In March we are celebrating National Nutrition Month. This campaign, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, focuses attention on the importance of making good food choices and developing healthy habits.
This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward”. The idea is that small changes can have a big impact in the long run. I couldn’t agree more. I often meet parents who are ready to give up because their kids will only eat one type of food (e.g. noodles with butter, quesadillas). This theme is a great reminder that baby steps – over time – can still make a big impact.
Here are some of the small steps I’ll be making with my family to honor National Nutrition Month:
1. Veggie Tuesdays: One easy change we’ll be making is by going vegetarian at least 1x/ week. I was surprised by how many amazing vegetarian recipes there are out there! One concept I really like is Buddha Bowls. The name means you stuff a bowl so full, it’s round like a Buddha’s belly! I usually prepare 4 or 5 different veggies and legumes, and then I let the kids customize their own buddha bowls. Some of our favorite toppings include roasted sweet potatoes, kale, brussel sprouts, pan fried garbanzo beans, and avocado. But the possibilities are endless, and so easy since you can roast all the vegetables together on one sheet pan.
2. Hot Lunch Anyone? hot lunches give you a lot more variety and focuses lunch around a main entree. I love packing a main entree that’s loaded with veggies and lean protein so I fill up my guys with good stuff at school. Soups are always a huge hit, particularly when it’s cold outside. I make Giada’s turkey rice soup (I use spinach instead of kale) and Ina Garten’s ribollita (I use a slow cooker) weekly and store them in glass jars so I can microwave them in the morning & pour into a thermos.
3. A Little Prep Goes A Long Way: When my boys are hungry, they want something right away and they’ll grab the quickest thing from the pantry. I’ve learned that if I want them to reach for fruits and veggies, I have to prep them in advance and make them easily accessible in the fridge. So this month, I’ll be cutting up loads of veggies and fruits on Sunday, and storing them in easily accessible containers in the fridge. Some of our staples will be kiwi, berries (washed and cut), sugar snap peas, carrots, and bell pepper strips. I’ll be stocking up on individual servings of hummus so they can take these snacks on the go.
What are some of the ideas you’ll be trying with your family this month?
About the Author
Nancy Yen is the founder of OmieLife, and developed the OmieBox after realizing there must be a better way to pack lunches for her young sons. She enjoys challenging conventional wisdom, and is always looking for a better way to do things.
Recommended for you: