March is National Nutrition Month “Put Your Best Fork Forward”!

— Written By and last updated by

March is National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. 

This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward”, which acts as a reminder that each bite counts. Making just small shifts in our food choices, can add up over time. This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month® inspires us to start with small changes in our eating habits – one forkful at a time. So whether you are planning meals to prepare at home or making selections when eating out, Put Your Best Fork Forward to help find your healthy eating style.

Here are 5 key messages provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that will help you “put your best fork forward” for Nutrition Month.
1.Create an eating style that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods.
2.Practice cooking more at home and experiment with healthier ingredients.
3.How much we eat is as important as what we eat. Eat and drink the right amount for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do. To learn more about MyPlate go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
4.Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
5.Manage your weight or lower your health risks by consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs
These recipes incorporate a variety of healthy foods; cooking at home and portion control, and at the same time are quick and easy!!

Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl
1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed
1 ripe avocado, diced
¼ cup prepared Pico de Gallo or other salsa
¼ cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Lime wedges for serving

Preheat grill to medium-high or preheat broiler. Combine chipotles, oil, garlic powder and cumin in a small bowl.

Oil the grill rack or a rimmed baking sheet, if broiling. Season chicken with salt. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes or broil it on the prepared baking sheet for 9 minutes. Turn, brush with the chipotle glaze and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°F, 3 to 5 minutes more on the grill or 9 minutes more under the broiler.

Transfer to a clean cutting board. Chop into bite-size pieces.

Assemble each burrito bowl with ½ cup quinoa, ½ cup chicken, ½ cup lettuce, ¼ cup beans, ¼ avocado, 1 tablespoon Pico de Gallo (or other salsa) and 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve with a lime wedge.

Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 52; Fat 19 g., Fiber 9 g., Carbohydrates 36 g., Protein 46 g., Cholesterol 90 mg., Sugars 3 g., Sodium 462 mg., Potassium 995 mg.

Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
⅓ cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup chopped chives, (about 1 bunch)

Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about ½ inch. Season both sides of the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt. Place ¼ cup flour in a shallow glass baking dish and dredge the chicken in it. Discard the excess flour.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour; stir to coat. Add wine, broth and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt; bring to a boil, stirring often.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until heated through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard until smooth; turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Stir in chives and serve immediately.

Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 257; Fat 9 g., Fiber 0 g., Carbohydrates 12 g., Protein 26 g., Cholesterol 70 mg., Sugars 1 g., Sodium 643 mg., Potassium 390 mg.

Quinoa Shrimp and Grits
3/4 cup quinoa
5 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
4 cups Swiss chard, chopped
2 tablespoons water
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
4 scallions, green parts only, minced

Place quinoa in a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until quinoa is tender and has absorbed almost all the liquid, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and Cajun seasoning, toss to coat and cook until plump and opaque, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add Swiss chard and water to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard wilts. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.

Divide quinoa among 4 bowls, top with chard and shrimp, and garnish with scallions.

Serves 4, each 1 ½ cup serving contains; Calories 409, Fat 15 g., Carbohydrates 28 g., Sodium 643 mg., Fiber 4 g., Sugar 4 g., Protein 40 g.

Grilled Fish Tacos
4 (4-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/4 cup canola oil
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
1 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
2 jalapeños, chopped and divided
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove
Pinch of salt
Olive oil cooking spray
8 soft (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 small head of cabbage, shredded

Place fish in a baking dish and squeeze three wedges of lime over it. Whisk together the oil, chili powder and half of the chopped jalapeno, and pour over the fish. Let marinate for 15 minutes while you make the salsa.

In a small bowl, toss together the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic and remaining jalapeno and limejuice.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with salt. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Turn fish over; cook for 1 minute.

Working with one at a time, heat tortillas over medium-high heat directly on the eye of a burner for about 20 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Arrange half of a tilapia fillet on each tortilla and garnish with cabbage and salsa.

Serves 4, each two taco serving contains: Calories 325, Fat 9 g., Carbohydrates 35 g., Sodium 128 mg., Fiber 6 g., Sugar 7.5 g., Protein 25 g.