Week #4 in Monthly Nutrition Series

Put your Best Fork Forward- At Home
~ Theresa Welt, RD

Cooking at home is a great way to provide you and your family a nutritious meal. Home might be the easiest place to make changes in your eating habits as you and your family are in charge! Put your Best Fork Forward at home by trying one or all of these tips.

Try a Meatless Monday

“Meatless Monday” focuses on increasing consumption of vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, nuts and seeds and decreasing amount of meat. Including a meatless meal just once a week will help lower your intake of saturated fats (found in animal products) Studies have shown that plant based diets can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can also decrease risk of heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Try the following recipe for a nutritious, meatless meal for you and your family

Recipe from Today’s Dietitian Magazine Vol 17 No 2 P 66

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Goat Cheese

Serves 4


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 1/8 plus 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 T chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place sweet potato cubes on top. Toss with smoked paprika, 1/2 T olive oil, and 1/8 tsp salt. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining 11/2 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, until onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt, and sauté for 60 seconds, until fragrant. Add beans, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook beans for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  3. Wrap tortillas together in aluminum foil and heat in oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until warm. Remove and top with a spoonful of sweet potatoes and beans. Divide goat cheese crumbles between tacos, and add cilantro leaves. Finish with a squeeze of lime (optional).

Nutrient Analysis per serving

Calories: 433; Total fat: 16 g; Sat fat: 6 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 16 mg; Sodium: 268 mg; Total carbohydrate: 55 g; Dietary fiber: 11 g; Sugar: 1 g; Protein: 18 g

Meal Planning

Meal planning can be very helpful to ensure you and your family have nutritious items stocked or prepared for the whole week. Pick a day as your shopping/cooking day. Write down the meals you want to prepare and gather all the ingredients you will need in one trip. Slice fruit and vegetables or cook meat and beans a head of time. Freeze large batches of food or try a crock pot recipe for meals in a pinch. To start, try planning just 1 or 2 meals per week. Make sure you are servings the same food to the whole family to make meal planning effective and worth your time. The more nutritious meals snacks prepared ahead a of time, the easier your week will be.

Fill Up Your Plate

Aim to make half your plate fruits or vegetables. An easy way to make this happen at home is to serve a vegetable with every meal. Some simple vegetable sides are roasted brussel sprouts with lemon and garlic, fresh green beans with balsamic vinegar or slice carrots with tomato and feta. Large salads like an apple broccoli slaw or spinach salad are great items to serve and split between your family too.

Be a Role Model

Children are always listening. Teenagers or a family friend are paying attention to what goes on in your home too. Make sure to talk positively about yourself and food. Healthy relationships with food can help people of all ages find nutritious foods they enjoy. A healthy relationship with nutritious foods can lead to intake of those foods willingly ,because they like them, not because they are being forced. Lead by example, show your children what foods are nutritious by eating them in front of them and servings them some too. Don’t force your children to eat a new food, instead continue to offer it in a variety of ways.

Get Moving

Eating nutritious foods is not the only thing you and your family can do to feel better. Getting up and moving can make everyone feel better too. The CDC recommends adults aim for 150min of physical activity each week while children and adolescents need about 60min of physical activity each day. An after dinner walk with the whole family or the dog, a trip to the park, a backyard game of catch, or enrollment in sports are great ways to get active. Always consult your doctor about physical activity if you have certain medical conditions or physical restrictions.