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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

National Nutrition Month

Here is another fabulous blog entry from guest blogger and intern, Laura Monson!

Did you know that the month of March is National Nutrition Month®? Although you should celebrate making informed food choices every day, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have created this nutrition education and information campaign. Starting in 1973 as a week-long event, the National Nutrition Month® became a month long observance in 1980 from a growing interest in nutrition from the public. Registered dietitian day is also celebrated on March 13th.

In honor of National Nutrition Month®, here are some healthy tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • Eat Breakfast: Always start your mornings with a healthy breakfast. Try to include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables to give you extra energy to make it throughout the day. Some quick ideas are oatmeal made with low-fat milk, almonds, and fruit or a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and berries.
  • Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables: Try to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day. Keep in mind that frozen fruits and vegetables are always a great alternative in the colder seasons.
  • Watch Portion Sizes: We hardly ever eat the recommended serving size when choosing portions for our meals. By using smaller plates, bowls, and glasses you can help keep portions under control. Be sure to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and the other half grains and lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans. Instead of a soft drink, finish your meal with a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk and a serving of fat-free yogurt for dessert.
  • Be Active: Engaging in routine physical activity lowers your blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight. When starting out, do what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Adults should strive for 2 ½ hours of physical activity per week, while kids and teens should get an hour or more each day. Taking a walk after dinner or playing a game of catch is a great way to get your heart rate up.
  • Fix Healthy Snacks: When needing extra energy between meals, make a healthy snack. Try to make a combination snack, which incorporates two MyPlate food groups. These groups are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean proteins or nuts. Some great snack ideas are fruit with low-fat yogurt, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, or a small portion of nuts with an apple or banana.
  • Follow Food Safety Guidelines: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that roughly one out of six Americans get sick from a foodborne disease each year. An easy way to reduce your risk from getting sick is by washing your hands regularly. Be sure to separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from read-to-eat foods, such as breads and fresh vegetables. Make sure your food is properly cooked by using a food thermometer. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours to slow bacteria growth.
  • Get Cooking: Cooking at home can be healthy, rewarding, and cost-effective. Learn some cooking and kitchen basics, such as how to dice an onion or how to store herbs and spices.
  • Drink More Water: Our bodies use water to regulate temperature, transport nutrients, and oxygen to cells, carry away waste products and more. For healthy people, the Dietary Reference Intakes from the Institute of Medicine recommends a total daily beverage intake of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women.

Use these tips to be healthier and thank your favorite registered dietitian on March 13th for helping you enjoy your healthy life.

Try this meatloaf recipe made with vegetables and whole grain oats!

Mouth Watering Meatloaf

1 pound ground beef

½ onion, chopped (about ½ cup)

1 cup grated carrots (about 2 carrots)

½ cup dry quick oats

¼ cup nonfat milk

1 egg

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup ketchup, divided (¼ cup in meatloaf and ¼ cup in sauce)

2 tablespoons brown sugar or white sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix together the ground beef, onion, carrots, oats, milk, egg, black pepper, salt, and ¼ cup ketchup. Form the mixture into a loaf and place on pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Stir the remaining ¼ cup ketchup and sugar in a small bowl. Remove meatloaf from oven and spread the sauce over the top and sides of meatloaf. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F.

Yield: 6 servings

Source: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Spend Smart, Eat Smart.

Nutritional analysis per serving (1/6 of loaf): 260 Calories, 12 grams fat, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 400 milligrams sodium, 17 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 18 gram protein

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