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Around The Home: Don't stop now with eating right
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Small changes can make a big difference when you’re working toward healthier choices.

Instead of falling back into old, unhealthy eating habits and consuming high fat, high sugar comfort foods, let’s find some satisfying alternatives that may have less impact on your waistline.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers these ideas:

Does February make you more of a chocoholic? Instead of eating that chocolate, enjoy a nice warm cup of sugar-free hot chocolate laced with a dollop of light whipped topping. Another option is creamy, sugar-free free chocolate pudding.

Do you want a big pot of pasta? Substitute spaghetti squash for that calorie-dense regular spaghetti. Serve it with a light marinara sauce filled with plenty of sliced zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, onions and bell peppers. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of parmesan on top and the stress of the world will disappear.

Craving some creamy mashed potatoes? Blend your cooked potatoes half-and-half with steamed cauliflower to cut the calories from 237 per cup to 132 calories per cup. Your family will never know the difference if you don’t tell them.

Wanting some warm apple pie? Instead, bake an apple in the microwave for 2-4 minutes. Sprinkle it generously with cinnamon and nutmeg and sweeten it with a packet of sugar substitute. Also, try using a ripe pear.

Need a quick, but hearty, meal when you are rushing home? Fix some vegetable soup or bean soup in a flavorful, reduced-sodium broth on the weekend. Then freeze it in small storage containers so you can microwave it quickly to enjoy with a salad and whole grain bread after that busy day.

Missing that sugary sweet potato casserole your aunt used to make? Bake a fresh sweet potato in the oven, split it open and top it with some light margarine, a drizzle of maple syrup or a teaspoon of brown sugar and some cinnamon. It’s fragrant and delicious with half the calories.

Dying for a pizza? Take a whole grain "thin" bun, and toast it until firm, but not brown. Smooth on some pizza sauce, sprinkle on some low fat mozzarella, add some sliced onions, diced bell pepper, and Canadian bacon and pop it into the toaster oven for a pizza treat with fewer calories and no tempting leftovers.

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Food Talk is in session

Just a reminder that Food Talk sessions are available for parent groups, youth groups and employee workshops.

Food Talk is part of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program from the University of Georgia — Hall County Cooperative Extension.

It’s free and offers information on a variety of topics such as preventing hypertension. Participants also can sample fun, healthy recipes.

We recently visited East Hall High School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County sites and Goodwill Career Center.

Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. Contact: 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on

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