March Is National Nutrition Month

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National Nutrition Month, celebrated in March of each year, is the perfect time to reflect and think about ways that you could improve your nutritional health. Establishing a goal that could improve your nutritional health would be similar to setting a New Year’s Resolution, only in this case you will be reflecting and setting a goal in March. If you have been struggling to curb your eating habits, National Nutrition Month is the perfect month to put it down in writing. Make a meal plan and make sure it’s balanced; include healthy carbs, proteins, and fiber. Below are a few smart tips for successfully preparing meals at home. Preparing food at home can be a great way to save money, express creativity and stay on track with healthful eating.

Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry
If you don’t have time to plan meals some days or have unexpected guests, a well-stocked pantry can relieve some of the pressure when it comes time to make a meal. Keep the following on hand for quick, easy-to-fix dishes.
Shelf-Stable Products

  • Dried or canned beans, peas and lentils (such as black, garbanzo, kidney, white, and pinto beans; green, yellow or split peas and lentils)
  • Canned vegetables with no added salt (such as tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, green beans, and corn)
  • Whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, and whole-grain pasta)
  • Pouches or canned fish and chicken
  • Olive, canola, or other vegetable oils
  • Herbs and spices

Frozen Foods

  • Vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and brussels sprouts)
  • Fruit (such as berries, cherries, and bananas)
  • Whole wheat pizza dough
  • Frozen poultry or seafood

Don’t Stress
You don’t need to be a master chef in order to whip up something tasty and nutritious. You can create healthy and tasty meals without a recipe. For example:

  • Pasta with sautéed veggies and baked fish.
  • Black bean and vegetable burrito.
  • Scrambled eggs with cheese, salsa, and whole grain toast.
    If you don’t have an ingredient, try substituting with something similar.
  • Making black bean burgers but running short on black beans? Try them with pinto beans instead.
  • Having pasta but forgot the sauce? Toss together canned tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and season with herbs to provide that extra flavor.
  • If you’re missing sour cream, plain Greek yogurt can be used in its place in chili, on potatoes, and in baked goods.
  • Cauliflower can replace broccoli in casseroles and soups.

Mix and Match
These easy combinations pair well and contain many items you may already have on hand:

  • Whole grain pasta with garbanzo beans and canned tomatoes, seasoned with basil and served with a medley of microwaved frozen vegetables on the side.
  • Quinoa with black beans, corn, and bell pepper, dressed with olive oil and lime juice.
  • Salad with lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, tomatoes, and olives and dressed with a little olive oil and vinegar.

With making more nutritious choices and making more meals at home you also want to be sure to Invest in the Right Tools. While you may be able to improvise, the following kitchen tools make working in the kitchen easier.

  • Baking sheets and roasting pans
  • Stockpot, saucepans, and skillets
  • Tongs and spatulas
  • Slotted and mixing spoons
  • Potholders and towels
  • Colander or strainer
  • Mixing bowls in various sizes
  • Separate cutting boards for raw and cooked foods
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Chef knives and vegetable peelers

With the above tips I hope that you will be successful in improving your nutritional health by preparing and making more dishes at home.

Information is taken from:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and National Today