Smart food swaps mean more nutrition and less 'giving up'

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(BPT) - Does it ever seem like a lot of healthy-eating advice is about "less," "giving up" and "taking away?" Reducing fat and sodium intake, avoiding high-calorie foods and trimming portion size are commonly heard pieces of advice when you're trying to lose weight or improve your diet. But health experts agree, good eating doesn't just mean giving up bad habits, it's also about adding foods with more nutritional value.

Millet: Not Just for the Birds

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Each month, the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different product to highlight the variety and quality of products grown, raised or processed in the state. Colorado is the number one millet producing state in the nation, with 260,000 acres producing more than 8 million bushels each year. What's Millet? Millet is a grain that is most often found in bird seed blends; however, this gluten-free grain is also gaining popularity in many recipes. Look for Colorado millet at your local grocery store or on the menu at restaurants across the state.


Recipe - Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Bake

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Makes: 12 Servings

Our recipe uses ready-to-eat cream of mushroom soup as a base for other main dish meals, stews, sauces, or casseroles.


5 cups water

2 1/2 cups rice

1/4 cup onion (chopped)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 clove garlic

1 cup milk

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups chicken (cooked, shredded)

2 cups broccoli (pieces)

3/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese (grated)


Recipe - Beef and Noodle Casserole

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Makes: 6 Servings

This is a delicious way to use ground beef. You can also use ground beef in patties or in mixed dishes with vegetables.


1/2 pound egg noodles (uncooked)

  nonstick cooking spray

1 pound ground beef

1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes (drained, about 15 ounces)

3/4 cup light sour cream

1 teaspoon dried basil (if you like)

3/4 cup low-fat cheddar (or mozzarella cheese)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 


Recipe - Bread in a Bag

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Recipe - Bread in a Bag

Makes: 12 servings

This yeast bread recipe is a great way to engage learners both young and old.


2 cups flour (all-purpose)

1 cup flour (whole wheat)

3 tablespoons milk (powdered)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon yeast (rapid rise)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup water (warm, 120 to 130 degrees F)

1 flour (as needed, extra, for kneading)


Recipe - Pot Roasted Beef

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Makes: 6 Servings

This is a tender and satisfying roast beef dinner. Serve with a green salad and bread.


1 pound beef round roast (thawed)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

8 red potatoes (peeled and quartered, or 2 cans, about 30 ounces, low-sodium sliced potatoes, drained)

2 turnips (peeled and quartered, or 1 can, about 15 ounces, low-sodium sweet potatoes)

1/2 cup onion (chopped into 1-inch pieces)

1/2 cup carrots (chopped into 1-inch pieces)

Recipe - Black Bean Burgers

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Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

Black beans and cooked rice are used as the base of these delicious burgers. Flavored with scallions, garlic and spices, these are sure to please the whole family. 


1 can 15.5 ounce low-sodium black beans (drained and rinsed with cold water)

1 large egg

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

2 scallions (green and white minced about 1/4 cup)

Recipe - Beef and Bean Chile Verde

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Makes: 6 Servings

This recipe blends flavors and packs a nutritional punch as a source of iron, vitamin C, and fiber. Bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes bring color to the dish.


2/3 pound ground beef (90% lean)

1 bell pepper, large (chopped)

1 onion, large (chopped)

6 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 can diced tomatoes, low-sodium (14.5 ounces)

1 3/4 cups green salsa (or enchilada sauce, 1-16 ounce jar)