Arrow-right Camera


Healthy plates

Wed., March 21, 2012

With MyPlate replacing the food pyramid and a special emphasis this month on eating right, dietitians say there’s no better time than now to change your eating habits

Was your healthy eating resolve iced by winter snows? Washed away in last week’s spring rains?

“I think this is such a good time for people to re-up their resolutions,” said Heather Gabbert, a registered dietitian who works for Cancer Care Northwest and spokeswoman for the Greater Spokane Dietetics Association.

Gabbert and other dietitians are encouraging Americans to eat healthier and “shape up their plates” in March for National Nutrition Month. The U.S. government has replaced the food guide pyramid with MyPlate to help give eaters a better visual cue about what they should be eating.

“The recommended plate is at least half fruits and vegetables and also contains whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy and is less than 25 percent protein food,” said Joan Milton, a Spokane registered dietitian and research coordinator for Providence Medical Research Center. “Most Americans have this in reverse. We fill about half our plate with animal proteins, close to half with refined grains and then maybe remember to slip a tomato slice in there somewhere.”

Gabbert said her clients want advice for simple but healthy menus, along with easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables into their diets. “I like to keep it simple. I consistently hear from clients that they don’t have the time to eat healthy and usually do not have all those ‘fancy ingredients,’ ” she said.

Gabbert and Milton each shared a simple, sample one-day menu to help people reach their healthy eating goals.

Shape-up Menu No. 1

From Heather Gabbert


1 serving oatmeal, old fashioned or cold high fiber cereal with dried fruits and nuts

1/2 grapefruit

1 cup of almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, 1 percent or skim milk


1 bean burrito. Wrap any kind of beans in whole-wheat tortilla with avocado, onions, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon grated cheddar cheese and salsa.

1/2 to 1 cup mango chunks or 2 kiwis

Iced apple cinnamon tea or flavor of your choice


1 ground sirloin burger or veggie burger, with or without whole grain bun. Top burger with vegetables such as onions, lettuce and tomatoes.

1/2 cup brown rice

Carrots, cauliflower and broccoli

2 Clementines or sliced apples, oranges and bananas

1 cup or more green salad with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar dressing

Shape-up Menu No. 2

From Joan Milton, adapted from USDA’s


1 breakfast burrito: 1 (8-inch) flour tortilla, 1 scrambled egg, 1 cup rinsed black beans, 2 tablespoons salsa

1/2 large grapefruit

1 cup water, tea or coffee


Chicken Waldorf Salad (recipe follows)

1 ounce whole wheat roll

1 teaspoon tub margarine

1 cup fat-free milk


1 serving baked salmon: 1 (4-ounce) salmon filet, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 cup beet greens sautéed in 2 teaspoons canola oil.

1 serving Quinoa with Almonds (recipe follows)

1 cup fat-free milk


1 cup cantaloupe balls

Chicken Waldorf Salad

From This recipe is the perfect way to use leftover chicken. With just 15 minutes of prep time, this recipe will be ready in a snap. No leftovers? Use the quick tip below for poaching boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can also use store-bought rotisserie chicken. If you do, keep in mind that it’s already salty and omit the salt in the dressing.

1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1/3 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

1 medium red apple, diced

1 cup halved red or green grapes

1 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided (toasted, if desired)

Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl. Add chicken, apple, grapes, celery and half of the walnuts. Stir to coat well. Serve topped with the remaining walnuts.

Tip: If you want cooked chicken in a hurry, the easiest way to cook it is to poach it. Place boneless, skinless chicken breast in a skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water (or chicken broth) to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle (approximately 10 to 15 minutes). One pound of raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts yields about 2 1/2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken.

Yield: 4 (1 1/2 cup) servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 356 calories, 16 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 31 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrate, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams dietary fiber, 408 milligrams sodium.

Quinoa with Almonds

1 cup quinoa

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or water

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup Craisins

Rinse quinoa in strainer, drain. Heat oil in nonstick skillet; sauté onion and celery for 2-3 minutes, add quinoa and sauté for 3 minutes more. Add broth and poultry seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. Add almonds and Craisins and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 165 calories, 8 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 3.5 grams dietary fiber, 75 milligrams sodium.

Chicken-Guacamole Tacos

Here’s another great, healthy recipe that Heather Gabbert recommends. It is adapted from a recipe she found in Cooking Light magazine, which was submitted to the magazine by a child.

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed

Cooking spray

5 (3-4 ounce) chicken breasts

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Combine onion, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and avocados.

Coat grill pan with cooking spray and heat up.

Sprinkle chicken breasts with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook chicken completely. Cut breasts into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Warm tortillas according to package directions.

Divide avocado mixture and chicken evenly and serve.

Yield: 4 servings


Click here to comment on this story »