Eating nutritious foods and foods that taste great shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides three healthy eating styles, represented here by MyPlate and they note it’s about “helping Americans adopt healthier eating patterns and make healthy choices in their daily lives while enjoying food and celebrating cultural and personal traditions through food.”
To help you savor the flavor from your eating plans, we’ve teamed up with our nutrition experts at National Dairy Council to share three ideas for you to try.
- Exploratory eating: Embrace meals influenced by robust flavors. Get inspiration from Asia, Spain, Central or South America or Mediterranean countries (among others). These cuisines start from the same basic food groups in MyPlate. Have family fun by learning a bit more about how other cuisines are traditionally prepared using herbs, spices and aromatics and experiment in the kitchen. Here are few basics and some recipe and meal plans to get you started.
- Herbs, spices and aromatics: They add hard to resist flavors with minimal calories. Many Central American dishes incorporate cilantro, scallions, oregano, garlic, onions, coriander, cumin or cumin seeds, tamarind, lime and peppers (fresh and dried). Mediterranean dishes often include tarragon, chives, parsley, chervil, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, mint, vinegars, onion, leek, garlic, dill, lemon, fennel or fennel seeds. Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian dishes may include sumac, za’atar, orange blossom and rose water, thyme, lime leaf, curry leaf, lemongrass, cilantro, mint, Thai basil, garlic, scallions, ginger, cardamom, star anise, turmeric, coriander, cumin or cumin seeds, lime, lemon and peppers (dried and fresh). Here’s more on herbs and spices.
- Tasty toppings: You can enhance foods like vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins, making them gourmet without the guilt or price tag. Lemon pan sauce goes well over poultry, fish, vegetables and grains. For lean meat and pork try this version of pan sauce. Another favorite is yogurt topping for steak, chicken or heartier fish like swordfish. For a Southwestern vibe, in a mixing bowl stir in a 6-ounce container of reduced-fat Greek yogurt, 1 clove chopped garlic, juice from ½ lime, 1 tsp. each of ground chipotle or cayenne pepper and cumin, then and add fresh cilantro and/or scallions as well as salt to taste. Here’s another version for Tzatziki sauce which is delicious on fish or chicken and just whisk in a little low-fat milk you can use for salad dressing, too.
To add even more great taste and nutrition, enjoy your meals with an ice-cold glass of milk — it goes really well with spicier dishes.