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Tzatziki with Pita Chips

November 12th, 2014

Tzatziki:

(make a day before serving)
Ingredientstzatziki

  • 1 unpeeled cucumber, washed and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, peeled and minced (about 1–2 cloves)
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill and/or fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Use a spoon to scrape out cucumber seeds. Dice the cucumber into small pieces or shred using a grater.
  2. Spread cucumber on top of a paper towel. Roll up the towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Transfer cucumber to a large bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Cover and refrigerate until served.

Pita Chips:

Ingredients

  • 6 whole wheat pita pockets (6” each)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon spice (e.g., dried rosemary, basil, cumin, cayenne pepper)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400oF.
  2. Spray the pita with oil, cut in 8 wedges, and sprinkle with seasoning.
  3. Toast chips 4–5 minutes, then turn and toast 1–2 minutes more. (Watch carefully at the end because they can quickly turn brown.)

Recipe from SpendSmart EatSmart. Find more recipes at www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings.

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Healthier Snacks Sold in Schools

October 1st, 2014

If you have a child in school, you may have already heard about the new “Smart Snack” guidelines going into effect this year in Iowa schools that participate in the federal school lunch program. The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids’ Act updated the nutrition standards for snacks and beverages sold in school vending machines, via a la carte sales in the cafeteria, and at school stores and some fundraisers.

The new “Smart Snack” guidelines are intended to limit the availability of high-energy, low-nutrition foods like sugary beverages, candy, chips, and snack cakes.
The guidelines require snacks to:

  • Be a whole grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy product, and/or protein food;
  • Provide at least 10% of the daily value of potassium, calcium, fiber, or vitamin D;
  • Contain no more than 200 calories and 230 mg sodium;
  • Provide no more than 35% of its calories as fat and no more than 10% as saturated fat (exceptions: nutrient-rich snacks such as nuts, seeds, and low-fat cheese); and
  • Be no more than 35% sugar by weight.

The below table shows the difference in snacks allowed before and after the “Smart Snack” guidelines.

Snack Chart
School Snacks FAQs

Will I break the law if I put a double-fudge brownie in my child’s or grandchild’s lunch? Although it is important that both schools and caregivers promote healthy eating for the well-being of children, the standards do not apply to packed lunches.

Will cupcakes be forbidden at classroom parties? Nope. These rules govern only food sold to children in school, not food that is given to them free.

How can I find out more about the new Smart Snacks standards? For more information on the USDA Smart Snacks standards, visit www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/smart-snacks-school.

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Grilled Peaches

August 13th, 2014

grilled peaches fruitQuick cooking on a grill brings out the natural juiciness and sweetness in a peach. Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 large peaches
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Ground cinnamon to taste

Directions

  1. Grilled peaches are great served with meat, fish, or poultry.
  2. Start with peaches that are firm with just a little give when you gently squeeze them with your whole hand.
  3. Cut the peaches in half and pit them.
  4. Brush the cut sides of the peaches with canola oil.
  5. Clean and oil the grates.
  6. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat (you should be able to hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
  7. Cook the peaches on all cut sides until grill marks show and the peaches are tender but not falling apart. Total grilling time is about 6 to 8 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Nutrition information per serving
88 calories each; 2 g fat; 0 g sat fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 0 mg sodium

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Nothing Says Summer Like Peaches

August 6th, 2014

peachEach year, the summer season signals the arrival of juicy, sweet peaches. In the United States, most peaches are grown in California, Georgia, and South Carolina. Unfortunately, our cold temperatures in Iowa are not suited for growing this wonderful fruit tree.

There are three general types of peaches:

• Clingstone—Flesh clings tightly to the pit. The early season fruit is generally clingstone and is best used for cooking and canning.

• Freestone—Flesh readily separates from the pit. These are good for eating fresh, as desserts, and for cooking and freezing.

• Semi-freestone—Flesh is a little harder to separate from the pit. These are also good for eating fresh, as desserts, and for cooking and freezing.

Peach Nutrition Facts

• Good source of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in low light. It also helps maintain healthy skin, bones, and teeth.

• Excellent source of vitamin C, which promotes healing and helps the body absorb iron.

• A medium (2.66-inch diameter) peach provides 59 calories, 2 grams fiber and is naturally fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free.

When Buying Peaches

• Choose peaches with a strong, sweet smell.

• Look for skins that show a background color of yellow or warm cream. Avoid fruit with green around the stem (they aren’t fully ripe) or that have shriveled skin (they’re old). A red blush is not a reliable indicator of ripeness.

When Storing Peaches

• Keep them on a counter at room temperature until they are the ripeness you prefer.

• When ripe, move the peaches to the crisper bin of your refrigerator.

When Cooking with Peaches

• If a recipe calls for peeled peaches, dip peaches into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunge them immediately into ice water. The skins will slip right off.

• If peeling or cutting up peaches for a recipe, keep them from turning brown by sprinkling with lemon or orange juice.

• If you have more peaches on hand than you can eat or bake up right away, consider freezing, canning, or making extra into a fruit spread. The following Extension and Outreach publications may be useful:

o Canning—Fruits (PM 1043) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1043

o Freezing—Fruits and Vegetables (PM 1045) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1045

o Canning—Fruit Spreads (PM 1366) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1366

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Buying and Selling Local Foods

July 16th, 2014

produce farmers market vegetablesFarmers market and food stand season brings many opportunities to sample “pride of Iowa” foods. Most people assume that foods “allowed” to be sold require inspection. Regulatory agencies (e.g., Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals Consumer Food Safety Bureau) have the responsibility to inspect foods that present a greater risk for foodborne illness, rather than all foods.

For example, at farmers markets, vendors of meats and cheeses will have prepared their foods in a licensed processing facility. Fruit-based jams and jellies can be home-processed whereas vegetable-based jams, such as pepper jam, must be processed in a licensed facility. The difference is due to ingredients that increase the risk of foodborne illness if the product is not properly prepared. Most baked goods are okay for sale, but vendors must have: a list of ingredients, preparer’s contact information, place where food was prepared, notice of common food allergens (like peanuts or soy) that may have been present when the item was made.

When a food stand is preparing or selling what are considered “higher risk” foods (e.g., not pre-packaged foods), it should have a temporary food establishment license. This means the Department of Inspection and Appeals Consumer Food Safety Bureau or a county-level counterpart has inspected the food stand and issued the temporary license.

Are you interested in starting your own home-based food business?

Read “Starting a Home-Based Food Business in Iowa” (https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Starting-a-Home-Based-Food-Business-in-Iowa). This publication provides an overview of what should be considered, including regulatory aspects.

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Water Is Key to Life

July 2nd, 2014

water glasses drinksWater is the key to life — every system in our body depends on it. Water helps carry nutrients to our cells, helps rid toxins from our organs, and keeps our nose, ears, and throat moist. If we don’t drink enough water, we become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and confusion. We lose water on a daily basis by breathing, urinating, and sweating. Because we constantly lose water, we must repeatedly replace what we lose.

The Institute of Medicine states that an adequate daily intake of water for men is about 13 cups and about 9 cups for women. Water comes from more than just fluids; it is a major component of many foods. In fact, it is estimated that 20 percent of our water needs are met through food.

Foods with high water content add volume but minimal calories to the diet. Eating foods high in water can promote a feeling of fullness. Fruits and vegetables are two food groups that have generally high water content. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products like milk and yogurt can help you reach your daily water recommendations.

Fruits and vegetables high in water

Fruit: Watermelon, citrus fruits, grapes, apples, papaya, strawberries, apricots, cherries

Vegetables: Carrots, bell peppers, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach

Use these helpful resources to better understand the role water plays in your health.

Eat to Compete: What You Should Know about Fluids
https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Eat-to-Compete-What-You-Should-Know-About-Fluids

Bottled Water—Know the Facts
https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Bottled-Water-Know-the-Facts

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Milk Myths Busted!

June 4th, 2014

pitcher and glass milk drinks dairyJune is Dairy Month — a good time to consider the benefits of drinking milk and eating other dairy foods for calcium and Vitamin D. Drinking milk increases bone health, reduces risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and blood pressure. Despite these benefits, some milk myths prevent some people from drinking milk. Our ISU Extension and Outreach myth busters have “busted” a few of these myths below.

Milk Myth 1: Milk causes mucus
Myth Buster: For some, drinking milk may make mucus thicker than it is normally. However drinking milk for most people does not make your body produce more phlegm and will not worsen a cold.

Milk Myth 2: Organic milk is much healthier than conventional milk
Myth Buster: Cup for cup, organic and conventionally-produced milk contain the same nine essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. Both conventionally-produced and organic milk are routinely tested for antibiotics and pesticides and must comply with very stringent safety standards, ensuring that both organic milk and conventional milk are pure, safe, and nutritious.

Milk Myth 3: Fat-free milk has almost no nutritional value.
Myth Buster: Fat-free milk has the same amount of calcium, vitamin D, and protein as whole, 2%, and 1% milk. The only nutritional difference among the varieties of milk is the amount of fat and calories per serving. Another difference is that fat-free milk is often cheaper than the other varieties. A family of four changing from whole milk to fat-free milk could save $8 to $11 per week and shave off 5,040 calories and 518
grams of fat!

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GREEN—It’s the Color of the Season!

May 7th, 2014

spring saladAfter a long winter, the first, fresh vegetables of spring taste wonderful, whether from your garden, a farmer’s market, food co-op, or local grocery store! Lettuce is plentiful, being a fairly easy vegetable to grow, but many kinds of leafy greens are available.

Many people make iceberg lettuce the base of a fresh salad, but spring and summer bring many more options! This summer, try something new like arugula, frisée, kale, or spinach. The different colors, flavors, and textures make an attractive salad and the fresh greens are loaded with nutrients.

Arugula: This leafy green offers a spicy, peppery flavor which gives a zesty “punch” when added raw to salads. Arugula is rich in phytonutrients, which may reduce the risk of several kinds of cancers, including breast, stomach and colon.

Frisée: This frilly, funky-looking green adds fun to a fresh salad! It contains many vitamins and minerals and is especially high in folate, and vitamins A and K. The feathery leaves also can give a touch of elegance to a fresh salad.

Kale: Kale is considered a “powerhouse of nutrition,” with beautiful leaves that provide an earthy flavor. It is an excellent source for vitamin K, and helps lower cholesterol.

Spinach: This dark green leafy vegetable is fairly mild in flavor overall. It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available, being packed with vitamins (especially A and C) and minerals (especially iron).

Jazz up your fresh salad by adding:
• Fruits: Use fresh or dried berries, apples, and oranges. Fruit juice could be part of the dressing.
• Grains: Try adding cooked whole grain pastas, brown rice, quinoa, barley, wheat berries, or bulgur.
• Protein: Include proteins like nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, lean fish, and meats.
• Dressing: Keep it light in both calories and saturated fat, yet high in
flavor with small amounts of juices, spices, herbs, flavored oils, and flavored vinegars.

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MARCH into Spring

March 5th, 2014

family eatingMARCH into spring armed with habits that help you become your healthiest self. Consider these tips:

Move every day – Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily for better blood pressure, stress reduction, and weight control. This can include three 10-minute bouts of physical activity throughout the day. Choose activities you enjoy, raise your heart rate, build strength, and increase flexibility. An activity buddy can help you stay faithful to your plan.

Avoid Skipping Meals – When making a shopping list and planning meals, consider MyPlate (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/). Include healthy snacks (e.g., low fat yogurt, vegetables with low fat dip, whole grain bread with peanut butter) to meet your family’s nutritional needs. Healthy snacks sustain energy levels between meals and help you stay on track with your health goals.

Read food labels – Aim high (20% or more) for vitamins, minerals and fiber. Aim low (5% or less) for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. For more information on how to read a food label, watch the “Label Reading for Health” video at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/page/online-lessons.

Choose foods carefully – Become a smart shopper by reducing the amount of convenience foods eaten, choosing fruit canned in juice, and buying no salt added canned vegetables. When you are choosing foods, make half your plate fruits and vegetables and watch portion sizes.

Have family meals – Make family meal time a priority. Research shows family meals promote healthier eating. Eat as a family a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime and turn off the TV, computers, and phones. Have all family members help in meal planning and cooking.

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A Halloween Treat for Fall – Roasted Pumpkin

October 8th, 2013

When jack o’ lanterns were first used as holiday decorations in Britain, they were made out of carved turnips. In the United States, the pumpkin—native to North America—is carved into roasted pumpkinscary faces for Halloween.

The type of squash we call pumpkin is so well associated with jack o’ lanterns and holiday pies that not everyone realizes it is a nutritious vegetable that makes a spectacular side dish. One cup of cooked pumpkin provides 245 percent of your daily need for Vitamin A for only 49 calories!

Why not “treat” your family to savory roasted pumpkin throughout the fall? Sweet “pie” pumpkins are best for roasting…

  1. Scrub the pumpkin thoroughly, dry it, and cut it in half.
  2. Scrape out the seeds and membrane.
  3. Cut each pumpkin into eighths, to make wedges.
  4. Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil or olive oil in a shallow baking pan. Turn the wedges in the oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Place the wedges evenly spaced, skin side down, on the sheet. Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. The edge of the wedges should be caramelized.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.

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