Nutrition Month (part 4): Give Your Meal a Makeover!

We’ve reached the grand finale of Laura’s Nutrition Month series (it’s been a wild ride, here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3). Thanks so much to Laura for being such a great guest blogger, and here’s her fourth and final installment of her ode to National Nutrition Month®:

Registered Dietician, Laura

Registered Dietician, Laura

Chili is a delicious way to enjoy a meal that is high in fiber and protein but low in fat. Unfortunately, canned chili is loaded with salt. A typical canned chili con carne with beans has over 1,000 mg of sodium (salt) in a one cup serving. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends no more than 1500 mg of sodium per day for most adults. Even with very fuzzy math, you really can’t make that cup of chili work into the dietary guidelines.But chili doesn’t need all that salt to taste fantastic. Here’s a staff favorite recipe for chili with our Healthy Life Committee stamp of approval. One cup of this chili has only 370 mg of sodium, so you can enjoy a big serving! 

Hint: If eating beans give you gas, try taking a digestive enzyme that includes alpha-galactosidase which helps break down certain complex carbohydrates the human body can’t break down on its own.

Easy Crock Pot Chili

Nutrition Month (Part 1): Add Some Flavor to Your Life

Laura 04 2111

Registered Dietician, Laura

March is National Nutrition Month®, and this year it carries the theme “enjoy the taste of eating right”. Although it’s sort of obvious, researchers asked people why they chose one food over another. The response? Taste (surprise!). So in honor of National Nutrition Month®, during each week in March, our registered dietitian, Laura, is going to post some ideas for adding flavor to your life without adding a lot of fat, sugar and salt.Laura, take it away!

As a registered dietitian, I look at a lot of food journals. Many of the food journals I see are devoid of vegetables. Vegetables add flavor, variety, color and texture to meals. They’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, with a small calorie price tag.

So why don’t we eat more vegetables? Here’s my theory:  

1) They require more work than ripping apart a package of Doritos.

2) We don’t know what the heck to do with them.

3) We eat and drink so much sugary or salty foods our taste buds are traumatized — they have lost some ability to enjoy the more subtle flavors of vegetables.

What can you do? Try different food combinations to increase flavor.

  • Most of the veggies from the cruciferous family (kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage) have a bitter taste that some people dislike. But the health benefits are amazing! Try complementing these veggies with a sweet counterpart, such as jicama, or caramelized onions, carrots, or sweet potatoes.
  • Adding a sweet and tangy combo like balsamic vinaigrette with a small amount of a sharp cheese, such as feta, adds layers of flavor over a large bowl of greens and mixed vegetables. You can drizzle with a balsamic glaze as well. (See our recipe below.)

Balsamic Glaze