Celebrate National Nutrition Month by savoring these tasty foods

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Parents are the most important role models for their children.

For National Nutrition Month, celebrated each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages parents to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” by modeling healthful eating habits – one fork at a time.
Cook from Scratch

“Cooking from scratch yields health benefits for you and your family,” said Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Jennifer Bruning. “Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods, and enjoy family dinners each night or as often as possible.”

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Nutrient-dense options — foods packed with important nutrients — are naturally lean or low in solid fats and have little or no added solid fats, sugars or sodium.
Make Small Changes in Eating Habits

Small changes families can make to their eating habits:

• Start the family’s day with a nutritious breakfast.

• During each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

• Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.

• Talk positively about eating healthy foods. Your kids are listening.

• Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) to create a plan that works best for you and your family.

Making small changes in the kitchen is just one part of becoming healthier over time. Improving overall well-being requires a lifelong commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors, including daily physical activity. Parents can provide opportunities and encourage their children to spend time each day playing fun, physical activities.
Set an Example

The first thing parents can do is set a good example by being physically active. Don’t be a spectator – join in on the fun. An easy way is by planning an activity hour twice a week where parents and their kids can play a sport or physically active game together.

As part of National Nutrition Month, the academy’s website eatright.org includes articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. I love this website and share information with you, from it often. Let’s work hard to put this month’s theme into practice by “Putting our best fork forward” not only now, but throughout the year.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; ACES
As we celebrate March  as national nutrition month, remember that the month is meant to spotlight the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. According to the USDA, fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are under-consumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). These recipes are great ways to include fruits into your diet.
Banana Nut Bread


1 /2-cup corn-oil margarine

1 /2-cup sugar

3  egg whites

3 ripe bananas

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 /4- teaspoon salt

1 /2- cup chopped pecans

Butter flavor vegetable cooking spray

Cream margarine and sugar by beating margarine until soft and smooth and then gradually adding sugar, beating after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat egg whites until they are foamy and add to creamed mixture. Beat well. Put bananas through a sieve or mash well with a fork. Add lemon juice to bananas and stir. Add bananas to creamed mixture and stir.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt and stir until evenly blended. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and mix quickly. Stir in pecans. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Makes 15 slices. 219 calories per slice.
Cranberry Salad


1 cup cranberries

1 3-ounce package raspberry gelatin dessert

1 unpeeled orange, quartered and seeds removed

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup-boiling water

1 cup drained crushed pineapple

Wash cranberries and remove bad ones. Grind the cranberries and orange quarters, using the medium blade of a food chopper or processor. Add sugar and stir. Cover and let stand in refrigerator for 24 hours. Put gelatin in a bowl and add boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Chill until gelatin is the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.

Add pineapple to cranberry mixture and mix well. Add to thickened gelatin and stir until well mixed. Pout into an 8-inch square baking dish that has been rinsed in cold water. Cover and chill until firm. Cut into 9 squares.

Makes 9 servings. Seventy-three calories per serving.


Dried Fruit and Nut Mix


1 cup pitted prunes, cut in halves

1 cup dried apricots, cut in quarters

1 /2 cup pecan halves

1 cup walnuts cut in quarters

1 cup raisins

1 /2 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts

1 cup dates, cut in quarters

1 cup dried apples, cut in pieces


Combine all ingredients and toss until evenly mixed. Store in an airtight container or moisture-vapor resistant bag.

These recipes and many more can be found in The Auburn Cookbook, a publication of Alabama Extension.