March is National Nutrition Month® and this year’s theme is Personalize Your Plate. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that Personalize Your Plate means “creating nutritious meals to meet people’s cultural and personal food preferences.”
Nutritious meals can embrace favorite foods, including traditional recipes found in every culture as well as indulgent foods that may be created at the spur of the moment. If incorporating these favorite foods tend to add high levels of saturated fat, sugar, or sodium to everyday eating, consider some of the tips below.
Personalize Your Plate Tips
- Swap out the salt with combinations of herbs and spices. Lowering salt intake can help prevent health issues like high blood pressure, and at the same time, sneak in extra flavor and nutrients like antioxidants. Consider rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, or turmeric.
- Another way to help lower blood pressure is to eat foods with potassium like bananas, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.
- Replace sugar and artificial sweeteners with fruit. Strawberries can add natural sweetness to yogurt, water, or cocktails.
- Choose your best oils: Canola, olive, corn, and peanut oil are low in saturated fat and a good source of heart-healthy fatty acids. Oils to use with caution are tropical oils like coconut and palm, which are high in saturated fats associated with elevated LDL cholesterol.
- Upgrade your dish to a plant-based meal. Plant-based meals do not need to exclude meat. Instead, add nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to a recipe. Try salsa on your potatoes, fruit in your cereal, or thinly sliced veggies in a sandwich. The added fiber can help minimize spikes in blood sugar and promote a healthy gut.
Personalize Your Plate with Strawberries
Some other creative ways to personalize your plate include adding plants to cultural foods. Some of our recipe contributors have found creative ways to add strawberries to their favorite cultural dishes:
You can find a unique variety of strawberry recipes on CaliforniaStrawberries.com. Share your favorite way to personalize your plate with strawberries on Instagram for a chance to win a prize. Just look for our #CAstrawberryChallenge and make sure to tag @castrawberries.
National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day is March 10. California Strawberries celebrates the great work RDNs are doing this month and all year-long!