Today we continue our series to help you toward a healthier diet in 2012. As of January, every other month we have published a tip and a recipe to go along with it.
By the end of the year, you will have acquired six healthy habits to help you lose weight. How easy is that?
For July/August: Eat the rainbow
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate guidelines show Americans how to eat a balanced meal. Half the plate should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter lean proteins, another quarter whole grains and a serving of low-fat dairy on the side.
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables - and a variety of colors - also will provide you with the most nutrients.
"If people could eat three colors a day, that would make a huge impact on their overall health," said Allen. Your daily goal should be 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables.
To reach that goal, start the day with a fruit-packed smoothie, reach for crunchy vegetables instead of chips for easy snacking or make grilled fruit kebabs for dessert.
For more healthful eating choices, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Today's recipe is from "Today" show nutritionist Joy Bauer's cookbook "Slim and Scrumptious" (William Morrow, $24.99).
Each serving of this hearty casserole is less than 300 calories yet contains a big blast of nutrition.
Italian Sunday Brunch Bake
•1 medium onion, diced
•1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
•1 pound small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
•2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
•8 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
•6 slices Canadian bacon, cut into
•4 cups baby spinach leaves
•4 whole eggs
•8 egg whites
•1/2 cup skim milk
•1/4 teaspoon black pepper
•2 tablespoons grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13- by 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Set aside.
Liberally coat a large skillet with vegetable oil spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, adding a tablespoon of water at a time to prevent scorching, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add bell pepper and potato pieces and cook until potatoes begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and herbs, cooking until tender, about 3 minutes. Add Canadian bacon and stir.
Reduce heat to low and add spinach and stir until spinach wilts. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and egg whites. Add milk and black pepper.
Add cooled vegetable mixture to eggs and stir well. Pour into prepared casserole dish and bake in preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until eggs are set and potatoes are cooked through. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and broil 4 to 5 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Serve hot.