Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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A reader’s idea

In response to my request for great, quick meal ideas, a reader sent in one that I’m happy to share: a potato bar. Reader Theresa  Boutchyard said she heats up baked potatoes when her grandchildren come over, then lets them pick their own toppings.

“You can put out many different toppings — even the ones that are not that healthy like refried beans or such because you are not using that much of them versus [what you’d use in] an entire meal,” she wrote.

I like this idea because it’s simple and allows everyone at the table to gussy up their food in a way that suits them. If you add cheese, beans or yogurt, you’ve got extra protein, and if you serve some fresh veggies on the side—or on the potato—you’ve got a good, balanced meal.

People sometimes knock potatoes for being high in carbohydrates, but they’re not that carb-heavy, and they’re great sources of potassium and vitamin C.

If you’re worried about calories or fat, top your tater with low-fat sour cream instead of butter, and use part-skim mozzarella instead of cheddar cheese. Another healthy (and different) topping choice: salsa.

And now, a thought for the day: If you never start smoking, you never have to quit. We’ve probably all heard that before, but it’s beautiful advice that bears repeating. Studies show people are less likely to become smokers if they reach 18 without  lighting up.