Showing posts with label myplate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label myplate. Show all posts

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kid friendly cooking: Breaded tilapia

Crispy and delicious
Eating fish can provide many nutritional benefits; it is a good source of protein, depending on what you buy it can be inexpensive and it is also delicious. If you use fatty fish such as tuna or salmon, you're getting a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. White fish, such as tilapia, are nearly fat free and low in calories. With this simple recipe, you can have dinner on the table in no time flat.

For a guide to minimizing your mercury exposure in fish, read here.

For a brief introduction to MyPlate (and to follow Michelle Obama and Sam Kass' lead), check out this post.

Breaded Tilapia 
Serves 4 - recipe can be easily doubled or halved
  • 4 tilapia fillets, thawed (about 1 pound total, 4 ounces each)
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (substitute corn meal if you're avoiding gluten)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon pepper flavored Mrs. Dash
  1. Preheat oven; temperature is flexible. Are you baking anything else? I served my fish with baked sweet potato fries, so I used the package temperature of 425. Anything from 350-450 is just fine.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix egg and Mrs. Dash with a fork. 
  3. On a pie plate or large dinner plate, toss together bread crumbs (or corn meal) with Parmesan cheese. 
  4. Dip tilapia into the egg mixture and then dip and press into breading on both sides. Place onto a cookie sheet and coat the rest of your filets. 
  5. Bake in the oven until the coating is crunchy and the fish is cooked through. How do you know? Poke a fork into the filet and check the color; cooked fish is opaque, underdone fish looks a bit clear. Twist the fork; cooked fish flakes apart easily, underdone fish holds together tightly.  My fish at 425 took about 10-12 minutes. If your oven is cooler, or the filets larger, it may take closer to 20 minutes to cook through. 
Cooking the fish at home (versus buying packaged fish sticks) significantly reduces sodium. Using Mrs. Dash for flavor lowers the sodium further. 

Egg wash of one whole egg and Mrs. Dash
Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs - easy breezy!
Ready for the oven!
Nutritious and delicious for kids of all ages!
The fish would be good served with roasted veggies; get the veggies in the oven first, then prepare the fish and pop them in the oven too. 

You may also like my cold Pesto Tuna Salad Recipe to take your fish with you to work (without stinking up the office!)

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to My Plate!

Happy 1st Birthday to My Plate!

It has been one year now since the USDA updated their nutrition recommendations, moving away from a pyramid to a plate. MyPyramid, released in 2005, had many good intentions, but turned out to be too abstract for most folks. I think MyPlate is more user friendly.

What are the main ideas? First of all, we need to use smaller plates. Fifty years ago, dinner plates were the size of our salad plates today! If your dinner plate more closely resemble serving trays, it is time to rearrange your cupboards to make those huge plates hard to get to. Use plates that are about nine or ten inches across. Smaller plates, bowls, cups and serving utensils can all contribute to reasonable portion sizes and a healthy weight.

We need to base our meals on produce; loads of fruits and vegetables! We can probably get away with not having vegetables at breakfast, but they need to be the star of the show at lunch and dinner. Go for a variety; a lot of what gives fruits and vegetables their color, also gives them their nutrition. Vary your color for a healthy meal! White onions, green broccoli and orange carrots all have different vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to offer and have great flavor to boot!

Vegetable rainbow!

More fruit? All forms count (fresh, frozen canned, dried and 100% juice), but try to minimize your intake as juice. From the website, here are some tips for including more fruits throughout the day:
  • Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate cut-up fruit to store for later.
  • Buy fresh fruits in season when they may be less expensive and at their peak flavor.
  • Buy fruits that are dried, frozen, and canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, so that you always have a supply on hand.
  • Consider convenience when shopping. Try pre-cut packages of fruit (such as melon or pineapple chunks) for a healthy snack in seconds. Choose packaged fruits that do not have added sugars.

Protein foods include red meat, chicken, pork and fish, but also beans and peas, processed soy foods like tofu tempeh and veggie burgers, seafood nuts and seeds. Proteins provide the amino acids your body needs to build and maintain muscle tissue, our red blood cells and immune system and more. Proteins also provide many minerals, such as iron, magnesium and zinc, as well as some B-vitamins. If you're selecting fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon and sardines, you're also getting the benefit of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Protein foods!

Most of us eat plenty of grain foods, (bread, bagels, cereal, rice, tortillas) but many of us could improve our level of whole grains. A grain is the seed of the plant and has three parts; the germ (food for the seed; loaded with nutrients), the bran (the hard outer coating; loaded with fiber) and the endosperm, what is left after refining a whole grain. Look for breads and crackers that have "100% whole grain" on the package, whole grain cereals and oatmeal for breakfast, and brown rice and quinoa with dinner. You can do it!

Lastly, on the side of the plate is a circle of dairy to represent a glass of milk, yogurt or cheese. Dairy is a good source of calcium, potassium and magnesium, all important for bone health. Dairy is also fortified with vitamins A and D. If you don't tolerate milk well, or chose a non-dairy alternative, that is a good choice too; just make sure that the soy or rice milk is fortified with these nutrients so that you're diet is well balanced!

On the website, I also really like their 10 Tips series for action oriented advice on various subjects like cutting back on sugary treats and adding more vegetables. Check them out!
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