ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Last week, the 2016 County Health Rankings were released for the state. Dougherty County ranks 154 out of 159, making it one of the least healthiest counties in the state.
With the recent news, a number of Dougherty County residents are trying to change their ways.
On Thursday, March 24, they will attend a Healthy Easter Dinner class inside the Candy Room at 125 Pine Avenue in Albany.
The class is part of the University of Georgia's Extension Office for Dougherty County.
Twelve participants will get the chance to learn how to cook healthy alternatives for their Easter dinner. They'll learn how to combine fresh produce into their recipes and find ways to lower fat and sugar.
Some of Thursday's recipes include a fresh strawberry cake made with a pecan flour and asparagus drizzled with a balsamic reduction.
Suzanne Williams is the family consumer science agent for Dougherty County's extension office. She teaches a number of classes throughout the year, including the Healthy Easter Dinner class.
"With Spring coming, people are feeling kind of weighed down and want to begin eating healthier," Williams mentions.
After the class, participants will have a chance to sit down and eat their new holiday dishes.
Williams says, "It's strangers coming together, preparing a meal, and we learn about other people. It is so much fun."
It is too late to sign-up for Thursday's class, but Williams has a few tips for those who also want to try to eat healthier this Easter Sunday.
She says to use ingredients that have less fat and less sugar.
"Try to find ways to lower salt and lower sugar. If your cheesecake recipe calls for cream cheese then use a lower fat cream cheese," Williams adds.
Also, be aware of the extra calories that you may want to add to your meal. Try to use less condiments and dressings on your food.
Lastly, stay active. If you know that you may indulge at Sunday's dinner table, try adding more exercise to your weekend routine.
Williams says that there will be more classes, like the healthier holiday recipes, in the future.
If you would like to learn more about the classes offered at the extension office, call Williams at 229-436-7216 to learn how to sign-up for their monthly newsletters.