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ROLE MODELS IN FAMILY HELP CHILDREN LEARN HEALTHY EATING HABITS

A recent survey of Salt Lake mothers underscored their concern for nutrition and their children's dietary habits.

Sponsored by Rosarita Mexican Foods, the local survey discovered that Utah mothers are unwilling to sacrifice nutritional quality for convenience, work to schedule home-cooked family meals and encourage healthy eating habits in their families.More than half the local respondents emphasized the importance of establishing healthy eating habits in their homes, a skill they hope extends to food choices made away from home.

Patricia Baird, registered dietitian who visited Salt Lake City in conjunction with the survey, indicates the importance of family role models in developing wholesome eating habits.

"If parents set a bad example by avoiding nutritious eating, how can they be successful teaching their children?" Baird asks.

Despite the available and continued research linking long-term health problems to dietary intake, many Americans still question the value of eating correctly.

In an effort to dispel the common misconceptions attached to redesigned eating habits, the American Dietetic Association selected "Eat Right America" as the theme for March Nutrition Month.

"Most Americans are concerned about fat and cholesterol, but confused about what to do about it," says Judy Dodd, president of the ADA. "Though acknowledging a concern, most people are not making necessary changes in their diets because they either lack basic nutrition knowledge or fear that healthy eating means giving up all their favorite foods."

A low-fat eating regimen doesn't mean giving up the pleasures of eating the foods we enjoy or sacrificing flavor, Dodd continues. "The key to eating right is balance, moderation and variety, while eating smaller portions of higher fat foods and eating them less frequently."

Dodd offers suggestions for menu planning that reduce reliance on higher-fat foods:

- Build menus around complex carbohydrates instead of meats at least three times a week.

- Think of meat as a flavoring added to stir-fry dishes or pasta sauces.

- Concentrate on whole-grain cereals with low-fat milk at breakfast. Lunches should include vegetables, fruits and lean meat sandwiches.

- Include fresh fruit and vegetable snacks as well as whole-grain breads, plain popcorn, pretzels and low-fat yogurt.

For more information on developing healthy eating habits for all family members, call the National Council for Nutrition and Diet hotline 1-800-366-1655. Registered dietitians are available to answer specific questions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. During March National Nutrition month, recorded messages concerning fat and cholesterol are available 24 hours a day.

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(Recipes)

Wild Rice Stuffed Squash

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

1 onion, cut into thin wedges

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons margarine

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried

1 cup cooked wild or brown rice

1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash cut-side down in shallow baking dish. Bake 30 minutes. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in margarine in a non-stick skillet until tender, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add rice; heat through. Turn partially baked squash cut-side up in same baking dish. Spoon rice mixture into squash halves; press down lightly and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15-20 minute or more until squash is tender. Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains 292 calories; 7 gm fat; 124 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol.

Spanish Steak Roll with Sauteed Vegetables

1 pound boneless top sirloin, cut 3/4-inch thick

1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

1 teaspoon butter

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1 each medium red and green pepper, cut into thin strips

1 small white onion, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon sour cream

2 tablespoons green chilies, chopped and drained

Lemon slices

Cilantro sprigs

Pound boneless beef with flat side of meat mallet to about 1/4-inch thickness. Combine 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and pepper; sprinkle over steak. Heat 1 teaspoon oil and butter in a heavy frying pan until hot. Pan-fry steak 5-7 minutes for medium rare or to desired doneness, turning once. Remove steak to heated platter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoons salt. Keep warm. Add remaining oil to frying pan. Add peppers, onion, mushrooms and walnuts. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and chili powder; sprinkle over vegetables; continue to cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Spread steak with sour cream; top with chilies. Starting at short side, roll up steak jelly-roll fashion; secure with 4 wooden picks. Spoon vegetables around steak; garnish with lemon slices and cilantro sprigs. To serve, carve steak roll between wooden picks; remove and discard picks. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains 277 calories; 16 gm fat; 521 mg sodium; 73 mg cholesterol.

Florida Coast Rice with Beans

1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup uncooked rice

11/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

1-2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers, chopped

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 can (16 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

Lime wedges Saute onion and garlic in oil about 2 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat. Add broth, water, peppers and cloves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in beans; heat through. Stir in cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains 312; 3 gm fat; 187 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol.

Key Lime Cake

13/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

11/2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2/3 cup buttermilk

Lime Syrup:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup fresh lime juice Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch bundt or 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. In a bowl, beat butter until softened; gradually add sugar, eggs, lime zest and juice. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk into the butter mixture. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Loosen edges and invert onto a wire rack to cool.

To make syrup, whisk together powdered sugar and lime juice. While the cake is still warm, poke holes in it using a skewer or cake tester. Slowly spoon the lime syrup over the cake, spooning any juice that accumulates on the plate below over the cake. (The cake can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.) Just before serving, sift a little powdered sugar over the cake. Serves 8.

Each serving contains 345 calories; 10 gm fat; 259 mg sodium; 54 mg cholesterol.