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Kaylor: How to bite into a healthy lifestyle

By Staff | Mar 27, 2015

(The following appeared in the March 21 edition of the Tribune.)

March is National Nutrition Month, and that’s a great time to take steps to develop a healthful eating plan as we move toward spring.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do you make half your plate veggies and fruits? -?Choose red, orange, and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

Do you include lean proteins in your menus? – Choose protein foods such as lean beef and pork, chicken, seafood, turkey, beans, lentils or tofu.

Do you make half of your grain choices whole grains? – Look for the words, “100 percent whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, such as fiber, than refined grains.

Do you include dairy or other calcium-rich foods? -?Pair you meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. Low-fat and fat-free milk provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but they contain less fat and fewer calories.

Do you take your time when you dine? -?Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel so you can stop before eating more than your body needs.

Do you try new foods? – Pick out new foods you’ve never tried, such as mangos, lentil, or kale. You may find a new favorite. Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online. For more information and recipes, visit www.choosemyplate.gov or www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise.

Q: My preschool and elementary-age children love fruit, but I have a hard time getting them to eat their vegetables. Do you have any tips?

Be sure to eat together as often as possible, and let your children see you enjoy vegetables of all kinds and colors. Share the adventure of trying new vegetables together. How about trying some roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes? How about grilling some veggie kabobs or asparagus this spring?

Invite your children to help you fix the vegetables. Teach them how to tear lettuce or add veggie toppings to pizza. Be sure to cut the vegetables in small pieces so they are easy to eat and not a choking hazard.

Your children learn by watching you. They get curious when they see you eating vegetables. Before you know it, they will want to taste what you are having. Help them increase the types of fruits and vegetables they like by setting a good example.

Here’s a colorful recipe that kids can help prepare. They can help select the vegetables at the grocery store. Look for zucchini with skin that is shiny and free of soft spots. Children can rinse/scrub vegetables at home. Older children can help make the veggie ribbons with a veggie peeler. Experiment with other types of summer squash, or try tossing with a little lemon juice before serving.



1 medium zucchini (about 1 cups after cutting)

1 large carrot (about 1 cups after cutting)

1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil (or use cooking spray)

Salt, pepper (if desired)

Wash hands. Rinse zucchini and carrot. Peel carrot and cut off ends. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini and carrot into ribbons by moving the peeler back and forth.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. (Or lightly coat pan with cooking spray.)

Add the vegetable ribbons, stir, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for two to three minutes, or until vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Remove from heat, add pepper and salt, if desired, and serve immediately. (Option: To make vegetable coins instead of ribbons, cut zucchini and carrot into thin slices. Add cup water to the pan; cover and cook five to eight minutes.)

Makes four servings. Each serving has 35 calories, 1.5 grams (g) fat, 5 g carbohydrate, less than 1 gram protein and 35 milligrams of sodium.

Recipe reprinted from the Eat Smart. Spend Smart. Program, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

From NDSU Extension Service Food Wise Julie Garden-Robinson, Food & Nutrition Specialist

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