Fruit and veggies curb holiday weight gain

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Resources can be found online at choosemyplate.org where they recommend that half of our plates should be fruits and vegetables each day. There are a lot of benefits for adding more fruits and vegetables to your plates.

They are low in calories and fat while providing key nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. They also add flavor, color and texture to your meals which make you more likely to enjoy your meals.

We understand that during the next two months, there will be lots of temptations so we want to give you some simple steps. When you get a sweet tooth, just simply tweak the sweets by eating fruit instead of the cakes and pies.

Drink water instead of sugary beverages to reduce calories and your sugar intake. Bake healthier by making some simple substitutions and cooking with olive or canola oil instead of butter. Spice up your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt, fat back, ham hocks, or lard.

Brighten your meal and aim to eat a rainbow by adding more colorful fruits and vegetables and less starchy foods. Skim the fat by decreasing the fat levels of your dairy products and protein choices. Swap the grains and shoot for whole grains when eating rice or bread.

And go easy on the gravy and other condiments such as dressings and sauces. Throughout the entire holiday season, make exercise a part of your routine so that you won’t be one of those people who usually gain one to five pounds each year.

Also, you still have time to register for the free seven-week Holiday Challenge that starts on Nov. 18 and ends Dec. 31.

The focus is to “Maintain, Don’t Gain” and participants will receive a weekly newsletter that contains practical tips, strategies, recipes and other information to help them successfully navigate their way through the holiday season.

Participants will also receive daily tips, weekly challenges and extra support through social media. In addition, participants can download and print activity logs, a weight log and a food journal from esmmweighless.com to help them track their progress. Registration is free and easy with a valid email address, and you can sign up at esmmweighless.com.

Try the following recipe courtesy of the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetesfoodhub.org. For more information on Food for Thought programs, activities and recipes, check us out online at http://facebook.com/persongranvillefcs or email jennifer_grable@ncsu.edu

Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

4 (4 oz.) chicken breasts, skinless, boneless

1 tsp salt (optional)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic and whisk until combined. Brush on or pour lemon juice mixture over each chicken breast, coating evenly. Sprinkle each chicken breast evenly with paprika and bake in oven for 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees. Let the chicken breasts rest, covered with foil for 10-15 minutes before slicing or serving.

Nutrition Information: 170 calories, 6g fat, 60mg sodium, 0g fiber.

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