Building a Healthy Meal

Building a healthy meal can be a challenge. There is a ton of information out there so we’ve outlined some very simple, easy to follow meal planning elements that can help you get the most nutrition from your meals.

  • Choose red, orange, and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
  • Choose lean protein such as lean beef and pork, or chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate
  • Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains (100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat). Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.
  • Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. They provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk (soy beverage) as your beverage or include fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.
  • Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit! Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon
  • Children need 3 meals a day and 1 to 3 snacks (morning, afternoon and possibly before bed). Healthy snacks are just as important as the food you serve at meals
  • Meatless ways to add protein
    • Legumes: beans and lentils
    • Tofu
    • Quinoa
    • Nuts
    • Spinach
    • Hemp, flax and chia seeds

Sources: Choose My Plate, Caring for Kids

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