Eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods is key to obtaining the right balance of vitamins and minerals, states Web MD. In addition, a well-rounded diet can boost your energy, help you handle stress better, and may be able to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer, states Web MD. Despite all of those noteworthy benefits, a report released by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee states that the majority of the U.S. population isn’t meeting recommended intakes for fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy food groups. If you’re struggling to meet your daily nutrient recommendations, it’s time to start incorporating several nutrient-rich foods into one dish. Create a breakfast casserole that contains fruit, protein, and whole grains, make a sandwich that is chock-full of dairy, protein, and produce, or prepare burgers that include dairy, lentils, and vegetables. Thanks to these six recipes, meeting your daily dietary needs has never been easier.
1. Herbed Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust
Closet Cooking’s Herbed Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust can be served for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. A brown rice crust sneaks in a serving of whole grains, milk, eggs, and feta add a nice dose of dairy, and onions and zucchini ensure this dish will help you meet your daily vegetable requirements. The recipe yields at least six servings.
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- ¼ cup Graviera or Gruyère, grated
- 1 egg
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups zucchini, grated, squeezed and drained
- ¼ cup herbs, such as dill, mint, parsley, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup feta, crumbled
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the rice, cheese, and egg in a bowl. Press the rice mixture into a pie plate, about ¼-inch thick. Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven until the edges and bottom just start turning golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix the eggs, milk, zucchini, dill, mint, green onions, feta, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until golden brown and set in the center, about 30 to 35 minutes.
2. Whole-Grain Apple and Ham Breakfast Casserole
Fulfill your dietary requirements with The Seattle Times’s recipe, which is chock-full of whole grains, lean protein, and fruit. This casserole is a perfect make-ahead breakfast dish; assemble and refrigerate it the night before, and then bake for about 30 minutes in the morning. In addition to helping you reach your required fruit servings, Care2 notes that fiber-packed apples keep you feeling full, contain vitamins A and C, and are a rich source of potassium.
- 4 ounces deli-sliced ham, chopped
- 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 6 slices whole-grain bread, cubed
- ½ cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 egg whites
- ¾ cup fat-free half-and-half
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: The night before, in a medium casserole dish toss together the ham, apples, bread cubes, and cheese. Set aside. In a medium bowl, beat together the egg whites and fat-free half-and-half. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and meat. Use a fork to gently press the bread to help it absorb the liquid. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the casserole. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate until morning. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the casserole, covered, for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown and the eggs are cooked.
3. Jaime’s Roast Beef Sandwiches
Wheat bread, yogurt, roast beef, arugula, and tomatoes combine to create PopSugar’s Roast Beef Sandwich, a hearty lunch dish that includes whole grains, dairy, protein, and vegetables. The recipe calls for Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip, but you can easily make your own by mixing 4 tablespoons of whole Greek yogurt with 1 teaspoon each of minced cilantro and chives. Health states that whole grains are a great source of fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
- 4 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip (or another similar yogurt-based dip)
- 4 large slices cracked wheat sourdough bread
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced ½-inch thick
- 6 (5 ounce) slices seasoned roast beef
- ½ cup arugula, washed, rinsed, and tightly packed
Directions: Using a butter knife, spread the yogurt-based dip evenly on one side of each slice of bread, being sure to cover all areas. Top two sourdough slices with tomato slices. Arrange roast beef slices in an overlapping pattern over the tomatoes. Scatter arugula atop roast beef evenly. Top with remaining two slices. Cut in half and enjoy immediately.
4. Smoked Cheddar and Lentil Burgers
Numerous nutrient recommendations are satisfied with Cooking Light’s recipe via Health. Carrots, lentils, and cheese create a nutritious patty that has 10 grams of fiber and 38% of your daily recommended protein. SFGate notes that lentils contain potassium, calcium, zinc, folate, and iron. In addition, one cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein per cup and 16 grams of dietary fiber, or 63% of the United States Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance. Sneak in a serving of whole grains by serving your burgers on Tried and Tasty’s Homemade Whole-Wheat Hamburger Buns.
- 2½ cups water
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
- ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- Cooking spray
- 8 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
- 8 (2-ounce) whole-wheat sandwich buns, toasted
- 8 (¼-inch-thick) slices tomato
- 2 cups trimmed arugula
Directions: Place first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Discard bay leaves. Place lentils in a large bowl; partially mash with a potato masher. Cool slightly. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.
Add onion mixture, cheese, and next 8 ingredients to lentils; stir well to combine. Cover and chill 45 minutes. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a ½-inch-thick patty. Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add half of patties, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining patties. Spread 1 teaspoon mustard on top half of each bun. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun, and top each serving with 1 tomato slice, ¼ cup arugula, and top half of bun.
5. Stovetop Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Eating Well’s Stovetop Chicken and Broccoli Casserole is easy to make, nutritious, and delicious. Filled with protein, vegetables, and whole grains, one serving contains 45% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, 30% of your daily calcium needs, and 23% of your daily vitamin A requirement. The recipe yields six servings.
- 8 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles
- 1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package frozen broccoli florets, thawed and chopped, if desired
- 1½ cups skim milk
- ½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1½ cups shredded colby-jack or cheddar cheese
Directions: Place noodles in a large skillet. Pour broth over the noodles. Layer chicken, then broccoli over the noodles. Whisk milk, mayonnaise, flour, dry mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour over the broccoli. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the noodles and chicken are cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Meanwhile, position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. When the casserole is done, sprinkle cheese on top and broil until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
6. Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with Whole Grain Brown Rice
Brown rice, broccoli, and beef sirloin steak create a well-balanced dinner dish. A combination of whole grains, vegetables, and protein, this hearty meal will provide you with ample nutrients while satisfying your stomach. Uncle Ben’s recipe yields six servings. According to Mercola.com, broccoli is a rich source of several key nutrients, which may may help to slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis, fight cancer, and improve your blood pressure and kidney function.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 cups broccoli florets, blanched
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ pounds beef sirloin steak thinly sliced
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups whole-grain instant brown rice
Directions: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a large skillet, spray with non-stick spray and sauté the beef until browned. Add the garlic, green onion, broccoli, and soy sauce; sauté for 1 minute. Serve beef and broccoli over rice or combine into one dish.