March is National Nutrition Month, so I challenge you to give your diet a spring tune-up and return to the basics of healthy eating. Despite the promises made on TV and social media there is no one food, drink, pill or machine that is the key to achieving optimal health.

National Nutrition Month, began in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. Today, nearly four decades later, nutrition interest is at an all-time high. More than one in three U.S. consumers are following a specific diet or eating regimen according to the 2018 Food and Health survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

Of concern to me is the survey finding that eight in 10 consumers said there is a lot of conflicting information about what foods to eat or avoid. If you are one of those consumers, then I encourage you to seek out the expertise of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN’s). The RDN credential is a vital distinction when determining where to get safe and accurate nutrition information. They work in a variety of settings including some supermarket chains.

To my knowledge, Weis Supermarket, is the only store in Frederick County to provide this service and I promote it regularly. No one can read every label, including myself, so use this invaluable resource to save you time to locate the products your family needs.

The Weis Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is Taylor Simpson, who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition. Taylor is passionate about food and nutrition and enjoys sharing this passion with customers and the community. She believes learning to prepare healthful, home cooked meals and snacks is a great lifestyle habit to meet your nutrition goals.

Taylor conducts grocery tours, food tastings, cooking demos, workshops, and nutrition consultations. On Saturday, March 30, from 9am to 6pm, bring your nutrition questions and drop-in to Taylor’s office beside the Pharmacy at the Brunswick store on Dutchman’s Creek Drive. She can answer your questions related to disease or weight management, fad diets, general healthy eating, and even help you set some healthy goals.

Other health and wellness programming that’s led by The Weis Dietitian team is the HealthyBites Magazine, a FREE bimonthly resource available in stores and online. This colorful publication has nutrition information, healthy eating tips, tasty seasonal recipes, meal solutions and new product spotlights. View it healthybites.weismarkets.com

To guide customers in locating foods that fit their health and lifestyle needs, the Weis Dietitian team have developed colorful icons located on Weis pricing tags. These icons identify foods for the management of chronic diseases like heart disease (heart healthy, low sodium) and diabetes (carb conscious, no sugar added). Gluten free items are marked for shoppers with celiac disease. Other icon examples are organic, who grain, vegan, etc. There are 14 icons in all and this system makes shopping faster and more efficient.

If you are seeking the guidance of a Weis Dietitian, but aren’t located near Taylor’s stores, you can connect with the team at weisdietitians@weismarkets.com to ask a food or nutrition question or inquire about a custom health and wellness event. All Weis Dietitian events are entirely complimentary.

Enjoy this recipe from the March, 2019, edition of Healthy Bites. http://healthybites.weismarkets.com/19Mar/Page-12.

WALNUT, QUINOA and SPINACH STUFFED PEPPERS

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 40 minutes

Servings: Makes 4

4 red bell peppers

½ cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups chopped baby spinach

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice ½-inch from the top of each bell pepper; reserve tops. Remove seeds and inner membranes from peppers; place cut side up in 9-inch square baking dish.

Cook quinoa in 1 cup water as package label directs; transfer to a medium bowl. Stir 1 cup walnuts into the cooked quinoa. Stir spinach into quinoa mixture; divide evenly into each pepper.

Sprinkle feta cheese over peppers; cover with the pepper tops. Bake for 35 minutes or until peppers are tender.

For more information about the University of Maryland Extension Frederick County Office check out our website http://extension.umd.edu/frederick-county University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all persons and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Deborah Rhoades, MA, RD, FAND, is a licensed Registered Dietitian, Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics, and Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences.

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