“Get Your Plate in Shape” is Good for the Body and the Wallet

March is National Nutrition Month.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has chosen year’s theme: “Get Your Plate in Shape”.  As many of you know, in June of 2011, the food pyramid was replaced with “MyPlate”, as a way to show you not only what you should be eating, but also how much. “MyPlate” is divided into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins – and accompanied by a glass to represent the dairy group.  For information, fun activities and more on National Nutrition Month visit eatright.org/nnm.

Ideas for affordable nutrition:

Find a community garden near you – make friends and grow your own produce.  CommunityGarden.org has a directory of community gardens and ideas on how to start one in your community.

Plan your meals around seasonal produce, weekly store specials, and what you have on hand.  Meal planning is made easier with the Department of Agriculture’s Recipe finder.   http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/  Search by ingredient, theme, and even by cost.

Container gardening can be done in any space available.  Herbs and root vegetables are the easiest.  I’ve used large storage totes; clear totes make for an educational view as the carrots are growing.  My favorite one-page resource for beginning container gardening is at about.com:  http://containergardening.about.com/od/vegetablesandherbs/a/ContainerVeggie.htm

Buy the less expensive versions of what you need to complete your meals.  Day-old bread, clearance meats and produce, store-brands, and frozen foods are usually cheaper but equally as nutritious.  Stock up when staple items (canned beans, meats, frozen foods) are at their lowest price.

Whatever you buy, be sure you use it. Freeze or cook-to-freeze portions you won’t use before they spoil. A great example of this is herbs.  When you’re buying fresh herbs and only using a small portion, there are ways to freeze them.  After cleaning them with water and drying with a towel, freeze them on a cookie sheet until solid.  Place in in sealable freezer bags (remove as much air as possible) or in pieces (in a bit of water) using ice cube trays.

Substitute high-calorie, non-nutritional drinks with drinking water.  You’ll save on costs and improve your health.  Flavor your water with lemon, fruit, or herbs such as mint or basil.

Trade processed, fattening snacks for fresh food.  Prepare to snack better by making individual packages of fruits, vegetables, nuts and dairy to be ready for your on the go lifestyle.

Variety is the key to eating well for life.  Get to know a new fruit and vegetable each month with this fun calendar from the CDC:  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/month/index.htm

March is a great month to make nutritional goals and plans. How will you enjoy adding more nutritional choices to your daily meals?  Find what you’re most interested in, gather the tools, recruit some friends and make it a fun family adventure.



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One Response

  1. thanks for sharing these tips., I am trying the new veggie and fruit thing lately and finding lots of stuff I like. I couldnt get the link to work for that page you included.

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