PERSONALIZE YOUR PLATE
Nutrition goals vary from person to person. Nutrition goals may be based on health, genetic risk factors, allergies, or body functioning. Beyond that, our tastes are different! Introducing variety in your food routine can make mealtime interesting and meeting your nutrition goals easier.
Taste a New Culture
The new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has an array of food items in each food group, taking budget, as well as personal and cultural preferences into account. Use this list to find a new grain, fruit, or vegetable and substitute it for a similar item in your routine, or search for a new recipe online. Remember to make half your plate fruits and vegetables and include a protein with each meal!
Build a Bowl
This is a great way to apply the Healthy Eating Plate while mixing and matching different foods and flavors.
1. Start with a base of grains or leafy greens. Consider whole grains such as barley, quinoa, or farro. Look around for different leafy greens in the produce section of the grocery store.
2. Add a protein. Consider lean animal proteins such as chicken or salmon, or vegetarian options such as beans, tofu, or seitan. You can even use leftovers!
3. Add 2-3 vegetables. This could be any vegetable. Think peas, cucumbers, carrots, jicama, or steamed sweet potatoes.
4. Add a fruit. For something sweet add a fruit such as berries, pomegranate seeds, or dried fruit.
5. Add a topping. Consider sources of healthy fats such as nuts or seeds. You could also incorporate dairy here by adding cheese.
6. Add a dressing. 1-2 Tbsp. of salsa, hummus, peanut sauce, yogurt sauce, or light salad dressing.
7. Toss together and enjoy!
Create a Sauté
Cut and sauté carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, and zucchini in a little oil and add spices. Mix it up with different vegetable combos and different spices. This can be great as a side dish that helps utilize the last stalk of celery or lone carrot, or to try a new vegetable in a small amount. Make it a meal by adding a scrambled egg, cheese, or beans.
Roast a Vegetable
The natural sweetness of many vegetables emerges when roasted. Vegetables such as roughly chopped potatoes or beets, halved brussel sprouts, asparagus spears, or carrot and zucchini sticks can be tossed with olive oil, placed on a cooking sheet then baked at 425 until tender and starting to brown.
In 2020 we tried new things out of necessity and limited availability. Whether browsing in person or in your grocery store's app, let 2021 be the year you branch out and explore what new flavors are available to you. If you would like to see a dietitian to discuss this further, talk to your primary care provider about a referral to see a dietitian at University of Utah Health.