Facts for Living: Enjoy the taste of eating right

By Rebecca McFarland
Frontier Extension Agent

“Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” is the theme for National Nutrition Month 2014. National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Research confirms that taste is the number one reason why food is purchased over another. But, once we find nutritious foods that we like, we can fall in to a rut of eating those same foods over and over again. There are so many foods available to us, so we should continue to try new foods. That is one thing I highlight when I provide nutrition education in the schools in the Frontier District. I encourage the students to continue to try new foods and try the foods they thought they didn’t like, in different ways (cooking methods, with other foods, etc.). Our taste changes over time, so it’s important to continue to try those foods that you thought at one time you didn’t like. By trying new foods, you may not only find flavors you enjoy, you may also consume more nutrient-dense foods.

Whether you are shopping at the grocery store, preparing foods at home, or eating out, you can keep your taste buds excited, while making sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs, by using these tips:

When planning meals and snacks, make it a point to try a new recipe. It will help you try foods in new and different ways.

You can add variety to the dishes your family likes by varying the ways you cook them. Grill or broil chicken you usually bake. Roast vegetables you usually sauté or steam. Try adding new spices to dishes.

At the grocery store, purchase a new fruit, vegetable, or whole grain every week. You can start small by trying a new variety of apple, potato, or whole grain, like long-grain brown rice.

The next time you eat out, if eating at a new restaurant is not an option, try something new on the menu that includes a new fruit, vegetable, whole grain or lean protein. I know many people don’t like fish. But, they may be surprised at the flavor of some of the milder flavors available at restaurants.

Over the many years I’ve been writing this article, many of you have shared with me that you’d like me to share some of my recipes. So, I’ve decided to add one of my family’s favorite recipes – roasted vegetables. I love to grill vegetables, but when the weather is not conducive, roasting them is the next best thing. It’s easy and they are really tasty. Enjoy!

Easy Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 030514-nutrition-label5 cups assorted vegetable pieces cut in chunks (potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash (we like yellow squash and zucchini), carrots, onions, mushrooms, peppers)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (I’ve also used dried Italian dressing or dried Ranch dressing, if you use these, omit the salt.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 425 ˚F.
  • In a bowl, combine vegetables and oil. Toss lightly to coat.
  • Sprinkle vegetables with seasoning, pepper, and salt. Toss.
  • Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Turn every 15 minutes.
  • Serve while hot.
  • Roasting brings out the sweetness of vegetables.
  • Use thyme, basil, or rosemary in place of dried Italian seasoning.
  • Save energy. Roast veggies in oven with other food or right after other food is done.
  • Use veggies that your family likes.  Leftovers are great.

McFarland_RebeccaRebecca McFarland is the Frontier Extension District family and consumer sciences agent. For more information, she can be contacted at the Extension district’s Ottawa office, 1418 S. Main, Suite 2, Ottawa, KS 66067, or call 785-229-3520, or email [email protected].

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