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By Larry

*Did you know that the quality and quantity of your sleep has a great impact on your appetite? When you are sleep-deprived, your body produces low levels of leptin (the hormone that allows you to feel satiated) and high levels of ghrelin (the hormone that encourages you to eat). Getting 7-8 hours of sleep/night could very well be the first step to a healthier you.

*Did you know that eating a lot of salt causes fluid retention, which could account for 5-7 pounds of your body weight? Cutting back on your sodium intake can help you lose that soft, bloated appearance. Make sure you read the labels of processed foods, because even healthy canned soups can be laden with sodium. Ideally, these foods should have 200 to 400 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Penne with Sauteed Zucchini

Yield: 4 servings (Serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

*2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 medium zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/8 cup shaved fresh Parmesan cheese
*3 tablespoons chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers

1) Bring large pot of water to a boil; add penne and cook 7-9 minutes or until al dente. Drain penne, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.
2) While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add zucchini and saute over medium heat another 3 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Season with black pepper.
3) Add penne and reserved pasta water to zucchini in skillet; toss to combine.
4) Remove from heat and transfer to large serving bowl. Add Parmesan and toss gently to combine all ingredients. Serve garnished with red bell peppers.

Nutrition Information:
Calories per serving: 307
Carbohydrate: 43 grams
Protein: 10 grams
Fat: 12 grams
Fiber: 5 grams

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