Beth Olson, UW-Extension Professor
Department of Nutritional Sciences
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Total Time – 3:05
0:08 – What is a healthy meal
0:28 – How to make a healthy meal
1:10 – Healthy snacks
1:36 – More fruits and vegetables
2:10 – Meals for picky eaters
2:35 – Dairy is more than milk
2:58 – Lead out
Lorre Kolb: Making healthier meals. We’re talking today with Beth Olson, Associate Professor and Extension specialist at UW-Madison and I’m Lorre Kolb. Beth, what makes a meal healthy?
Beth Olson: When we look at our meals, we try to make them healthy by including more than one of our food groups in that. So if people go to ChooseMyPlate.gov they can learn more about the food groups that make up a overall healthy diet and that they can use to make each of their meals and perhaps also make their snacks healthier.
Lorre Kolb: So what’s something someone should include in a healthy meal?
Beth Olson: One of the things a person could do is look at meals that they make every day. We tend to make some of our favorite meals over and over and over. So if we look at something like breakfast. A lot of people don’t get one of the food groups, which is the protein group, at breakfast. A lot of people have a piece of toast with butter perhaps. One of the ways then that they could make that meal a bit healthier and get more of the food group of protein in their diet would be to add a protein food, like peanut butter on their toast or some Greek yogurt or they could sprinkle some nuts on their oatmeal and then they would have added a bit of protein to their meal.
Lorre Kolb: What are some good snacks, what are some snacks to avoid?
Beth Olson: Another way they can make their diet healthier is to have healthier snacks. One of the food groups that again we don’t get enough of is fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables. We could think about vegetables as snacks. Things like baby carrots that you could dip in hummus or sliced green pepper that you could dip in low-fat ranch dressing. And then we can get more of the fruit and vegetable food group.
Lorre Kolb: How are other ways that you can add fruits and vegetables to your meal?
Beth Olson: We could add vegetables by adding it to what we often think of as the starchy part of our meal. So we might have rice with our dinner. We could cook up broccoli and cut it up into small little flowerets and mix that in with the rice and add a little vegetable right in with our carbohydrate that we’re having with our dinner. We could also look at fruit and use it as a topping in places that we hadn’t thought about, so if we’re having a salad for dinner, we could sprinkle something like mandarin oranges over the top of a salad.
Lorre Kolb: How can parents get healthier foods in with their picky eaters?
Beth Olson: A way that parents can make meals healthier for their children is to add more whole grains. But whole grains sometimes taste a little bit different and children aren’t used to them so we can start out gradually by doing something like making something like spaghetti – a food kids love – but making it half with regular spaghetti and half with a whole wheat spaghetti, so mix the two noodles together and then over time you can add in more and more of the whole grain spaghetti.
Lorre Kolb: Is the only way to get dairy into the diet through milk?
Beth Olson: No, although milk is a good choice – particularly a lower fat milk, there are many other ways to put dairy into our diet. So a lower fat yogurt or non-fat yogurt can be used in place of other things. So instead of topping your taco with sour cream add a little bit of a low-fat yogurt. Or instead of choosing a salad dressing, you could make a yogurt-based dressing.
Lorre Kolb: We’ve been talking today with Beth Olson, Associate Professor and Extension specialist at UW-Madison and I’m Lorre Kolb.