Go Further With Food

March is National Nutrition Month

This year's theme is ‘Go Further With Food’, a reminder to us all to fill our diet with nutrient-rich foods and to reduce waste. Our dietitians shares some advice and recipes on eating healthy.

How do you prepare nutrient-rich meals?

Man cooking in the kitchen

Part of “Going Further With food” is making sure to get your nutritional bang for your buck. When planning meals, make sure to include at least 3 food groups, and try to use the most nutrient-rich versions of these foods. For example, see if you can make half of your meal non-starchy vegetables. Cut back on how much rice or pasta you use, and mix in some veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, peppers, or broccoli. Accent the dish with a few chunks of baked or grilled meat/chicken/seafood, and you have yourself a balanced meal that is lower in calories than your typical plate of pasta. 

What are some ways to ‘Go Further With Food’?

Woman grocery shopping, carrying a black basket

Meal planning is a great way to reduce food waste and save money. If you’re new to planning a menu, start with one week at a time, and try to plan only 1 or 2 meals for that week. You can look at a grocery circular to see what is on sale, and use that for meal ideas. For example, if there’s a special on boneless, skinless chicken thighs, asparagus, and whole grain pasta, you can make a dish that week using those three ingredients. Buy only what you think you will use up that week. 

Besides planning your meals and making a grocery list, one of the best ways to reduce food waste is to shop at home first. See what you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer before going to the store. Allrecipes.com and the app Handpick have ingredient searches where you can search for recipes using foods you already have. You can even turn it into a cooking game at home! Each week, a different person in the household will have to make a dish using only what is already available...on your marks, get set, go!

What are some easy recipes to try at home?

Make your own dressing! Making your own dressing and keeping extras in the fridge (for 3 days or longer, depending on the ingredients used), can make quick, healthy meals a reality!  Check out the steps below for step-by-step tips.

**Weight Management Tip:  Try to keep your portion of oil to 1-2 teaspoons per meal.**

Step 1: Choose your base. Start with 2 parts oil/yogurt and 1 part lemon/vinegar, and adjust to taste. Here are some suggestions:

  • Olive oil + lemon or lime juice
  • Olive oil + vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, red wine…)
  • Sesame oil + rice vinegar
  • Low-fat plain yogurt + lemon or lime juice

Step 2: Spice it up! Add some flavorings to make things interesting. Consider:

  • Garlic, crushed or minced
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Italian seasoning
  • Cumin
  • Crushed red pepper/pepper flakes

Step 3: Give it a twist. When you’ve used the same dressing over and over again, you may be ready for a change. Try some of the following:

  • Mustard (Dijon or mustard seeds)
  • Switch from lemon to lime
  • Change the type of vinegar you use
  • Use tahini instead of oil
  • Add chopped pickled jalapeños with a small amount of the juice for an extra kick

Step 4: Season to taste with salt and/or pepper and enjoy! You can use these dressings on just about anything! They can be used as dressings for fresh or canned vegetables or beans, OR you can use them as a marinade for fish, chicken, or meat.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our Internal Medicine department or call 202-741-2222

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