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Shape Up With Mushroom "Swapability"

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- March is National Nutrition Month, the perfect time to "get your plate in shape" with mushrooms. Elizabeth Ward, registered dietitian, mother of three and author of MyPlate for Moms: How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, uses a combination of mushrooms and meat in her recipes to bring another serving of vegetables to the plate, add volume to meals and extend portions.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120301/CG60704)

"Replacing some of the ground beef or turkey, or other meat, with mushrooms is an easy technique that I use to reduce calories and fat without compromising on flavor," says Ward. This simple three-step "swapability" strategy – which is perfect for family favorites like lasagna, burgers, tacos or chili – plays on mushrooms' compatibility with meat in terms of taste and texture.

  1. Chop up your favorite mushroom variety to match the consistency of the ground beef or turkey;
  2. Cook and season mushrooms the same way you would meat;
  3. Combine the cooked meat and mushrooms and use the mix to complete your recipe.

Mushrooms bring more to meals for less

Increasing the intake of lower calorie foods, specifically mushrooms, in place of those higher in calories, like ground beef, can be an effective method for reducing calories and fat while still feeling full and satisfied after a meal.(1) Plus, a serving of mushrooms delivers vitamin D, potassium (8%), B vitamins, and important antioxidants like selenium and ergothionene. These antioxidants help maintain a healthy immune system.

The mushroom and meat "swapability" approach is an economical way to make family meals more nutritious. "I buy a couple packages of mushrooms at a time and use them in meals all week long," says Ward. "Saute a big batch of mushrooms ahead of time and add them to your go-to recipes day by day." This method may also help offset anticipated rises in meat prices, Ward says. Adding mushrooms to dishes increases recipe yield, as demonstrated in the Almost Lasagna recipe found below.

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