March is National Nutrition Month! This year's theme, "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day," encourages personalized healthy eating choices. All of us are different and, therefore, have unique food preferences that have been influenced by friends and family, lifestyle, culture, health status, and ethnic and religious traditions. None of us are exactly the same so why should we all eat the same foods?! Visit the National Nutrition Month website for more information and great tips and information.
Eating healthy isn’t impossible; it just requires a little planning and a few key concepts. Take a look at the plate below. This is what a well-balanced meal looks like, with appropriate portions of healthy carbohydrates, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. When planning meals, try to always envision this image. You get to make your own food choices for each category based on your food preferences, incorporating foods that you love and enjoy. The number of different combinations is endless!
Same Ingredients, Two Meals!
Meal planning and food preparation are time consuming and many of us get home after a long day and wonder, "what’s for dinner?" To help avoid that dreaded question, there is a way to shop once and get two meals out of one set of ingredients. With a moderate amount of simple cooking on night 1, and a few twists on ingredients on night 2, you’ll have two completely different meals; no more leftovers here! This also illustrates how given the same set of main ingredients, two people could easily create two distinct meals.
Shopping List (ingredients based on feeding a family of 4)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12oz package of whole wheat wide/egg noodles
¼ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
Spicy brown mustard
6-8 medium carrots
6-8 medium zucchini
4 celery stalks
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
Various herbs and spices
Night #1 Menu: Oven-Roasted Chicken with Zucchini and Carrot "Fries" and Creole Noodles
Nutrition Information for Meal: 360 calories, 34 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates
Night #2 Menu: Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Noodle Soup
Nutrition Information for Meal: 380 calories, 35 grams protein, 44 grams cabohydrates
For all of the above recipes, click here.
Suggested Cooking Order
- Wash and prep zucchini, carrots, onion, and celery and place in oven. The vegetables will take the longest to cook, so get them in the oven first! The celery and onion will be for night 2, but go ahead and roast them while the rest of the vegetables are cooking (time saver for night 2!).
- Season and prepare chicken breasts and place in oven.
- Boil noodles and cook according to package directions.
- Make Creole mustard sauce.
- Reserve half of the cooked noodles for night 2. Combine rest of noodles with Creole sauce.
- Bring chicken broth and water to a boil.
- Chop roasted chicken and vegetables (celery, onion, zucchini and carrots) into chunks.
- Once liquid is boiling, add cooked noodles reserved from night 1, chicken, and vegetables.
- Let simmer until all ingredients are warm.
What meal would you create with these ingredients? We’d love to hear from you!