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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

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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roasted-vegetablesWhen I was growing up, my mother served most of our vegetables hot and moist. That’s because we ate a lot of home-canned veggies. When you open up a Mason jar filled with garden produce, the vegetables are “pre-softened” from the liquid and the canning process.  So that was how we ate most vegetables.  As a consequence, I grew up disliking the taste of many of them.

As an adult, I have changed my status to vegetable “lover” by utilizing a different cooking method, which is roasting. Hallelujah! What a difference roasting makes to the taste and appearance of a vegetable (mothers out there—take note of this for your picky eaters).

Roasting is a little more time-consuming than boiling or microwaving a vegetable, but the extra minutes are worth the effort. Roasting vegetables in the oven caramelizes the outside of the veggie, giving it a sweet, but crispy, taste.

What Vegetables to Roast?

Root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots are the most common choices, with broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and brussels sprouts coming in a close second. But don’t be afraid to try other vegetables such as summer squash, peppers, green beans, asparagus, onions, or even tomatoes.

If you want, you can mix two or more veggies together. Just make sure they are compatible, time-wise.  For example, roast cauliflower with broccoli, or butternut squash with potatoes.

Roasting Pointers

First cut the vegetables down to bite-sized pieces, then toss with your favorite oil or seasoned oil mixture. Generally a tablespoon or two of oil will suffice, unless you have a large amount of veggies to roast. The oil helps the vegetables crisp up in the oven and adds a rich flavor.

I like to use olive oil when roasting vegetables, but any oil will work. Use a couple of large spoons to mix or just stick your (clean) hands into the bowl and combine until everything is evenly coated.

Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet that’s been lightly coated with cooking spray. They need lots of space, so use two baking sheets if necessary. Crowding will make the vegetables steam instead of roast. Once the veggies are on the baking sheet, sprinkle with a little seasoning—salt, pepper, or other herbs. I like to use sea salt for extra crunch.

Roast Until You See Toast

Make sure the oven is good and hot before you put the vegetables in to roast. 425°F is ideal for roasting most vegetables–if the oven temperature is too low, the vegetables will overcook before they’ve had a chance to brown.

Roast your vegetables until they are tender enough to pierce with a fork. Don’t worry if you see charred bits. Those crispy brown bits are the best part of the vegetable!

General Roasting Times for Vegetables

Cooking times are for roasting vegetables at 425°F.

  • Root vegetables (beets, potatoes, carrots): 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how small you cut them
  • Winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash): 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how small you cut them
  • Crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts): 15 to 25 minutes
  • Soft vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers): 10 to 20 minutes
  • Thin vegetables (asparagus, green beans): 10 to 20 minutes
  • Onions: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them
  • Tomatoes: 15 to 20 minutes

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-roast-any-vegetable-101221

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/how-to-roast-vegetables/

Written by: Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Reviewed by: Melissa Welker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County

 

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Is your garden overflowing with zucchini or another type of summer squash? Lucky you!  Summer squash is a warm season vegetable that can be grown throughout the frost-free months.  Varieties of summer squash can be found in grocery stores year round, but they are most plentiful during June, July, and August.  Summer squash is harvested while the vegetable is still immature.  As a result, the skin of the squash is tender and is edible, unlike its fall and winter counterparts.

zucchini-1637435_640

 

What are the health benefits?

  • Summer squash is low in calories with only 16 calories per cup of raw squash. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is high in fiber and low in calories which can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Summer squash is free of sodium and cholesterol. A diet low in sodium and cholesterol decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Summer squash is high in vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, vision, cell growth, and fighting infections. Vitamin C helps to fight infections, build new body tissue, heal wounds, and eliminate cancer causing substances.
  • Summer squash also contains potassium, manganese, folate, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. These help the body turn food into fuel as well as ensure proper contraction of the heart and skeletal muscles.

How do I select a summer squash at the grocery store?

  • Choose summer squash that has a firm, glossy/shiny skin that is free of cuts, bruises, and blemishes.
  • The summer squash should be heavy for its size. If comparing two of the same size, buy the heavier squash.
  • Choose small to medium varieties. Smaller squash is more flavorful than larger ones.

How do I store summer squash?

  • Store summer squash unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Any water on the squash will promote decay while in storage.
  • Summer squash can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.

How should I prepare summer squash?

  • Summer squash should be washed well right before it is used in a meal.
  • Cut off both ends of the summer squash, but do not peel off the skin. Most of the vitamins and minerals are found near the skin. The skin of summer squash is very tender and easily eaten.
  • Summer squash can be enjoyed either raw or cooked.
  • Slice the squash and sauté, grill, steam, boil, roast, or microwave.

Top 5 ways to enjoy summer squash:

  1. Grate zucchini using a cheese grater and use it to make delicious zucchini bread or zucchini muffins.
  2. Chopped, raw summer squash can be added to a salad of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and chickpeas to make a colorful, refreshing dish on a hot summer day.
  3. Use squash as part of a summer chili.
  4. Use summer squash to make a delicious veggie lasagna.
  5. Use summer squash to make vegetable kabobs on a summer night. Toss summer squash, red bell peppers, and onions in olive oil, add salt and pepper, place on a skewer, and grill to perfection.

Sources:

https://extension.illinois.edu/veggies/ssquash.cfm

https://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_SUMMERSQUASH_900151Dec2012.pdf

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/summer-squash-nutrition-selection-storage

Author: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewer:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

 

 

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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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I am the daughter of parents with Type 2 diabetes. My father passed away in 2012 due to complications with diabetes and my mother currently struggles with managing her diabetes. What does this all mean having Type 2 diabetes? It means that for my mom, her body does not make or use insulin very well. She takes pills and insulin daily to help control her blood sugar. It means she gets her A1C blood test quarterly to measure her average blood sugar over a three month period .momIt means it is important for her to eat healthy by choosing foods that are high in fiber, low in fat, sugar and salt such as fruits, vegetables, skim milk and whole grains.

Having lost a father due to complications with Diabetes, I feel strongly about educating others. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of a team of Ohio State University Extension educators and researchers who have developed a self-paced online course to help participants learn, share and chat with health professionals about managing diabetes.

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  • The course, Dining with Diabetes: Beyond the Kitchen focuses on carbohydrates, fats, sodium, vitamins, minerals and fiber. The easy to follow three-module course includes lessons, videos and activities to complete.

Participants can expect to learn:

  • How important blood sugar and carbohydrates are for managing diabetes.
  • How fats and sodium affect a healthy diet.
  • The role vitamins, minerals and fiber play in a healthy diet.
  • How to make healthy food choices when eating out and grocery shopping.

After completion of the course, participants receive a printable certificate. They are also automatically entered in a quarterly drawing for a $100 Amazon.com gift card.

Sign up is easy and free. Visit go.osu.edu/DWD_BTK and click “buy now.” The course will be added to cart for checkout at no cost. After completing the transaction, participant will be required to create an account with campus.extension.org to take advantage of all the materials.

For questions or assistance, contact Dan Remley at remley.4@osu.edu or Susan Zies at zies.1@osu.edu.

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

Reviewer: Dan Remley,Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, remley.4@osu.edu

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There is a lot of talk about the importance of family meals. Your school age children may eat both breakfast and lunch in their school cafeteria. This is why it is important that the meals you eat with them are opportunities to teach healthy eating behaviors. Hopefully your children will carry these behaviors to the school lunchroom, and other settings. Listed below are meal-time tips you can use to encourage these healthy behaviors at home.

* Children are sponges! They learn from watching parents and older siblings. Try to eat as a family whenever you can. Include a good variety of foods, including vegetables. This is also a great time for conversations and practicing table manners.

* Enjoy a lunch date! Talk about school meals and what your children are eating. Try to understand why they make the choices they do. Have a breakfast or lunch date at school every few months. Not only will you see what is offered at the school meals, you will also see what your child is choosing.

* Learn what they like! Food preferences need to be respected and acknowledged. Teach young children to say “No, thank you” politely if they do not want any more after a taste. Make sure that the focus is on the great taste of the new foods you are trying. Even at a young age, many kids associate “good for you” with “tastes bad.”

*Experiment with new foods! Encourage kids to try one bite so they can expand their horizons. berries

* Don’t give up! Serve the foods your children previously resisted. It often takes several times of introducing a food before children eat and enjoy it.

* Try to resist the “forbidden foods” label! All foods can be part of a healthy diet.

* Encourage them in meal preparation! Let kids help fix items according to their age and skill level. Children are more willing to try foods, especially if they helped prepare them. Even young children can tear lettuce, rinse broccoli or even set the table. Let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try the next time they go to the store with you.

* Be a creative cook! Cut foods into interesting shapes and make the plate attractive.

Vegetable Train
* Name foods with cute names and offer finger foods, such as sliced fruit and vegetables. Kids like inviting foods just like adults do. Try raw vegetables with light dips. Serve broccoli trees or cauliflower clouds.

* Give your time! Make the meal or snack your sole focus. Conversation is good. TVs or other electronics should wait until the snack or meal is complete.

* Allow them time to eat! Try not to rush the children when they eat. Time pressure puts stress on eating and makes it less pleasurable.

* A child’s world is play! Make eating a fun time. Include discussions about colors, textures and flavors.

* Grow it yourself! If you have a garden or a few plants, include the children in planting and harvesting the produce. Children who participate in planting foods, or at least see where their foods come from are more likely to try them. Many schools now have gardens or container gardens. If your child’s school has a garden, talk to them about the foods they are growing. This is a great way for you to be involved with your child’s school!

These are just a few simple ways we’ve found to get kids to explore the world of healthy food. If they work for you, please share them with all your friends!

Source: Duyff, Roberta L. American Dietetic Association- Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 4th Edition, 2012.

Author: Liz Smith, Ohio State University Extension, Central Region SNAP-Ed, smith.3993@osu.edu

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

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