September 11, 2021

Let’s talk about MyPlate! Not “my plate,” but MyPlate, the food group guide to making a healthy and balanced plate. We need representation from every party like fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy. Everyone’s invited! Most of the time our protein is the main dish, but we still have to incorporate other food groups. This is where side dishes come in to complete the rest of the meal. We can create tasty and nutritious sides using fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy too if we decide not to enjoy a glass of milk with our meal.

Incorporating the rest of the food groups in our side dishes helps us make sure we are getting all the nutrients we need to live a healthy life. Families with kids especially should prioritize providing them with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Most of our side dishes will contain fruits and vegetables packed with necessary vitamins and minerals: vitamins A and C and calcium, to name a few. These help with tissue development, boosting immune systems and building strong bones – all of which a growing child needs.

If you need some inspiration on where to start with planning your side dishes, look at your MyPlate food groups as a guide. You’ll be able to see what you may be missing on your plate, then you can just fill in the gaps. If you need family-friendly meal ideas – take a look at for more recipes, our Budget-Friendly and Kid Group nutrition store tours, and our monthly cooking class on Freezer-Friendly Family Meals. Here’s a recipe for a side that can become the main star at your next family meal.

Crunchy Broccoli-Ramen Slaw

All You Need:
1 (12 oz.) package of Hy-Vee broccoli slaw
2 cups mango, pitted, peeled and chopped
1 cup halved snow peas
2 green onions, sliced
2 (3 oz. each) Ramen noodles, any flavor; discard seasoning packets
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp Hy-Vee granulated sugar
4 tsp Hy-Vee less-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/3 cup Hy-Vee canola oil

All you do:

  1. Toss together broccoli slaw, mango, snow peas and green onions. Break up raw ramen noodles; discard seasoning packets. Toss ramen with slaw mixture.
  2. Whisk together seasoned rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Whisk in canola oil. Toss slaw with vinaigrette, coating well. Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Family meals provide us quality time with our loved ones to talk about our days and make plans for the week. After a long day at work and school, it’s important to enjoy our family time and refuel our bodies with the nutrients they need. Dinner wouldn’t be complete without a balanced plate that has all of the food groups on it, so take a look at MyPlate and make it your plate at your next meal

Recipe source: September 2021 Seasons magazine. The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.