Food Day 2012 is just about here. The annual nationwide celebration and movement, which takes place annually on October 24, is a day dedicated to unifying food efforts across the country to improve our nation’s food policies and encourage healthy and sustainable food practices.
I personally see this as a wonderful opportunity to challenge Americans to get REAL and eat REAL FOODS! Putting a focus on foods that bolster our health, we can reap powerful nutrient-rich benefits. Overly- processed foods are usually high in fat, sugar and salt, and often high in calories and low in nutrients – increasing risk of chronic disease. Making a commitment to consuming vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, bean/peas, nuts, healthy oils, lean meat and low- or non-fat dairy foods each day, we can reduce the several hundred thousand premature deaths each year attributed to unhealthy choices and heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer.
Need help getting started on improving your healthy lifestyle choices? Download one of the delicious, healthful and easy-to- prepare recipes from some of the country’s most prominent chefs and cookbook writers in the Food Day Cookbook. You can also check out recipes of mine from my book, The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step up to the Plate (2009). This book’s recipe section focuses on fresh ingredients that you can find in season now at your local farmer’s market or in the produce section of your grocery store. You will also find easy, fun ways to eat more vegetables and fruits. Following is a favorite recipe of mine to jumpstart your commitment to real foods.
Ranch Pasta and Vegetable Salad
6 ounces corkscrew pasta, uncooked (or your favorite wholegrained pasta)
¼ pound fresh snow peas, trimmed (about 1 ½ cups)
1 ½ cups fresh broccoli flowerets
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup fresh cherry tomato halves
2 medium fresh yellow squash, trimmed and cut into 2” x ¼” strips
Dressing of blenderized:
¾ cup nonfat buttermilk
½ cup 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1 green onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (about 2 Tablespoons)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; rinse under
cold water, and drain again. Place in a large bowl.
2. Blanch snow peas, broccoli and squash in boiling water 30 seconds; drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking process. Drain well; add to pasta.
3. Process buttermilk and next 4 ingredients in an electric blender until smooth; add green onion, jalapeno and cilantro; process until minced. Pour over pasta mixture, and toss. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Yield: 8 cups (8 servings)
Per Serving: 125 Calories, 1 g Fat, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein
You can also take action on Food Day by organizing or participating in a local event. For more information about what’s happening around you, visit http://foodday.org. You will find also a link there where you can ask your Congress leaders to support the following Food Day goals:
1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods.
2. Support sustainable farms. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger.Organize food drives.
3. Protect the environment with reasonable regulations.
4. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids.
5. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers.
Hope you’ll join the thousands of parents, teachers, students, health
professionals, community organizers and local officials across America this Food Day and push for healthier, more sustainable food policies.
For more ideas on heart-healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition and visit:http://