Spring into National Nutrition Month

Choosing nutritious foods and getting enough physical activity can make a real difference in your health. For National Nutrition Month 2019, in March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages people to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and activity habits.

Each March, the Academy focuses attention on healthful eating through National Nutrition Month. Throughout the campaign, good eating tips such as how to keep nutritious meals simple, the importance of making food safety a part of your everyday routine, the value of preparing meals with foods you have on hand to avoid wasting food, and how to select nutritious food options when dining away from home are some of topics that are promoted.

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about what you want your plate to look like and ask if it’s incorporating all the major food groups is a good place to start. Have you selected a mix of lean protein foods, vegetables, whole grains, fruits and low fat dairy products to provide a good variety of nutrients each day?

The Academy recommends balancing nutritious foods with physical activity most days of the week. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity guidelines, adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, including at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities. Being physically active up to 300 minutes per week has even greater health benefits.

That may seem like a lot, but incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can go a long way to helping meet this goal of active minutes. We are often reminded that parking at the far end of the parking lot and always taking the steps are good ways to do this. Do you do this? We can also take a brisk walk during our lunch break or do something physical with the kids on the weekend — maybe build a snowman outside since it never stops snowing! The goal is to get moving; every little bit helps.

As I write this column before yet another forecasted snowstorm on the weekend, it will likely be another weekend where we hunker at home and wait out yet another weather event. The days leading up to a forecasted snowstorm are typically known for the rush to the grocery store for supplies to last through the storm. We were talking about this at work the other day and it was mentioned that bread, eggs and milk were the staples that people were known to stock up on. Another person noted that their go-to snow storm food list included pizza and chips!

I decided that my weekend menu was going to include fish and my recipe came from a tip from a seasoned cook who notes that he doesn’t care for making a lot of dirty pots and pans and a mess. He related in detail how he prepared his favorite fish (walleye) in foil and baked it in the oven. I’ve made “packet meals” and “hobo dinners” in the past by sealing up meat, vegetables and potatoes in tin foil and then grilling it, but I have never made fish this way. A quick look online reveals many recipes for preparing fish like this and so that looks like a fun and new thing for me to try.

Following is the basics of the recipe. It is actually pretty simple and really can be tailored to your individual preference — all in keeping with the goals of Nutrition Month and keeping nutritious meals simple!

Baked Walleye in Foil

Ingredients:

1 walleye (or other fish) fillet, thawed

Seasoning of your choice (lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika or any other spice of your choice)

1 Tbsp of butter or margarine

Other thinly sliced fruits/vegetables of your choice, optional (onion, garlic, lemon)

Method:

Rinse fish fillet under cold water. Place fillet, skin side down, on a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with seasonings and top with fruits/vegetables of your choice. Dot with butter. Seal fish and contents in aluminum foil and seal edges well to form a packet. Place on a shallow baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for about 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish fillet). Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Note: Fish fillets can vary widely in thickness so baking times can vary. Fish should be heated to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for safe eating.

Makes: 1 serving

I think I will take my fish out of the foil and put it on a plate to enjoy. However, I can see the merit to leaving it in the foil and not making extra dishes to wash!

Cheryl Rude is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.

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