Nutrition is focus for March

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It’s just a little over a week until March and we begin celebrating National Nutrition Month. Are you going to March into Nutrition with us? A lot of people right now are on very unhealthy diets trying to meet their weight loss goals.

One of the most popular diets out there is a high-fat/low-carb diet. Unfortunately, it is promoting fats like bacon and sausage and other red meats. Fat is an essential nutrient for health, just like carbohydrates. However, you need to find the right source of fats and carbohydrates. There are good and bad sources for each. The good fats are the unsaturated fats, like the fatty fishes, walnuts, oils such as canola or olive oil, eggs, nuts, avocado and peanut butter. The omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Mono-unsaturated fats may improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease as well.

In the Mediterranean Way of eating that many dietitians, cardiologists as well as our Extension office promotes, there are simple steps you can take to swap your fats. You can replace solid fats such as butter or margarine with healthier cooking oils such as canola oil and olive oil.

It is also recommended to include more fish and seafood in your diet, roughly two or three times per week and reduce your red meats to two or three times per month. When eating meats such as beef, pork and lamb, be sure to at least purchase the leaner cuts of meats and limit/eliminate highly processed meats such as deli meats and bacon/sausage.

For more information on these steps as well as others, check out the Mediterranean Way of eating on the website http://medinsteadofmeds.com.

The Extension office will host its’ monthly “Change Your Plate” Lunch N’ Learn at noon, Tuesday, March 12 at the Person County Office Building. This event is $5 to attend and there will be some heart healthy food and helpful information. The focus will be on nutrition and changes you can make to your MyPlate in order to be healthier.

Try the following recipe courtesy of Oklahoma SNAP-Education at https://getfreshcooking.com/recipes For more information on Food for Thought programs, activities and recipes, check us out online at http://facebook.com/personcountyfcs or email jennifer_grable@ncsu.edu

Veggie Bow Tie Skillet

Serves 9 (~3/4 cup)

1 pound ground beef, extra lean

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cup pasta, bow tie, uncooked

3/4 cup beef broth, low sodium

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 cup bell pepper, chopped

2 cups tomato, chopped

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, reduced fat

In a skillet, cook the ground beef and onion over medium heat until meat is done. Rinse and drain meat/onions and return to skillet. Cook pasta as directed omitting salt and fat. To the skillet, stir in the broth, cooked pasta, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Add bell pepper and tomato and cook about 2 minutes. Stir occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Nutrition information: 140 calories, 5g fat, 35mg cholesterol, 1g fiber, 15g protein, 9g carbohydrates, 150mg sodium.

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