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Posts Tagged ‘Fruits & Vegetables’

zucchini.jpg

As my family gardened this week we noticed that we have an abundance of zucchini. It’s that time of year where everyone is getting more than they anticipated and they are trying to find ways to use it up, preserve it, or give it away.

When picking zucchini look for firm and wrinkle free zucchini that is about 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. If you are anything like me, you likely have zucchini in your garden that’s 12 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The larger the zucchini the tougher it will be and it will also contain more seeds. These zucchini are best for baking. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, grate the zucchini and use in your favorite recipes.

Zucchini have a high water content which makes them lower in calories. They provide us with vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and potassium. This makes them a fantastic vegetable to eat. However, not all children are big vegetable eaters. If you are like me, you sneak them into things when they don’t notice. Zucchini bread is always a good option but if you have a picky eater like I do, the green flecks in the bread can quickly turn them away. Have you ever put it in your chocolate cake or finely shredded in spaghetti sauce? My kids don’t know it’s there and I get them to eat a vegetable! I count it as my mom super power! The below recipe is a great one to try from USDA’s Mixing Bowl recipe collection. You can also check out some of their other zucchini recipes.

The big zucchini that I picked from my garden will make a lot of Chocolate Squash cake. I won’t use all of my grated zucchini before it goes bad so I will be freezing my leftovers. For proper freezing procedures please check out these safe instructions by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Make sure you blanch zucchini before freezing to ensure quality.

Eating the squash cake is not as healthy for you as eating the raw vegetable itself but we all have to start somewhere.

Aunt Barbara’s Chocolate Squash Cake

Makes: 12 Servings

Instructions

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 package cake mix, dark chocolate

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup squash (shredded or finely chopped)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10″ tube or bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and cinnamon.
  3. Add eggs, water, and oil. Blend until combined, then beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Fold in squash. Add nuts if you like.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Other Ideas:

  • Use a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
  • To lighten cake, try 6 egg whites in place of whole egg.
  • Replace 1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup applesauce.

WRITTEN BY: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

REVIEWED BY: Lisa Barlage , Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  Ross County.

SOURCES:

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IMG_5553One fourth or 25% of a typical person’s daily calories come from snacking. It’s simple to see why choosing healthful snacks are important for all ages.  Smart snacking can help curb hunger between meals and prevent overeating during meals. According to the NPD Group’s Snacking Research study, Baby Boomers outweigh Millennials when it comes to eating ready-to-eat snacks. Boomers consume ready-to-eat snacks 20% more often than Millennials. NPD’s research shows, “annual consumption of ready-to-eat snacks per Boomer is about 1,200, for a total of 90.4 billion annual snack eating events. Boomers tend to eat snacks versus a big meal, because many may not want to eat alone. Whereas Millennials consume the ready-to-eat snacks because they are hungry.

Both groups’ top picks for ready to eat snacks were fruit, chocolate, and potato chips. Fruits are an excellent choice for snacks.They are low in calories, rich in nutrients and fiber, and can be economical especially when purchased in season from a local market.   A calorie comparison was done among 20 fruits and vegetables with 20 conventional snack food items (such as chocolate, cookies, potato chips). Results showed that fruits and vegetables provided an average of 56 calories per snack size portion, compared to a whopping 180 calories for the conventional snack foods. Fruits and vegetables had three times LESS calories!

Here is an easy 10 minute snack recipe that will appeal to both Millennials and Baby Boomers! It has 118 calories, 1 gram of fat, 4 grams protein and 3 grams fiber.

BATIDO SMOOTHIEusdarepci

Prep time: 10 minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

This refreshing smoothie is a blend of papaya, banana, and yogurt and makes a satisfying part of breakfast or any time of day. Mix in frozen or fresh berries for a variety of flavors.

Ingredients

2 cups papaya chunks (fresh or frozen)

2 bananas (overripe, sliced)

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 cup ice cubes

Directions

  1. Put all the ingredients in the blender.
  2. Put the lid on tightly. Turn the blender to a medium setting and blend until the ice is chopped and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Serve right away or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Notes

  • One cup of low-fat milk, soy, rice, almond or coconut milk can be used instead of yogurt.
  • Strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries can be used in addition to or instead of papaya.

Sources:

https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2016/millennials-have-nothing-on-boomers-when-it-comes-to-snacking/

https://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/recipes/myplate-cnpp/batido-smoothie#

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, remley.4@osu.edu

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range

 

Recently I had to replace my beloved stove. It had served me well over the years with family dinners, parties and countless cooking experiments.  I researched the various models, features and recommendations and was prepared to make an educated, informed decision.

When I finally started making the rounds at the appliance stores to check out the new ranges, I wasn’t prepared for a specific feature I found on a majority of the ranges. Chicken Nugget and Pizza pre-set buttons. What’s this? Does our nation eat chicken nuggets and pizza to such an extent that we need to have those two specific foods singled out for pre-set buttons so we can heat them up in a moment’s notice?  Are we perceived by appliance manufacturers as consumers of convenience foods in massive quantities?

Other countries already see Americans as huge drive-thru/convenience food eaters; is it any wonder the appliance industry followed suit? What will be next? Refrigerators with high sugar beverage or energy drink dispensers? It’s no wonder the current dietary guidelines have started to shorten their estimates of life expectancy—we know our children won’t live as long as their grandparents.  Their diets are not health-supporting.

The 2015 dietary guidelines recommend that Americans start to shift their food choices from convenience foods to more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to improve overall health. In the next couple of years there will also be more health messages touting the danger of excessive sugar in beverages and energy drinks.

At a recent meeting with colleagues, I observed several co-workers pull yogurt, fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus, and various vegetables out of their lunch bags to consume during our working lunch. It struck me how easy these simple, healthy foods are to eat, yet so powerful. I am grateful to be part of a group of health-focused individuals that are not just “talking the talk,” but also “walking the walk.” Let’s all do our part to improve the American diet and get healthy along the way!

P.S. I ended up purchasing a range that has no pre-set nugget/pizza buttons, and look forward to future cooking adventures!

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

References: Am J Clin Nutr January 2015 vol.109 no.1 6-16

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OrganicCauliflower

Cauliflower

In the same way you used to roll your eyes and tune out your mother when she said “eat more vegetables and fruits,” your eyes will probably glaze over at yet another reminder. But of all the health messages we receive on a daily basis, this one really is one of the easiest to assimilate, and it can make a huge difference in whether or not you will develop a chronic disease.

Why should you eat more vegetables and fruits? Research shows that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease–and that includes both heart attack and stroke. It may also (1) provide protection against certain types of cancers; (2) help you maintain or lose weight; and (3) enable you to consume more fiber, which keeps you feeling full and aids in elimination.

Not sure how much to eat? Just fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Sound too simple?  That’s because it is! Just remember to select whole fruits (instead of juice) and vary your veggies.

To help you get there, one vegetable in particular you might want to reconsider is cauliflower. It is the flower of the plant; growing in tight, compact clusters. This mild white vegetable is available fresh or frozen. Most of us eat cauliflower raw with dip or steamed as part of a vegetable medley. I personally love it steamed with broccoli, carrots and onions. It is colorful and tasty, and steaming seems to bring out a mellower flavor.

Why should you eat cauliflower?

Want a new way to enjoy this vegetable from the cabbage family?

  • Make low-calorie “mashed potatoes” with cauliflower.
  • Roast it for a crunchy unique flavor. I added a dash of smoked paprika for more flavor.

    Roasted Cauliflower

    Roasted Cauliflower

  • Try cauliflower pizza crust – great if you eat gluten free or are watching your calories.
  • Make stir-fry using cauliflower as one of the vegetables. Stir-fry onion, garlic, and cauliflower, then add flavor with low sodium soy sauce. After the vegetables are crispy, add two beaten eggs. Heat until eggs are firm, and then serve with brown rice and quinoa.

    stirfry

    Stir -Fry

  • Enjoy Cauliflower-Cheese Soup on a cool winter day.
  • Try this kid friendly and cute idea, named “Hiding Rabbits”.
Rabbitcrop

Hiding Rabbits

One head of cauliflower can yield about 10 ½ cup servings.

So… I challenge you that next time you are at the grocery, pick up a head of cauliflower and find a new way to enjoy this healthy vegetable.

 

 

Sources:

https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2015/11/healthy-eating-getting-creative-cauliflower/

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/fruits_vegetables.html

http://choosemyplate.gov

Photo Credits: Doug Wilson

Michelle Treber

Written by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

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PearsThe cooler weather makes me think about winter and one of my favorite fruits, pears. Pears are a high source of fiber (eat the skin) and a high source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells in the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are produced in the body when food is broken down, or by environmental factors such as cigarette smoke and radiation. Free radicals cause cell damage and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Check the Neck – for Ripenesspear check the neck for ripeness
Did you know that the pear is one fruit that ripens after harvest? An easy way to tell if your pear is ripe is to gently push on the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it is ripe.
Store un-ripened fruit in a paper bag at room temperature. Place pears on your counter (not in refrigerator) to ripen. Some pears change color when they ripen but many do not. Once your pears ripen, store them in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Powerhouse – 1 Medium Pear
Total Calories – 103
Dietary Fiber – 5.5 grams
Vitamin C – contains 13% of your daily value
Intrigued by this fruit?

Try a salad topped with pear slices. Check out this video from Boston University for easy steps to a yummy salad, Pear Carpaccio which is a salad topped with pears.
Many restaurants serve salads topped with pears, walnuts, cheese, and dressing.

Top Ten ways to Enjoy Pears include:

• Pears for breakfast. Try the Rise and Shine Cobbler for a quick and easy breakfast.
• Serve pears as a snack. Slice ripe pears and enjoy. Pack pears for a snack at work or in your lunch.
• Pears for dinner. Try this Pear Bistro Salad that includes chicken breast for a great meal.
• Ohio State University, Student Wellness Center shares this yummy recipe for Baked Pears that you can fix in your microwave.Baked Pears

So the next time you are at the store, “Check the Neck” of a pear, put it in your cart to enjoy!

 

Written by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Sources:
https://extension.usu.edu/fscreate/files/uploads/Food_ense_Fruits/FFruitsPears.pdf

http://usapears.org/

http://www.bu.edu/sargentchoice/whats-cooking/our-favorite-recipes/pear-carpaccio/

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-pears

http://www.bu.edu/today/2009/sargent-choice-cooking-2/

http://www.bu.edu/sargentchoice/whats-cooking/our-favorite-recipes/pear-carpaccio/

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Have you noticed that the winter holidays are associated with food more than at any other time of the year? From Thanksgiving turkey with all of the trimmings through New Year’s Eve celebrations, there are many temptations put in front of us. Cookies seem to magically show up at the office and there are multiple events to attend where it is very easy to indulge more than we should.cookie-585903_640

If you’ve been working hard this year at healthier eating or increased physical activity, don’t let the holiday season set you back. If you do slip into some old habits don’t let it get you down.

Here are some hints to help you have a healthier holiday:

• Schedule time for physical activity – if it is on your calendar you are more likely to follow through.
• Cut back on what you eat a little for a few days but not too much.
• Look for a couple of new recipes to incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet. The fiber will help you feel full longer. For example, green bean almandine with lemon is a much healthier choice than the traditional green bean casserole!
• Be more conscious of your portion sizes. Use a smaller plate and remember to fill at least half of it with vegetables and fruits.
• Try to eat a light, healthy snack before a party. This might curb your appetite and make it easier to avoid temptation! Eat a low fat Greek yogurt, string cheese or other protein food to help you feel fuller.
• Track what you eat each day. Being aware of what we are actually consuming can help us make any necessary adjustment.
• If you have a favorite holiday treat, make it, enjoy a serving or two and give the rest away!

Studies show that the average American gains one to two pounds over the holidays and these pounds usually don’t go away. You might make it your goal to maintain your weight over the holidays instead of trying to loose. If you try to deny yourself your favorite holiday foods, you are more likely to “fall off the wagon” and go overboard on eating. Enjoy our favorites and then get back to your wellness plans of healthy eating and exercise after the New Year!

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu
Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holiday-eating-10/holiday-foods-diet
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/montgomery/news/healthy-holiday-eating

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cereals

Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.

  1.  THE List:Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.
  2. Explore coupons: Coupons are a great way to save money while grocery shopping and can be a great activity to do with your family! You will have no problems finding some great deals. Looking for coupons is easy since they are located in a variety of places: in your newspaper, different magazines, at the grocery store, and even your smart phone. Many  grocery stores have mobile apps where you can get coupons with a touch of a button. All you do is bring in your phone with the coupon pulled up and have the cashier scan the bar code on your phone.
  3. Shop the perimeter: Most processed foods are located in the middle of the grocery store such as sugar flavored drinks, cookies, cereals and chips.Shopping the perimeter where the fresh produce, dairy products, meats and most bread are located is a great way to purchase more healthful foods for you and your family.
  4. Eat before: How did those doughnuts get in your cart? Have you ever been a victim of shopping while you were hungry and buying foods that you never went to the store for in the first place? Eating something before you go grocery shopping can satisfy this syndrome of picking up foods that sound and smell good to you at that time.
  5. Be mindful when buying in bulk: Ever buy a huge bag of popcorn because it was on sale and noticed you’ve eaten the whole bag by yourself? I have! Be mindful and strategic when you buy in bulk. You want to ask yourself if you are buying this huge stock of food because it is on sale or if it is something you need. If it is both on sale and something you need, make sure you have a way you can preserve some of the product. For example, if you buy meat in bulk, know that you can freeze half of it and eat what you know you will need instead of trying to eat it all in one week. This can lead to unnecessary overeating and even send you to the store buying more.

These five general shopping tips can help you stay on task and purchase more nutrient-rich foods for you and your family! It’s important to stay focused and make sure you’re buying your needs and not your wants.

Written by :  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Courtney N  Klebe, Dietetic Intern , Bowling Green State University.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, MSPH, Ph.D, Field Specialist, Food Nutrition and Wellness.

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