March

Chicken Florentine

Updated: 8/22/18

Looking for a noodle recipe to celebrate 'National Noodle Month' in March?  Check out our Soba Noodle Chicken Florentine recipe!  Get your greens in and go green!

Image result for soba noodles

Chicken Florentine

Servings:

1 Protein
1 Starch
3 Vegetables

Ingredients:
1 portion boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 Tbsp. dried Italian Seasoning
1 serving Soba Noodles
1 small Tomato (chopped)
1/4 Onion (medium sized, chopped)
1/2 cup Zucchini (chopped)
1 Garlic Clove (sliced)
3 cups Water
1 cup fresh Spinach
Unflavored Cooking Spray

Preparation:
Heat a stockpot over medium high heat, spray bottom of pot with unflavored cooking spray. Season the chicken with Italian seasoning, and add to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is browned on all sides.

Remove chicken from the pot. Add tomato, onion, zucchini, garlic, water, and soba noodles to the same pot. Bring to a boil; stir and turn soba noodles frequently with tongs for about 3-5 minutes.

Return chicken to the pot and stir in with other ingredients, add spinach just before serving.

National Nutrition Month: Shop Locally

Updated: 8/2/18 Throughout 'National Nutrition Month' in March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to "Go Further with Food" by choosing foods that are healthy for your body and environment.  Shopping locally at Farmer's Markets is one way to "Go Further with Food".

Food purchased at local farmers markets often is more affordable and tastes better than at commercial grocery stores because it is locally grown and naturally ripened.  When you shop at farmers markets, you are cutting out the middleman (the grocer store) and paying the farmer directly.  You will be buying produce in season and in its freshest form.  This is a great way to get fresh produce at a lower cost.  Buying locally grown food also helps conserve natural resources and has a minimal effect on the environment.  Some farmers markets are even open year-round!

Try talking to the local farmers at the market about fruits and vegetables.  They will often share how the food is grown, growing cycles, what it tastes like, and they can help give ideas of different recipes to prepare with the food.

Plan ahead when you shop locally.  Bring a shopping list and purchase foods you know how to prepare.  You can buy certain product (like blueberries) in bulk and freeze it for when the produce is not in season.

National Nutrition Month: Storing Fruits and Vegetables to Reduce Waste

For 'National Nutrition Month' in March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages individuals to "Go Further with Food" by storing food properly to reduce waste and lower your grocery costs. Did you know that around 31 percent of all edible food is wasted in the U.S., and American households throw away nearly 28 percent of fruits and vegetables?  Fortunately, you can take steps to help prevent reduce these numbers!

Here are some tips to help you stretch your produce and dollars by storing fruits and vegetables properly:

With the exception of lettuce and greens (these should be washed with stems kept moist), don’t wash, cut or peel your produce until you are ready to eat it.  Many fruits and vegetables should be stored only at room temperature because refrigerator temperatures (usually 38° to 40°F) damage them or prevent them from ripening to good flavor and texture.  For example, when stored in the refrigerator, sweet potatoes take on off-flavors and a hard core when cooked after being refrigerated (store these instead in a cool, dark place like a pantry – the same goes for onions and garlic.)  Watermelons lose their flavor and deep red color if they are stored for longer than 3 days in the refrigerator.  Pink tomatoes ripen to a better taste and red color if they are left at room temperature.  They do not turn red in the refrigerator, and even red tomatoes kept in the refrigerator lose their flavor.  Other produce can be ripened on the counter, and then stored in the refrigerator.  After peeling or cutting produce, it should always be refrigerated.

The counter storage area should be away from direct sunlight to prevent produce from becoming too warm.  Fruits and vegetables that are recommended to be stored on the counter can typically be kept for at least a few days.  Do not place produce in sealed plastic bags on the counter because this slows ripening and may increase off-odors and decay due to accumulation of carbon dioxide and depletion of oxygen inside the sealed bag.  Ripening in a bowl or paper bag can be enhanced by placing one ripe apple with every 5 to 7 pieces of fruit to be ripened.  Apples produce ethylene gas that speeds up ripening.

Refrigerated fruits and vegetables should be kept in perforated plastic bags in the produce drawers of the refrigerator.  Separate fruits from vegetables (use one drawer for each group).  Some of the produce that should be stored in the refrigerator (instead of the counter top) includes berries, grapes, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, peppers, greens, cauliflower, and lettuce.  Use all refrigerated fruits and vegetables within a few days since longer storage results in loss of freshness and flavor.

March is National Nutrition Month

March is 'National Nutrition Month'! 'National Nutrition Month' is a campaign focused on the importance of healthy eating and exercise.  The 2018 theme of 'National Nutrition Month' is "Go Further with Food".  Whether you are starting off your day with a healthy meal for breakfast, or preparing dinner for your family, the foods you choose make a real difference. 

The 2018 theme encourages us to prepare our foods to go further by planning meals in advance, and to work toward achieving the maximum nutritional benefits that foods have to offer.  Learning how to "Go Further with Food" will help save money and nutrients!

Throughout the Month of March, focus on taking the following actions to "Go Further" with your food:

1. Eat a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, starches and proteins from your meal plan each day.

2. Consider the foods you already have on hand at home, before making a trip to the grocery store.  Make a list before grocery shopping, and only buy what you need.

3. Be mindful of portion sizes - try using a smaller plate and utensil when serving your food.  Always measure foods when able, do not guess portion sizes.

4. Purchase amounts of fruits and vegetables that can be eaten or frozen within a few days.

5. Plan new ways to use leftovers during the week.

6. Be physically active each day, and find a type of exercise that you enjoy and that fits your lifestyle.

7. Regularly meet with your MWLC Consultant to stay on track with your weight loss.

Be sure to check out the MWLC News page throughout March for more tips on how to "Go Further with Food"!