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Gingered pork stir fry is a healthy eating option that won't leave you in the kitchen all day. 

Making New Year’s Resolutions is a part of starting a new year for many, and making healthy choices in what we eat is usually included in that list.

However, once the month of February draws near, we tend to fall back to our old habits. If your resolve for 2019 is to feed yourself and your family in ways that will improve their health and well-being, try to find more ways to include in your diet a colorful selection of vegetables and fruits, seafood, low-fat dairy and healthy protein choices, including dried beans, nuts and lower-fat meats.

Choose a variety of whole grains, and reduce your intake of sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium. Preparing more of your meals at home will help in maintaining your goals since you will be making the choice of what goes into your food. The following recipes feature healthy options that are rich in flavor in addition to having ease of preparation.

Gingered pork and vegetables stir-fry

A stir-fry is usually a healthy choice and this gingered pork with vegetables checks in at around 170 calories per servings. Once the meat and vegetables are sliced, the dish can be assembled quickly.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 (14 – 16 oz.) pork tenderloin, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons peeled, grated fresh ginger

1 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil

8 ounces snow peas, strings removed

1 (8 oz.) medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

4 green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces (including tops)

Directions:

In medium bowl, toss pork and fresh ginger. In cup, mix broth, teriyaki sauce, and cornstarch. In non-stick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add snow peas, zucchini and green onions and cook, stirring frequently (stir-frying), until lightly browned and tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl. In same skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil; add pork mixture and stir-fry until pork just loses its pink color. Transfer pork to bowl with vegetables. Stir cornstarch mixture; add to skillet and heat to boiling. Boil until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Stir in pork and vegetables; heat through. Serve with cooked rice if desired and fresh fruit. Source: Good Housekeeping, “400 Healthy Recipes, Easy, Healthy, Low-Calorie,” Hearst Books.

Lemon-herb roasted salmon with broccoli and tomatoes

For a quick weeknight meal it doesn’t get much simpler than having all your ingredients in one pan, and lining the pan with parchment paper or foil makes the clean-up easy as well. Serving a meal of fish at least twice a week is recommended for our general health, especially for heart health. This recipe for salmon includes healthy vegetable choices as well, and provides around 276 calories per serving.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 (1-lb.) fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillet

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ teaspoons oregano, crushed

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon

2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil

1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley

1 tablespoons honey

Directions:

Thaw salmon, if frozen. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15x10-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Rinse salmon; pat dry with paper towels. Place salmon in prepared pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon of the oregano, the salt and pepper. In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, broccoli, garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and ¾ teaspoon oregano. Sprinkle lightly with additional salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place in pan with salmon. Roast salmon and vegetables, uncovered, 15 to 18 minutes or just until salmon flakes. Meanwhile, remove 1 teaspoon zest and squeeze 3 tablespoons' juice from lemon. In a small bowl combine lemon zest, juice, basil, parsley and honey; spoon over salmon and vegetables before serving. Source: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication, “Mediterranean Recipes,” 2017.

Hoppin’ John with orange bell peppers

Orange-colored produce is bursting with carotenoids that help to safeguard your health in fighting off inflammation, and preventing the build-up of fatty plaques in your arteries. For the most concentrated sources, load up on carrots, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes and papayas. Most Hoppin’ John recipes, a popular Southern New Year's dish, are fairly high in fat, but this healthier choice with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper brings on the flavor without the calories (215 per serving). Those two spices contain high amounts of beta carotene and the orange-colored peppers provide an additional boost.

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium orange bell peppers, chopped (½-inch thick)

4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 small bunch kale or collards (about 8 ounces), trimmed and chopped

4 cups cooked black-eyed peas (homemade, frozen, or canned, rinsed)

1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown and smell fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt; cook stirring, for 15 seconds. Stir in kale or collards by the handful; cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted a bit, about 2 minutes. Add black-eyed peas, tomatoes and their juice, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes. Serve along with brown rice, if desired. Source: “Eating Well, Brilliant Holidays,” November/December 2016.

Bernie Mason writes the Local Flavor column for Lee Montana Newspapers. She was a Yellowstone County extension agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.

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