March is National Nutrition Month and we have some tips and recipes to share with you!Jump to Recipe
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has themed this year’s National Nutrition Month “Personalize Your Plate”.
“Personalize Your Plate” is so very relevant because many diet trends and influencers these days encourage consumers to eat a certain way – a “perfect” way in order to be healthy. It causes us to think that we have to give up some of our favorite foods or traditions in order to live a healthy lifestyle. It may cause us to end up eating foods we don’t even like because we think they are “superfoods”. This does not need to be the case!
Food is so personal.
There is no one size fits all perfect plate. We eat certain foods based on our family traditions and culture. We change how we eat based on what is in season and what is accessible at stores and markets. Our food choices may be personalized to our budget, our schedules and those we eat with. Our food choices tell an individual story about us.
Rather than worrying about the exact foods you should eat, think instead about which foods are your preferences of all of the food groups. Can you choose a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits to maximize each day to account for about 50% of your foods? Do you have favorite whole grains or starchy vegetables to enjoy to account for about 25% of your food choices? Can you choose lean proteins to enjoy – including plant based proteins such as beans and lentils? Are there some favorite healthy fats (avocado, nuts and olive oil) that you can use to cook with to use less butter and heavy cream?
Enjoying a variety of foods from each food group will ensure that you eat obtain plenty of nutrients from your foods such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. Choosing a variety of fresh foods will also help your gut bacteria grow, which helps with our digestive tract. And a happier gut = a happier YOU.
All foods can fit when we personalize our plate in the most fresh way possible to enjoy our food. When we enjoy our food, we actually absorb the nutrients more than when we don’t like what we are eating. All the more reason to make it personal.
How to make your favorite foods fit
It’s true, some foods have more nutrients than others. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy pizza or cookies.
We can still enjoy these foods as occasional treats, nestled in a week or day of more nutrient dense meals. Or we can eat them regularly by tweaking them to have more fiber, vitamins and minerals and less sodium, sugar and saturated fat. For example, this pita pizza recipe uses a whole wheat pita for added fiber. It is loaded with vegetables on top for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and it uses less cheese than most pizzas to cut the fat and sodium. It may not look like a stuffed crust sausage pizza, but it is a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of pizza. Every day if you wanted!
Veggie Pita Pizza
Personalize your plate with this whole grain veggie loaded pizza!
- 4 whole grain pita or flatbreads
- 1 cup of your favorite marinara or pizza sauce Try otomat for lower sugar and extra nutrients!
- 4 cups chopped vegetables Your favorites! (Zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, broccoli all work well)
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella sliced
- 4 tsp red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit
Place flatbread on a baking sheet
Top flatbread with about 1/4 cup of sauce
Add 1 cup of veggies to each flatbread
Top each with 2oz of mozzarella
Sprinkle each with 1 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)
Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and just browning