NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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March into National Nutrition Month

March into National Nutrition Month


 Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to focus on healthful eating through National Nutrition Month.  National Nutritional Month actually began in 1973 as National Nutrition Week but by 1980 the week transitioned to a month-long observance in response to a growing interest in nutrition.

            To help find your healthy eating style during National Nutrition Month this year’s theme "Put Your Best Fork Forward” features several easy to implement healthful eating habits when dining out. At the office or a restaurant, eating away from home doesn't have to undermine your healthful habits.

            - Start eating healthy before you leave home. Habits formed at home will follow us out the door. While studies have shown that peer influences are associated with eating patterns, it is known that behaviors modeled by family members are a powerful force on food intake.

            Use a smart-eating strategy to plan ahead, consider the menu and choose foods carefully. Most restaurants have their menus posted online so you can make a healthy choice in advance and avoid be tempting by other choices.

            How much you eat is as important as what you eat. For example, if you plan to have lunch with coworkers, eat a light dinner. If you know you’re going to a restaurant in the evening, plan to have lighter meals earlier in the day.

            Most restaurants offer healthy side dishes such as salads and steamed or roasted vegetables. Don't be afraid to ask questions about how the food is prepared or for a substitute or an extra side of veggies.

            Extravagant portion sizes present a challenge for health-minded individuals who are eating out with their friends.  It's easy to think that the portions of food we are served are what we should be consuming, so we eat everything that comes on our plate, in our cup or brought to the table.  To-go boxes can be a lifesaver when trying to control portions. Eat half your meal at the restaurant and take the other half home for a second meal.

            The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds us that eating healthier doesn't mean changing your entire eating pattern overnight. Small changes, made over time, can add up so one forkful at a time "Put Your Best Fork Forward."  Try the following heart healthy dessert for a heart healthy change.



Baked Apple Dessert



2 medium sweet red apples (such as Gala or Braeburn)
3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans (or substitute walnuts)
2 tablespoons uncooked quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped dried cranberries
1 tablespoon cold butter, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup 100-percent apple juice


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut each apple in half horizontally. Use a melon baller or spoon to remove the core from each half, creating a rounded hole.

Combine nuts, oats, brown sugar, cranberries, butter, cinnamon and salt. Use your fingers or a fork to mix until mixture resembles coarse meal. Fill each apple half with about 2 tablespoons of oat mixture.

Place apples in an 8-inch baking dish; pour apple juice around apples in dish. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.


Calories: 151; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Sodium: 100mg; Total Carbohydrate: 24g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Protein: 1g


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