Friday, June 17, 2011

Easy Sides on MyPlate

I'm a big fan of one bowl meals. Casseroles, stir frys, pastas, salads...basically anything that puts the entire meal in one giant bowl. Sometimes, though, I find myself having a meal more comparable to the standard protein-veggies-grains concept. These are my favorite easy sides for those meals.

Roasted Potatoes
makes 2 servings
  • 2 medium potatoes, any kind, unpeeled (about 12 oz)
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
You can use pretty much any type of potato you want. Reds roast really well but I've also used russets. My favorite? SWEET POTATOES! So nutritious and just melty after being roasted. And feel free to adjust the seasoning to your tastes and the potatoes you use.

Preheat oven to 400F. Quarter the potatoes and toss with olive oil and spices.

Pour into a prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes, remove the foil, and then back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes.

Nutritional information (for 1/2 with red potatoes): 200 calories, 4.6g fat (0.5g sat), 37g carbs (4g fiber), 4.5g protein

Honey Butter Carrots
makes 2 servings
from Sunny Anderson
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots (8 oz)
  • 1 Tb. butter (or Earth Balance)
  • 1 Tb. honey
  • 1 Tb. lemon juice

Cook the carrots in the microwave for 6 minutes with 1/4 cup water. Drain and add to skillet with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until carrots are glazed. SUPER EASY!

Nutritional information (for 1/2): 123 calories, 5.6g fat (1.8g sat), 19g carbs (2g fiber), 0.8g protein

A while back, Alexia sent me some great products to review. I actually had these absolutely FABULOUS mashed potatoes over a month ago (yikes!) but the "meat"loaf we had them with was much less than stellar so I was waiting to share them.

Alexia Mashed Red Potatoes
makes about 5 servings
  • 1 bag Alexia frozen Mashed Red Potatoes with Garlic and Parmesan
Mashed potatoes in the microwave? I know, I was skeptical too. But these are easy and yet heavenly.

Place bag in the microwave and microwave according to package directions. Pour into a bowl and stir. Seriously. that. easy. There are also directions on the bag for just making two servings. 

I topped mine with some nutritional yeast which was the perfect complement. (and served them with the carrots!) These were some of the best mashed potatoes I've ever had and I was so surprised that they came from the microwave! At first I thought that I wouldn't be buying these because we just don't have a need for 4-5 servings of mashed potatoes...but then I saw the directions for just two servings. These are perfect, easy, and so freakin delicious!

Nutritional information (for 1/2 cup): 170 calories, 6g fat (3.5g sat), 23g carbs (2g fiber), 4g protein 

Speaking of the standard protein-veggies-grains plate, I'm surprised I haven't talked about the new MyPlate that the USDA put out a couple weeks ago.

The new image comes with some guidelines and is supposed to be easier for consumers to make healthy choices.
  • Balance calories: enjoy food, eat less, avoid over-sized portions
  • Foods to increase: fruits and vegetables, half of your grains be whole grains, switch to low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Foods to reduce: sodium and sugary drinks
My opinion? It's more of the same. The USDA is constantly trying to simplify healthy eating. I don't think it should be simplified. I think people should learn to create the time to think about what they're eating. I'm sure some TV time could be sacrificed to plan healthy meals. Just like exercise, you have to make it a priority to eat healthily, not just expect it to be made easier. And where is exercise, by the way? At least that weird side pyramid had a guy running up the side. 

I also think that being non-specific is of no help to the average person with very little nutrition knowledge. Less calories, more fruit and vegetables...DUH. No mention of decreasing artificial ingredients or processed foods...or how not just half of your grains, the majority of your grains should be whole. It always seems to me that the USDA is always trying to walk that line between telling consumers what's really healthy and not pissing off big business. Probably because they are. 

What are some of your favorite side dishes?

What are your thoughts on the new MyPlate?


theAlmostRunner said...

I think you're right about MyPlate. Why can't they encourage people to think SMARTER?

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

These sides look great. My mom used to make glazed baby carrots and they were my absolute favorite veggie growing up!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you about the new MyPlate! The government is too involved with how much money the food industry is giving them to really focus on what true healthy eating and living is all about. You were spot on about them not mentioning the processed foods. That's a huge part of America's problem!

Thanks for posting about this!

Krista said...

I agree with you about the new MyPlate. I do like how they quit saying how many servings of everything you're supposed to have, because I felt like that was always changing and is actually different for everyone.

Anonymous said...

That's such a great point, Krista! If there would be one upside to it, losing that number of servings would be it.

Steph said...

Just found your site while looking for some goat cheese recipes. I like what I see!

You may like this:

Keep up the awesome and diverse vegetarian recipes please! :)

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