The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015) focus on food variety, flexibility and simple ways to shift to better nutrition. They also inspired these #HealthyHacks to help you stick with your resolutions this new year.
1. Get out of a breakfast rut. Instead of cooked oatmeal, switch to pasta as your “cooked cereal.” Blend low-fat regular or Greek yogurt with chopped fruit, cinnamon, and perhaps honey and mint. Toss with cooked and chilled pasta; top with toasted nuts. Dreamfields’ Fruit & Yogurt Elbow Salad provides 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per serving to your morning meal.
3. Give comfort foods a healthy makeover. For macaroni and cheese, make an easy switch. Prepare the rich, creamy cheese sauce with dairy foods that have less saturated fat: light cheddar cheese, reduced fat milk, and plain yogurt. Check the proportions in this easy recipe: Healthier Mac & Cheese.
4. Target 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal. That’s 90 or so protein grams, spread out about equally over three meals, to maximize protein’s benefits for muscle health. Tip: Pepper Pesto Pasta delivers 28 protein grams per serving — from lean turkey sausage, Parmesan cheese and pasta. (Dreamfields Penne Rigate delivers 7 grams of plant protein per 2 ounce dry serving.)
5. Pair prebiotics with probiotics. Some types of fiber, such as the inulin in Dreamfields pasta, are “food” for live cultures in some yogurt that work as probiotics to promote gut health. Look for regular and Greek yogurt labeled with “live cultures.” Then combine the “pre- and pro-“ in Dreamfields’ Spaghetti with Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce. The blend of roasted Brussels sprouts, balsamic vinegar, yogurt and three cheeses (goat cheese, mozzarella, and blue cheese) blend into a rich, unique flavor.
6. Shift to seafood in pasta dishes. The 2016 Dietary Guidelines advise 8 ounces or more of seafood a week. Spicy Hoisin-Glazed Salmon Spaghetti, with its snow peas, bell peppers and carrots delivers 24 grams of protein per serving along with healthy fats for just 388 calories! Check the Dreamfields website for more seafood recipes!
7. Make your dinner soy good. Another protein shift: prepare pasta dishes with tofu and other soy foods with plant-based protein, as well as iron and other minerals. For Asian Angel Hair and Baked Tofu toss cooked Dreamfields Angel Hair with baked extra-firm tofu, scallions, and a savory sauce, and top with peanuts and cilantro or parsley.
8. Make dessert count: healthy + creative + delicious! Holiday Chocolate Linguine contributes to three food groups: grains, dairy and fruit. Start by cooking pasta. Create a chocolate sauce with milk and cocoa powder, and some cornstarch, maple syrup, and cinnamon to toss with cooked Dreamfields linguine pasta. Serve with frozen yogurt and diced mango and strawberries.
Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with more food hacks, grounded in great nutrition!