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Five tasty ways to plan dinners with MyPlate

By Staff | Sep 27, 2013

Variety is the spice of life and a delicious key to family nutrition, as well. Using MyPlate five food groups (www.myplate.gov) to plan your family’s meals is a quick and easy way to insure that they get the 50+ nutrients necessary for high energy and optimal health.

Make half of your GRAINS whole.

Whole grains add wholesome nutrients and fiber to any dinner and there are now more whole grains to choose from at the store. Go for the good stuff with whole grain pastas, breads, and rolls, as well as brown rice and bulgur (cracked wheat).

Vary your VEGGIES.

In the veggie group, variety comes in many tasty flavors, colors, textures, and forms. Mix-and-match as much as possible, like a hot vegetable soup made with fresh carrots, frozen peas, and canned corn cooked in a spicy tomato broth.

Focus on FRUITS.

The fall harvest offers a bounty of inexpensive fresh fruits such as apples and pears perfect for a delightfully nutritious dessert. Try apple slices with vanilla yogurt and a few walnuts or pear halves drizzled with a little chocolate syrup.

Get your DAIRY foods.

3-a-day is what it takes. Three milk products a day serve up the vitamin D and calcium you need for strong bones and teeth (and to prevent some diseases too). At dinner, it’s as easy as a glass of fat-free milk or cheese crumbles on a salad.

Go lean with PROTEINS.

Variety is the key here too! Nutrient-rich proteins make tasty entres, like beef or bean enchiladas, casseroles with canned salmon or tuna, and skinless chicken breasts (baked, broiled, grilled, or stir-fry with colorful veggie strips).

Beef and vegetable stir fry

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 (16-ounce) package frozen stir-fry mixed vegetables or end of the garden veggies

1 Tbsp. water

1 c. stir-fry sauce (low sodium)

2 tsp. cornstarch

2 c. cooked roast beef, sliced thin

Heat olive oil in heavy skillet. Add vegetables and 1 Tbsp. water. Stir, cover and cook over medium heat for three minutes. Mix stir-fry sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to skillet and stir to combine. Cook five to eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. In another skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat until done. Add beef to vegetables and simmer one to two minutes. Serve with cooked rice or egg noodles.

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