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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 washington.org/gsda, and from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, www.eatright.org. 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, www.eatright.org/kids

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.



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