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Healthy fats found in olives

Olives make a great healthy addition to any delicious meal

Olives can a) make meals more delicious; b) be a healthy part of a weight loss diet; c) "olive" the above.

The answer is "c" and that's important health information because losing weight may help reduce a person's risk of type 2 diabetes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says type 2 diabetes affects 17 million Americans — a figure that's tripled in the last 30 years.

Here are some smart diet choices that may help you reduce weight and your risk of diabetes:

• Use healthy types of dietary fats, such as monounsaturated fats and omega — 3 fatty acids.

• Avoid excessive saturated and hydrogenated fatty acids.

• Eat more whole grains, beans and legumes and less refined carbohydrates.

• Develop meals that are moderate in calories and appropriate in portion sizes to maintain or reduce weight in a healthy manner.

Here's a mouthwatering example of how California black ripe olives can add healthy flavor. The recipe is suitable for diabetics:

Grilled Chicken, Fennel

and Ripe Olive Skewers

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup chopped oregano

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½-inch pieces

1fennel bulb, wedged and blanched in boiling water

1½ cups Yukon gold potatoes, quartered and blanched

1 red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

11/3 cups California Ripe Olives, whole, drained

1 cup nonfat, plain yogurt

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 Tbsp. chopped chives

bamboo skewers

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add next 4 ingredients and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate one hour. Set aside 36 ripe olives. Place remaining olives in bowl of food processor, add yogurt, lemon zest and remaining pepper and pulse until combined.

Stir in chives, cover & refrigerate. Soak skewers in water 15 minutes. Make kebabs by threading skewers with olives, chicken, fennel, onion, potato, repeating to fill skewer. Grill over medium to high heat for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with yogurt olive dipping sauce. Makes 6 servings, 2 skewers per serving.

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