Frozen Fruit Cups

frozen fruit cup

Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 medium to large banana, sliced
  • 2 kiwi, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Mix strawberries with sugar in a bowl. Let mixture sit 20–30 minutes while strawberries make juice.
  2. Add banana and kiwi to strawberries.
  3. Scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of six muffin cups lined with paper liners.
  4. Freeze. Remove from freezer about 20–30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 50 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 13g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 8g sugar, 1g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Visit the website for more recipes, information, and videos.

Organic Does Not Mean Chemical Free

Written by: Joe Hannan, ISU Extension and Outreach Commercial Horticulture Field Specialistrows of crops

A common misconception among consumers is that organic means “chemical free.” Regardless of the farming system, however, chemicals can be applied to a field. The difference is the type of products that can be applied.

  • Conventional Farming – Any pesticide that is approved by the EPA for a particular crop and pest can be applied.
  • Organic Farming – Only products that are naturally occurring in the environment can be applied.

EXAMPLE: Pyrethrum is an insecticide derived from mums and can be used in organic farming systems. Manufacturers have found that slightly modifying the chemical structure of pyrethrum, however, increases its effectiveness against insect pests. This modified insecticide cannot be used on organic farms but can be used on conventional farms.

The EPA ensures safety to the environment and to humans through the product label. The label provides the details for how to use a product, including the following:

  • what crops it can be used on
  • what pests it is effective against
  • the rate and the frequency it can be used

Human tolerance to pesticides is derived by research before products are released to market and regulated by the FDA. The label is designed to keep pesticide residues on consumed produce below a threshold that can harm humans. This is why there are often restrictions between product application and when a product can be harvested. It is illegal to sell a product that has not been sprayed according to a pesticide label or if pesticide residue is greater than FDA tolerances.raspberry This is true regardless of whether a product is grown organically or conventionally.

It is difficult to make generalizations about organic and conventional farming systems’ impact on the environment. For instance, an organic farmer may choose to use pyrethrum to control spotted winged drosophila in raspberries while a conventional farmer may use a modified pyrethrum-type insecticide. The organic farmer would need to spray more often than the conventional farmer but would have less impact on nontarget insects. On the other hand, the conventional farmer would make less trips through the field using less insecticide, water, and fuel. That’s just one example. In Iowa, most fruit and vegetable farmers fall somewhere in between certified organic and conventional by using best practices from both systems.

For more information, visit the following:

Move for Thought

family playing soccerSummertime is here—time for children to go outside and play! Whether being active inside on rainy days or outside on sunny days, children need 60 minutes or more of moderate physical activity each day. Families that are active together improve their physical as well as their emotional health.
Most days, include physical activities such as

  • walking,
  • playing outside,
  • helping with chores,
  • taking the stairs,
  • picking up toys, or
  • walking the dog.

For strength and flexibility, encourage tumbling, swinging, martial arts, rope climbing, pushups, or yoga 2–3 times a week.
For aerobic exercise, activities could include cycling, running, relay races, basketball, swimming, kickball, or soccer 3–5 times a week.

Sources: Designed to Move; Be Active (HS 4)

Buying Fresh Produce? Keep It Fresh?

Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors. Just as their nutritional benefits differ, the way in which you store fresh produce differs too! The required storage temperature and humidity level varies depending on the type of fruit or vegetable. Avoid placing produce in a sealed plastic bag on your countertop. This slows ripening and may increase off-odors and decay. Use the guides below to store your garden bounty.

fresh produceStore these at room temperature, making sure they are clean, dry, well ventilated, and away from direct sunlight:

  • Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, melons, bananas, pumpkins, and winter squash

Ripen these on the counter, then store in the refrigerator:

  • Avocado, kiwifruits, peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums

Most other fresh produce keeps best stored in a clean refrigerator at 40°F or below.

  • Store fruit in a different refrigerator crisper drawer than vegetables. Fruits give off ethylene gas, which can shorten the storage life of vegetables. Some vegetables give off odors that can be absorbed by fruits and affect their quality.

Source: Amy Peterson and Alice Henneman from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Roasted Kalettes

Total time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 1 cup | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Kalettes (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  2. Combine Kalettes, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Roast in the lower third of the oven until just tender and browned in spots, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 108 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115mg sodium, 6g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2mg
potassium, 4g protein

Source: Jan/Feb 2015 EatingWell

Announcing … a brand new vegetable!

It’s not everyKalette day a new vegetable is introduced! The newest vegetable to arrive in grocery stores is Kalettes—a cross between kale and brussels sprouts. This new vegetable looks a little like a tiny cabbage with heads that are loose and composed of frilly, green-purple leaves similar to kale (the middle vegetable in the picture). The inspiration behind Kalettes came from a desire to create a kale-type vegetable that was versatile, easy to prepare, and attractive. Crossing kale with brussels sprouts was a natural fit since they are both from the same group, which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. Kalettes combine the best traits of each of its parent vegetables with a fusion of sweet and nutty flavors.

The new vegetable is the product of more than a decade of research by Tozer Seeds, a British vegetable seed house. Kalettes were created by cross-pollinating brussels sprouts and kale through traditional methods. Look for them at local grocery stores and try them in the following ways:

  • Sauté in a large pan for 5–7 minutes, covering for increased tenderness.
  • Grill whole Kalettes in a grill basket and place on medium heat for 10 minutes or until slightly charred.
  • Enjoy them as a salad. Rinse and slice Kalettes into smaller pieces and top with your favorite dressing.

Find more information and recipes for Kalettes online.

HIIT Is a HIT!

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has listed High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as its top fitness trend for 2014. HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes. Research suggests HIIT can boost metabolism and accelerate weight loss.

Although many people can safely participate in HIIT, it is not for everyone. This type of training does come with increased risk of injury and may not be safe for some. Michael Bracko, Fellow of the ACSM, recommends always warming up for five to ten minutes before starting intervals. If an individual has an injury or has not been cleared for exercise, he advises that those issues be resolved before beginning HIIT.

Once you have consulted with a physician and been given the green light to try HIIT, you might want to try it at home. Bracko does sprint intervals with his dog. “I throw a stuffed duck, she chases it, and I chase her. It’s a blast!”

Dating 101

Americans throw out billions of pounds of food every year due to confusion about food expiration date labeling practices, according to a recent report released by Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council. This study found that over 90 percent of Americans prematurely toss food because they misinterpret dates on food labels as indicators of food safety.

For most products, date shelf life is determined by the manufacturer and is based on food quality, not food safety. The lead author of the study concluded that a standardized date labeling system providing useful information to consumers is needed. Until a new system is in place, use the guide below to help decipher codes on your next grocery store trip:

  • A “Sell-by” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
  • A “Best If Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
  • A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
  • “Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.

It is also important that you keep track of your food inventory at home. The acronym FIFO (first in, first out) can help you remember oldest food should be stored in front and used first, while newer items should be placed in the back of your fridge or cabinets.

A helpful resource is StillTasty. Here you can type in a food item and determine how long it will stay safe and tasty. The website provides storage recommendations for the fridge and freezer. An app for the iPhone is available as well, and even alerts you when food should be tossed! A good rule of thumb is “4 day throw away”; after four days leftovers should be eaten, thrown out, or frozen.

Raspberry Mango Spinach Smoothie

Serves: 2
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • ½ cup frozen chopped spinach
  • 6 ounces vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. In a blender combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Optional – Add 2 tablespoons ground flax or chia seeds for about 3 to 5 grams of added fiber.

Nutrient information per serving: 190 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 14 g protein

The Diet That Is All Fluff

Many crazy diets appear in the headlines. Some recent offerings include the feeding tube diet and the tapeworm diet. The latest diet to make headlines is the cotton ball diet, and the science behind it resembles the structure of cotton—unsupportive fluff.

The diet involves consuming five cotton balls dipped in orange juice, lemonade, or a smoothie. The claim is that you will feel full without gaining weight. Some dieters consume these before their meal to limit calorie intake, while others rely exclusively on the cotton balls as their “food” intake.

Medical experts agree that nothing good can come of this diet, and in fact it is very dangerous for the following reasons:

  • Cotton balls may not be cotton—most are bleached polyester fibers that contain lots of chemicals
  • Eating synthetic cotton balls is similar to eating cloth, or even buttons or coins
  • Risks include choking, malnutrition, or even worse, a blockage in the intestinal tract, which can be life-threatening

A healthier and safer approach to feel full is to make sure you get plenty of fiber in your diet. Follow these tips to get the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (beans and peas), which are all good sources of fiber
  • Look at the Nutrition Facts Panel for a product’s fiber content—20 percent or more is considered high
  • Include fiber-rich foods with meals and snacks

For more information on how to safely achieve and maintain a healthy weight, visit MyPlate

Want to know more about choosing high fiber foods? Check out these resources:

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