3.19.2013

Who Do You Live For?

During National Nutrition Month, I just cannot stop thinking of kids. Kids and nutrition is something very close to my heart. There are many children who do not know when their next meal will be and then there are children who have access to an abundance of food, but unhealthy. Both are important issues facing American children.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 16.7 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.  In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Who do you live for?  I am sure there is a child in your life who either needs food, needs education about good nutrition, or needs both. Take the time to pay attention to our future, we want them to live healthy and happy lives as kids, so they may have healthy and happy lives as adults.

Enjoy this delicious, healthy and kid- friendly recipes that is one of my friend's, Carter, favorites.

Healthy Three Cheese Macaroni

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 tablespoons wheat flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups uncooked whole-grain elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
Cooking spray
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt; stir until cheeses melt. Discard bay leaf.

2. Preheat oven to 375°.

3. Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes or until almost tender, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to cheese mixture, stirring well. Place about 1/2 cup pasta mixture into each of 6 (1-cup) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. Top evenly with remaining pasta mixture. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Spray lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle with pepper. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until heated.

Adapted from Jeanne Thiel Kelley, Cooking Light September 2008