March is national nutrition month, and this year’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” How do Gateway Greening and community gardens support healthy lifestyles? One bite at a time!
The USDA’s My Plate campaign recommends making half our plate fruits and vegetables. Using fruits and vegetables from our gardens to color our plates is one way to ensure that we are packing a nutrient rich punch into every bite. Produce from our gardens is naturally low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eating local produce not only makes our plates colorful but adds texture and flavor because local produce is seasonal produce—meaning it is picked right at the peak of freshness!
Check out these tips to help you bite into more fruits and vegetables:
Boost your breakfast by adding fruit in your cereal or fresh vegetables to omelets or eggs
Use fresh, crisp vegetables instead of salty olives and pickles on sandwiches and salads
Redefine chips by baking thin slices of sweet potatoes or pieces of kale as a side dish to sandwiches and burgers
Add shredded vegetables such as carrots or zucchini to main dishes such as pasta
Add chopped vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms to main dishes such as tacos and quesadillas
Double the vegetables in recipes such as soups, casseroles and pizzas
Incorporating other plant based foods such as nuts, seeds, and whole grains into your diet can provide an excellent source of healthy fats and fiber, and may help lower the risk of heart disease. Try adding a plant-based food from your garden to each meal this month as we celebrate National Nutrition Month.
Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website, www.eatright.org for more tips on biting into plant based foods. Happy Eating!
-Aspen Mittler, Gateway Greening Fall 2014 Intern