Celebrate diversity through food | Lifestyles

National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign created by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that is celebrated during March. This year’s theme is to celebrate a world of flavors, embracing global cultures, cuisines, and inclusivity.

Food is an important part of culture and can provide a connection to a person’s family or country. Food also feeds the soul. For example, our comfort foods often show who we are and where we come from since they are rooted in tradition. Every single culture and religion uses food as part of their celebrations because food brings people together. Sharing meals, exchanging recipes, and posting photos of food are all different ways that food brings people together.

Food operates as an expression of cultural identity. Immigrants bring the food of their countries with them and cook traditional food as a way to preserve their culture. Different cultures tend to use ingredients including fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and preparation techniques that might be new to us. Trying foods you aren’t familiar with from other cultures can be a way to respectfully learn, experience, and celebrate different traditions.

Around the world, the core elements that make up a healthy dietary pattern include the same thing we see on the USDA’s MyPlate plan: Vegetable of all types – dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables. Fruits, especially whole fruit. Grains, at least half of which are whole grain. Dairy, including fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and/or lactose-free versions and fortified soy beverages and yogurt as alternatives. Protein foods, including lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds and soy products. Oils, including vegetable oils and oils in food, such as seafood and nuts.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. You can tailor the dietary guidelines to meet your personal, cultural, and traditional preferences. We are all unique with different backgrounds and tastes. Be adventurous this month and try something new! It’s a great way to add more nutrition and variety to your diet.

Some great events that are coming up here at the extension office are the Card Making Class on March 28th at 10 am and later the same day is “What can I do with my iPhone?” class. Be sure to bring your smartphone and have your log in information for your play store or wherever you download your apps from with you to get the most out of this class. Then on March 30th join us for a “Let’s Plant a Garden” at 1 pm where you can learn how to garden in limited space.

In the meantime try this great recipe out with the family!

Pistachio Lush

2 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs

½ cup butter, melted

¼ cup granulated sugar

16 oz cool whip

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

2 boxes pistachio pudding mix

3 cup milk

¼ cup chopped nuts

Start with a graham cracker or cookie crust. There are many different variations, but for this recipe you’re going to combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter and press them firmly into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Bake it for 10 minutes, then be sure it’s cooled completely before adding more layers.

Make your cheesecake layer by combining room temperature cream cheese and thawed whipped topping in a medium mixing bowl. Mix them together until smooth, then spread them evenly over your crust.

Prepare the pudding layer by combining your pudding mix and milk in a separate bowl. Be sure to let it thicken before spreading it on top of the cheesecake layer.

Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate 2 hours or longer to let the layers firm up.

Before serving, top with remaining whipped topping and chopped nuts. Then…enjoy!

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