March 2, 2011

March is National Nutrition Month 2011 – Theme is “Eat Right with Color”

By Kristen Decker, R.D., L.D.
Hy-Vee Registered Dietician
(563) 355-5540

According to research quoted in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we are only eating a portion of the recommended intake level for two very important food groups: vegetables (eating only 59 percent of the recommended amount) and fruit (only 42 percent). A healthy diet focuses on eating nutrient-dense foods, and fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list in terms of nutrient content. Their variety of vibrant colors indicates these foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Why not make it a personal goal this March to strive to consume a variety of colors at your meals and snacks? Not only will these bright colors make your meals more appealing, but they’ll also give you a nutrition boost!

Here are eight tips from your Hy-Vee dietitians to add more “color” to your meals and snacks:

• Sneak in vegetables at breakfast by adding them to your scrambled eggs, omelet or breakfast sandwich.
• Mix up a breakfast smoothie with low-fat yogurt or milk and fresh or frozen fruit pieces.
• The opportunities are endless when using vegetables as pizza toppings or sandwich fillers. Kick up the nutrition by adding bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli or zucchini.
• Make a fruit sauce or purée. These pair wonderfully with a variety of dishes: drizzle over oatmeal or pancakes, stir into plain yogurt or serve on top of grilled seafood or poultry.
• Switch out those pale yellow potato chips for crunchy fresh vegetable pieces, like carrots, snap peas, broccoli and cauliflower.
• Turn your afternoon snack into yet another chance to fit in fruits and veggies. Heat up a cup of tomato or vegetable soup or eat a piece of fresh fruit with low-fat string cheese.
• Got a picky eater at home? Here’s a sneaky tip: Grate, shred or chop vegetables and stir them into baked dishes (casseroles, meatloaf and pasta) or sauces.
• Make your main dish a salad with dark, leafy greens. Fruits are a great complement to fresh greens. Try orange segments, fresh berries or even dried cranberries.

Resources:; 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Kristen Decker is a registered dietician at Hy-Vee. She can be reached at (563) 355-5540 or