Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right
Neva Cochran is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Dallas. She is also a nutrition writer, researcher for Woman’s World magazine and a nutrition communications consultant to a variety of food and nutrition organizations, including Sargento. Neva has a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Oklahoma and a M.S. in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.
Each March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month to promote healthful eating. This year’s theme is Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right. Taste is very important to people. The 2013 Food and Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council found that taste is the driving force that influences food purchases (89%), followed by price (71%), healthfulness (64%), convenience (56%) and sustainability (36%).
"When taste is the most influential factor driving what consumers eat, it is important that we find the balance between choosing the foods we like with those that provide the nutrients we need," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Dr. Glenna McCollum. "This year's Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right theme reinforces that the two choices are not mutually exclusive."
To show you how easy it is to combine good nutrition with good taste, let’s take a tour through a day and see what you can put on your plate at each meal.
While surveys show that many people regularly skip breakfast, starting your day off with a nutrient-rich meal has a number of benefits. Studies have found that people who eat breakfast have better physical and mental performance and feel fuller and more satisfied, so they eat less at lunch and throughout the day. The key is to combine high-quality protein – eggs, dairy, meat, beans or soy – along with fiber – fruits, vegetables and whole grains – for a breakfast that is both satisfying and nutritious. How about a Swiss Veggie Frittata Wrap? While it might sound fancy, it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and when eaten with a serving of fresh fruit, is about 350 calories and 15 grams of protein.
What’s simpler than a sandwich for lunch? Create your own by layering your choice of lean meat on whole grain bread with fresh veggies and natural cheese. This Garden Chicken and Cheese Sandwich pairs chicken breast with cucumbers, tomato, onion and sliced reduced-sodium Colby-Jack cheese. Add a fresh pear or apple for dessert. Or, how about a soup and salad combo? Toss together a Grilled Sirloin and Taco Salad and enjoy with a cup of your favorite vegetable soup. Baked tortilla chips and shredded reduced-fat natural Cheddar cheese keep this recipe on the lighter side of many taco salads.
Too tired to cook dinner? Well, how about a pizza that’s tastier than take-out and can be prepared in just 15 minutes—less time than it takes for a pizza to be delivered? Double Coverage Tuscan Chicken Pizza uses a prepared pizza crust along with chicken, veggies, bottled sauce and shredded cheese. Serve it with Quinoa Pear & Toasted Walnut Salad and you have a complete MyPlate to deliver an array of essential nutrients.
If you feel hungry between meals, a snack can be the answer. The key is to subdue hunger pangs without overeating. Combine foods that contain protein and fiber to make a satisfying snack. Some examples: a natural light String cheese snack paired with a piece of fresh fruit, Greek yogurt with frozen berries, or raw veggies dipped in hummus.
Putting it All Together
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to explore new foods and flavors so we can “enjoy the taste of eating right.” To further inspire your efforts, Sargento has partnered with SHAPE magazine in the Rock Your Resolution Pinterest Contest. Create a Pinterest Board to win a nutrition prize pack. More details at http://www.sargento.com/snacks/rock-your-resolution/