National Nutrition Month spotlights healthy eating habits

March is full of fun things to celebrate. It is National Caffeine Awareness Month, as well as National Flour, Frozen Food, Noodle, Peanut and Sauce Month. There’s a recipe in there somewhere for sure. When food and health are concerned, March is also National Nutrition Month.

National Nutrition Month is an education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It started in 1973 and has been held annually ever since. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Registered Dietitian Day, also celebrated in March, recognizes dietitians for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives. The Greater Spokane Dietetic Association is a group of local nutrition experts who practice in our community. During the month of March their goal is to spread the word about the importance of nutrition in a healthy lifestyle.

This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.” For most of us, knowing what we should eat and actually eating that way are two entirely different things. Plus, we are all busy and have different food preferences and tolerances. Registered dietitians recognize these factors and are trained to work with individuals to plan a diet that works best for them.

On the Web, tips and other resources are available from the Greater Spokane Dietetic Association at www.eatright, and from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Those websites can help find a registered dietitian in your area and give detailed information on specific nutrition topics including childhood obesity, food safety, food allergies and diabetes.

Members of the GSDA will be featured in the food section of The Spokesman-Review this month offering tips on good eating habits, smart snacking, healthy eating on the run and ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Sweet Potato Quesadilla

From National Nutrition Month Recipes 2013,

2 small sweet potatoes

2 medium red, yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Cooking spray

4 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

1 cup shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese

Wash potatoes well. Pierce with a fork 5 or 6 times and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. Remove flesh from the skins and mash the flesh. Keep warm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onion, salt and pepper. Cook 10-12 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 tortilla to skillet and sprinkle with ¼ cup cheese. Heat until cheese begins to melt. Spread approximately 1/4 of the mashed potatoes over 1/2 of tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the pepper and onion mixture, using a slotted spoon to drain off excess moisture.

Fold over tortilla and cook approximately 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove quesadilla from heat and keep warm. Repeat with additional tortillas.

Serve with tomato salsa and sour cream if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 333 calories, 11 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 47 grams carbohydrate, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams dietary fiber, 424 milligrams sodium.

Healthy eating tips

Dietitians from the Greater Spokane Dietetics Association are sharing healthy eating tips in the Food section each Wednesday in March for National Nutrition Month.

• Snack only when you’re hungry. Skip the urge to nibble when you are bored, frustrated or stressed. Instead, feed the urge to do something by doing something different that is pleasant such as taking the dog for a walk, spending time in the garden or doing a favorite craft or hobby. – Nick Wood

• Eating directly from a larger, multiple-serving package can lead to overeating. Keep portion control in mind. Have a single-serve container of yogurt or put a small serving of nuts in a bowl – Kelli Frederick

Dine Out to Feed Spokane

Participating restaurants in the Spokane area are donating a portion of sales during March to help for the annual Dine Out to Feed Spokane fundraiser sponsored by the Greater Spokane Dietetics Association. The money raised helps support operating costs for Feed Spokane and raise awareness of hunger in our local area. Feed Spokane is a nonprofit group that works to eliminate waste and hunger by rescuing prepared food from area restaurants. The donated food is distributed to more than 50 meal sites, serving 3,000 meals daily.

The participants have designated certain days or items for the fundraiser. A printable list of restaurants is available at

Black Tie Coffee, 2910 E. 29th Ave., monthly food sales.

Broadway Diner at the Spokane Valley Flying J, 6606 E. Broadway Ave., Sunday sales.

Hay J’s Bistro, 21706 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake, March 25 sales.

Lalo’s Pizza & Calzone, 909 S. Grand Blvd., March 8 and 29 sales.

Lindaman’s, 1235 S. Grand Blvd., Wednesday sales.

Max at Mirabeau, 1100 N. Sullivan Road, special feature items.

Pete’s Pizza, 821 E. Sharp Ave. and 2328 W. Northwest Blvd., large “Feed Spokane” pizza sales.

Picabu Bistro, 901 W. 14th Ave., March 13 sales.

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, 101 W. Eighth Ave., Wednesday soup sales.

Red Lion Hotel at the Park, 303 W. North River Drive, Windows Restaurant, Park Place Lounge, March 15 sales.

Saranac Public House, 21 W. Main Ave., macaroni and cheese sales.

Satellite Diner, 425 W. Sprague Ave., special “Dine Out” items.

Scratch, 1007 W. First Ave., March 17 sales.

Senor Froggy/Italian Express, 3024 S. Regal St., special “Dine Out” pasta meal.

Sportsman Cafe, 6410 N. Market St., Friday sales.

Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar, 401 E. Farwell Road, 4320 S. Regal St., 808 W. Main Ave., 9820 N. Nevada St. and 14728 E. Indiana Ave., sticky cookie sales.