Every year Registered Dietitians across the country use March as a time to call special attention to eating better.
Regan Jones, a Registered Dietitian with Cabot Creamery Cooperative, best known as the "Makers of the World's Best Cheddar," says that she invariably hears the same thing when promoting the annual event: "It sounds like a good idea. But changing my diet is overwhelming! Where do I even begin" Regan, a working mom of two, usually answers with a message that's extremely uncomplicated. "You simply take it one day at a time."
"We've all heard the saying - Rome wasn't built in a day. Well, neither was a healthy diet." Jones adds, "This year's National Nutrition Month® theme, 'Eat Right with Color,' emphasizes the importance of adding eye-appealing colors (bright-orange carrots! crisp green lettuce!) to our menus, and highlights the fact that a healthy diet is built on a number of different nutrient-rich foods. Many of us get overwhelmed thinking about adding new 'healthy' foods to our diets, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. The key is to first ensure these foods make it into our grocery cart, and ultimately onto our plate. This is how I encourage people to do just that... day by day."
If Regan's approach isn't easy enough, Cabot's got you covered. By visiting the healthy eating section of www.cabotcheese.coop, consumers can access our 5-Day Menu Planner, complete with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes that encourage eating a healthy serving of fruits and vegetables daily. These meals are anything but boring, and include balanced portions of a number of delicious ingredients, including award-winning Cabot cheddar.
Here is a day-by-day list of tips that will put you on the right track to healthy shopping and eating.
Day One: Lighten Up with a List - at the beginning of the week, take 5 minutes to make a shopping list based on a healthy menu plan, such as the Cabot 5-Day Menu Planner. Experts agree that heading to the store with a list in hand typically leads to healthier purchases.
Day Two: Find a "New to You" food - while walking the produce aisle, look for one fruit or vegetable you've never tried and toss it in your cart. Because fruits are naturally sweet, they are often easier to "ease" into, in terms of a new taste.
Day Three: Do your Home-Work - spend a little time one night either before or after dinner cleaning and cutting up your harvest. Having quick-to-grab choices for snacking and meal prep is key to ensuring you actually eat what you've purchased.
Day Four: Make it a Meal - choose a recipe like Cabot's Couscous with Tomatoes, Sauteed Spinach & Two Cheeses that showcases vegetables as the center of the meal. Vegetables are naturally low in calories and protein, so using Cabot's Reduced Fat cheeses provides a protein boost with award-winning taste.
Day Five: Study Your Snacks - at week's end, it's easy to feel drained and forget the good work you've been doing. Pack a special "Pick Me Up" snack like Cabot's new Serious Snacking 3/4oz. Minis that you'll look forward to when the work day (and week) ends!
Interested in more colorful recipes that will keep you in love with eating healthyCabot's got you covered with tasty dishes like our Couscous with Tomatoes, Cheddar, Zucchini & Garlic Bruschetta and Layered Broccoli Salad. For more ideas, visit www.cabotcheese.coop/recipes.
Couscous with Tomatoes
Makes 6 Servings
3 1/2 cups packaged couscous (any flavor) 1 (8-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes 1/4 cup red onion, sliced into rings 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon olive oil 10 cups fresh spinach (10 ounces) 1 tablespoon water 6 ounces Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 cups) 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese Fresh basil sprigs for garnish
1. Prepare couscous according to package directions; set aside.
2. Heat tomatoes in small saucepan or microwave; set aside.
3. In large skillet over medium heat, combine onions, garlic and oil; stir until onions are heated and fragrant. Add spinach and water; stir until spinach is wilted and tender but still bright green, about 2 minutes.
4. On large platter, layer couscous, spinach mixture and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheeses and garnish with basil.
Nutrition Analysis Calories 221, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 4g, Sodium 334mg, Carbohydrates 27g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 14g, Calcium 270mg
Cabot Cheddar, Zucchini & Garlic Bruschetta
Makes 8 Servings
8 (1/2-inch thick) slices crusty Italian bread 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/4 teaspoon olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 medium zucchini (10 ounces), chopped 2 small tomatoes, chopped Ground black pepper to taste 4 ounces Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
1. Preheat broiler. Arrange bread in single layer on baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from heat until golden on both sides, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side; set aside.
2. In large skillet, combine garlic, oil and salt; stir over medium-high heat until garlic is fragrant. Add zucchini and tomatoes and cook, stirring, until just tender (don't overcook). Season with pepper.
3. Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in cheese until just melted. Mound about 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture on each toast. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Analysis Calories 126, Total Fat 4g, Saturated Fat 2g, Sodium 306mg, Carbohydrates 17g, Dietary Fiber <1g, Protein 7g, Calcium 130mg
Layered Broccoli Salad
Makes 6 Servings
6 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
2/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 ounces Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted hulled sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) 50% less-fat bacon pieces
1. In large glass serving bowl, arrange layers of broccoli, onion and cranberries.
2. In small bowl, whisk together yogurt, honey, mayonnaise and vinegar. Drizzle dressing over layered salad.
3. Sprinkle cheese evenly on top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Just before serving, sprinkle with sunflower seeds or walnuts and bacon pieces.
Calories 280, Total Fat 12g, Saturated Fat 4.5g, Sodium 350mg, Carbohydrates 29g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Protein 14g, Calcium 269mg
ABOUT CABOT CREAMERY COOPERATIVE - Cabot Creamery Cooperative has been in continuous operation in Vermont since 1919, and we make a full line of cheeses, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and butter. Best known as makers of "The World's Best Cheddar," Cabot is owned by 1200 dairy farm families located throughout New England and upstate New York. For additional information on Cabot Creamery, visit www.cabotcheese.coop