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Sign up to get healthy eating tips from Mariano’s dietitian

PHOTO: Allison Parker, registered dietitian for Mariano’s.

OK, you’ve started the year off with the intention of eating better.

But now that you’re into it, you realize it sure would be easier with a little more information. Like, how exactly do you eat well?

Here’s an easy way to put in a little time and actually learn a lot. Mariano’s is sponsoring 45-minute Dishin’ with the Dietitian sessions at its stores.

Allison Parker, registered dietitian for Mariano’s, will give eating advice as well as provide recipes that participants can sample. She’ll also give tips on how to make wise choices at the grocery store.

Here’s just one of Parker’s tips for eating better in 2016: Eliminate or restrict liquid calories. So many of us remember to watch what we eat, but aren’t as good about our beverages. Sweetened sodas, or say, iced tea, are full of unnecessary calories. Parker recommends plain water. Too boring for you? Then Parker suggests adding a slice of lemon, lime, orange or cucumber to your glass. Or mix sparkling water and (a little) juice to create a flavorful spritzer. Lastly, she reminds that coffee or tea — without sugar or cream, of course — are options too.

I’ve gone to events that feature dietitians in the past and I have to say I never walk away from them without either reminders of good habits to practice or information I didn’t know before. They’re also a great way to keep you motivated to staying on course when it comes to following a better eating plan.

The sessions are $5 each; you must register in advance. Store hosting them (and a link to the sign-ups) include: Bucktown (6:30 tonight, Jan. 12); Harwood Heights (Wednesday, Jan. 13); Oak Lawn (Thursday, Jan. 14); Evergreen Park (Jan. 19); South Loop (Jan. 21), and New City (Jan. 28).

Parker will feature recipes that include popular health-minded ingredients. Here’s one of her recipes for Carrot “Noodles.” The noodles are made from carrots that resemble noodles after being cut with a spiral slicer. A good option for those who are eating fewer carbs.



For the sauce:

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

¼ cup light coconut milk

2 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably low sodium)

Pinch of cayenne pepper or a couple squirts of Sriracha (as desired)

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons lime juice

¼ teaspoon lime zest

Kosher salt to taste

For the “Noodles”:

1 pound (about 5-7 large) carrots

½ cup chopped peanuts

¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

To make the sauce, combine the ingredients through kosher salt together in a small bowl. Mix together until smooth/creamy. Set aside.

To make the “noodles,” wash carrots well. Peel and pat dry. Using a spiral slicer, make noodles out of the carrots. (If you don’t have a spiral slicer, grate the carrots instead.) Place in a large serving bowl.

Pour sauce over the noodles and gently toss together with hands or a large spoon. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

From Allison Parker, Mariano’s