Brain Food

It’s Cristin’s turn to answer a question that was recently sent in as part of our Ask-a- Wellness-Question challenge: Are there foods that will help in preventing dementia?

In short, yes! Our understanding of the connection between nutrition and brain health is still growing, but what we know so far is best summarized in the recommendations of the MIND diet, developed in 2015. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It’s a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, which both emphasize vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, while limiting red meat, saturated fats, and sweets.

The MIND diet recommendations are simple. They consist of a list of 10 foods to eat often, and a list of 5 foods to limit. The 10 foods are those that have the most compelling research evidence behind them for their role in preventing dementia. Those foods, along with the minimum number of servings recommended, include:

  1. Green, leafy vegetables: 6 servings per week
  2. Other vegetables: At least one additional serving per day
  3. Berries: 2 servings per week
  4. Nuts: 5 servings per week
  5. Olive oil: Use as your primary cooking oil
  6. Whole grains: 3 servings per day
  7. Fish: 1 serving per week
  8. Beans: 4 servings per week
  9. Poultry: 2 servings per week
  10. Wine: 1 glass (5 oz) red wine per day

By having a daily salad, cooking with olive oil, and snacking on nuts, you’re already well on your way to meeting the recommendations for a healthy brain!

The 5 foods to limit include:

  1. Butter and margarine: Less than 1 Tbsp daily
  2. Cheese: Less than once per week
  3. Red meat: No more than 3 times per week (includes beef, lamb, and pork)
  4. Fried food: Less than once per week
  5. Pastries and sweets: Less than 4 times per week

These foods contain a high amount of trans and/or saturated fats, which have been shown to increase beta-amyloid protein levels in the brains of mice, and contribute to higher levels of inflammation and oxidative stress in our bodies, all of which raise risk for Alzheimer’s.

I have to admit that limiting cheese to less than once per week feels unrealistic to me, especially with a toddler in the house whose diet some days consists of pretty much nothing but cheese! But the good news for me, and for all of us, is that risk of Alzheimer’s disease may be reduced even when the MIND diet recommendations are followed only moderately. One observational study showed a 53% decrease in risk of Alzheimer’s when the MIND diet recommendations were followed very closely, but still a 35% decrease in risk when participants met only some of the diet recommendations. So I’m not saying goodbye to my Gouda just yet. I’ll focus on the other 14 foods for now!

On a different note, if you missed our Halting Hypertension webinar series, don’t fret! Watch the recordings (approximately 30 min each) and take the quizzes before June 28th and you can still earn incentive points for viewing. Plus, if you watch all four, you will be entered into a drawing for a wireless blood pressure monitor and a healthy cookbook!

Link to Webinar Recordings

Week 1: Blood Pressure Basics QUIZ

Week 2: Nutrition Strategies QUIZ

Week 3: Exercise Recommendations QUIZ

Week 4: Stress Management QUIZ

Happy Eating (for your brain and heart)!

Cristin

Spice it Up!

The first Montana Meals challenge of 2019 challenged you to “Expand your Spice Horizons!” In the words of Cristin, “An excellent way to boost your nutrition and wake up your cooking is to cook more often with herbs and spices. Be brave, try some new flavors, and have fun.”

We wanted to check in and see how our MUS participants were tackling this challenge, plus post Cristin’s Spice it Up video and a new supplemental video short featuring some tips for chopping and utilizing fresh herbs and spices.

Here is a sampling of what our Spice It Up challenge participants have tried so far:

  • Southwest style black eyed peas with cumin, cayenne, chili powder, & garlic powder.
  • Tuna salad sandwiches with fresh ground cilantro.
  • Lavender salt on avocado toast.
  • Korean Pork Tacos with gochujang.
  • Eggs sprinkled with fresh parsley.
  • Mango java rub on elk steak.
  • Cumin spiced roast pork.
  • Orange zest in oatmeal.
  • Italian herb blend on sauteed chicken and asparagus.
  • Roasted sweet potatoes & butternut squash with chili powder.
  • Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with ground ginger.
  • Italian Noodle Soup with coriander and fresh basil.
  • Roasted potatoes and carrots with paprika, turmeric, salt & pepper.

We love reading about all the different spice combinations and cooking techniques. Keep up the awesome work MUS!

Here is the Montana Meals Spice it Up video, in case you missed it, plus the brand new short! Enjoy, and keep it spicy!

The Incredible Edible Eggplant

MUS Wellness again has the honor of hosting a dietetic intern for two weeks from the Montana Dietetic Internship program. This year’s intern is Steph Tarnacki. Steph earned her Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Northern Colorado, and aspires to work as a dietitian in the public school system to improve the National School Lunch Program, provide nutrition education, and establish more Farm to School Programs. We had a reader request for eggplant recipes following our recent post about zucchini, so on day one with us, I asked Steph to write about her favorite ways to prepare eggplant, and she happily obliged. Please welcome Steph Tarnacki as our guest blog writer:

Late August in Montana – the sun shines bright against a foreshadowing chill in the air, the critters bustle and scavenge for food in preparation of the long winter to come, and the gardens burst with deep purple eggplants!   

Eggplants, a member of the nightshade family, are known for their slightly bitter taste, and spongy texture. Their roots trace back to Asia, where you can find over 13 varieties! Rich in the antioxidant nasunin, eggplants help protect against harmful free radicals and, most importantly, protect the fats in brain cell membranes. Talk about some delicious brain food! Nasunin also reduces inflammation, helps our body remove toxic waste, and may help stave off cancer, heart disease and arthritis.1, 2

Eggplants are low in calories, high in fiber and also pack a punch in the vitamin department – rich in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin K.

So, how can you incorporate more eggplants into your life? Here are a few of my favorite recipes!

BAKED EGGPLANT PARMESAN

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggplant sliced 1/4″ thick (you’ll need 12 slices)
  • Salt
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 (8 ounce) box Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sprinkle some salt on both sides of each slice of eggplant. Layer the slices in a  colander and place the colander in your sink. Place a heavy dish or pan over the top to press them down. Allow to sweat for 30 to 45 minutes. Rinse well with cold water to remove salt and blot dry with paper towels
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet generously with cooking spray. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs, pressing crumbs down with fingers if needed to cover evenly. Place in a single layer on oiled baking sheet and lightly spray tops of breaded eggplant with cooking spray.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes then carefully flip each slice and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  4. In a 9×13 inch baking dish spread just enough marinara to cover bottom of dish. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Cover each slice with a spoon full of marinara, a slice or two of mozzarella, and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Repeat with one more layer. Pour any leftover marinara and around edges of eggplant slices and top with any cheese that is left. Sprinkle basil on top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Recipe by: Valerie’s Kitchen

BABA GANOUSH

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil (for grill and  drizzling)
  • 2 pounds Italian eggplants (4 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ½ garlic clove, finely grated   
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sumac, za’atar, crushed red pepper flakes, or Aleppo pepper; grilled flatbreads or pita bread (for serving)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grate. Grill eggplant, turning occasionally, until skin is charred and flesh is fork-tender, 25–35 minutes. (Alternatively, you can tuck vegetables into coals left over from grilling something else. Wait until charcoal is completely covered with ash and no black spots remain. Shake grill to knock excess ash off coal, then rake them around and pile them up around vegetables.) Let cool slightly.
  • Halve eggplant, scoop flesh into a colander set over a bowl, and let drain at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour; discard liquid.
  • Pulse eggplant along with lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle baba ghanoush with oil and top as desired. Serve with flatbreads or pita bread.

Recipe by NYT Cooking

baba-ganoush-1271630_1280
Baba Ganoush

RATATOUILLE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large (1.25 lb) eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes, with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to another plate and set aside.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil to the pain. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
  • Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe by: Jenn Segal

And a few other recipe links that look tasty:

Caponata

Penne with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Mozzarella

Hoisin Glazed Eggplant

Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Chickpea Wraps

Hopefully these recipes can help you add some eggplant to your life! Please share more of your favorite eggplant recipes!

Steph

Sources:

  1. https://draxe.com/eggplant-nutrition/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300483X0000202X

Oh Zucchini!

It’s mid-August — the days of hot temperatures, smoky skies, the approach of fall semester, and…loads of zucchini. Sadly, the zucchini plants in my garden didn’t fare so well this year, but I’m lucky to have generous in-laws who recently brought over a bag of zucchini and summer squash for my family, and then I was back in the familiar position of trying to figure out what to do with it all!

I remembered that years ago we asked MUS plan members to share a favorite recipe with us. We must have presented this challenge in late summer, because we received a ton of zucchini recipes! So, if you’re like me these days and trying to use up lots of zucchini, here are a few ways, thanks to your coworkers, to enjoy your summer bounty:

Chicken Zucchini Boats  

Recipe by Cindy Boies

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 4 roma tomoatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, deseed.
  3. Fill a baking dish with about ¾ inch of water. Bake in water bath until tender but not mushy. Approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Pour out water.
  4. Turn zucchini flesh side up in baking pan. Carve out additional trough in zucchini.
  5. Layer the following in the zucchini boat, amounts will depend on the size of the zucchini: Cooked chicken (chopped into small to medium size pieces),tomatoes (deseeded and diced), and avocado (diced)
  6. Drizzle desired amount of green enchilada sauce over zucchini filling.
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over filling.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is brown, approximately 15 – 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Zucchini Parmesan with Tomato Sauce

Recipe submitted by Annette Galioto

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 zucchini, peeled, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute zucchini until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Season zucchini with oregano and basil.
  3. Add tomato sauce; cook and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over zucchini mixture.

Zucchini Quiche

Recipe submitted by Anita Brown

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 cup bisquick
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all together in bowl.  Pour in large buttered pie dish & bake at 350 for 30-45 min until it starts to brown.

Zucchini Burgers

Recipe submitted by Jill Seigmund

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey or lean beef
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • Salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, or other burger seasoning

Directions:

  1. Mix the ground meat with the shredded zucchini.  
  2. Shape into five hamburger patties and season with salt and pepper or Mrs. Dash.  
  3. Grill and serve as you would a regular hamburger.

Other ideas:

  • Make zucchini noodles, or “zoodles”, with a spiralizer
  • Shred with a cheese grater, and freeze in 1 or 2 cup labeled portions to use in baked goods (this is especially good to do with very large zucchinis)
  • Serve sliced & raw with a veggie dip or hummus
  • Use as pizza or salad toppings
  • Make zucchini “butter”

Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite way to enjoy zucchini!

Happy Eating!

Cristin

 

 

How do you figure what is 20%?

In Episode 2 of the Montana Moves and Meals podcast, we discussed my first nutrition tenet: the 80/20 rule of moderation. This principle is meant to allow for some flexibility in one’s diet to include foods that we enjoy but that may not be great for us (the 20%), while maintaining a focus on eating for health (the 80%). By following this tenet, you lose the all-or-nothing approach to nutrition and the excuse that “the diet starts tomorrow!”

After we posted the podcast, I received the following question: “How do you figure what is 20%? 20% of the days? 20% of meals? 20% of calories?” Great question, and one that I felt deserved to be answered for everyone, not just for those who are comment readers.

First, determining the 80% vs 20% is really up to individual discretion. There are no hard and fast rules. But here’s my take:  I would say the percentages should be considered in the context of all of the food/beverage choices that you make over the course of a day. If you think about it, we make dozens of eating choices everyday – wheat bread or white? Salad or fries? Trail mix or chips? Milk or water? Opening the refrigerator door or not, etc. So, to follow the 80/20 rule, 80% of those choices are the healthy option; 20% of those choices are based purely on what you want.

I would judge the 80/20 breakdown over a day or even a couple of days as you might have entire meals that are mostly in the 80 or 20 category, but hopefully not entire days that are in the 20%. Determining the 20% doesn’t need to be an exact science; it’s more of just a basic guiding principle and reminder that most of our diet should consist of healthy foods, while still leaving room for foods that make us happy & satisfied. In fact, think broadly when considering this principle. Resist the temptation to categorize each and every food as good or bad, as it’s all too easy to extend this to a judgement about ourselves as good or bad for eating that food. We eat a variety of foods for a variety of reasons, and the food we eat has no bearing on our worth as a person. It does however, have a bearing on our health outcomes and health risks, and that’s why it’s important to prioritize healthy nutritional choices.

Hope this helps.

Happy Eating!

Cristin

 

Roasting Veggies! Power Bite Video

Cristin shows us how to roast delicious vegetables in this Montana Meals “Power Bite”. Roasting vegetables is an excellent cooking method to have in your repertoire. Here are a few pros of roasting:

  1. Roasted vegetables taste naturally sweet.
  2. Roasting works with a variety of vegetables.
  3. Roasting is a simple preparation method.

For those of you who participate in our online incentive program, you’ll be getting a jump on May, as one of our May challenges is simply to watch this Power Bite video.

Happy Eating!

Montana Meals: Roasting Vegetables from Montana University Sys. Wellness on Vimeo.

 

Celebrating American Heart Month!

This month marks the 50th anniversary of American Heart Month. In honor, here’s the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Simple 7 ways to reduce heart disease risk:

  1. Get Active
  2. Control Cholesterol
  3. Eat Better
  4. Manage Blood Pressure
  5. Lose Weight
  6. Reduce Blood Sugar
  7. Stop Smoking

We often talk about these items on our blog, during our webinars, and in workshops—and with good reason! Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S. and more than 1 in 3 Americans live with some form of heart disease. Plus, we believe that by following this list, you’ll feel better and enjoy a higher quality of life, which is really what we want for all of our plan members!

I may be biased as a dietitian, but I think #3 on the AHA list (Eat Better) is one of the most important items on the list. By eating better, you can have a huge impact on items #2 Control Cholesterol, #4 Manage Blood Pressure, #5 Lose Weight, and #6 Reduce Blood Sugar.

The Montana Meals February Challenge of the Month is to incorporate some or all of the following heart-healthy foods into your diet: oatmeal, citrus fruit, salmon, beans, berries, barley, tomatoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, green tea, apples, walnuts, and almonds. As mentioned in the challenge description, no single food can prevent heart disease, but the list does provide a good place to start if you’re looking to make your diet heart-healthier. I’ve been asked why particular foods made the list. In short, it was somewhat subjective, but it is based on particular nutrients that have shown to be beneficial for heart health.  Here are a few reasons why a food may have made the list:

Soluble fiber: Research has shown soluble fiber to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by binding cholesterol and bile acids in the digestive tract and preventing them from being absorbed into the bloodstream. An intake of at least 10 grams of soluble fiber per day from whole foods is recommended for cholesterol lowering effects. Foods on the February challenge list high in soluble fiber: oatmeal, beans (dried beans, not green beans!), citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, barley, banana, berries, apples.

Heart healthy fat: Saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol more than anything in your diet, so replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats from plants (i.e. canola oil, olive oil, sesame oil, avocados, etc) and fish can have a significant effect on cholesterol levels. February challenge list foods: salmon, walnuts, almonds.

Potassium: Potassium can help maintain a healthy blood pressure and counteract the detrimental effects of a high sodium diet. The recommended sodium intake for most Americans is less than 2300 mg/day; yet the average American consumes between 3500-4000 mg of sodium each day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of potassium, as well as low-fat dairy. February challenge list foods: bananas, berries (especially strawberries).

Antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds that defend against harmful, highly reactive molecules called free radicals. Free radical damage is a naturally occurring process that is caused by things such as aging, metabolism, immune function, and even exercise. Several antioxidants, such as lycopene and catechins, have been linked to decreased risk of heart disease. February challenge list foods: apples, tomatoes, berries, green tea.

Unrefined grains: Current research is focusing less on dietary fat intake and more on chronic inflammation as a primary contributor to heart disease. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, soda, and sweets can contribute to excess weight and inflammation in the body. Try to stick to whole grains and whole fruit as your primary carbohydrate choices. February challenge list foods: oatmeal, barley.

As you incorporate these heart-healthy foods and nutrients into your diet, remember that small changes, choices, and substitutions in our diets can add up to big changes in our health!

Happy Eating!

CS

Enjoy Your Food!

When it comes to good nutrition, sometimes the way we eat is more important than what we eat.

Last month, I decided I wanted to read again one of my very favorite books, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. In the book, the author goes through a difficult divorce, and decides she wants to spend a year living abroad:  in Italy eating, in India praying, and in Indonesia finding love again.

Obviously, the part of the book most relevant to this post is the time the author spends in Italy. She fills her days learning the language, meeting wonderful people, and most of all, enjoying the incredible food. In fact, one of her favorite experiences in Italy involves creating lunch using fresh asparagus bought from a local vegetable stand, paired with cheese, olives, salmon, and boiled eggs. Elizabeth describes it this way:

For the longest time I couldn’t even touch this food because it was such a masterpiece of lunch, a true expression of the art of making something out of nothing. Finally, when I had fully absorbed the prettiness of my meal, I went and sat in a patch of sunbeam on my clean wooden floor and ate every bite of it, with my fingers, while reading my daily newspaper article in Italian. Happiness inhabited my every molecule.”

The author is truly embracing the sixth and last of my nutritional tenets:

Enjoy your food!

Unfortunately, we all can’t just take a year off to travel to Italy to eat. However, we can take a few moments to pay attention and savor our food, even in the midst of our hectic lives. When it comes to good nutrition, sometimes the way we eat is more important than what we eat.  Slowing down to appreciate a meal makes us more aware of the food we are putting in our body and allows us to tune in to our body’s feelings of hunger and fullness.

In addition to taking the time to enjoy a meal, this tenet also has another meaning, and that is to give yourself permission to enjoy all foods.  Women in particular have a tendency to categorize food into either good and bad, or should-eats and should-not-eats, and attach feelings of self-worth to their diet. It takes the joy out of eating when foods are eaten only because of diet “rules” that we follow. Or sometimes, we might eat everything in the kitchen trying to avoid the one food that we are truly craving.  As a colleague once reminded me, after I was chastising myself for eating a slice of chocolate cake, “Food is not bad. Food is fuel.” Our bodies need food to give us energy, feel well, and operate properly. That being said, there are certainly some foods that are better and more health promoting for us than others.  But if we have a more flexible eating strategy, wherein all food is acceptable in moderation (see Tenet #1: 80/20) then we are free to enjoy food for its taste, texture, aroma, appearance, etc.  In fact, research shows that giving yourself full permission to eat enjoyed foods means you will be less likely to overindulge, less likely to binge, and enjoy your meal with less guilt. If eating without guilt is something that you struggle with, I highly recommend reading the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch or consider participating in our Ask-an-Expert Program.

Finally, to help turn these ideas into practice, here are a few strategies to help you enjoy your food:

  • Turn off the TV during meals!
  • Eliminate other distractions as well – cellphones, loud music, arguments between family members
  • Sit at the table—try to avoid eating while standing up, driving, or sitting on the couch
  • Focus on the food – ask yourself how it really tastes, what does it look like, how does it smell?
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy all foods
  • Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues—check in with yourself during the meal to see if you still need more food or if you are satisfied
  • Chew slowly and put your fork down between bites
  • Share a meal with family or friends
  • Cook — and remember that it doesn’t have to be fancy
  • Set a timer for at least 10 minutes and allow yourself that time to savor your meal

Happy Eating!

CS

Happy healthy plates!

As promised, here are a few examples of MyPlate meals, or as Neal calls them–“happy-healthy plates”.  The March Challenge of the Month is to make your own MyPlate meal and send us a photo of your creation.  My examples aren’t perfect, and yours don’t need to be either.  In fact, I usually incorporate dairy and fruit into my meals and snacks earlier in the day, so at dinner, they are sometimes missing.  The important thing is to think about what you’re eating, consider your food proportions (make room for those veggies!), make it colorful, and have some fun.

The MyPlate Icon:

myplate_green

Example 1: Greek turkey burger on a whole wheat bun, roasted asparagus, salad, strawberries, and skim milk.

plate5

Example 2: Grilled steak, broccoli, bruschetta, and mandarin oranges.

plate2

Example 3:  Lunch time! Turkey and cheese sandwich, apple slices, cucumbers, and baby carrots.  Featuring our new MontanaMeals To-go plates—pick one up at your next employee Wellcheck!

plate1

Example 4: Chicken pad thai, edamame, and salad.

march meals 2

Example 5:  My favorite.  Pork chop, wild rice, brussel sprouts, strawberries, and milk.  Thank you Sara Jay from MSU-Bozeman for this beautiful entry!

myREALplate

Now it’s your turn!  Your meal doesn’t need to be anything fancy; I’ve made plenty of MyPlate meals using simple, convenient food items.  You can even try making a healthy-happy plate the next time that you’re at a restaurant.  With many restaurants serving oversized steaks and heaping piles of mashed potatoes that together take up 95% of the plate, that might be a true challenge!

CS