 cup uncooked oats or other whole grain like bulgur wheat, 1 slice of whole grain bread, 1 whole grain waffle) and a good source of protein (eggs, low-fat dairy, soy/soy milk). Accent your meal with a healthy fat like olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut butter, or avocado.
Worked out breakfast: Microwaved apple peanut butter oats
You can use old-fashioned rolled oats for this (no need for instant oats, which are a more refined version of the grain.)
- Combine 1/2 cup rolled oats with 1-cup low-fat milk or milk alternative (like fortified soy, almond, or rice milk).
- Add 1/2 of an apple, chopped.
- Microwave on medium high power for 2.5-4 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. The time will vary based on microwaves so we recommend checking it more often the first time around.
- Stir in 1 tsp. of peanut butter and 1 tsp. maple syrup. Add cinnamon to taste.
Convenience Factor: This meal packs 2 servings of whole grains, 1/2 cup fruit, healthy fat, protein, satisfaction, and flavor (yum!) into a single bowl…in less than 5 minutes.
Tone up your lunch plate:
Incorporate 1 – 2 servings of vegetables (about 1/2 of your plate); a healthy protein source like lean meat, chicken, fish, beans, tofu, egg, or Greek yogurt; and a source of healthy carbohydrate, like a whole grain or starchy veggie (think sweet potato, potato, winter squash, corn, or peas.) Add healthy fats like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, or avocado, as accents.
Toned up lunch: Poached egg salad with sweet potato
- Top salad greens (like arugula or baby spinach) with 1 poached or sliced hard boiled egg, 1 baked sweet potato cut into wedges, chopped cucumbers, chopped red onion or any other non-starchy veggies that you have on hand/like in your salad.
- Dress with 2 teaspoons olive oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of your favorite vinegar. We love balsamic and red wine vinegar with this meal.
Convenience factor: Cook a few hard-boiled eggs on Sunday for the week, so you can use them throughout the week as a convenient protein source for breakfast, lunch, or a snack.
Fit dinner plate:
Incorporate 1 – 2 servings of vegetables (about 1/2 of your plate); a healthy protein source like lean meat, chicken, fish, beans, tofu, egg, Greek yogurt; and a source of healthy carbohydrate, like a whole grain or starchy veggie (think sweet potato, potato, winter squash, corn, or peas.) Add healthy fats like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, or avocado, as accents.
Fit dinner: Quinoa with tuna, artichokes, and lemon
- Sauté 1 cup frozen artichoke hearts (thawed and drained) with 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, 1 tbsp. chopped olives, 1 tsp. chopped garlic, and 1 tsp. olive oil.
- Add 2 tbsp. white wine and cook about 5 minutes until wine is slightly reduced.
- Toss artichoke mixture with 1 can (5oz) of Seasoned Tuna Medley, Lemon & Cracked Pepper, and 1 cup cooked quinoa.
- Top with 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese.
Convenience factor: Quinoa is a whole grain that takes only 10-15 minutes to cook from start to finish. This whole meal can be on the table in less than 20 minutes if you prepare the vegetable and tuna mixture while the quinoa is cooking.
What are some of your favorite healthy dinner recipes? Leave us a comment below!