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Eating right and taking care of our bodies should be a way of life, not just something that happens at the start of a new year or the beginning of a new weight loss challenge. But for the majority of Americans, finding reliable and applicable nutrition information often feels daunting. The world of nutrition is dominated by fad diets and foods touted to be the “magic bullet” of weight loss, not to mention seemingly contradictory nutrition research and a shortage of time and energy to apply what is being learned.

The Magic Valley YMCA’s new nutrition-focused lecture series, “The Nutrition Hour,” is looking to change all of that. Come spend 60 minutes with the YMCA’s own nutrition expert and walk away with practical tips, healthy recipe ideas and lots of inspiration to live your healthiest life. Each month will focus on an important aspect of creating a healthier lifestyle, including nutrition basics, meal planning tips and tricks, intuitive eating and busting nutrition myths.

With the support of an experienced registered dietitian nutritionist, you will leave each week more motivated and able to make the changes you desire. Increasing your accountability is a great determiner of success when it comes to eating right and exercising, and this program helps participants do just that.

These classes go beyond a diet plan or a list of foods you should be eating, but will help you come to a place where you enjoy eating healthy foods, but don’t feel guilt over the occasional cookie. As you gain a healthier relationship with food, the motivation and compulsion to eat good, wholesome foods will become a more natural part of your life.

The Nutrition Hour begins Wednesday, Feb. 7 and will be held the first Wednesday of each month. There are two sessions available each day, and participants can choose between the 10 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. session. Classes are held at the Magic Valley YMCA, 1751 Elizabeth Blvd., and are free for YMCA members or $10/class for non-members. No registration is required and walk-ins are welcome.

Roasted Cauliflower Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 small yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (16 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup shredded Gouda cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Shredded Gouda and chopped basil, for garnish, if desired

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cauliflower florets on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and starting to brown.

2. In a large pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.

3. Add the garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes.

4. Stir in the roasted cauliflower, roasted red peppers, vegetable broth and paprika. Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.

5. With a handheld blender, blend the soup in the pot until soup is creamy and smooth. Stir in the fresh basil and shredded Gouda cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a little shredded Gouda cheese and fresh basil, if desired.

Taryn Palmer is a registered dietitian for the Magic Valley YMCA.

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