February is American Heart Month, and unfortunately, most of us know someone who has had heart disease. According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.
However, we can fight heart disease by making heart-healthy choices. These choices include eating several servings of vegetables and fruits each day, consuming less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, eating whole grains and choosing low-fat protein sources. The Eat3 meal of the month for February, found at www.eat3.org, is a wonderful example of a heart healthy meal.
Eat3 can help one find ways to eat well, eat local and eat together. As part of the Farmers' Market Nutrition Outreach Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension provides ways to Eat3 throughout the year.
Families are encouraged to take advantage of the many resources available free at www.eat3.org. The Eat3 website features seasonal recipes with nutrition information and tips. In addition, information is available to help families who receive SNAP benefits, WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program checks, and WIC vegetable and fruit checks use food resources at local farmers markets.
When families eat well, eat local and eat together, they tend to eat better - meals have more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and fewer sweetened soft drinks. Buying locally produced foods means money stays within the local community. Buying from local farmers supports the local economy and helps land stay productive.
Cornell Cooperative Extension provides food and nutrition education in a variety of agriculture, 4-H and nutrition venues, such as farmers' markets, county fairs, health and wellness events, community garden programs, and nutrition education programs and through county newsletters.
Interactive sessions are fun and give people new ideas to help them improve nutritional status, fit more exercise into their busy days and save money. Classes can be scheduled at convenient times and locations throughout Chautauqua County. Bilingual education is available. For more information call 664-9502 ext. 217.
MEAL OF THE MONTH
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and woody core removed
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 small yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into eighths
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups skim milk
Position rack to lower third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees.
Toss parsnips, carrots, onion, oil, tsp salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes until soft and beginning to brown, about 40 minutes.
Boil vinegar in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about cup, 10-14 minutes. Watch carefully during final minutes to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
Puree half of the parsnip mixture in a blender until very smooth; transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the second half with the milk until very smooth; add to the saucepan.
Reheat soup over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with balsamic syrup.
Makes: 6 servings
Nutrition Information: calories 230 (13 percent from fat); fat 3g (sat 0g); cholesterol 0mg; sodium 250mg; carbohydrate 44g; fiber 9g; protein 6g; calcium 20 percent; iron 8 percent