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Get Your Plate in Shape!

It’s National Nutrition Month and certainly an opportune time to give our bodies and plates a healthy makeover!

Last year, the USDA developed MyPlate to give us a visual idea about how to implement a nutritious diet with each meal. The first rule? Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Two to three servings a day will suffice!

This may seem like a challenge at first, but with some practice, you will be a seasoned pro at sneaking a plethora of vitamins and antioxidants into every tasty dish. Buy fresh, seasonal produce as often as possible. Though canned, frozen and dried varieties also provide an abundance of nutrients, be sure to choose those with natural ingredients and little to no added sugars or preservatives.

Here are ways that I like to please my palate while making half of my plate fruits and vegetables:

  • Snacks, Sides, and Appetizers: Keep fresh produce around often. It takes no time at all to prepare a side of steamed broccoli or grab a bag of carrots to snack on at work.
  • Pile on toppings: Pizza, wraps, salads, and other comfort foods can be made “gourmet” and nutritious by adding fruit and vegetable toppings. I especially enjoy fruits like cranberries, apples and oranges in my salad!
  • Make a salsa: Fruits like pineapple and mango taste great with bell or jalapeño peppers to make spicy and sweet salsa.
  • Eat on toast: Whether you take your toast with cream cheese and cranberries, peanut butter and apples, or hummus and cucumbers, you will still hit your nutrient quota while enjoying a delicious and filling snack!
  • Use as a glaze: Think savory and sweet. These flavors compliment each other well in protein-based entrees.

This month, challenge yourself to increase your fruit and vegetable intake each day for a new, healthier you!

Balsamic-glazed Asparagus and Cherries

Makes: 4 Servings

Active Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound asparagus spears, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup dark cherries, pitted, frozen or fresh
  • 1½ tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey to make vinaigrette.
  2. Allow asparagus and cherries to marinate in the vinaigrette for ten minutes.
  3. Heat a grill pan to medium. Cook the asparagus and cherries for seven to ten minutes, flipping the asparagus once. (Tip: Be gentles with the cherries as to keep their whole form).
  4. Serve yourself a healthy portion to make half of your plate rich in nutrients!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 126 Calories, 7 grams Fat (1 g Sat), 2.5 g Protein, 3 g Dietary Fiber, 13 g Carbohydrate, 52 mg Sodium, 0 mg Cholesterol

MyPlate Image: MyPlate.gov

Article originally published on the Pathmark FB Nutrition Tip Blog

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