Tag Archives: whole grains

National Mediterranean Diet Month

It’s May, and that means that it’s finally starting to feel like summer and it’s National Mediterranean Diet Month! What a great time of year to sing the praises of a lifestyle that has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve brainpower.

The Traditional Mediterranean Diet consists mainly of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, beans, nuts, herbs and spices, small amounts of dairy, and red wine (sounds a lot like what I recommend!). In 1993, Oldways, a Boston-based non-profit that develops consumer-friendly health-promotion tools including the Whole-Grain Stamp, introduced the Med Diet Pyramid. The pyramid was based on the dietary traditions of Greece and southern Italy when the rates of chronic disease were among the lowest in the world, and adult life expectancy was among the highest. The pyramid was updated in 2008 and is very much in line with the recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

mediterranean diet

As you can see, physical activity and enjoying meals with others are the foundation of the pyramid, which shows just how important they are to a healthy lifestyle. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and beans, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and herbs and spices take up the most space of the pyramid, indicating that the majority of your diet should include those foods (have you heard my tip about making half your plate fruits and vegetables?!). Next in line: fish and seafood, a group of foods that are also emphasized in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt should be eaten in moderate portions, and meats and sweets are occasional treats. Check out the Oldways website to get a detailed list of foods consumed on the Mediterannean Diet and learn more about National Mediterranean Diet Month.

Over the next couple of days, Nutritioulicious intern Jo will be sharing some Mediterranean dishes she recently cooked up!

What are some of your favorite foods that fit the Mediterranean Diet?

Disclaimer: I was not paid to promote Oldways or the Mediterranean Diet. All opinions are my own. 

Photo Credit: Oldways

Have you heard? March is National Nutrition Month!

By Megan Kian

As Jessica shared with you last year, National Nutrition Month® is a campaign created by the American Dietetic Association that serves to inform and educate the public about forming healthy eating habits.

Since its start in 1973, NNM® has had several themes, including “Eat Smart, Stay Healthy” in 2004, “Eat Right” in 2009, and “Nutrition From the Ground Up” in 2010. This year’s theme, “Eat Right with Color,” is about helping people obtain the nutrients they need from colorful foods.

national nutrition month
When “Eating Right with Color” your meals should be filled with an array of color, the majority of which should come from fruit and vegetables. (Yellow cheese sauce isn’t what we’re talking about!) For example, some of the fruits and vegetables featured in the “Eat Right with Color” logo (shown above) are watermelon, yellow peppers, carrots, and avocado. But fruit and vegetables aren’t the only colorful foods you should have on your plate. You can get brown and tan foods from whole grains, white foods from white meat poultry and eggs, and orange foods include salmon and trout. This year’s theme is perfectly timed with the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which emphasize filling half your plate with fruit and vegetables, increasing whole grains, and consuming more seafood.

Join the fun and check out the ideas and activities the American Dietetic Association put together to help you “Eat Right with Color.”

How are you eating right with color?

All About Bulgur

I guess you could say I’ve been on a grain kick lately, especially the ancient grains. First I told you about barley, next about einkorn, and now bulgur. You may have never heard of bulgur, but if you’ve ever had tabbouleh salad you’ve likely eaten it.

Bulgur is an ancient grain that is very commonly used in Turkey and other areas of the Middle East. Bulgur is made from wheat and is parboiled, dried, and then ground to different textures. During the grinding process, some of the bran (the outer shell) is removed. Bulgur is still considered a whole grain because part of the bran remains and the germ is intact. The bran provides the fiber and the germ provides vitamins and minerals as well as some fatty acids. Bulgur is also a good source of protein, potassium, and iron. What’s especially great about bulgur is that it cooks very quickly since it’s already been partially cooked.

Some people use it for hot cereal in the morning, but it is most commonly used in place of rice and other grains for side dishes. Last weekend I made this nutritioulicious Bulgur with Ginger & Orange recipe from Eating Well. My husband and I couldn’t get enough of this side dish! It will definitely be a repeat recipe.

ancient grain bulgur

Have you ever tried bulgur? What’s your favorite whole grain?