Eat Right, Bite By Bite
“Eat right, bite by bite,” was the theme for National Nutrition Month® observed in March. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics points out that good nutrition doesn’t have to be restrictive or overwhelming.
Small goals and changes can have a cumulative healthful effect, and every little bit (or bite!) of nutrition is a step in the right direction. They have pulled together a lot of great resources on their website.
Here are a few of the suggestions that stood out to me:
Take time to enjoy your food
We all have a relationship with food, and like any good relationship it needs a little time and attention. Always eating on the run often times means making decisions that aren’t the best for our bodies. But consistently obsessing isn’t good either. Relax, appreciate and enjoy balanced meals whenever possible.
Use a grocery list to shop for healthful food
Taking a little extra time to make a meal plan each week, and buying only the things needed, often means less stress, better food choices, less waste and a smaller food bill. If you don’t buy the packages of crackers, chips or cookies they won’t be available for the mindless late night munchies!
Practice proper home food safety
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that nearly 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from food-borne disease each year. Wash your hands and use that meat thermometer!
Try new flavors and foods
I have a love of culinary shows and often hear ingredients I have never heard of. International flavors like chimichurri, miso, wasabi and tzatziki are expected to become increasingly popular over the next few years.
So keep an open mind because you never know when you might stumble across a new favorite.
Here are some “bite-sized” that fit this month’s them and that will impress your friends and family while improving everyone’s health.
Strawberry and Avocado Salsa in Endive Leaves
- 6-8 endive (You’ll want about 32 leaves)
- ½ cup cucumber, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 16 strawberries, diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 6 mint leaves, finely minced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the base off the head of endive and separate the leaves. Wash and dry.
- Place strawberries, cucumbers, avocado, mint and lemon juice in a bowl. Gently toss with salt and pepper to taste
- Divide the filling between endive leaves and top with fresh thyme.
Note: this dish is best served cold.
Pear Pistachio Crunch
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 large pears, cored and cut into 8 wedges
- ½ cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
- Melt chocolate chip in a double boiler or microwave. For microwave start with 30 seconds on HIGH setting. Then as additional 10 seconds on HIGH Setting until the chocolate is completely melted
- Line a jelly roll pan with waxed or parchment paper
- Dip pear wedges, one at a time, partly into the melted chocolate, then into the chopped pistachio then place on the prepared jelly roll pan.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Hummus and Feta Cheese Stuffed Peppers
- 12 sweet snacking peppers
- 1 cup red-pepper hummus (or any flavor)
- ¼ cup feta, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
- Slice each sweet pepper in half lengthwise. Try cutting the stem in half but leave attached to use as a handle while eating.
- Fill each pepper with hummus. If you want them to look really nice try a piping bag or fill a sandwich bag with hummus, cut a hole in the bottom corner of the bag and use it like you would a piping bag.
- Top each pepper with crumbled feta cheese and chives. Serve cool or at room temperature.
Lauren Cornay, RD, LN, is a registered dietitian at Avera Heart Hospital