3 Ways to Brighten Your Plate with Greens
By Leah Gorham, MPH, RDN
With spring around the corner and the weather starting to warm up (keeping my fingers crossed!), you might be feeling inspired to add more green to your plate. Plus, March just happens to be National Nutrition Month®, making it the perfect time to experiment with new recipes and make your meals more colorful.
Most of us know that vegetables are good for us, after all, our parents always told us to eat our broccoli! But it can be hard to get enough of them with busy schedules and limited time to prepare meals. Plus, if the taste is less than thrilling, no one is going to go out of their way to fill their plate with veggies.
So why not start with one small change at a time? As the retail dietitian at the ShopRite of Newark, I spend my days helping shoppers discover ways to nourish their bodies with delicious and nutritious foods. It’s no secret that I love baby greens because they fit both of these criteria- packed with unique flavor and the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that we need.
Challenge yourself to add vegetables to your meals throughout the day in creative ways. The more vibrant colors, the better! Not only will you get a variety of important nutrients and maximize flavor, but we eat with our eyes first. A colorful plate is much more appealing and appetizing than a beige meal.
Let’s start by going green! Here are three ways that you can brighten your plate and enhance the nutritional value of your meals with greens.
Boost your breakfast
Vegetables for breakfast? Yes, please! Start out the day with a protein-rich meal, like this veggie frittata, that includes a rainbow of colors. You can make this recipe ahead of time, cut into wedges, and reheat during the week for an easy grab and go breakfast. Try it with baby kale, which is rich in lutein, an antioxidant that is beneficial for eye health.
Lunch like a dietitian
Salads are definitely a dietitian lunchtime favorite. But my lunch salad needs to be seriously filling to get me through the afternoon. This rainbow harvest salad is pretty to look at and includes a winning combo of beans for protein, butternut squash and quinoa for complex carbs, and pumpkin seeds for healthy fat. Want to cut down on prep time? Use canned beans (rinsed and drained) and cook the quinoa, butternut squash and beets ahead of time. And my favorite trick to make lunchtime easier- if I am packing a salad for lunch, I pack a second salad for the following day (or several for the week)!
Stir fries are one of my favorite ways to get plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins all in one easy-to-make dish. This superfood stir fry incorporates brown rice for fiber-rich carbohydrates and edamame (green soybeans) for a plant-based source of protein. You can purchase shelled edamame in the frozen section of the grocery store, which are perfect for adding to stir fries!
Want more tips and tricks for healthy eating? This month, ShopRite is celebrating our retail dietitian team by highlighting real advice and ideas from our team of over 100 registered dietitians with our Dietitian’s Dish campaign. And keep your eyes peeled as you shop for helpful hints and signs around the store!
Leah Gorham is the in-store retail dietitian at the ShopRite of Newark in Newark, New Jersey. Stop by ShopRite of Newark and visit Leah for product recommendations, recipe ideas, or to schedule a free consultation to discuss your nutritional goals and needs.