These are the 6 most popular dinner combos in the U.S.

The United States has a total area of 3.8 million miles. Our taste in food is diverse, and it turns out.

We partnered with Lifesum, a digital health company based in Stockholm with 30 million users, to determine which state prefers dinner.

However, not all states agree on the same dinner plans. Vermont was a consistent outlier. Six of our favorite favorites remained at the top in each group.

Although you may eat potatoes and chicken differently than your neighbor, how you cook them can have a profound impact on your health. Instead of dwelling on the finer points of steamed vs. stir-fried, baked vs. steamed, let’s get back to the basics.

We concentrated on the most popular meals and divided each meal into three different carbs, protein and vegetables.

We will then highlight the health benefits of each ingredient, what nutrients they provide your body, and give you tips for making your favorite meals healthier.

Stefani Pappas RDN, CPT, was also available to give us some tips about these delicious meals. She is a clinical nutritionist and dietitian at St. Francis Hospital’s Cancer Institute, Port Washington, New York.

Rice + chicken + salad although the combination may look slightly different in each state (juicy fried chicken on the South, grilled with salt and vinegar on the coasts), the basic ingredients are American: rice, chicken and salad (or greens).

Chicken in its leanest form is one of the most healthful proteins. Salad (without dressing) is good for your gut.

Rice has been controversial within the weight loss area. However, it is a good carb to include, especially when sticking with nonwhite rice.

Healthy servings contain…

  • Chicken is a great source of lean protein (chicken).
  • Depending on which choice you make, there may be plenty of vitamins and nutrients (salad leaves)
  • fiber for digestion (rice)

Varie it: Black rice’s sweet and nutty flavor can be found in Asian markets or health food stores. Anthocyanins are abundant in the bran layer. This is the same kind of antioxidants as dark berries.

Cook it: Poach your chicken. In a saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water and add spices and herbs. This makes the dish more flavorful.

Try It: This quick recipe for chicken salad summer rolls from The View From Great Island takes only 30 minutes to prepare and hits all the right tastebuds without sacrificing variety.

Potato + cheese + beans

These ingredients can be combined to make a delicious casserole. A great breakfast burrito, as the Southwest may call it.

Although cooked taters have more vitamin C than bananas and more potassium, they are primarily carb-based (paleo dieters beware). There are many cheese options, but mozzarella and Feta have the least fat. Fresh beans are the best. Avoid canned beans as they tend to have more sodium.

Healthy servings contain…

  • Vitamins C and B-6 as well as manganese and potassium ( potato).
  • Vitamins A and B-12 as well as riboflavin and zinc ( cheese).
  • Fiber, protein, folate and iron ( beans).

Swap it If you don’t eat salads for lunch, cauliflower might be a good alternative to beans. It’s also paleo-friendly. The florets can be thinly sliced and cooked the same way as green beans.

You can make it different: Replace the butter with ricotta cheese and replace it in a baked potato. It is light in flavor and low in salt.

Try It: Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas recipe by Cookie + Kate.

Bread + egg + bell peppers

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. This combo delivers if you eat whole wheat bread and sprouted grains.

This perspective is dominated by Ezekiel bread, which has no added sugar. If you are gluten-free, avoid it. For eggs, boil them and scramble them. Finally, flip them over. Fries are the king of the South, while East Coasters love fluffy egg sandwiches.

Healthy servings contain…

  • Folate and fiber ( sprouted wheat).
  • Vitamins, protein, iron, vitamins and choline ( eggs).
  • Fiber and vitamins C, D, and B-6 ( bell peppers).

Add It: Sliced Avocado, full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, for a Sunday brunch experience.

Mix it up: Try a variety. The more vibrant the peppers, the better! Each color has a range of health benefits and antioxidants.

You can try it: A recipe to make peppers and eggs for breakfast pita from Aggie’s Kitchen.

Fries + beef + tomato

This is where meat and potatoes are crucial. This Midwestern classic is based on the type of beef. Porterhouse is the most popular because it has two cuts: a New York strip and a filet Mignon.

There’s also regular ground beef, which is a popular choice everywhere. Sweet potato fries are as popular in the South as regular fries. What about that tomato? It could just be ketchup. But the entire fruit is best for its potassium, folate and vitamins C, K.

Healthy servings contain…

  • Instead of deep-fried potatoes, you can bake-fry or air-fry them.
  • Vitamin B-12, protein, zinc, iron ( beef).
  • Vitamins C and K, potassium and folate ( tomatoes).

Swap it. If your keto diet includes no fries, you can opt for turnips, radishes or parsnips. Radishes taste almost like potatoes when cooked. They lose their spicy flavor and taste very similar to potatoes. Texturally, parsnip fries and baked turnips are very similar to the original.

Keep this in mind: Fries are carbs. “Aim to eat one-fifth of the amount per meal. This is not more than one cup,” says Pappas. Whole grains are more nutritious and have higher fiber.

Try It: Recipe for Peruvian Beef and Potato Stir Fry by Whats4Eats.

Quinoa + turkey + broccoli

Quinoa is quickly becoming the preferred choice for those looking for a healthy option. Turkey, lower in calories and more protein than chicken, has become a popular choice for lean meats. Broccoli is a favorite of health-conscious consumers. These three ingredients combine to make a delicious, high-fiber meal that will look great in an attractive bowl presentation.

Healthy servings contain…

  • Fiber, magnesium, vitamin B and iron ( Quinoa).
  • Iron and protein ( turkey).
  • Vitamins C and K-1, folate and fiber ( Broccoli).

You can try it: Chop your broccoli ahead of time to save time when you start cooking.

Try something different: Use cauliflower rice instead of quinoa to get more vegetables in your diet.

Try It: This recipe for a turkey-quinoa skillet from A Dash of Megnut.

Couscous + pork + spinach

There are many ways to cook pork, from braised to roasted to barbecued. There are many ways to prepare pork. The question is: Do you sauce it or not? You’ll see slabs of pork completely covered in sauce (North Carolina vinegar barbecue sauce is a legendary example). The coasts tend to prepare pork less, letting it speak for itself. This is when it’s best to be accompanied by couscous or spinach.

Healthy servings contain…

  • selenium, antioxidants, protein (couscous)
  • Protein, selenium and zinc ( pork).
  • Fiber, iron, calcium and vitamins A, B, C and K-1 ( swiss)

Try it: Only buy lean pork cuts. They are just as low in calories and fat as chicken breast.

Try it! Use frozen spinach instead of spinach. Pappas says that frozen vegetables often have more nutritional value than fresh ones, frozen at peak ripeness.

Try It: This is a recipe for spinach couscous from Chatelaine.

Dinner doesn’t have to be difficult.

Remember that dinner is only one meal per day. There are two to four meals (or more if you include snacks) that can be added to your daily diet. It’s more than what you eat. Both the size of your portions and the quality of your ingredients are important.

“Every meal should contain a combination of complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Fruits and vegetables should be the main course at every meal. Pappas recommends that you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.

Pappas suggests that you eat 25% of lean protein for the remaining half of your plate.

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • eggs

Add a quarter cup of high-fiber carbs such as:

  • Brown rice
  • Whole-wheat Pasta
  • sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal

“Keeping a simple and balanced diet is the key to living a healthy lifestyle,” Pappas says. You can eat what you like, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you eat.

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