Recipe: Get Your Plate in Shape with Shamrock Soup
Many of us want to bring more natural and wholesome foods to the family table. March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s a great time to focus on our food choices. This year’s theme: Get Your Plate in Shape. Despite the common myth that eating better will be more expensive, there are many natural and wholesome foods that allow us to stretch our food dollars.
Get your plate in shape for less! What can a dollar buy?
- Milk: 4 servings
- Sweet potatoes: 3 servings
- Dried beans or peas: 8 servings
- Oatmeal: 6 servings
- Corn or whole wheat tortillas: 6 servings
- Brown rice: 10 servings
- Fruits like oranges, tangerines, apples and bananas can be easily purchased for less than $1 per serving.
While a dollar can also buy a can of soda and a bag of chips, these other inexpensive foods are natural, wholesome and considered nutrient-rich functional foods. These are foods that offer multiple nutrients while providing health benefits beyond basic good health, so they go a long way towards Getting your Plate in Shape. MyPlate recommends that families’ meals consist of at least half fruits and vegetables, a small portion of whole grains and lean proteins and topped off with dairy, such as a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk.
Planning your meals, cooking at home and having these healthy foods on hand are all great ways to stretch your healthy food dollar. While these examples include many fresh foods, know that frozen fruits and vegetables are a great way to add good nutrition as it’s frozen at peak of freshness and is often less expensive than fresh.
To help your family celebrate National Nutrition Month and St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a recipe to get your plate, ok bowl, in shape. Serve with a side of brown rice and fruit for dessert for a natural, wholesome and affordable balanced family meal!
- 1/2 cup each: Chopped onion, carrot and celery
- 1 tablespoons Butter
- 3/4 cup Dry split peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (13 3/4 ounces) chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cup Fat-free skim or 1 percent low-fat milk, divided
- 4 cup (4 ounces) Washed and dried fresh spinach leaves
- 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) Diced, fully-cooked ham
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, saute onions, carrots and celery in butter until onion is softened. Add split peas, chicken broth and half of the milk. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until split peas are tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
In blender or food processor, puree split pea mixture with spinach. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir in enough remaining milk to give desired consistency. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Season to taste with salt,freshly-ground pepper and nutmeg. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with ham.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information is calculated using unsalted butter, fat-free milk and low-sodium chicken broth. Calories: 140 ; Total Fat: 4 ; Saturated Fat: 2 ; Calcium: 166 ; Sodium: 445 ; Fiber: 5
Trina Robertson, MS, RD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. As a HealthyEating.org Mom she shares her positive approach to healthy eating with the goal of inspiring others to prepare and enjoy foods from each of the food groups. As a Project Manager with the Dairy Council of California, Trina develops, evaluates, and promotes nutrition education materials for students and adults. At home she enjoys cooking and sharing meals with her family. Her most rewarding accomplishment is that her boys are good eaters and are learning to cook. Follow Trina on Twitter @TrinaR_RD and find more Healthy Eating ideas on Facebook.
What are your favorite Saint Patrick's Day recipes?