Hopefully, you’ve stuck to your new year resolution to eat better, get a balanced diet or trim down on those saturated fats and sugars. It’s okay to admit if it’s been tough to stay committed to your goals throughout three meals a day. So, let’s fix the dinner portion for you and your family. Here’s our simple list of ideas and health-conscious eating trends to upgrade the nutrition around the table.
1. Swap the Red Meats for White Meats
Average Americans consume a lot of beef and pork, but eating a high amount of red or processed meats is wrapped up in an ongoing debate about heart health. Consider leaner cuts or white meats such as chicken or turkey breast to bake, broil and roast.
A good place to start is shellfish, including shrimp, scallops and oysters, which are low-calorie sources of lean protein, good fats and micronutrients. Salmon looks pink and seems to fall in the middle, but don’t be hesitant to try it out — it’s a fantastic example of nutrient-dense food with omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and vitamins B12 and D.
2. Pick Whole Grains
Forms of white bread get passed around the table often but are highly processed and hidden sources of carbohydrates. White rice and noodles, full of starch, sometimes provide too much energy. Whole grain foods pack more nutritional value such as fiber and protein in a similar amount of calories to their refined grain counterparts.
If you find yourself relying on pasta and noodles often, a healthy alternative is spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. For a lower-carb alternative to white rice, you can go with cauliflower rice. Wild rice counts too, which is actually classified as grass with edible seeds.
Quinoa is another variety of seed with high fiber and nine essential amino acids, plus several antioxidants. You can tweak the taste of all these suggestions with your favorite herbs, seasonings and sauces, so feel free to experiment to find the taste your family enjoys.
3. Toss in Leafy Greens
Low in fat and loaded with beneficial minerals, you can’t pass up the opportunity to add more veggies in a side dish or salad. There are all sorts of nutritious vegetables to revitalize your plate, such as cabbage, romaine lettuce, spinach, bok choy and the ever-popular kale. If you’d like to get some plant-based protein mixed in, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas blend wonderfully with many vegetable medleys. Baby Bok Choy with Hoisin Honey Glaze is a delicious recipe to try.
4. Add a Splash of Tamari Soy Sauce to Your Meal
San-J Tamari Soy Sauce is a delicious-tasting way to introduce soy protein to your preferred foods. A touch of sauce can complement leftover chicken and veggies from the fridge, for example. Served over your choice of rice or noodle alternative, it’s a quick and easy dinner with multiple benefits.
If you’re concerned about sodium intake, look for the green-label Tamari Lite with 50% less sodium that keeps all the same great taste in your foods.
Remember that attaining a health-conscious lifestyle involves spreading out your nutrients, not just loading up on one or two. Depending on your preferences or dietician’s recommendations, plan ahead in selecting which meats, grains and vegetables are best for you.