Article by #halfyourplate RD Carol Harrrison
Dietitians easily rally around the Half Your Plate campaign but it sure does help getting some tools, tips and strategies to keep it fresh and interesting and that’s what they got at Dietitians Day at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention in Toronto this past spring.
The day began with a wonderful lunch and speaker session with Chef Michael Smith, champion and spokesperson for the Half Your Plate campaign.
In a room full of dietitians, this message really resonated – the most expensive items in our grocery carts are not the vegetables and fruit, it’s the ultra processed food (high calorie/low nutrients) which come with a high cost in health care spends down the road.
And here’s a related fact I’d like to share. Today we spend about 10 cents per dollar disposable income on food and 100 years ago it was 25 cents per dollar. It’s just another reason to thank farmers who constantly innovate to do more with less.
Next up, folks circulated in groups through stations with dietitians who lead discussions on:
- Half Your Plate campaign;
- Food safety;
- Managing food cost;
- Quick and easy meal ideas – my station!
Here at my station, we started with three winning ways to get veggies in at breakfast.
For a breakfast on the go, this can be layered up in a mason jar too.
- Salads for breakfast – yup it’s going to be a thing!
This idea was showcased at the Produce for Better Health conference in the US this past spring. Millennials we were told are less fixed on what “should” be eaten at certain times of the day.
- Savoury Breakfasts
Everyone agreed the savoury breakfast trend is a great way to get veggies in at breakfast. Folks in a hurry can use canned lentils as a base, add ready-made stir fry blends, pre-sliced mushrooms or last night’s leftover veggies and simply put an egg on it.
Next, I shared Buddha Bowls 3 ways as a reminder we can help folks to use up those veggies they have on hand by offering them recipes that are versatile. Some other versatile recipe ideas suggested by dietitians were frittatas, soups, curries and the latest trend, poke bowls.
Starting with a lentil-barley base, I showed how you can easily create a Mediterranean, Asian or Mexican inspired bowl by mixing and matching various veggies and fruit, protein add-ons, garnishes and dressings.
Finally, folks hit the trade show floor. Dietitian, Michelle Jaelin found the trade show “offered valuable ideas for enjoying produce in simple and innovative ways”. All in, it was a day to be inspired to keep the Half Your Plate message fresh and new for consumers.
Carol Harrison, RD