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Cart Smarts: Enjoy the taste of eating right

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Research says that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another.

Thankfully, taste and nutrition don't have to be mutually exclusive. Healthy foods truly can be tasty, too. This is the inspiration behind National Nutrition Month.

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign held annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2014 is "Enjoy the taste of eating right."

As a registered dietitian, I am a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and it's my mission to help spread its message this month.

Here are five ways you can enjoy the taste of eating right:

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• Try roasting your vegetables for a sweet, caramelized flavor. Steaming is not your only option, and you will be much more excited to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables if you actually enjoy their flavor.

• Try fresh or frozen fruit in a delicious smoothie. Throw in a handful of spinach for extra nutrition without jeopardizing the fruity flavor. It'll taste like a treat, but it's loaded with vitamins and minerals.

• Experiment with herbs and spices to add extra flavor to your food without adding sodium. My personal favorites are cilantro and rosemary.

• Open your eyes to new foods at the grocery store. If you believe that healthy eating is boring, then it's time to try something new. There are over 40,000 products in the grocery store — that's a lot of opportunity to find new, healthy options.

• Practice mindful eating. Remember that you can only enjoy the taste as long as it's in your mouth. So chew more slowly to enjoy that taste longer.

Another important part of the National Nutrition Month campaign is to recognize registered dietitians as the food and nutrition experts. That is why the second Wednesday of every March (tomorrow!) since 2007 has been recognized as Registered Dietitian Day. It may not be a popular holiday, but it's a day for me to celebrate the achievements of my fellow dietitians.

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Roasted spring root vegetables

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1/4 cup olive oil

1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

7 small golden potatoes, quartered

7 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 4-inch lengths

1 medium white onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges

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1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges

2 heads garlic, halved horizontally

2 small red beets, trimmed, quartered

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a 17-by-11-inch rimmed baking sheet, combine olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt and black pepper. Use rosemary springs to stir seasonings into the oil; leave sprigs in the oil. Add potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and beets. Stir vegetables to thoroughly coat with oil mixture. Roast for 65 minutes, turning halfway through cook time, or until tender and golden.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: www.hy-vee.com

Related Topics: FOOD
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