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Community Care Clinic clients cook smart, eat smart

Article Published: Mar. 8, 2012 | Modified: Mar. 8, 2012
Community Care Clinic clients cook smart, eat smart

From left, Tammie Hill, Steve Moeller and Brook Brown participate in ‘Cook Smart, Eat Smart.’

Photo submitted

Volunteers and staff at the Community Care Clinic know that healthy lifestyle choices make a huge difference in quality of life, health and reduction of health care costs.

Board member Dianne Price was able to acquire funding through the American Medical Association for a variety of health promoting and diabetes preventing activities. The funding allowed me to offer the N.C. Cooperative Extension cooking class, “Cook Smart, Eat Smart,” to clients.

Twelve of us cooked up tasty recipes during a four-week period.

Each week, we learned about several different basic cooking techniques, adaptable to many dishes. The emphasis was on healthy preparation, simple ingredients and limited use of prepared foods.

Information was also presented to help participants plan, shop and stock a pantry that encourages simple meal preparation.

What I enjoyed the most about the class was the interaction and sharing. Everyone had previous cooking experience and cooking tips to share. One participant even brought a friend with her on the final class to teach us how to make tortillas.

“Cook Smart Eat Smart” will be offered again this summer.

Nicki Hayes, R.N., and diabetes case manager for the clinic, shares information about other classes that are ongoing.

“On Mondays and Thursdays, we have a walking and wellness group. We walk on the greenway trail and talk about different health issues,” she said. “Every Tuesday, I offer diabetes education classes twice to fit into client’s schedules. There are four different classes: basic information about diabetes, nutrition, exercise and complications. Once a month a ‘Lunch and Learn’ is offered, and anyone from the community may attend. Lunch is provided and Marian Peters, the volunteer P.A. for the clinic, discusses a variety of health topics. A smoking cessation class is offered every other week.”

The Community Care Clinic was established to provide health care to low-income persons in our community who do not have health insurance. Watauga County has the highest rate of any county in North Carolina of uninsured patients: 31 percent between the ages of 18 and 64. The clinic serves only the uninsured, the working poor who don’t qualify for other programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if tobacco use, poor diet and physical inactivity were eliminated in the U.S., it would prevent 80 percent of heart disease and stroke, 80 percent of type two diabetes and 40 percent of cancer.

The community care clinic is a great example for other health-care models that would like to operate at a lower cost.

In my personal opinion, the only way we will ever reduce our health-care costs in this nation is by changing our current system to one that focuses on disease prevention.

This is one of my favorite recipes from the “Cook Smart Eat Smart” collection. It serves 10, enough for two meals for a small household, or a great lunch addition.

Orange Lemon Chicken

3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup fresh, sliced lemons
1 medium sliced onion
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Nonstick cooking spray

Spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Place chicken in dish.
Mix lemon juice, orange juice, vinegar, sliced lemons, oregano, rosemary, onion and chili powder.
Pour over chicken.
Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake 30 minutes more.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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