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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

Spaghetti squash is a vegetable that can be used in place of traditional spaghetti pasta with your favorite sauce. It is full of folic acid, potassium, beta carotene, fiber, and Vitamins A and C – with a one cup serving coming in at 42 calories, versus the almost 200 calories a traditional cup of pasta contains. 

Spaghetti squash is an oblong winter squash that is ivory-yellow in color and weighs 2 to 3 pounds. A mature squash will be 4 to 5 inches in diameter and about 8 to 9 inches long with rounded ends. When selecting squash, look for a hard rind, free of bruises, and heavy in comparison to others. Squash can be stored at a mild temperature (50 – 60 degrees) for up to 6 months.

To prepare spaghetti squash, cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scrape out seeds. Place cut side down on a roasting pan in a 375 degree F oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Hull will be soft to the touch and beginning to brown when ready. Let cool about 30 minutes and spoon squash strands out, separating to form spaghetti like strands. Microwaving is also an option – place cut squash in a glass dish (cut side down) with ½ inch of water and microwave for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and remove squash strands.

Try serving your spaghetti squash with a Roma tomato sauce or your favorite jar sauce for a quicker meal. Ohio State University Heart Hospital has a wonderful Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Roma Tomato Marinara if you are looking for an option. To see a video of how to prepare spaghetti squash go to http://go.osu.edu/spaghettisquash.

Let us know your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash!

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Sources:

The Ohio State University Heart Hospital, https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/

University of Illinois Extension, http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/facts/140218.html

Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/spaghetti_squash_also_called_vegetable_spaghetti

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TomPuppy2

My brother-in-law and sister had to put their beloved dog to sleep a few months ago. Needless to say, this was a sad time for them. Tom (my brother-in-law) recently shared an observation about his weight during this time. When . they had to put their dog, Chippy to sleep, his average weight was 199. He noticed a weight gain of 9-10 pounds after this time. Since they brought home a new puppy, Chummy, his weight has dropped by 5 pounds!

What does this have to do with your health? According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet – a dog, in particular, can be good for your heart health.  This article supports the findings that my brother-in-law recently shared with me. The CDC also reports that having a pet can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides levels and decrease your feelings of loneliness.

These factors may contribute to his recent weight loss:

  • Taking a walk at least twice a day with Chummy
  • Enjoying the social interaction with the new puppy
  • Spending time with the puppy which makes it easier to avoid snacking

If you can’t have or don’t want a pet, what can you do to improve your heart health? Go back to the basics:

Enjoy physical activity most days of the week for at least 30 minutes. It is fine to break up the 30 minutes into three 10-minute sessions. Adults should aim for 150 minutes per week.

Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Enjoy a wide variety of nutrient rich veggies & fruits. Be creative with the way you add them to your day. Start the day with a fruit or veggie for breakfast (think smoothie, veggies added to eggs, or a piece of fresh fruit).

Need more help? Visit MyPlate’s SuperTracker to customize your food and activity plan. It is free and easy and will help you on your wellness journey.

While you are enjoying the health benefits from you new (or old) pet, don’t forget basic cleanliness habits to keep you and your family from becoming ill. One reminder from CDC is to wash your hands after handling your pet, pet food or treats or if you pick up their stools.  Not sure how to wash your hands? Here are the basics on handwashing from CDC:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Do you need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Are these good reasons to get a pet? Yes! Remember that if you are ready for a new furry family member, it just might help your health!

Sources:

http://heartinsight.heart.org/Fall-2017/Is-Owning-a-Pet-Good-for-You/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/dogs.html

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/pet-food-tips_8x11_508.pdf

https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/myplan.aspx

Writer: Michelle Treber, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

 

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Many people forget how important it is to start your day with a fueling breakfast. We often forget to include this meal due to lack of time and planning around hectic schedules. One versatile breakfast item that my family and I enjoy is a veggie egg muffin. This simple dish has fresh ingredients, is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is packed with protein from the eggs and fiber from its veggies. One large egg has 6 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and only 70 calories. Eggs also provide a rich source of vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Additionally, eggs are very economical to make; one egg has an average cost of approximately 8.5 cents in today’s market.    .

Vegetable Egg Muffin on a Plate

Veggie Egg Muffins

I like to make many versions of this recipe, depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. I always start with 10-12 eggs, and add milk and various veggies on hand. I also add additional spices to enhance the flavor. Spices include fresh garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, parsley flakes, and sometimes fresh or dried basil.

Here is an egg muffin recipe that I would to share to get started. This can be modified based on your veggie preferences and items you have on hand.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milkEggs in a bowl. Peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms on cutting board
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3 medium-size mushrooms
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cooking Spray

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, nonfat milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, diced peppers and onions. After vegetables are mixed together, add your cheese to the bowl.Egg mixture with veggies in a bowl

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan cups and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan then use a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.
*Adapted from Just a Taste

These healthy egg muffins taste good by themselves, but I often will make it into an egg sandwich to add more fiber. I start with a whole grain sandwich thin, and then add guacamole, taco sauce, 1 slice of cheese, and sometimes a thin slice of deli turkey. After I’ve assembled my sandwich, I warm it up in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. This is a great sandwich to start the day. They can be made the night before and put in a sandwich bag for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. My husband likes to have it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack.

If they will not be used in 5 days, plan to put them in the freezer for a later date.

Why not give it a try this week, and leave a reply in the comment box below to share other ideas for a healthy breakfast egg muffin.

Resources:
http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/egg-nutrition-basics/

http://www.aeb.org/news-trends/incredible-breakfast-trends/new-consumer/millennial-evolution

https://www.justataste.com/healthy-breakfast-egg-muffins-recipe/

 

Written by:  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Shannon Smith, RD, LD, Program Coordinator IGNITE Grant, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, smith.11604@osu.edu

Reviewed by:   Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,   remley.4@osu.edu

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Fruits & Veggies

We are entering that wonderful time of the year when local farmers’ markets are open, roadside stands pop up and even local grocery stores offer plentiful displays of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. With all of this bounty, sometimes the question arises on how to choose the most flavorful, ripe product. You will want to choose fruits and vegetables at the peak of their freshness for the best flavor and nutritional value.

Here are some helpful hints to remember when you are shopping:

  • Look for fruits or vegetables that have the shape, size and color that are usually thought of for the item. Remember though, they don’t have to be perfect to be good! That tomato or pepper that is slightly misshapen should be just as tasty and nutritious as its perfect neighbor.
  • Avoid fruits/vegetables with obvious bruises or discoloration. These spots will spoil quickly. If you notice a spot after you bring the produce home, cut out the bad spot and use as soon as possible.
  • Feel the item. If it is very soft it may be overripe; if it is too hard, it hasn’t ripened enough to eat yet. Melons can be especially difficult to choose. Here is great information on choosing ripe melons.
  • Smell! Fruits/vegetables that have the characteristic aroma associated with the item should be ready to eat. Think fresh peaches!

Not all vegetables and fruits will continue to ripen once they have been harvested.

  • Tomatoes, unripe melons, and tree fruits such as pears, peaches and nectarines should be kept at room temperature to ripen. They will get sweeter and more delicious.
  • Grapes, berries, and cherries won’t get better while sitting out, so they should go into the refrigerator right away.
  • Other fruits, like citrus, could sit out for a day or two but then should also be put in the refrigerator.
  • Most vegetables should be refrigerated when harvested or purchased. Some exceptions would be onions, garlic and potatoes.

Don’t forget about food safety with your fresh produce!

  • Always wash your fresh produce before using.
  • Some fruits and vegetables are better stored in the refrigerator before you wash them. Items such as beans and berries are more likely to spoil if stored damp. Be sure and brush off as much dirt as possible before storing. Place them in bags to keep them from contaminating other food in your refrigerator and them wash well when you are ready to eat them.
  • All produce should be rinsed under cool running water. Do not use soap or bleach as the residue left on the produce could make you ill.

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. By buying fresh, seasonal items at the peak of their freshness and having them available to eat makes it easier to incorporate them into our daily diet.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County. treber.1@osu.edu

https://articles.extension.org/pages/19886/storing-fruits-and-vegetables

http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5523

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/washing-food-does-it-promote-food-safety/washing-food

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June is moving right along which means the summer growing season is upon us. June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.  It is a great time to focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. June is a good time to remind ourselves to make half of our plate fruits and vegetaveggiebles since most Americans don’t eat enough of either.

Locate a farmer’s market in your area and make it a point to visit to see what locally grown produce vendors have to offer.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with the nutrients our bodies need for healthy growth and development. They provide many important vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. Since most fruits and veggies have a high water content, they help keep us hydrated. Snack on some watermelon on a hot day to help cool you off and to hydrate you!

By eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke and protect against certain types of cancers.

Vegetables are divided into subgroups based on the different combinations of nutrients they provide. It is important to eat a variety of vegetables and to eat from all of the subgroups throughout the week.  The table below breaks vegetables into subgroups to assist you with choosing a variety to eat.

veggie subgroup chart

 

As I mentioned earlier, very few Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Below are some suggestions to help you make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Serve salads or a vegetable as a side dish at dinner.
  • Choose a fruit instead of dessert.
  • Create or order mixed dishes like casseroles or stir-fry.
  • Snack on fresh fruits or vegetables, like grapes, bananas, carrots, or cucumbers.
  • East a piece of fruit with breakfast every day.
  • Build your meals around fruits and vegetables when meal planning.
  • Cool off this summer with a fruity homemade smoothie or popsicle. You can even get adventurous and add some veggies to your recipes.

fruits

 

Did you know……fruits and vegetables consumed in almost all forms count towards your daily total?  These can be canned, dried, frozen, or fresh.  Canned and frozen foods are processed within hours of being harvested so their nutritional value and flavor are preserved.

 

Author:  Tammy Jones, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pike County

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County

Sources:

Brooks, A. (2014).  All About Smoothies.  Virginia Cooperative Extension.  http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/2014/04/03/all-about-smoothies/

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fresh-frozen-canned-dried-and-100-juice

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/key-nutrients-in-fruits-and-vegetables

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/#table-2-1

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://healthymeals.fns.usda.gov/features-month/june/national-fresh-fruit-and-vegetable-month

 

 

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For many of us in the health or nutrition field, the month of March is a time when we remember how important nutrition – what we eat and drink – is for our health. For me, it is a time when I try to:

  • Explore new foods
  • Ramp up my veggie and fruit intake
  • Make healthier beverage choices (try infused water instead of soda)
  • Try new recipes

What can you do this month to make positive nutrition changes? Have you heard the chatter about “cauliflower rice”? If you are on the internet, you may see recipes for this new food idea.  I love vegetable stir-fry and decided to try this instead of my usual brown rice. I found a bag of cauliflower rice pearls that was cheaper than a head of cauliflower. It was also very convenient.  I sautéed it with garlic and olive oil and used it as the base for my vegetable stir-fry. It was tasty and a way for me to add another vegetable to my day.  Toasted slivered almonds made a nice addition.  This bag featured recipes for cauliflower pearls fixed these ways: mashed, as rice and steamed.

bag

Cauliflower Pearls

Are you looking for other ways to fix cauliflower? One of my favorite ways is to roast cauliflower.  I use olive oil, garlic and smoked paprika – its sweet smoky taste makes it a family favorite.

roast

Roasted Cauliflower

 

Need a fun recipe for the kiddos? Check out the hiding rabbit recipe with their snow-white bunny tails peeking out from peanut butter celery.  Another creative, kid-friendly cauliflower recipe is pizza with a cauliflower crust.

Rabbitcrop

Hiding Rabbits

Why should you eat more vegetables? Most of us know that vegetables are low in fat and calories, and rich in fiber and vitamins and minerals. If you wonder how many you need each day, visit ChooseMyPlate for specifics. Click here for tips to help you get more veggies in your diet.  This great website can also help you plan a healthier lifestyle by exploring the SuperTracker feature.  You can log in and create an account to track your nutrition, physical activity and weight.  This free tool can be helpful in you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle.

What will you do to celebrate National Nutrition Month? Share your ideas in the comments.

Sources:

Danielson, L. (2017). 3 Unique Ways to Enjoy Cauliflower. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/3-unique-ways-to-enjoy-cauliflower

eatright: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2017). Put Your Best Fork Forward: National Nutrition Month 2017. http://www.eatright.org/resources/national-nutrition-month.

Powers-Barker, P. (2015). Ohio Local Foods Infused Water Experiment. https://u.osu.edu/powers-barker.1/2015/07/06/ohio-local-foods-infused-water-experiment/

Steed, M. (2017). Cauliflower! Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Answer Line. https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2017/02/20/cauliflower/

USDA (2016). Tips to help you eat vegetables. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-tips

USDA (2017). MyPlate. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate

USDA (2017). SuperTracker. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/tools-supertracker

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

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State Univeristy Extension, Franklin county, lobb.3@osu.edu

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Do you recall this childhood playground song?  In celebration of National Bean Day, take a minute to learn why you should be eating bebean-1684304_1280ans.

Although beans are not a fruit, they may be magical because they fit under not one, but two food groups. Within USDA’s MyPlate they are found under the vegetable and protein groups because they are so packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.

Beans are a mature form of legumes. They include kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). All are available in dry, canned, and frozen forms. These foods provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc and are excellent sources of plant protein. They are similar to meats, poultry, and fish in their contribution of these nutrients.  Thus, they are considered part of the protein group. Many consider beans a vegetarian alternative for meat. However, they are also considered part of the vegetable group because they are excellent sources of dietary fiber and nutrients such as folate and potassium.

The high nutrient content makes consuming beans recommended for everyone, including people who also eat meat, poultry, and fish regularly. The USDA classifies beans as a subgroup of the vegetable group. The USDA also indicates that beans may be counted as part of the protein group. This allows individuals to count beans as either a vegetable or a protein food.

Beans are convenient and cost effective. They are available in the dry form in sealed bags and precooked in cans. A can of cooked dry beans can easily be used in dips, main dishes, soups, or salads.

How do canned beans compare to dry-packaged beans?

Canned beans are convenient since they don’t have to be presoaked and cooked. They can be eaten straight from the can or heated in recipes. According to the American Dry Bean Council, one 15-ounce can of beans equals one and one-half cups of cooked dry beans, drained. For most recipes, one form of beans can be substituted for the other.

Unless canned without salt, precooked canned beans generally are higher in sodium than dry-packaged beans. Always thoroughly drain and rinse canned beans in a colander or strainer under cold running water before using them in a recipe. This may help lower the amount of sodium by 41% and may help remove some of their potential gas-producing properties.

Bean Benefits

  • Beans are low in fat and calories and high in dietary fiber and protein. The fiber in beans provides a sense of fullness that helps keep food cravings down. Depending on the variety, a half cup of cooked dry beans is only about 120 calories.
  • Because of their high fiber, low glycemic index, and high nutrient content, eating beans may help reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.

Recipes and Uses

Navy beans are great for soups, stews, or baked beans. Kidney beans are used in chili and three-bean salads. Pinto beans are used refried in stews and dips.  Black beans are used in casserolechili-bean-dip-bean-blogs, soups or baked bean

dishes.  Great northern beans and lentils are used in soups and stews. Garbonzo beans are used in salads and hummus.  Check out these “no recipe required” bean meals and snacks.

 

Writer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

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

Sources

The Bean Institute, http://beaninstitute.com/no-recipe-required-pdf/

The Bean Institute, http://beaninstitute.com/volume-6-number-2-2015-dietary-guidelines/

Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/eat_more_dry_beans_enjoying_their_health_benefits

United States Department of Agriculture, https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_BEANS_BLACK_110020.pdf

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, http://food.unl.edu/chili-bean-dip

US Dry Bean Council, http://www.usdrybeans.com/

 

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