Spring into nutrition during March

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Since March is National Nutrition Month and today is the first official day of spring, we want to encourage everyone to spring into nutrition. That simply means increasing your physical activity and your intake of healthy foods, specifically fruits and vegetables.

With the days getting longer and warmer weather starting to be around more frequently, we can also start being more active. The best way to achieve your healthy goals is to start with a plan.

Set small and achievable weekly goals for yourself. If you are working, try and take a 15-20 minute break during your lunch to walk outside. Meal planning is a wonderful tool to help aid us in eating healthier. There are a lot of ways to do this. You can just make plans for something to do with your leftovers for the week. For example, if you had roasted vegetables as your side dish last night, try a roasted vegetable taco for lunch, wrapping some of those delicious leftovers up into a whole grain tortilla. When working with individuals on a weight less plan, we recommend they try something new whether it be a fitness class or a recipe. There are a variety of exercise programs at the Senior Center and the Recreations, Arts and Parks program. Every Wednesday, I put out a new recipe in my weekly newspaper articles or you can check out our Food for Thought Facebook page for our Good Food Friday posts with a healthy, delicious recipe. If these tips seem difficult to you, then I just recommend starting small. Work on planning one meal for the week or get one 30-minute exercise break in and go from there.

March is also National Colon Health Awareness Month, and we hope you are able to join us at our “Hope for the Scope” event to promote colon cancer awareness Thursday, March 21st from 5:30 - 7 p.m. at Piedmont Community College, Room S-100. We will have a panel discussion with local surgeons and gastroenterologists and some stories from people in our community who have been affected by colon cancer. We will have some colon healthy food, door prizes, educational booths and so much more. It is free to attend.

Try the following recipe courtesy of University of Kentucky Extension at https://fcs-hes.ca.uky.edu/content/plate-it-recipes-season. For more information on Food for Thought programs and recipes, check us out online at http://facebook.com/personcountyfcs or email jennifer_grable@ncsu.edu

Dijon Chicken Asparagus Roll Ups

Serves 4

3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

½ cup low fat mayonnaise

1 lemon, juiced (~3 Tbsp)

2 tsps dried thyme

2 tsps black pepper

½ tsp salt

16 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

4 slices skim mozzarella cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 11-by-7-inch baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper; set aside. Place asparagus in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Place chicken breasts between two sheets of heavy plastic (a re-sealable freezer bag works well) on a firm surface. Pound the chicken breasts with the smooth side of a meat mallet to thickness of 1/4 inch. Place one slice of cheese and four asparagus spears on each breast. Tightly roll the chicken breasts around the asparagus and cheese. Place each, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Apply a coating of the mustard mixture to each chicken breast and sprinkle each with the panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to secure. Bake 35 minutes or until the chicken temperature is 165 degrees F. For crisper chicken, place roll-ups under the broiler for 1-2 minutes on high. 

Nutritional information: 370 calories, 10g fat, 2g fiber, 1060mg sodium, 115mg cholesterol, 41g protein

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