“Savor the Flavor of Better Health” isn’t just cooking light, but also cooking right for better nutrition, according to its hosts.

The new locally-produced show is a collaboration between the Mind-Body Wellness Center and Armstrong, the area’s cable television firm, and it runs on cable Channel 23 at various dates and times. It’s hosted by Jane Livingston, Deborah Schultz and Paula Bartges, who all are registered dietitians and licensed dietitian/nutritionists with the Mind-Body Wellness Center — an outpatient department of Meadville Medical Center.

“We want to make it fun,” said Livingston, who is the center’s director of nutrition. “Our goal is to show viewers how easy it is to prepare great-tasting, healthy new recipes and update old favorites without spending hours in the kitchen or sacrificing flavor and quality.”

“It’s quick meals for people with things they have on hand and can be done in 30 minutes or less,” Bartges said.

It’s meant to promote a healthier lifestyle as well.

“We’re also a nutritional education show — offering nutrition and health tips,” Livingston said.

That means showing and explaining the nutritional benefits of the recipes.

“It’s all about the plate,” Schultz said. “You fill up half the plate with veggies. It’s telling people ‘How do I eat this?’ ”

Dr. Barry Bittman, director and chief executive officer of the center, said “Savor the Flavor” shouldn’t be considered just another cooking show.

“It is packed with extraordinary nutrition tips focused on making practical diet and lifestyle changes to promote better health and wellness,” said Bittman, who also directs the show.

The decision to launch a healthy and nutritionally educational cooking show came about around six months ago, Livingston said. It’s part of a variety of center-organized events funded by a $239,000 grant from Pennsylvania’s tobacco settlement.

In 1998, 46 states, including Pennsylvania, reached a $206 billion settlement with cigarette makers over health costs for treating sick smokers. Pennsylvania is getting $11.2 billion during a 25-year period.

Other lifestyle events have been this year’s Weigh to Go weight loss/nutrition education program; “Growing Stronger,” a 12-week resistance strength training program for senior citizens; recreational music programs at Bethesda Children’s Home and Crawford County Care Center; and a healthy working program for employees at Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community.

“We feel it’s a good way to encourage healthier lifestyles — through healthy cooking and healthy eating habits,” said Ike Mutlu, general manager for Armstrong, which is producing the shows. “It’s of value to the community.”

A total of 12 cooking programs are to be taped — four have been taped already utilizing the kitchen at Bartges’ home, though only two of the programs have aired so far. Each of the dietitians has hosted a show and all three are set to appear together when they tape a show in January about making healthier pizza.

Some of the future shows may feature some local personalities adapting some of their favorite recipes, Livingston said.

Recipes and schedules are posted on the Mind-Body Wellness Center Web site www.mind-body.org and at its offices at 18201 Conneaut Lake Road, Meadville.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com

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