Today we're going to talk about delicious ways to balance your plate like MyPlate, especially when it comes to getting enough dark green vegetables. Dark green vegetables include tasty greens like collards, chard, spinach, mustard, kale, spring greens, and pea shoots. A cup of these vegetables contains a scant 50 calories and anywhere from 4% to 1,000% of a day's supply of nutrients, which makes them amazing calorie-light and nutrient-dense foods. Best of all, one cup of dark green vegetables counts as a half serving of vegetables on MyPlate. That means you get to eat twice as much of them as any other food choice on MyPlate.
Often greens and pea shoots are the first vegetables to appear in springtime farmers' markets. They are also found in abundance in local markets and grocery stores.
So how can you incorporate more dark green vegetables into your diet? Start with this fun approach to grilled chicken! In the following recipe, you place rainbow chard on top of chicken (or fish), then grill your improvised packet. This makes a wonderful, quick meal that features exceptionally moist chicken and tons of flavor.
Chard is delicious and keeps grill items moist.
Grilled Chicken and Chard
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally
1 cup Swiss or rainbow chard with stems removed, rinsed
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into strips
2 cups pineapple chunks
Dash each: Italian Seasoning, paprika
2 cups cooked brown rice
- Heat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut a large piece of foil and set it on a tray. Spray it lightly with oil.
- Place the chicken breasts on the oiled foil.
- Arrange the pineapple, peppers, and asparagus around the chicken.
- Place the chard on top of the chicken.
- Place piled foil on the grill. Grill everything together until the chicken is done, about 20 minutes. It is a good idea to turn everything over halfway through cooking.
- The chicken is done when it is firm in the center.
- To serve, divide the chard evenly among four plates, topping with a chicken breast on each plate. Add 1/2 cup rice next to each chicken breast.
- Divide the remaining fruit and vegetables (peppers, asparagus, and pineapple) into four equal portions and use them to fill the other half of each of the four plates. Serve hot.
Chef's Tips: Looking for a garnish? Try topping the dish with fresh squeezed lime juice.
Serves 4. Serving size: 1 plate. Each serving: 479 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 38mg cholesterol, 117mg sodium, 88g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 12g sugars, 22g protein.
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Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.