Fall is the time for mixed dishes—salads, casseroles, stir fries, soups, and stew—in which everything is tossed together. This is how to make mixed dishes healthy and delicious.
First, make sure to include at least three different food groups from MyPlate, myplate.gov/.
Then add color. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables add visual appeal as well as favor and texture to casseroles and stews. Add sautéed vegetables to your grilled cheese sandwich. Toss in dried berries and roasted vegetables to your salad. Or sauté your favorite vegetables (such as bell peppers, mushrooms, or onions), add eggs, and bake.
Mix it up. Look for recipes in which half the ingredients are nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, or beans. Use whole-grain pastas. Have meat play a supporting role.
Change up your protein. Try different types of ground meats in meat loaf and in pasta sauce. Add seafood (like shrimp, tuna, or salmon) to a stir-fry or pasta dish. Mix up your chili with beans and vegetables in place of ground meat.
Food portions can be a challenge, but choosing sensible amounts of all food is important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The best way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is to make small, long-term changes in what you eat and drink, along with getting daily physical activity.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables—think variety and make it colorful.
Make half your grains whole grains.
Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products.
Vary your protein—poultry, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, and beans.
Other helpful tips:
Avoid portion distortion—read labels, measure, and place servings into containers or baggies.
Record the amount of food you eat with a three- to five-day food journal—you might be surprised!
Use smaller bowls and plates at mealtime.
Choose foods with less saturated fats, sodium, and added sugar.
Cook more often at home to control the ingredients in your food.
When dining out, look at nutritional information before ordering.
Drink water or low-calorie beverages with meals.
Get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Set realistic and achievable goals for your health. Remember, if you slip up one day don’t dwell on it, just press on with your health goals in mind. Download Key Nutrients from the Extension Store for additional information.