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8 secrets to savor the flavor of healthy food
March is National Nutrition Month. Registered dietitian Stephanie Parker shares eight secrets to add a little pizzazz to those bland and boring foods. - photo by Jenniffer Michaelson
March is National Nutrition Month. If youre like most people and dont get excited over the idea of eating broccoli, dont pick up the chips and soda just yet. Registered dietitian Stephanie Parker shares eight secrets to add a little pizzazz to those bland and boring foods.

The first one is an easy one: half sugar cereal. Take a look at the sugar grams on your morning bowl of cereal. Did you know some breakfast cereals contain as much sugar as a candy bar? Get your family in the habit of reading the labels and look the cereals low in sugar. You can always add fruit for sweetness.

Second: no-salt seasoning. Salt is responsible for so many issues with our health. Its a big contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. Cut a little salt out of your diet by using a no-salt seasoning or add flavor by using different herbs like basil, parsley and cilantro.

Third: frozen yogurt. We all love to plop down in front of the TV with a bowl of ice cream. To still enjoy a frozen treat and save yourself the guilt trip later, try substituting that fatty goodness with frozen yogurt. Youll be saving yourself from a lot less added sugar, fat and calories than regular ice cream, and it still tastes delicious.

Fourth: blended pasta. You might not be ready to dive right into whole grain pasta quite yet. But did you know theres more than just plain old white flour pasta? Take a moment on your next visit to the grocery store to notice the different blends of grains and vegetable pastas. A simple change can add fiber, protein, iron and flavor to your next pasta dish.

Fifth: use dressing. Try adding dressing to flavor pasta or vegetable dishes. If you're not too excited about eating your vegetables, dressing will make them more palatable. It might not be the healthiest way to eat your greens, but at least youre getting them in. Plus, it's a great way to trick your taste buds into liking healthy foods.

Sixth: have a little juice. Still having trouble getting in the daily recommended servings of vegetables? Try drinking those servings. A tasty juice like V8 Splash can count for a couple of servings a day. Read the label to make sure its 100 percent juice. Most labels will tell you how many servings of fruits and vegetables are in each serving.

Seventh: try another bread. Eat outside the box or bag. OK, so youre not ready to jump into the 100 percent whole wheat bread. Take baby steps by trying a multi-grain instead. The texture might be a little different at first but before you know it, youre digging the grains.

Last but not least: be patient. Don't quit too soon, give it time. Experiment with different pastas, breads, vegetables, dressings and herbs until you find a flavor that agrees with your palette. Little by little as you start to eat less sugar and salt, other flavors will begin to stand out. These little changes are just the beginning to changing the way you eat and feel.
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