Choose Life

Choose Life

January 2019 – Choose Life

By Lisa Lewis

My FP4H class is using the Bible study, Balanced Living. One of our scripture memory verses is,

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. DEUTERONOMY 30:19

We have a choice. Eat the way the world tells us to eat or eat a more healthy way. It doesn’t have to be complicated. We don’t have to have a degree in nutrition. We can eat the kinds of things people have been eating for a long time: meats, vegetables, fruit, grains. Eating healthy means eating food – real food.  We’ve been told that we’re supposed to eat the stuff on the perimeter of the store. Not the stuff in the middle. Some of that isn’t even food. It’s food-like. Even cereal. It’s in the middle of the store and it’s telling us how it’s going to save us from a heart attack or has all these vitamins and minerals – that they’ve added. The stuff in the middle is full of claims of this or that trying to get your attention, but there are no health claims in the produce aisle. They don’t have packages screaming at you. The quieter your food is, the healthier it is.

Something as simple as eating has become so complicated. Just eat real food. Eat butter. Eat cheese. Eat apples. Eat bananas and cucumbers and yellow peppers and red peppers. Eat all this beautiful color that God has given us. Eat lean meat and fresh bread. Eat real food.

Something as simple as eating has become so complicated.

“…I set before you blessings and curses.” On one hand, you have an abundance of fruits and vegetables and on the other, McDonald’s. Which do you choose? “…now choose life so that you and your children may live.”

Lisa Lewis

Lisa is Chief Operating Officer for First Place for Health and authored Healthy Happy Cooking.

Her cooking skills have been a part of First Place for Health wellness weeks and other events for many years. She provided recipes for 13 of the First Place for Health Bible studies and is a contributing author in Better Together and Healthy Holiday Living.



Creamy Fettucini

This recipe is so quick and easy. You can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes. Add grilled or rotisserie chicken for a meatier dish.

1 8-oz. package low-fat cream cheese

½ cup milk

2 tbsp. butter

¼ cup grated parmesan

2 tsp. garlic salt

1 12-oz. package fettuccini noodles

Cook noodles as directed. While noodles are cooking, put remaining ingredients in small saucepan and heat, stirring frequently, until mixed and melted. Serve over fettuccini noodles. Garnish with shaved parmesan. Serves 4.

Serving Options: Roast or steam some broccoli or asparagus for a wonderful vegetable fettucini alfredo.

NUTRITION: 321 calories; 10g fat (29.4% calories from fat); 11g protein; 45g carbohydrates; 2g dietary fiber; 28mg cholesterol; 1245mg sodium.

LIVE IT TRACKER: 3 oz.-eq. grain, ½ oz.-eq. meat


Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds

This salad is packed with protein and fiber that will leave you fueled up for the rest of the day.


1/4 cup slivered almonds


1/2 cup (3 ounces) quinoa

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 yellow bell pepper, ribs, and seeds discarded, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

1/2-inch thick

1 large celery stalk, diced

1 lime, halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds until crisp, lightly browned, and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add yellow pepper, garlic, scallions, and red-pepper flakes; cook until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in quinoa, thyme, 1 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 7 minutes. Stir in zucchini, cover, and cook until quinoa is tender but not mushy, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in celery, almonds, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil, season with salt, and fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature before packing into two containers and refrigerating. When ready to eat, squeeze lime over salad, if desired. Serves 2

Nutritional Information: 368 calories; 11 g protein; 19 g fat; 44 g carb; 7 g fiber


Broccoli & Feta Omelet

Cooking spray

1 cup chopped broccoli

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons low fat feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon dried dill

Coat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add broccoli, and cook 3 minutes. Combine egg, feta, and dill in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes; flip the omelet and cook 2 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with toast. Serves 1

Nutrition Information: 390 Calories, 19g fat, 23g protein, 35g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 440mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium

Tracker: 2 oz.-eq meat, 1 cup vegetables, ¼ cup dairy