Category: Nutrition

Nutrient Dense Holiday Foods

HOLIDAY TIPS: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NUTRIENT DENSE HOLIDAY FOODS

We are all familiar with the holiday season routine: attending parties and  gatherings with family, friends, and colleagues and splurging over the never ending dinner table. When holidays are finally over, we cross our fingers  and nervously step on our bathroom scale  hoping we only gained a pound or two. Fortunately, many holiday foods such as pumpkin, turkey, cranberries, and sweet potatoes are nutrient dense and if prepared correctly and eaten in moderation can not only enhance our health but also can prevent us from gaining those holiday pounds.

Pumpkin

Did you know one serving of pumpkin has nearly two-and-a-half times the recommended intake of vitamin A, which plays an important role in vision and skin health. In addition to being rich in vitamin A, pumpkin is also rich in iron, which plays a role in transporting oxygen to our cells. Try using pumpkin in healthy soups, homemade breads,  pumplin pies, and casserole dishes.

Turkey

Turkey is not only a delicious protein but is a good source of B-vitamins, selenium and zinc, nutrients essential for optimal nerve and immune function. Hold off on eating the outer skin which is full of fat and go for the white meat which generally has a lower fat content than darker meat. Try basting your turkey with broth, sherry wine, and seasonings and less butter to reduce the fat content.

Cranberries

Cranberry is a super-food that provides color to our holiday dishes. It is rich in vitamin C, fiber and has more antioxidants than strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. When making cranberry sauce, try reducing the sugar content by 25% which still yields a delicious sauce. Try adding cranberries to meat dishes, muffins and desserts.

Sweet Potatoes

Don’t let the sweet nature of a sweet potato fool you. One medium sweet potato has over four times the recommended intake of vitamin A! It is also rich in vitamin C and Iron. So try incorporating sweet potatoes in your holiday dishes like  in potato salads, baked sweet potato fries, sweet potato ravioli stuffing, or even mashed sweet potatoes.

Holiday Recipe

Pumpkin Spiced Cranberry Sweet Potatoes

MAKES ABOUT 6 SERVINGS

Ingredients

4 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup dried cranberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a 9×9 baking dish, combine the orange juice, vegetable oil, sugar, pumpkin spice, and salt.
3. Add potatoes and cranberries.
4. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

By Teresa Nigro, Cal Poly Dietetic Intern

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New Nutrition News and Tips to Resume in November

 

Hello Readers!

Here’s what’s going in in October at the Foodbank, and boy it’s a busy month!

  • Launching programs across the county (Food Literacy in Preschools, Kids Farmers Market, Teems Love Cooking, Diabetes Impact Group)
  • Preparing for our Foodbank Partners Summit at La Casa De Maria in Montecito Oct 21st
  • Preparing for our Impact Departments trip to Chicago for Feeding America’s big yearly conference ACPN

I appreciate your patience as we diligently work in the Impact Department to ensure our programs are successfully up and running and we are prepared for our big Summit and Conference.

New The BEET: All Things Nutrition Posts will resume in November with topics covering Fat, Sustainability, Artificial Sweeteners, and Gut Microbes as well as more Guest Interviews with prominent Santa Barbara Voices. Also stay tuned for some delicious Fall recipes that are bound to satisfy all your senses.

You can now subscribe to The BEET by entering in your email on the left side of the blog and by clicking on the “SUBSCRIBE” button. By subscribing, you will receive an email notification when a new post has been added. This will be much easier than remembering to check out my page every week!

Healthy Fruit PumpkinHappy Halloween, and remember to treat your bodies well over the usually sugar laden holiday. Fill up on wonderful and sweet Fall fruits and vegetables like figs, apples, squash and sweet potatoes. Your body and soul will thank you.

The BEET: Meet Rhianna King, RD

Rianna KingRhianna King is a clinical registered dietitian at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, and works with cancer patients at the Mission Hope Cancer Center to provide appropriate nutritional counseling, information and recommendations. She currently serves as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Marian. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Sciences in Nutrition. She completed her Dietetic Internship through Cal Poly as well. She encourages patients and clients to focus on eating mostly plants to optimize their health and prevent/fight disease. She embodies what it means to be a connected and caring nutrition professional and registered dietitian, whose focus is to provide evidence based nutrition information throughout Santa Maria.

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“To me being healthy means feeling your best both physically and mentally to enjoy life to its fullest. This includes engaging in activities like healthy eating and regular physical activity that keeps your body functioning as it should.”

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“Our health directly impacts our quality of life. Living healthy means a longer life, less time spent in the hospital, and less time spending money on medications and procedures that have the potential to be prevented through proper nutrition and physical activity. Food fuels our body and has everything we need in it for optimal health. If you look at the composition of a tomato for example versus a human being you might be surprised at all the similarities; water, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc. Our body is capable of so many amazing things and proper nutrition is the required fuel.”

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“My motivation comes from my desire to have a positive impact in the lives of the people around me. I have knowledge in a particular field that can improve health, prevent and treat disease, and that knowledge needs to be shared. I want to help people take charge of their health and improve their lives.”

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“I think food insecurity can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health. Inadequate nutrition can also cause social anxieties and behavioral changes all leading to poor quality of life.”

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“Food First! I try to instill in everyone that consuming a variety of foods is the best way to achieve optimal nutrition, NOT through a pill. There is no “magic” single food or dietary supplement that creates the perfect diet. The FUNdamentals with Food class I started at the cancer center serves to be educational about healthy diet practices by exposing our patients to the variety of healthy foods we talk about through cooking demonstration and lecture. I always comment that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or taste bad and its part of my job as nutrition professional and advocate to prove that to you.”

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“Enjoy a diet that is 2/3 plant based and experience great health for yourself!”

For more information about the FUNdamentals of Food Class and other health and wellness classes run through the Mission Hope Cancer Center, please click here.

And check out Rhianna King’s Article The Red, White, and Blue of Summer Produce that shares the Nutrition Power of summer fruits and vegetables.

The BEET: The Power of Fruits and Vegetables

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Fruits and Vegetables in the News

We’ve all seen the news that eating fruits and vegetables helps us in all aspects of our lives. It seems like every day, studies emerge linking fruit and vegetable consumption to overall health and vitality like below:

 

Nutrition Headlines Graphic

 

Fruits and Vegetables are linked to reducing your risk of obesity, heart disease, and certain cancers. They are even linked to improving your optimism and reducing your risk of death! Is there truth to these claims? YES! While some of the statements are exaggerative, the truth is, fruits and vegetables help us in all these areas because they are nutrient dense and low calorie foods that the body needs and craves for optimal health.

Nutrient Dense Foods

 

 

When you eat nutrient dense and low calorie foods, like fruits and vegetables, you are maximizing the amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you eat, while keeping your calorie intake low.

Nutrition Power

Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help our bodies function properly and achieve optimal wellness. Vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables positively affect our metabolism, protein synthesis, brain function…the list goes on and on.

Auntie OxidantAntioxidants act as scavengers in our bodies, traveling through our tissues and cells, to locate the damaging free radicals that seek to harm our cells. These free radicals damage our body’s protein and fat cells, as well as our cellular DNA, increasing our risk for certain cancers and heart disease. Free radicals are unavoidable, as they are formed when we breathe in pollution or smoke, when we are stressed, or when we eat less healthy foods. We need these powerful antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables to confront these war-like free radicals and say “No, not in my body!”

Now think about what this means in terms of weight management and optimism. By eating more nutrient dense and low calorie foods, you are optimizing your health and supplying your body with what it truly needs. You can and should feel proud of yourself for treating yourself in the best possible way. I don’t know about you, but when I eat a fruit or a vegetable, I imagine my body thanking me for nourishing it. I feel healthier immediately, energized, and ready to take on the day. I feel confident that what I have just put in my body will sustain and take care of me. I feel more connected to the earth and what it provides for me, therefore, I have a more optimistic outlook on the day.

Give Peas a Chance

(I am fully aware of how hippie-like this sounds, but it’s true!!)

Good Nutrition Equals Mental Health

By feeling healthier and more connected, you can tackle depressive moments and pessimistic views. Many studies have linked depression to being overweight or obese. By incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meals, you are foregoing more calorie “rich” foods laden with starchy carbohydrates and saturated fat which have been shown to increase your risk for obesity as well as weigh you down physically and emotionally.

Vicious Circle

In this vicious circle, overeating unhealthy foods can lead to depression, and depression can lead to overeating unhealthy foods. It’s not science.

Optimistic Circle

Putting This Into Action

So how do we do this? Fruits and vegetables have a stigma, one that desperately needs to be eradicated. As a dietitian, I hear all the time, “fruits and vegetables are expensive…they are hard to prepare…I don’t know how to use them…I know I should eat them, but…”

I don’t want to try and convince you that fruits and vegetables are cheaper than fast food, but if thoughtfully planned out, they can be a very affordable part of your diet, especially if you utilize the produce the Foodbank offers, or if you grow your own. Fruits and vegetables also are less expensive if you buy them in season, because you don’t have to pay for the cost of transportation as well as other hidden costs.

Fresh Salad PrepAnd they are not hard to prepare! As long as you have a knife and a cutting board, the time it takes to cut up a lettuce, carrot, cucumber, broccoli, and avocado salad is less than 5 minutes! That’s less time than it takes to go through a drive-through window. And at the same time, you are breaking this “vicious circle” of poor diet and unhappiness.

I am confident, if you continue to tune into The BEET: All Things Nutrition, you will change the way you think about fruits and vegetables. They will become staples in your kitchens, the center of your family dining experience, and important components of your everyday health.

Stay tuned for more of The BEET: All Things Nutrition. And make sure to sign up for the Foodbank’s e-mail newsletter to discover great new resources for our entire community.

 

 

20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.
1. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.
2. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
3. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
4. Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
5. Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
6. Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*
7. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.
20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables
Eat Right
Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
8. Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.
9. Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.
10. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
11. “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.
12. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
13. Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.
14. Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
15. Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.
16. Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
17. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
18. Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*
19. Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
20. Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.
*See “Color Your Plate with Salad” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets for more tips on creating healthy salads
Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitians.
©2012 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Reproduction of this tip sheet is permitted for educational purposes. Reproduction for sales purposes is not authorized.
This tip sheet is provided by:
For a referral to a registered dietitian and for additional food and nutrition information visit
www.eatright.org.