March is National Nutrition Month.
This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” What does this mean for the consumer?This year’s theme is a great reminder to all of us to slow down and enjoy our meals, allowing us the opportunity to savor all of the positive emotions that come with cooking, eating, and socializing during a meal. Everyone should strive for a meal pattern that focuses on a variety of nutritious and flavorful foods. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants to encourage Americans to expand their horizons by experimenting with new combinations of herbs and spices. Creativity in using herbs and spices can also have positive health benefits by offering flavor without added fat and sodium.
Instead of commonly used seasonings, try a new recipe that contains some less commonly used fresh herbs and spices packed with unique flavors. Here are a few recipes that will help you create a Spring-inspired meal that’s packed with flavor, but not fat:
Spring Chicken Kebabs with Fresh Herb Sauce
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 32 pieces
- 16 grape tomatoes
- 1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 16 pieces
- 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 32 pieces
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 16 wedges
- 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 16 pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- ½ cup fresh mint
- 1 ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 ounces low-fat plain yogurt
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Soak 16 wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes. Thread each skewer with two pieces of chicken, 1 tomato, two pieces of zucchini, one piece of yellow squash, one piece of pepper, and one onion wedge. Brush the vegetables and chicken with olive oil and place on the grill. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn over and cook another 6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Add all sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Serve the chicken kebabs with herb sauce for dipping, or drizzle on top before serving.
Curried Chick Pea Poppers
- 1 15 ½ -ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- On a foil-lined cookie sheet, mix together the chick peas, curry powder, and olive oil. Spread beans out in a single-layer to ensure each bean has enough space to get crispy.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove beans from oven and gently toss in the cilantro before serving warm.
- 3 cups finely diced watermelon
- 1 ½ cups finely diced, peeled English cucumber
- ½ cup chopped red onion1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro¼ cup chopped mint
- ¼ cup lime juice¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Combine watermelon, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, mint, and lime juice in mixing bowl. Season with kosher salt. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
The Bottom Line
During National Nutrition Month®, think about ways you could add variety to your diet by trying new foods, recipes, herbs, or spices to make a positive impact on your health.
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Carmen Roberts, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is a registered dietitian, receiving her undergraduate degree in dietetics from James Madison University and her master’s degree in health education and administration from Towson University. She is a certified specialist in adult weight management and teaches cooking classes. Carmen enjoys educating her clients about how nutrition affects the body and its role in overall health and wellness. She also loves volunteering, including as a Girl Scout troop leader.