It’s Friday (March 8th, 2019)

Published 1:31 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

19 ways to eat

better in 2019

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

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To celebrate National Nutrition Month 2019© here’s a present for you…nineteen no-nonsense easy, peasy ways to help you eat right, live right and feel right. All doable, every day, all year, every year for a lifetime.  Not many trendy diets can boast that.  Ditch the “diet” and eat healthy and smart.

  • ● Eat breakfast. A healthy breakfast includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and/or vegetables. Any food can count as breakfast: yogurt parfait with fruit and nuts, cheese, eggs, whole grain breads and cereals, burritos, salsa, tortillas, peanut butter, even leftover soups, pizza, spaghetti. Your choice! And if you occasionally choose a donut or muffin balance it with skim milk and fresh fruit on the side. Balance is the key.
  • ● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. When serving your plate start with fruits and vegetables for color, flavor, texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. Aim for 2 cups fruit and 2.5 cups vegetables every day, including fresh, frozen, and canned.
  • ● Watch portion sizes. If half your plate is for fruit and veggies that leaves one fourth for grains and the other fourth for lean protein.  No unlimited amounts or trips to the buffet.  It’s about the balance. Sound familiar?
  • ● Be active.  Do whatever exercise you can, and you can probably do more than you think.  Children and teens need 60 or more minutes of physical activity every day; and adults at least 2 ½ hours per week.  Walk, ride a bike, swim, dance, play ball, jump rope, just move.   Activity keeps those extra calories from being stored as fat.  It’s a balancing act.  For real.
  • ● Make friends with food labels.  Reading the Nutrition Facts panel will help you shop, eat and drink smarter, as will paying attention to the calories listed on menus and fast food menu boards.  Adults should not ignore calories.  Knowing the number of calories in what you’re eating with help you keep it all balanced.  And remember that liquid calories count and can add up to too many total calories turning into weight gain.
  • ● Fix healthy snacks. We need snacks to sustain our energy levels between meals; children need snacks for growing bodies, brain development and learning.  A healthy snack will include at least 2 food groups: cheese stick and apple slices, ¼ cup almonds and a handful of grapes, a dab of peanut butter and ½ banana; milk and a couple of vanilla wafers. You get it.
  • ● Follow food Safety Guidelines: Proper food safety will help keep you and your family well.  This includes: regular hand washing, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat food, cooking foods to the appropriate temperature and refrigerating food promptly.  Go to for more ways to avoid getting sick from food.
  • ● Drink more water. This is so easy and so often not done. Even just adding an extra cup of water in the morning and another one in the afternoon will help keep you hydrated and well.  Adults, teens and children all need more in the summertime, whenever in a hot environment, or while being very active.
  • ● Get cooking.  Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding, and cost saving, too. Spend some time learning the basics, take cooking classes, read cookbooks and even food package directions to get started if you don’t know how. Check out the “Planning and Prep” videos at they can help get you cooking.
  • ● Learn how to eat out without comprising good nutrition.  You can eat out and be healthy.  And, you guessed it, it’s all about balance: calories, healthy options, portions, nutrition information.  Ask questions, limit how much you eat, avoid excessive liquid calories, and still try to follow healthy eating tips. Remember: “all you can eat” is never a bargain. Don’t do it.
  • Get started turning these 10 tips into healthy habits. Take a walk, drink an extra cup of water, eat more veggies, and snack on fruit and you’ll be off to a good start.
  • March forward…. and remember to spring your clock forward Saturday night March 9, to stay on schedule!
  • Recipe of the Week
  • Mac & Cheese Revisited
  • You never need to give up comfort food, just revise it!
  • 2 cups macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 cups fat free evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoons ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 12 ounces extra sharp, reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • About ¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs or Panko
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Paprika
  • Cook, drain, and rinse macaroni as directed on package.  In 2-quart saucepan combine milk, flour, dry mustard, salt and red pepper.  Whisk until smooth.  Cook over low heat until mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted.  Add cooked macaroni, stirring to mix thoroughly. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, parmesan, and finish with paprika.  Bake in 350-degree preheated oven for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Note: the evaporated milk makes this classic dish velvety rich and the spices and extra sharp cheddar give it depth and intensity of flavor, do not substitute for best results.