Celebrating National Eating Healthy Day in the Greater Utica area

Wednesday, November 4th is National Eating Healthy Day. The American Heart Association wants to encourage healthy eating habits by helping Americans take simple steps with their families, friends, co-workers and communities.

Most Americans know that eating good-for-you foods comes with a lot of health benefits, but it isn’t always easy to break old habits. National Eating Healthy Day offers people across the country – at home, work or in their community – an opportunity to make a healthy change together and provides necessary resources to make the changes as easy as possible.  But eating healthy is more than just an easy way to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke; it’s also fun and delicious.

More than two-thirds of American adults and one in three children and teens are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke, as well as many other chronic illnesses and conditions. To improve heart-health, cities all over the country are taking simple steps to participate in National Eating Healthy Day.

In the Greater Utica area, the American Heart Association held its first-ever National Eating Healthy Day soup, salad, and sandwich contest. Participants submitted recipes for one or more of the three categories. A panel of National Eating Healthy Day volunteers reviewed the recipes to ensure they meet American Heart Association guidelines and selected the following winners:

Soup: Winter Butternut Squash Soup, by Patricia Meyers
Salad: Apple Quinoa Salad, by Amanda Tanoury
Sandwich: Chickpea Salad Sandwich, by Jessica Skeldon

The winning recipes were available on National Eating Healthy Day at several locations in the Greater Utica area, including Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare, Masonic Care Community, Mohawk Valley Community College, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Utica College. Winning contests will also attend the My Heart. My Life Expo during America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Weekend on March 4th at Utica College. Free samples of each recipe will be available from 11:00am-4:00pm, with food provided by Sodexo USA, Inc.


Winter Butternut Squash Soup, by Patricia Meyers

The winning soup recipe at Utica College
The winning soup recipe at Utica College

2pkgs (10oz each) cubed or mashed butternut squash
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup red lentils
¼ cup peanut butter
2 cloves chopped garlic
2” piece finely minced ginger
½ tsp red pepper flakes
5 cups chopped bok choy
¼ cup chopped scallions
2 tbsp lime juice

In a 6 quart stock pot, combine squash, chicken broth, coconut milk, lentils, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Bing to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir occasionally. Add bok choy and simmer until wilted, about 8-10 minutes. Add lime juice.


Apple Quinoa Salad, by Amanda Tanoury

Salad ingredients:
1 ½ cup quinoa (cold and cooked)
4 cups chopped kale
2 chopped Fuji apples
½ cup sheep feta cheese

Dressing ingredients:
4 tbsp olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Combine salad ingredients. Mix together dressing ingredients and pour over salad.


Chickpea Salad Sandwich, by Jessica Skeldon

Sandwich recipe winner Jessica Skeldon with her creation
Sandwich recipe winner Jessica Skeldon with her creation

1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 tbsp chopped red onion
3 tbsp plain/classic hummus
½ tsp yellow mustard
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
8 slices 100% whole wheat bread (makes 4 sandwiches)
Lettuce and pickles as desired for additional toppings

Pour chickpeas into a bowl and mash. Mix in carrot, celery, and red onion. Add hummus, mustard, and spices. Mix well. Chill for at least 30 minutes to meld. Spread about ½ cup of mixture onto one slice of bread. Top with lettuce and pickles, then with second slice of bread.


A free online toolkit is available to participate in National Eating Healthy Day. Resources include easy-to-do activities, ways to help others to join in, and delicious recipes. To download the toolkit and other NEHD resources, visit www.heart.org/NationalEatingHealthyDay.

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