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The Meal Mix-Up: Tips to Get More Greens

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The Giant's Macaroni and Cheese

(Family Features) - The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans released in January recommend adults eat 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups (five to 13 servings) of fruits and vegetables each day, an increase from the previously recommended 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups (five to nine servings).

Yet, according to the Green Giant Vegetable Report, 70 percent of parents and more than three-quarters of moms say they don't get enough vegetables in their diets.

"To help increase vegetable consumption, parents may want to rethink the way they plan dinner," says Juli Hermanson, registered dietitian and senior nutrition scientist at General Mills. "For instance, try incorporating different vegetables into a favorite recipe for variety and added nutritional value, such as frozen vegetables. They are convenient and just as nutritious as fresh, can be prepared in five minutes or less and are easy to incorporate into many dishes. Simple changes like this can help families achieve the daily servings of vegetables needed for better health," she says.

Additional tips to help families get more veggies include the following:

Grab a salad at lunch. If you're eating out, order a salad as a substitute for fries or a potato. If you pack a lunch, make a hearty salad with 2 ounces of lean meat and a low-fat dressing.

Increase your "side" of vegetables at dinner. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, in addition to a healthy portion of whole grains and a small portion of lean meat.

Veggie variety is the spice of life. Try a different vegetable, prepared a different way, for dinner each night of the week.

Green Giant offers a variety of delicious and convenient choices to help Americans meet their daily vegetable requirements. Late last year, seasoned vegetables joined the Green Giant lineup of Green Giant Classic Frozen Vegetables, Green Giant Frozen Side Dishes and Green Giant Create a Meal! Meal Starters.

Most Green Giant frozen vegetables carry an on-pack nutrition claim, "Frozen Vegetables Are As Nutritious As Fresh!" They also feature specific nutrient benefits in the upper right corner of each package to help consumers better understand the nutritional offerings of each Green Giant variety.

For additional recipes and tips, visit www.GreenGiant.com.

Here's a delicious take on macaroni and cheese that will help the whole family get their daily greens:

The Giant's Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 package (10 ounces) Green Giant Frozen Broccoli & Cheese Flavored Sauce
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
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    1. In medium saucepan, bring broth to boil. Add macaroni; return to boil. Cook 8 minutes or until macaroni is tender and slight amount of broth remains. Do not drain.
    2. Meanwhile, prepare broccoli as directed on package.
    3. Add broccoli and Cheddar cheese to cooked macaroni; toss gently to mix. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. If desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley.

Makes 2 (1 1/3-cup) servings
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SOURCE: General Mills - Green Giant

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