Tips and Recipes

En Español

Slow Cooker Oats


-Cooking spray

-2 Cups Skim or 1% Milk

-¼ Cup Brown Sugar

-1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

-1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats

-1 Cup Apples, Chopped 

-½ Cup chopped pecans or almonds 


  1. Spray the inside 

2. Add all the ingredients

3. Mix together

4. Cook on low for about 8 hours

Making Healthier Choices When Eating Out

women eating fast food fries

Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging when eating fast food on a busy day or treating yourself to a dinner out. Use these tips to help you make healthier choices when eating out:

  1. Choose smart-drinks like water, unsweet tea, or milk. Remember that coffee, alcohol, and even juice can have a lot of added sugars. 
  2. Start your meal with a salad so you fill up on healthier foods first. Choose one with lots of veggies, and ask for the dressing on the side so you can use a smaller amount. 
  3. If the restaurant you are at serves large portions, feel free to order an appetizer or side dish as your meal, or split a regular entree with someone else. This will also save you money!
  4. Pack snacks so you aren’t tempted to stop for fast food to fill up! Fruit, nuts, granola bars, and string cheese are all good choices if you tend to get hungry on your commute or have a long day of errands planned.
  5. Choose veggies as your side and fruit as your dessert instead of fries and sugary sweets. 
  6. Check out the nutrition information on the menu–lots of restaurants list the calories next to the dish, and many will have this information available somewhere else. If you don’t see it, just ask!
  7. Go for steamed, broiled, or grilled dishes instead of fried as these tend to have fewer calories and be lower in saturated fats and cholesterol.
  8. When you order bread, sandwiches, or pasta, ask for 100% whole-wheat. Many sit-down restaurants and even some fast food chains will have this on hand even if it’s not listed on the menu. 
  9. Leftovers are your friend! Don’t feel pressured to clean your plate. Instead, eat until you are full and take the rest home for later. Leftovers will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. 
  10. Don’t stress too much. If you don’t eat out that often and maintain a healthy and well-rounded diet at home, a few fries or a soda every once in a while is okay.

Find out more at Choose MyPlate

Written by: Bethany Helm, Student Employee

Beef & Double Broccoli

A classic Asian take-out favorite gets a healthier facelift by adding a heavy hand of broccoli cooked-two-ways.  

Serves 4


-4 cups broccoli, separated and stems intact

-1 lemon (or 3 Tbsp lemon juice)

-1 cup brown rice, uncooked 

-2 cups water

-2 Tbsp vegetable oil

-1 lb lean ground beef 

-5 cloves garlic, smashed (or 1 Tbsp garlic powder)

-1 Tbsp minced ginger (or 2 tsp ginger powder)

-2 tsp salt 

-1 tsp black pepper 

-¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

-2 stalks scallions, greens and whites, chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 400˚ F. 
  2. Toss half of the broccoli (2 cups) in the lemon juice. Season with half the salt and pepper and drizzle with the vegetable oil. 
  3. Bake uncovered on a sheet pan for 15 to 20 minutes until the edges are crispy. Set aside to cool. 
  4. In a large skillet pan, over medium heat, add the ground beef and use a spoon to break the beef apart slightly, keeping large bits intact. 
  5. Add the garlic, ginger, and the remaining salt and pepper and the other half of the broccoli.  
  6. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook on low heat for about five minutes. Meanwhile, cook the rice per package directions, usually 2 parts water for 1 part of rice. 
  7. After five minutes, add the soy sauce and stir to combine. Add the scallions. 
  8. Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160˚ F serve a top steamed brown rice with roasted broccoli.

-Recipe by Chef Brigid Washington

Food Group Parfait


1 Carton of Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt (4-6 oz.)

½ Cup Fresh or Frozen Fruit

4 Tablespoons Oat O-shaped Cereal

Sliced almonds or granola (optional)


Add half the yogurt to a bowl

Add the cereal then the remaining yogurt 

Add the fruit and then top with granola or nuts if desired

Enjoy immediately! 

Creamy Coconut Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs

Serves 4

This light and bright flavorful recipe is a riff on a classic favorite. It comes together quickly and is ahealthy choice for a hearty, warm-weather dinner.


– 2 slices whole-wheat bread, hand torn into small pieces

– 1 large egg, slightly beaten

– 1 lb ground turkey

– 1 ½ tsp salt

– 1 tsp black pepper

– 4 cloves garlic, minced

– 2 Tbsp. olive oil

– 1 can coconut milk

– 2 carrots, cut in bias slices

– ½ cup sliced onion

– 1 packet whole-wheat spaghetti (or other whole-wheat pasta)


1. Combine the bread pieces, egg, turkey, salt, pepper and garlic in a large bowl, until wellcombined.

2. Form into balls.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil for about 30 seconds. Add the meatballs, one at a time,taking care not to overcrowd the pan.

4. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 165degrees. They should be brown on all sides.

5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook per package directions.

6. When all the meatballs are cooked remove them from the pan and place onto a plate.

7. In the same pan used to cook the meatballs, reduce heat to medium-low and using a woodenspoon scrape up any of the brown bits (known as fond) that was left over during the cookingprocess.

8. Add in the coconut milk, carrots and onions and simmer, still on medium-low heat, for threeminutes.

9. Add the meatballs back to the pan and allow to cook for another minute or so, until wellcombined with the coconut milk and vegetables.

10. Add salt and pepper to taste Serve atop pasta.

© 2020 North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)