Eat Your Way to a Healthier You

Ravioli Primavera Salad

(Family Features) - The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage Americans to make healthier food choices. And the good news is that incorporating these guidelines into everyday lives is easier and more delicious than you think.

"Eating well is essential to overall health and wellness," said Robyn Webb, an award-winning licensed nutritionist and food editor of Diabetes Forecast Magazine of the American Diabetes Association. "By making little modifications to your diet, you can start to form healthier habits which can last a lifetime."

Make the plate half fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals - Vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium - and may play a significant role in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and cancer. Pile shredded carrots, tomatoes, and zucchini onto sandwiches. Or try adding sliced apples, pears or oranges to a green salad. And for an exotic flair, add sliced kiwi, mango or papaya to a salad or stir fry.

Practice portion control. The best way to reduce portion sizes is to cook and eat at home more frequently than dining out. Use smaller plates and always plate meals instead of eating directly from serving bowls. And most importantly, eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register a feeling of fullness, which will curb the urge for a second helping and keep those calories at bay.

Watch the salt. Choose foods with less sodium such as lean proteins, grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables. Meals can be just as flavorful seasoned with a combination of herbs, spices, vinegars and rubs. For fresh taste without the salt, splash veggies with citrus juice or grated zest - you'll be pleasantly surprised how little or no salt is needed to get the flavor you crave.

Choose colored veggies. Scientific research has shown that dark green, red and orange vegetables provide the body with important antioxidants that can keep many degenerative diseases at bay. Libby's canned pumpkin is a great way to get more orange vegetables into your diet. Add it to spaghetti sauce, mashed potatoes or even mac and cheese. And for more dark greens, try this Ravioli Primavera Salad. Made with a healthful mix of baby spinach and high quality, all-natural ingredients from Buitoni - delicate pasta pillows filled with Italian cheeses, and reduced fat pesto with fragrant basil, garlic and pine nuts - you can feel good about indulging in this better-for-you pasta.

For more nutritious, balanced meal ideas, visit www.Meals.com.


Ravioli Primavera Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package (9 ounces) Buitoni Refrigerated Light Four Cheese Ravioli or Buitoni Refrigerated Whole Wheat Four Cheese Ravioli
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes (about 1/2 pint)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium peeled and diagonally sliced carrots (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 pound (fresh or frozen, thawed) peeled and deveined medium shrimp, tails removed, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Buitoni Refrigerated All Natural Reduced Fat Pesto with Basil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)

Preparation

  1. PREPARE ravioli according to package directions for 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and rinse quickly with cold water; drain again.
  2. COMBINE ravioli, grape tomatoes, scallions, carrots, peas and shrimp together in a large bowl.
  3. WHISK together red wine vinegar, pesto and garlic. Slowly in a thin stream, whisk in olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over ravioli mixture. Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving.
  4. SERVE at room temperature over baby spinach leaves.

Serves: Makes 6 servings; Serving size: 1 cup

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Photography by Olga Berman of Mango & Tomato, www.mangotomato.com

Nutritional Facts: Total Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3.75g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 440mg, Carbohydrate: 25g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 15g

SOURCE: Buitoni

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