Wednesday, November 26, 2014

MCFARLAND: Enjoy the taste of eating right

By REBECCA MCFARLAND, Reaching Out | 3/5/2014

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. The theme this year is “Enjoy the taste of eating right.”

Research confirms that taste is the No. 1 reason why one food is purchased over another. The problem? Once we find nutritious foods that taste good, 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 options. That is one thing I highlight when I provide nutrition education to the schools within the Frontier Extension District. I encourage the students to continue to try new foods — including those they thought they didn’t like — in different ways (cooking methods, with other foods, etc). Our tastes changes over time, so it’s important to continue to try those foods you once thought you didn’t like. By trying new foods, you might not only find flavors you enjoy, you might also consume more nutrient-dense foods.

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. The theme this year is “Enjoy the taste of eating right.”

Research confirms that taste is the No. 1 reason why one food is purchased over another. The problem? Once we find nutritious foods that taste good, 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 options. That is one thing I highlight when I provide nutrition education to the schools within the Frontier Extension District. I encourage the students to continue to try new foods — including those they thought they didn’t like — in different ways (cooking methods, with other foods, etc). Our tastes changes over time, so it’s important to continue to try those foods you once thought you didn’t like. By trying new foods, you might not only find flavors you enjoy, you might 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 might be surprised at the flavor of some of the milder flavors available at restaurants.

Through the many years of writing this column, 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:

5 cups assorted vegetable pieces cut in chunks (potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash — we like yellow squash and zuchinni — 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 degrees.

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 the oven with other food or right after other food is done.

Use veggies your family likes. Leftovers are great.

Rebecca McFarland is the family and consumer sciences extension agent for Frontier Extension District No. 11, which serves Franklin County. For more information, call her at (785) 229-3520 or email rmcfarla@ksu.edu

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