Are you thinking of a New Year’s resolution? Start the new year off right by being happy and healthy. Cleaning out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry of non-healthy food items is a good habit to start this new year. Cleaning it out helps build the foundation of wanting to eat healthy since the junk food items will be gone from the house and a person won’t be as tempted to eat bad foods.

Healthier eating consists of consuming fruits, vegetables and protein. It is good to keep the house stocked with these items because they provide certain nutrients that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. For example, chicken is a lean meat that can reduce the chance of heart disease because of the low-fat content.

Spend more time eating at home than eating out. Eating at home can improve a person’s health because it allows him or her to decide how much food they want to eat at that specific meal.

When eating out, food portions are larger and can lead to overeating.

Overeating can disrupt a person’s healthy eating habits. Meal prepping is a method that can help prevent overeating also.

Meal prepping can lead to healthier eating by portioning the serving size. Meal prepping overall allows a person to save time throughout the week.

The accompanying recipe makes four servings. Leftovers can be served at a meal later in the week.

A healthy, happy 2022 to you.

For additional information, contact your local registered dietitian.



Pasta Primavera Salad

with Parmesan Vinaigrette

    Chicken Pasta Primavera Salad:

2 cups boneless skinless chicken breasts pieces

8 ounces of a curly pasta

1/2 cup olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 small summer squash sliced into rounds

8 asparagus spears cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

Parmesan curls for garnish


Bring to a boil salted water in a large pot. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer pasta to large mixing bowl, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to mix well.

In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and saute’ chicken pieces. Add onion and continue cooking until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add carrot, summer squash and asparagus. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add peas and cook 1 more minute.

Vegetables should be just cooked and still crisp. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and let cool.

Parmesan San Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. grated garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Whisk together red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, basil and Parmesan until combined well.

Continue whisking and drizzle in remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil.

Finally, mix pasta with cooked chicken, sautéed vegetables, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan dressing until well combined.

Transfer to serving platter and garnish with Parmesan curls.


MARY BUIE is a senior food and nutrition major at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

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