From The Nutritionist

It's March, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating National Nutrition Month®. The theme for 2013 is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”. Let's all join the celebration and make healthful food choices - while embracing individual food preferences, lifestyles, cultural and ethnic traditions!

Holly Larson, M.S., R.D.
Holly Larson, M.S., R.D.

MyPlate Embraces Global Cuisine

MyPlate Goes Global – Interpreting the nutrition guidelines to embrace diverse cuisines: The USDA has been providing nutrition guidelines to the American public since 1894. MyPlate is USDA’s newest consumer tool to help Americans put the Dietary Guidelines into action.

MyPlate is simple; start with a plate that isn’t too big, about 8 to 10 inches across, and divide it into four sections. Two sections, making up one half of the plate, are for your fruits and vegetables (the vegetable section is slightly larger than the fruit section). The other two sections are for whole grains and starches and for protein-rich foods. There is also a place next to the plate for dairy. What does your plate look like at dinner? Is there room for improvement?

When using MyPlate to plan a meal, feel free to mix the food groups together. Start with your fruits and vegetables as the foundation of your meal and build from there! Whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread are the best choice before refined grains such as white rice or sugary breakfast cereals. Lean proteins such as eggs, chicken or beans complete the meal.

Some may find it challenging to understand how their favorite mixed dishes fit into the MyPlate pictorial guide. Regardless of your cultural preferences for foods or ethnic traditions, MyPlate can be a useful guide to good eating!


Here are a few ideas to try.

Rice bowl: Rice is the staple grain around the world. Pack a greater nutrition punch by starting with brown or wild rice in a reasonable portion - ½ to 1 cup cooked. Stir fry colorful vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, bell peppers and onions and choose shrimp or tofu for your lean protein. Skip the salt and season with fresh garlic and ginger. Short on time? Grab a frozen vegetable blend, frozen shrimp and quick brown rice for a delicious dinner - fast! Sliced strawberries on top of Greek yogurt makes an easy dessert and completes the MyPlate food groups - try it topped with cocoa powder or cinnamon for a boost of flavor.

Vegetable salad pizza: Have you seen upscale pizzeria offering pizzas topped with salad? The cool crunch of the salad contrasts nicely with the cheesy warmth of the pizza. If you’re preparing dinner for kids, the best bet is to split some whole grain English muffins and to provide an assortment of vegetables so that everyone can be their own chef. If they’re hesitant to try a new vegetable, ask them to use the vegetables to make funny faces and they may forget their fears! Read labels to choose lower sodium tomato sauce and season with basil and oregano. While the pizzas bake in the oven, toss together a quick salad with lots of color. Top each pizza with a scoop of salad, slice some apples for the side and dinner is served!

Tango Tacos: Latin food is delicious and can be a great vehicle for getting more vegetables into your diet. Warm some whole-grain corn tortillas and fill with grilled chicken, lean beef or black beans, then top with a few sprinkles of cheese and load up on the sautéed onions and peppers, shredded lettuce and pico de gallo. Round out the meal with a duet of fresh pineapple and mango cubes and some avocado salad.

MyPlate is a great visual tool for meal planning in any cuisine - just remember to start with the fruits and vegetables and build from there.

From MyPlate to yours, have a healthy day!

– Holly


For more information:


Some of Campbell’s culturally diverse and nutritious recipes:
Umami-Bomb Pizza with Arugula, Heirloom Tomatoes & Goat Cheese
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Coconut Tomato Red Curry
Southwest White Chicken Chili
Moroccan-Style Chicken Sandwich

Holly Larson, M.S., R.D.
Holly Larson completed her Bachelor of Science in Human and Consumer Sciences and her Master of Science in Clinical Dietetics at The Ohio State University. She is a registered dietitian, freelance writer and blogger based in Ohio. In her free time Holly enjoys biking, gardening, cooking and traveling. Good nutrition was the foundation of her bicycle ride from New York to DC. Her favorite meal is brunch. You can follow Holly on her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.