Beans, Beans the Musical Fruit

ThinkstockPhotos-158913960There are many benefits to eating beans. They are high in fiber, protein, iron, folate, and potassium. In addition, they are inexpensive so easy on the budget. There’s just one little problem…they can cause intestinal gas. And how embarrassing is that! The good news is there are ways to help reduce the amount of intestinal gas caused by eating beans.

  • Add beans to the diet slowly over a period of several weeks. This allows your body to adjust to the added fiber provided by the beans. Once you are eating beans on a regular basis, intestinal gas will be less of problem.
  • Chew beans well to help digest them.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids to help your body handle the extra fiber in beans.
  • When preparing dry beans, use the hot (short) soak method of soaking beans. This method reduces many gas-producing substances in beans. Always discard soaking water and rinse beans with fresh water after soaking.

As a dietitian and a mom, beans check all of my boxes. They are very nutritious, they’re inexpensive and they work well in dishes my family enjoys. Keep the tips above in mind and toss some beans in your grocery cart today.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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A Healthier Me in 2016: A Dietitian’s Goal

Are you curious what New Year’s goal a dietitian might set? Well, it may surprise you but my goal is to increase my vegetable intake by eating more vegetables for snacks. I eat vegetables daily, but mostly at lunch and supper. However, I don’t always get in the 2 ½ cups I need each day. The snacks I bring to work most often are fruit or whole grain crackers. These are perfectly healthy snacks that I will continue to eat but I will also swap out one a few times each week for vegetables. My SMART goal for 2016 is, ‘I will eat 1 cup of vegetables as a snack 3 times per week’. If you would like a reminder of what a SMART goal is, visit last week’s blog.

Here is a list of some of the vegetables I plan to eat as snacks:

  • Baby carrots with hummus dip (try our After School Hummus)
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Broccoli and cauliflower with a bit of Ranch dressing
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Leftover roasted vegetables (Easy Roasted Veggies)

Some people might be surprised that I plan to eat Ranch dressing with my vegetables. However, I’m much more likely to eat them if I have a dip to go with them. And a couple of tablespoons of dip is not going to add so much fat or sodium that it outweighs the benefit of eating the vegetables.

To help me reach my goal, I plan to use our Veggie Tasting Party recipe and prep my vegetables at the start of each week so they are ready to go when I need them.

Now to eat my baby carrots and hummus dip……

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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The Down Low on Kids and Constipation

When I was asked to write a blog for back to school the first topic that came into my mind was kids and constipation. It is often a topic no one wants to bring up, but once someone does, everyone wants to talk about it!

Constipation is a challenge we face on a regular basis with our youngest daughter. Honestly if she had a choice she would never go! This fall she starts kindergarten and I worry the holding will get worse as she may have limited access to the bathroom or simply be too afraid or shy to use it.

We have met with her pediatrician on several occasions to address this issue and to rule out any underlying health conditions. We have learned she needs to consume more fiber-rich foods, drink plenty of water, participate in daily physical activity, and the most challenging one for her….take time to go.

Fiber Foods and H2O

Many “kid foods”, such as chicken nuggets, pizza, crackers, etc. lack fiber. A low fiber diet often results in firm, painful to push out, stool. Foods that are naturally rich in fiber tend to keep stool soft. Whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans, fruits and vegetables can help. And don’t forget water! Water is very important to keep the stool moving through the system. We try to start her day off with fruit as part of her breakfast and incorporate additional fruits and vegetables at dinner and at snack. Her school does allow students to have water bottles, so we plan to send one every day.

fiber blog chart

Get Moving in More Ways than One!

kids playing outdoors park runningPhysical activity can encourage bowel movement. Organized sports or dance classes are great forms of physical activity, but we have learned it’s best not to be overscheduled. These types of activities mean less time at home, which sometimes can lead to less time to go to the bathroom. We encourage physical activity throughout the day like walking to school, playing outside, or taking the dog for a walk after dinner. Incorporating short amounts of physical activity throughout the day can go a long way.

Taking Time to Go

Many times children may ignore the urge to go because they don’t want to take a break from what they are doing. The longer they hold it the harder the stool may become. It is important to get on a schedule of taking time to go around the same time each day. We have her sit on the toilet for about 10 minutes each evening, reading a book, coloring, etc. We do this even if she says she doesn’t have to go. More often than not, she goes. It has now become part of her daily routine, just like eating breakfast, brushing her teeth, going to school, etc.

Constipation is common among children. Good nutrition, physical activity, and making bathroom breaks part of their daily routine can go a long way to help keep your children healthy and comfortable. If you are concerned about your child’s constipation, contact your pediatrician.

Carrie Scheidel, MPH
Iowa Department of Education

Jody Gatewood, MS, RD, LD
Registered Dietitian, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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‘Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle’ during National Nutrition Month®

vegetables heart mixedIf you planned to start eating better at the start of 2015 but have gotten a bit off track, National Nutrition Month® is a good time to refocus. National Nutrition Month® is celebrated each March to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” Here are 5 tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you do just that:

  1. Eat Breakfast-There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Include lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Try our Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos to get you going in the morning!
  2. Fix Healthy Snacks- Healthy snacks help sustain your energy levels between meals and prevent overeating at mealtime. Make your snacks combination snacks by choosing from two or more of the MyPlate food groups.
  3. Get Cooking-Cooking at home is usually healthier because you get to decide how much fat, salt, and sugar to add to your foods. Check out our Spend Smart. Eat Smart. How to Channel to view a variety of cooking videos.
  4. Explore New Foods and Flavors- When shopping, set a goal to select a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain that’s new to you or your family. Visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org to learn about a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  5. Eat Meals Together- Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Turn off the TV, phones or other electronic devices to encourage talking at mealtimes. Use our Mealtime Conversation Cards to get the conversation going!

For more tips on how to ‘Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle’ visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Label Claims: What they Mean

Various labels and health claims cover food packaging these days. Some labels and health claims are regulated by the FDA, while others are simply advertising. Deciphering labels can be confusing and the laws and regulations behind them are even more confusing. After completing a course in Food Law this summer I thought I would try to simplify and clear up some confusion about “organic” versus “natural” labeled products.

Organic:USDA logo postit

Definition:“foods that are grown and processed with minimal synthetic materials”

Regulated by the USDA. There are regulated synthetic substances that may be used as well as  nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used in the production of “organic” products.

100% Organic: In order for a product to be labeled “100% organic” it must be grown and handed in an establishment that has been certified by the National Organic Program.

Made with organic ingredients: For a product to be labeled as “made with organic ingredients” it must contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients.

Only certain ingredients produced organically: May not display the USDA seal shown below, but may identify individual ingredients that were produced organically. For example, “ Made with organic carrots.”

Natural:

Definition: By law, there is not one! This label is not regulated.
There are no limitations to using the term “natural” if the food “does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances”.

Understanding what these labels mean can help you be a savvy shopper and avoid getting tricked by misleading labels. The most important thing is to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. It is a personal choice whether eating organic is important to you. Keep in mind that there are many foods that are high in fat, sodium and sugar that are also certified organic. Reading the nutrition facts label is the only way to really know how healthy a food is for you and your family.

 organic quiz 2

Click here to go to our facebook page for the answers!

Guest Blogger,

Elizabeth Breuer

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Is Corn a Whole Grain?

corn blog 2

I’ve been asked recently by a few people if corn is a whole grain. According to the Whole Grains Council, fresh corn is usually classified as a vegetable and dried corn (including popcorn) as a grain.

Corn is a whole grain if the bran, germ, and endosperm are all left intact, just like whole wheat. If the corn is milled or degermed to remove the bran and germ, then it is a refined grain.

corn blog

When buying products made with corn, such as corn tortillas, taco shells, or cornmeal, be sure to look for words in the ingredient list like ‘whole corn’ or ‘whole grain corn’ to identify that it is a whole grain. Another way to identify whole grains is to look for the whole grain stamp that was created by the Whole Grains Council and is found on many whole grain products. Some products may also have their own symbol identifying the product is made from a whole grain. However, it is always best to look at the ingredient list to be sure the product is made from a whole grain and that it is the first or one of the first couple ingredients in the product.

Some products might say ‘limed whole grain corn’ or ‘limed corn’ in the ingredient list. Limed corn is corn that has been soaked in limewater as part of the process in preparing it to be used for food preparation. Some benefits of limed corn are that it is more easily ground, the flavor and aroma are improved, and the food safety of the corn is improved. Limed corn can be a whole grain or refined grain so it is still important to look for products made from whole grain corn.

Popcorn is also a whole grain and is a healthy snack, as long as it isn’t covered in butter and salt!

Jodi Signature

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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App for Tracking Food, Weight, Exercise

I have used several apps to track my food and exercise. The one I am currently using, MyFitnessPal, is just about perfect for me and it receives the highest rating by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you don’t have a smart phone you can do the same thing on the MyFitnessPal web site.

myfitnesspal iphone

Why do I like it?

  1. It is free.
  2. It has a large food database with more than 1,100,000 foods with the option for food or recipe entry.
  3. It includes a database of more than 350 fitness exercises, with calories burned for a “net” calories remaining.
  4. It is easy to scan barcodes to add foods.
  5. It provides a weekly average and other detailed reports and charts of your progress over time. This is motivational for me.
  6. It offers the analysis of fat, calories, protein and carbohydrates; PLUS iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

MyFitnessPal also lets you add friends and link to Facebook for support. I haven’t used this feature, but it looks interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Signature

What School Lunches look like in other Countries

School lunches have been front page news in the U.S. this fall with lots of discussion about the healthier meals.  Have you ever wondered what kids  in other countries eat for school lunch?  BuzzFeed, a social news organization, posted What School Lunches Look Like In 20 Countries Around The World about a year ago.  The lunches are random pictures but do give an idea of what kids eat in other countries.  I feel sorry for the kids in Kenya, Honduras, Ghana, and Djibouti (a tiny country in Africa).  Their lunches are very skimpy.  The U.S. lunches shown are higher in fat and have less fruits and vegetables than many of the other countries.  However, these pictures were taken before the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act became effective.

Never Seconds

Blog Rating System

Food-o-meter – Out of 10, a rank of how great my lunch was.

Mouthfuls – How else can we judge portion size!

Courses – Starter/main or main/dessert

Health Rating – Out of 10, can healthy foods top the food-o-meter?

Price – Currently £2 I think, it’s all done on a cashless catering card.

Pieces of hair– It won’t happen, will it?

Another website I thought was very interesting was by Martha Payne, a nine-year-old from Scotland. She started the blog Never Seconds by showing her lunch each day and rating them.

Martha calls herself ‘Veg’ in the posts (look in the archives of Never Seconds to see the posts on school lunches.)  Soon kids from other countries were sending pictures of their school lunches to Martha which she posted, causing blog readership to soar. The lack of food in lunches in some countries led Martha to raise money for Mary’s Meals, a charity that sets up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education. Although Martha’s school has now banned her lunch pictures, she is still raising money for Mary’s Meals and blogging about her trip to  Malawi to help dedicate a new school kitchen.

 

Just Add One Campaign

Just Add One GraphicThe Canned Food Alliance has a campaign called “Just Add One” which is short for just add one ingredient to make a recipe healthier.  And the one ingredient is usually—you guessed it …. a canned fruit or vegetable.

I think the concept is sound.  Most of us don’t cook with recipes, we just keep going back to what we can make from memory.  The Alliance calls on us to just add one canned ingredient to make a go-to favorite even better without breaking the budget or your busy schedule.

Check out their recipes for ideas of how you can make starters, sides, entrées and desserts more healthy.

-pointers from Peggy

Kale, the Healthiest Vegetable

My daughter and her husband decided they are going to eat healthier and exercise more.  As part of the plan, she is trying to prepare more of the “30 Top Foods” she found in a magazine article.  One of the foods she wanted to try from the list was kale.  Kale really is a superstar vegetable.  Like other leafy greens (collards and spinach) it is rich in lutein, beta-carotine, Vitamin K and offers just about everything else too (calcium, fiber, folate, iron and Vitamin C).

I had to admit, I had never fixed kale so we bought a bunch at $1.49 to try.  She found a recipe on the internet which we revised a bit.  It was really easy to do and we agreed it was quite tasty.

Ingredients for Sautéed Greens

  • 1 1/2 pounds kale or collard greens
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup water or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar (optional)
Here is the bunch of kale as it looks in the store.  Very deep green with stems.  It is usually found with the lettuce.    Here is the bunch of kale as it looks in the store.  Very deep green with stems.  It is usually found with the lettuce.
Wash the kale under running water and break off the stems.    Wash the kale under running water and break off the stems.
In a large skillet with a cover, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil.    In a large skillet with a cover, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil.
Dry the Kale and chop or tear into 1/2 inch pieces.  It makes a pretty good pile.    Dry the Kale and chop or tear into 1/2 inch pieces.  It makes a pretty good pile.
Add greens to water or broth.  Cover and simmer for 4 minutes.  Remove cover, continue cooking, stirring constantly until greens have wilted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.    Add greens to water or broth.  Cover and simmer for 4 minutes.  Remove cover, continue cooking, stirring constantly until greens have wilted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle cider vinegar on mixture.  (We didn’t have any and it was fine).  The bowl shown is a cereal bowl.  The greens really shrink down.   Sprinkle cider vinegar on mixture.  (We didn’t have any and it was fine).  The bowl shown is a cereal bowl.  The greens really shrink down.

We served it with hamburgers and brown rice.  Chocolate for dessert. Isn’t that one of the top 30 healthiest foods too? 

-pointers from Peggy

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