Eating healthy requires some planning

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Having the food on hand you need to make simple meals is a key part of eating healthy.

The Cooperative Extension Service wants to provide you with some shopping tips.

It is always a good plan to start off with a list. Plan the meals you are going to make during the week. Check the store circulars for any sales that they are having so you can adjust your menu accordingly.

When you shop, check the unit pricing for the best buy, but do not buy the bulk size if you do not plan to use it, even if it is the cheaper of the two because you are just wasting money. It is always a good rule of thumb to never shop when you are hungry and to stick to your list. Buy fresh vegetables when they are in season and fit into your budget.

However, frozen and canned vegetables are healthy as well. Try to purchase the ones with the lease amount of sodium and sauces. Frozen and canned fruit are beneficial as well but look at the amount of sugar and try to purchase fruit with 100 percent fruit juice instead of the heavy syrups. If low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties of vegetables are not available, then be sure to rinse the canned vegetables in water to wash off some of the salt. And I always buy store brand because it is cheaper and tastes the same.

To help people learn more about eating healthier and saving money, the extension office will host a “Cooking Matters At The Store” pop-up tour program at 10:30 a.m., Monday, June 10 at the Person County Senior Center. It is free hour-long program that takes people on a grocery store tour that will help them spend less time grocery shopping, teach them how to make the best choices for their family, and help them plan easy and delicious meals while saving money.

This event is free to attend but we need a headcount to have enough supplies so you must call Lisa at 336-599-7484 or email jennifer_grable@ncsu.edu to register.

Try the following recipe courtesy of Utah State University Extension at http://extension.usu.edu/foodsense/recipes. For more information on Food for Thought programs, check us out online at http://facebook.com/personcountyfcs or email jennifer_grable@ncsu.edu

Potluck Chicken Casserole

Serves 8-10

1/2 cup fresh mushrooms

3 Tbsps finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp canola oil

3 Tbsp flour

1 1/4 cups milk

4 cups cooked and cubed chicken

3 cups cooked rice

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

3/4 cup crush corn flakes or breadcrumbs

Saute mushrooms, onion, and garlic in canola oil until tender. Stir in flour, then gradually add milk and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbling. Remove from heat and add chicken, rice, celery, peas, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and spoon into 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle corn flakes or breadcrumbs over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

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