Most Americans understand the importance of including a wide range of fruits and veggies in their diet, but finding inspiration and fresh ideas for incorporating them into their daily diet can be challenging.
Research shows that only 10 percent of Americans meet MyPlate recommendations for daily fruit and vegetable intake, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a rule of thumb, half of the food you eat for each meal should consist of fruits and veggies – preferably those with a wide range of different colours and nutrients.
Daily meal planning just got easier when you turn to your freezer for a little help. Balancing your plate with frozen meals and pizza and adding fresh side dishes are easy solutions that can help you feel good about what you are eating, even on a busy schedule. Choose your favourite ready-to-eat and frozen pizza as a base, add side dishes produced from fresh fruit and vegetables and you have a balanced meal that’s delicious and nutritious.
Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate educational program aims to help you create delicious and nutritious meals that combine frozen and fresh foods. The website, www.nestleusa.com/balance, provides information, tips and recipes to help consumers create easy, balanced meals that meet dietary guidelines.
Here are some quick and straightforward tips for getting more fruits and veggies into your diet:
1. Cut, eat, repeat. Don’t like cooking? Just buy whatever looks good, wash it, chop it and enjoy it, maybe dipping it in a salad dressing or yogurt dip.
2. Shop the frozen food aisle. Delicious and easy-to-prepare frozen meals like DiGiorno’s pizzeria! Thin Margherita pizza or Lean Cuisine Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli provide your family with lots of healthy meals without the need for a long preparation time. Simply pair with a delicious side dish made with fruit and vegetables for a balanced meal.
3. Divide and conquer. Every Sunday night, toss your favourite greens into a large covered salad bowl, combine Romaine and iceberg lettuce with darker green varieties and toss in other delicious ingredients that will encourage you to want more; consider grilled sliced meat or shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, or small amounts of nuts, cheese, dried fruit, etc. Then divide the mixture into separate plastic containers for lunch that week.
4. Complete. As soon as your favourite frozen pizza comes out of the oven, boost the nutritional content by adding chopped fresh tomatoes, basil, pineapple, spinach or arugula.
5. Stir. Add a side of vegetables to your favourite homemade meals, like Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese. Suggested mix-ups: roasted broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, or butternut squash.
Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate offers two delicious side dish recipes that, when served with your favourite frozen ready-to-eat meals, create perfectly balanced meals that you and your family will love.
Arugula and Roasted Pear Salad with Roasted Walnuts
Pair it with DiGiorno’s pizzeria! Thin margheritas
(Recipe from Hungry Couple’s Tasting Spoon Media)
4 cups of arugula
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
* Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
* Slice the pears vertically and remove the seeds with a spoon or melon baller. Spread the walnut halves on one side of the baking sheet and layer the pear slices on the other side. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes, stir in the nuts and turn the pears over. Continue baking for an extra 5 minutes.
* Make the sauce by whisking the olive oil, lemon juice, honey and mustard until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
* Assemble the salad by adding the arugula to a large bowl or plate. Top with sliced roasted pears, sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle with sauce.
Simple Kale Salad
Pair with Lean Cuisine Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli
(Recipe from Loop88)
2 medium bunches of kale, stalked and roughly chopped
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Season the kale with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt, then top with the shallots, feta cheese, and toasted walnuts.
For more recipes, information and food ideas, visit www.nestleusa.com/balance.