Red Beans and Rice

Serving Size: 1/2 cup vegetables and 1/2 cup rice | Serves: 8

Ingredients
• 1/2 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
• 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 2 medium tomatoes (finely diced)
• 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 2 ribs celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 can (15 ounces) red beans (rinsed and drained)
• 4 cups instant brown rice, cooked

Instructions
1. Place oil in large skillet and heat. Add onion and cook until soft.
2. Add garlic powder, tomatoes, green pepper, celery, and oregano.
3. Cover and simmer until vegetables are crisp tender (about 5 minutes).
4. Add beans and simmer. Stir mixture every once in a while until heated through.
5. Cook rice according to package directions.
6. Spoon the vegetable and bean mixture over rice.

Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg
cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 49g total carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 2g sugar, 9g protein

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. For more
information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

“Instant Pot” might help you eat healthier

bowl of chili

The electric programmable pressure cooker, popularly known as the “Instant Pot” or “Insta-Pot,” has become a best-selling kitchen appliance.

Like a pressure cooker used on stovetops, it can cook beans and whole grains quickly as well as tenderize tough cuts of meat. Unlike a traditional pressure cooker, though, you don’t have to watch this pot. Just program it—then walk away.

The Insta-Pot does not cook all dishes equally well. Its moist heat is great for stews and pork shoulders, for example, but not for making chicken legs crisp. Still, if you believe that shorter cooking times would motivate you to make more meals at home, the Insta-Pot could be one way to improve your diet. Studies show that meals made at home are likely to be more nutritious (and lower cost!) than processed foods or restaurant meals.

Before you buy, however, be sure to read independent product reviews to get the right brand for you. Learn more about choosing an electric pressure cooker.

Sources:
New York Times
Today’s Dietitian

 

“Exercise is Medicine”—A Worldwide Fitness Trend for 2017

The American Medical Association and American College of Sports Medicine partnered on a global initiative called “Exercise is Medicine.” The vision encourages primary care physicians and other health-care providers to assess every patient’s level of physical activity at each clinic visit. This means the health-care provider will determine whether or not the patient is meeting the U.S. National Physical Activity Guidelines. A treatment plan is then designed to meet recommended physical activity guidelines. A patient could also be referred to additional health-care or other qualified community-based professionals as part of the continuum of care.

Sources:

Exercise is Medicine – exerciseismedicine.org

Health & Fitness Journal – doi: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000252

Food Safety: It’s in Your Hands

When preparing food, one of the most important ways to avoid spreading germs is to wash hands correctly and often. This may seem like common sense; however, many individuals don’t wash their hands for the recommended length of time, nor do they wash their hands each time they’re contaminated. Did you know handwashing should take approximately 20 seconds overall?

Steps to Wash Hands:

  1. Wet hands. Use warm running water.
  2. Apply soap and lather hands.
  3. Scrub hands for 10–15 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice or watch the second hand of a clock. Focus on scrubbing between fingers and under fingernails.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  5. Dry hands with a paper towel or air dry. Bacteria numbers increase in damp cloth towels.

We can become less aware of the many times our hands become contaminated. Remember to wash hands after using the restroom; coughing; sneezing; running your fingers through your hair; touching or scratching a wound; petting your dog or cat; changing a diaper; handling money; working with raw meat, poultry, or seafood; and anytime hands touch something that may contaminate them.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/handwashing/fact-sheets.html or search for “5 Myths of Handwashing” and “Wash Your Hands” at the Extension Store, store.extension.iastate.edu

After School Hummus

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced) or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Use a blender or food processor to combine all the ingredients except yogurt. Blend on low speed until beans are mashed.
  2. Stir in yogurt with a spoon.
  3. Refrigerate several hours or overnight so flavors blend.
  4. Serve with pita chips, crackers, or fresh vegetables.

Tips:

  • Mash the beans with a fork, chop garlic finely, and then stir ingredients thoroughly before adding to the blender.
  • Store hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 2 to 3 days.
  • Add 1/3 cup chopped red peppers

Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 3g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

What to Eat? Snack Attack!

Snacks are foods eaten outside of a scheduled, structured meal setting. Snacking can be part of a healthy meal plan. However, many snack foods and beverages that give us the most calories are low in important nutrients.

According to a United States Department of Agriculture study, after-school snacks provide about one-third of children’s calories. Because children have smaller stomachs, they need the energy and nutrients snacks provide.

Choosing snacks that offer essential vitamins and minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats allow children to get the energy they need while helping them meet their daily nutrition requirements. Use these smart snacking strategies:

  • Plan snacks. Make them part of daily food choices and provide options from several food groups.
  • Encourage regular snack times and amounts. Don’t let children nibble constantly during the day.
  • Be a label detective. Limit convenience-type snacks that are high in sugar, fat, and salt and ones that use excessive packaging.
  • Create snack stations. Package your own ready-to-go snacks. Set up snack areas in the refrigerator and in a kitchen cupboard. Allow children to choose from either.
  • Allow children to be “chefs in training.” Have them help pick out fruits, vegetables, and cheese when shopping. Include them in snack food preparation. Use snacks to introduce new foods.

One snack to try is hummus. Hummus packs a lot of protein and fiber and is easy to make. Raw veggies, crackers, or pita chips can be dipped into this healthy and tasty snack.

Download and print “Snacks for Healthy Kids” at store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4605.

Body Weight Training

Body weight training is listed as one of the top fitness trends by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) over the past several years (including 2017). Body weight exercises are a basic fitness approach that requires a minimal amount of equipment. Many of these are exercises people have been doing since elementary school: sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, crunches, squats, etc. The popular plank exercises are another example of body weight training.

Some of the benefits of body weight training include that they are free and versatile, can be done anywhere, and improve movement and strength.

This article provides some ideas for body weight training moves: www.acsm.org/public-information/articles/2016/10/07/a-strength-training-program-for-your-home.

For more information about the 2017 fitness trends survey, visit the ACSM website: www.acsm.org.

Seafood Recommendations for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women and Young Children

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) have issued new recommendations about eating seafood. The advice is specific for pregnant and breastfeeding women and caregivers of young children to help them make informed choices about fish and seafood.

Fish is a high-quality protein source and is rich in omega-3 fats. Americans, including pregnant women, are encouraged to eat 8–12 ounces of fish per week. The new guidelines categorize fish for safety and mercury content into three categories:

Best Choices—Eat 2–3 servings a week
Example: canned light tuna, salmon, cod, tilapia, shrimp

Good Choices—Eat 1 serving a week
Examples: halibut, snapper, grouper, tuna (yellowfin), albacore/white tuna, canned and fresh/frozen

Choices to Avoid—Highest mercury levels
Examples: King mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico), and tuna (bigeye)

To learn more about the recommendations, read Eating Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know, www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm393070.htm.

Fish Tacos

Serving Size: 2 tacos
Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (seeded and chopped finely; optional)
  • 4 cups coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw
  • 10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 pound firm white fish (tilapia, mahi-mahi, or halibut), cut in 1 inch pieces or in 10 strips
  • 1 tomato, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Stir together the dressing, lime juice, chili powder, ground black pepper, and jalapeño pepper (if desired). Pour over coleslaw mix and stir to mix well. Cover and place in refrigerator until serving time.
  2. Warm the corn tortillas according to package directions.
  3. Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Spread the cornmeal on a plate while the oil heats. Pat the fish pieces in the cornmeal to coat on all sides. Fry the fish in hot oil until the cornmeal is lightly browned, 1–2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  4. Top each tortilla with some of the fish and some of the coleslaw mix. Fold in half and serve with the chopped tomato.

Nutrition information per serving: 370 calories, 16g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 55mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 38g total carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 4g sugar, 23g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Online Tools for Healthy Choices

The ChooseMyPlate website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, includes a list of reliable online tools for making healthy choices:
www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-other-tools.

  • SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.
  • What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl is an interactive tool to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, recipes, and grocery shopping.
  • MyPlate Daily Checklist shows your food group targets—what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance. Your food plan is based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level.
  • ChooseMyPlate quizzes let you test and expand your knowledge about the MyPlate food groups and making healthy choices.
  • Portion Distortion quizzes you on changing portion sizes over the past 20 years and how much physical activity is required to burn off the extra calories provided by these larger portions.
  • Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator helps women determine suggested weight gain for pregnancy.
  • Preschool Growth Charts are online growth charts that you can personalize for your child.