Tag Archives: healthy food

Town of Siler City adopts Pedestrian Master Plan

Congratulations to the Town of Siler City on its new Pedestrian Master Plan! The purpose of the plan, which was adopted earlier this month, is to guide the Town of Siler City, NC Department of Transportation, and other local and regional partners in improving infrastructure for pedestrians in Siler City and fostering a more active and pedestrian-friendly culture through related programs and policies.

The project, led by alta/Greenways, prioritized potential projects based on a variety of measures, including pedestrian crashes, connectivity, income, low-vehicle access, and access to parks and healthy food vendors. The plan also utilized the work of two UNC students who spent their summer at the health department mapping healthy food vendors across the county. The plan is one of few in the country that include information about access to healthy foods. The health department appreciated the opportunity to work with the Town of Siler City and its residents on this innovative project, and hopes the plan can serve as a model for others across the region.

For more information and to download the Siler City Pedestrian Master Plan, visit http://www.silercity.org/index.asp?SEC=1CB30A61-8F90-4209-BF0D-CBC0F3F65187&Type=B_BASIC


Healthy and Helpful Grocery Shopping Tips

Making smart choices in the grocery store is the first step to good nutrition. After all, eating healthfully is nearly impossible if you don’t have healthy foods available at home. Follow these tips to decrease your risk for obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. You can even save money if you’re willing to follow some (or all) of these tips!


Walmart to Sell Healthier Foods for Less

On January 20th, the nation’s largest grocer made a pledge to sell healthier foods for more affordable prices. Walmart made the announcement with First Lady, Michelle Obama, who is an advocate for obesity prevention efforts nationwide. 

The five main components of the plan are: 

  1. Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015 by reducing sodium 25 percent and added sugars 10 percent, and by removing all remaining industrially produced trans fats.
  2. Making healthier choices more affordable, saving customers approximately $1 billion per year on fresh fruits and vegetables through a variety of sourcing, pricing, and transportation and logistics initiatives that will drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain.
  3. Developing strong criteria for a simple front-of-package seal that will help consumers instantly identify truly healthier food options such as whole grain cereal, whole wheat pasta or unsweetened canned fruit;
  4. Providing solutions to address food deserts by building stores in underserved communities that are in need of fresh and affordable groceries; and
  5. Increasing charitable support for nutrition programs that help educate consumers about healthier food solutions and choices. 

Bill Simon, Walmart CEO and president says, “No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford.” 

Due to its size and buying power, Walmart has the ability to make a difference in the way suppliers produce food. Walmart will change the way key products of its Great Value private brand are made and work with other companies to reformulate national brands. The goal is to reduce sodium, sugar, and trans fats intake by Americans. In addition, Walmart plans to deal more directly with farmers and reduce or eliminate higher prices for healthier options such as reduced fat on products by the same company. This will result in healthier options for lower prices. 

Walmart believes that with all the changes it has planned, it can save Americans up to one billion per year on fresh fruits and vegetables. 

To view the Walmart press release which provided information for this post, please go to http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10514.aspx.


Warm Green Bean and Potato Salad

(Adapted from recipe in Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley)

This recipe is a hearty meal for cold days. Even though it is winter, all of the vegetables in the recipe can easily be found at your local grocery store.  This is also a great summer recipe that would be a delicious addition to an afternoon picnic. In summer, you can pick up ingredients at your local farmer’s market.

CHEF breakdown:

Cheap: We cooked this recipe for $9.87, enough to serve four people.

Healthy: This recipe features three vegetables which are good sources of fiber and vitamin C. If would like to reduce the cholesterol in the recipe from the egg yolks, you can use an alternate protein such as chicken.

Easy: There’s not much more to do besides boil vegetables and chop. Simple!

Fast: For even more speed, use frozen green beans instead of fresh. This recipe takes under 30 minutes to prepare.


1 large red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
3 Tbs. vinegar
1 Tbs. mustard
1 tsp. thyme
3 Tbs. oil
2 lbs. red skinned potatoes
4 large eggs
1 lb. fresh green beans


  1. Cut the potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes.
  2. Trim the ends off the beans and cut in half.  String them if necessary.
  3. Thinly slice the onion.
  4. Warm oil in a sauté pan on low-medium. Add onions and cook until caramelized, 10-15 minutes. When finished move to serving bowl.
  5. Fill a large pot and a medium pot with water and bring both to a boil. Into the large pot, add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 2 more minutes.  Drain and place in serving bowl.
  6. Into the medium size pot, add the eggs. Simmer for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and transfer them to a bowl of cold water.
  7. While the potatoes and eggs are boiling, prepare the dressing. Whisk the mustard oil and vinegar together in a small bowl.
  8. Also, remove the thyme leaves from the stem by running your pinched thumb and forefinger from the bottom to the top of the stem. Chop thyme leaves.
  9. Mix the dressing and thyme in with the beans, potatoes and onions in the serving bowl.
  10. Peel and chop the eggs and add place on top of the salad.

Nutritional Value:

If this dish is split 4 ways, each serving will contain:

383 calories

13 g. protein

16 g. fat

49 grams carbohydrates


CHEF Recipes: Panzanella Salad

As the weather starts to cool, our latest CHEF recipe provides a great way to enjoy and celebrate those last locally grown tomatoes of the season.  Panzanella salad is a hearty summer salad that features fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. During the summer, when these items are in season and at the peak of their flavor, they can be found at a really good price at local farmers markets.  When we prepared the dish, we chose to substitute half of the regular tomatoes in the recipe with “sun-gold” sweet yellow cherry tomatoes.  These are like the candy of tomatoes, and available from many local growers, making them a special local summer treat, and a healthy one at that! For this recipe, we bought our produce from our local farmers market, the Pittsboro Farmers Market in Chatham County, NC.

The CHEF break-down:

Cheap: We made this Panzanella Salad for $8.88, using produce from our local farmers market, and you can easily serve 4-6 people for this price.

Healthy: This recipe features beans, which are low-fat, a great source of fiber, and when paired with bread, give you a complete protein source.

Easy: No cooking necessary for this recipe! Just chopping and mixing!

Fast: Canned beans are a quick way to add some protein to your meal.  This recipe should take under a half-hour to prepare. 

Panzanella Salad

(adapted from the recipe found in Simple Suppers from the Moosewood Collective)


  • 1 small-medium loaf of crusty bread, 3-4 cups once cubed (try to get whole wheat, if you can)
  • 4 medium-large tomatoes, or substitute 2 of the tomatoes with a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium-sized cucumber
  • 1 can of great northern or cannellini beans (sometimes companies add lots of salt to their canned beans-check the label and if you can, try to get a brand with a lower sodium content)
  • 2 stems of basil or 10-20 basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. If you have time to plan ahead, cut the bread into 1-2 inch cubes and leave it out over night, lightly covered with a clean dish towel, to dry out.  If not, heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread cubes for 5-10 minutes on a cookie sheet.
  2. Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into approximately ½ inch cubes and place them in your serving bowl.  Roughly chop the basil and add it to the bowl as well.
  3. Open the can of beans, strain and rinse them and add them to the serving bowl.
  4. Roughly chop the garlic. Put the olive oil into a small microwave safe bowl (preferably, not plastic), mix in the garlic, and microwave for 10-15 seconds. This will mellow the garlic flavor and quickly infuse the oil with garlic flavor. 
  5. Let the oil mixture cool a bit, then whisk in the vinegar and pour this simple vinaigrette over the tomato mixture in the bowl.
  6. Add the bread cubes to the bowl and toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste and let stand for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld.

From this foundation, you can dress this salad up in lots of ways:

  • Add chopped fresh mozzarella or cubes of reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • Add chicken, canned tuna, or chopped hard-boiled egg for an alternate protein source
  • Add onion or other chopped fresh herbs such as oregano for more robust flavor

Nutritional Value:

If this dish is split 4 ways, each serving contains approximately

470 calories

9 g. fat

21 g. protein

81 g. carbohydrates