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Personalize Your Plate With Chicken This National Nutrition Month®

March is National Nutrition Month®, a time when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants to help you make informed food choices, develop healthy eating habits and promote physical activity. This year’s theme is “Personalize Your Plate.” What does that mean and how can you celebrate with chicken? Let’s find out!

Personalizing your plate is all about realizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health – and that’s a good thing! We’re all different people and have unique bodies, goals, backgrounds, family considerations, cultural food preferences and tastes.

That said, at the core of any balanced plate are foods from all the food groups, like fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins (like chicken), and dairy. These foods come in all different sizes, shapes, forms (e.g., frozen, fresh, etc.) and colors, and can be combined to create dishes that feature familiar flavors, textures or preparations. That’s great news because as many cuisines already include a variety of foods from all the food groups, developing and sticking with healthy eating habits with the foods you already enjoy may be easier than you think! Here are some easy ways to personalize your plate and celebrate National Nutrition Month® with chicken.

Reimagine Traditional Dishes

Celebrate traditional recipes by exploring alternative, healthful cooking methods and reimagine how to incorporate family-favorite foods into everyday meals that are balanced. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, try:

Cooking chicken with familiar dried spices or traditional herbs instead of salt to add flavor to your dishes.

Cooking different grains, like wild rice, whole grain farro or whole grain barley, in low-sodium chicken stock for added flavor and serve next to grilled chicken.

Cooking chicken with vegetable oils instead of solid fats such as butter when cooking to limit saturated fat.

Decreasing extra calories from fat by baking, grilling or roasting your chicken instead of frying it.

Serving roasted chicken alongside your favorite vegetables in different forms — raw, steamed, roasted, grilled or even sautéed.

Personalize Your Meal Planning

Make meal planning personal to your food preferences, budgetary considerations, health goals and cultural traditions. Success in meal planning is more likely when you include the foods you and your family recognize and enjoy eating! Chicken is a lean protein food already central to many dishes that can help deliver nutrients for good health to all members of your family. Here are some sample combinations of foods from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that, depending on your cultural food traditions, preferences or tastes, can be personalized to your fit your plate.

— Grilled chicken with steamed broccoli, baked potato and shredded cheese.

— Methi chicken (simmered in spices with fenugreek leaves) with yogurt, whole grain naan, and eggplant.

Da pan ji (chicken stew with potatoes, ginger, and garlic) made with extra bell peppers and carrot, served over whole grain noodles.

Arroz caldo (chicken and rice porridge with ginger and garlic) with boiled egg, sautéed leafy greens, and fruit.

Tamales filled with cheese and chicken or beans, served with tomatillo salsa and zucchini.

— Chicken breast roasted in the oven with potato slices, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil.

Here are some of our favorite handouts from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that feature chicken as a perfect protein partner to help you celebrate National Nutrition Month®.

Interested in personalizing your plate with easy recipe inspiration? Check a few out here.