FORT GORDON, GA, UNITED STATES
Story by David White
Charles Moore, MS, RD, LD
Nutrition Care Division
Eisenhower Army Medical Center
March is National Nutrition Month and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to celebrate a world of flavors.
There is no better way to celebrate and embrace global cultures and cuisines than by increasing the variety of food in your diet. Trying foods and recipes from various cultures is a great way to incorporate different flavors and healthful ingredients. Many cuisines offer dishes that include foods from each food group, so it’s possible to plan meals that are nutritious, well-balanced and bursting with flavor.
What is healthy eating?
A healthy eating routine considers the recommended amounts of foods and beverages so that individuals can stay within their calorie limits.
Using My Plate, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a good resource to use to build healthy meals. A meal should consist of fruits and vegetables that take up half of the plate. The other half should consist of smaller protein foods. Grains occupy the remainder of the plate. To complete the meal, add a serving of dairy (or calcium-containing foods). This approach ensures you prepare a balanced meal filled with various nutrients needed to maintain good health.
However, many people in the United States do not eat the recommended amounts from each food group, especially fruits and vegetables. Additionally, many people tend to fall short of consuming the recommended servings of whole grains, seafood and dairy products.
Celebrate a world of flavor
Plan meals using recipes from many different cultures while expanding your healthy eating routine including a variety of nutritious foods.
Choose ingredients based on their taste, texture and color to offer more variety. Serve arugula, a lettuce that provides a slightly peppery flavor, with tuna, beans and a vinaigrette. For a crunchier salad, jicama, a vegetable native to Mexico, can be sliced thin and combined with other veggies and fruits to be served as a slaw, using a yogurt-based dressing.
Also celebrate by varying breakfasts to include favorites from around the world. One option is to try other types of cooked grains. For example, congee is a Chinese porridge made from rice. It can be served plain or with vegetables and a portion of protein food, such as cooked chicken, meat or fish.
If you prefer eggs, a Spanish omelet with potatoes and veggies topped with a sprinkle of cheese is a solid option. You can also try a fried rice omelet, known in Japan as omurice. Eggs can also be prepared with ham and beans, served in a tortilla with salsa.
Try making a smoothie with low-fat yogurt or buttermilk and tropical fruits, like papaya or mango, for breakfast on the go.
Arepas, a South-American cornbread dish, can be stuffed with beans, vegetables, avocado and cheese for a breakfast sandwich. The options are endless.
There are many ways to celebrate a world of flavors. Since many cuisines offer dishes that feature foods from different food groups, it’s simple to plan meals with various healthy ingredients.
MyPlate can serve as a template to help prepare meals with the proper proportions from each food group. This approach to eating is vital at every stage of life and will positively affect our health over time.
Schedule a visit with an Eisenhower Army Medical Center registered dietitian for more healthy eating tips that can help you meet your nutrition goals. EAMC’s Nutrition Clinic is located on the 11th floor and offers one-on-one counseling sessions to meet individualized nutrition goals. For an appointment, call 706-787-2243.