Three Reasons to Have Soup for Supper!

Dinner of soup, salad, and bread
  1. People who eat more soup usually have a healthier diet. An Iowa State University study found that soup-eaters consume less fat and more fber and vitamins than nonsoup-eaters. This is probably because most soups contain a variety of vegetables.
  2. Soup is flling. Because most soups are high in water and fber, they help you feel fuller longer. For this reason, soup helps people maintain a healthy weight. To avoid excess calories, enjoy broth- or tomato-based soups, not soups with cream, cheese, or butter.
  3. Soup is easy. It can be as simple as opening a can and turning on the microwave. Even canned soup can be a healthy meal, if it’s low sodium. You can pep up the favor of low-sodium canned soup with onion or garlic powder, oregano, basil, turmeric, or a dash of hot sauce. You can also add your favorite frozen vegetables.

For more reflections on soup and the joys of healthy foods, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., blogs.extension.iastate.edu/spendsmart/tag/soup/.

Source: Soup consumption is associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality in US adults, lib.dr.iastate.edu/fshn_ag_pubs/120/

Time to Spill the Beans

Variety of dry beans

If you have dry or canned beans in your pantry, you have the start to an easy, budget-friendly meal. Beans are high in iron, zinc, potassium, folate, and fiber—nutrients missing in the diet of many Americans. Beans are readily available and an inexpensive source of protein. Adults should eat at least 1 1/2 cups of beans per week. They come in many sizes and varieties, including kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black-eyed peas, split peas, and lentils. There is a type of bean to please everyone!

One of the easiest ways to prepare dried beans is in the slow cooker. Simply rinse beans and remove any small stones, dirt, or withered beans. Then combine 1 pound of dried beans (2 cups) with 8 cups of water in the slow cooker. Lastly, cook on low for 6–8 hours (or overnight), until beans are soft.

Sources:
USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020, health.gov
Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Slow Cooking, Safe Cooking

Pot of vegetable stew

January is National Slow Cooker Month, a perfect time to try out some new recipes or dig out your favorites. But first, here are some safety tips when using your slow cooker:

  • Thaw first. Always thaw meat or poultry, following safe thawing practices, before placing in a slow cooker.
  • Preheat cooker. If possible, preheat the cooker and add hot liquids.
  • Put vegetables on the bottom or sides. Vegetables cook the slowest, so place them near the heat.
  • Don’t cook on warm. Do not use the warm setting to cook food. This setting keeps food warm; it does not cook it.
  • Keep the lid on. Each time you raise the lid, the temperature drops 10–15 degrees and the cooking process slows by 30 minutes.
  • Check the temperature. Before taking a bite, use a food thermometer. Visit Foodsafety.gov for a chart on safe minimum internal cooking temperatures.
  • Cool properly. Do not leave cooked food in the crock to cool. Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate.
  • Do not reheat food or leftovers in a slow cooker. Instead, reheat on stove top or microwave (165°F or above) and transfer to slow cooker to keep warm (140°F or above).

Source: USDA Slow Cookers and Food Safety, fsis.usda.gov

Pulse Flour: A Healthy Baking Alternative

Not all four is grain. “Pulse fours” are becoming more mainstream as plant-based diets gain popularity. These fours provide a good source of protein along with other nutrients. They are also gluten free. Pulse fours are made from pulses or the edible seeds of legumes, including dry beans, chickpeas,
lentils, lupin (lupini) beans, and multiple varieties of peas.

You can buy chickpea four plain or blended with other glutenfree fours. A 1/4-cup serving of chickpea four contains 120 kilocalories, 21 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fber, 1.5 grams fat, and 5 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, copper, and manganese. This four has a fne texture. The nutty, mild favor works well for sweet products.

Lentil four is the most nutrient-dense pulse four. You can combine it with other fours, such as almond or brown rice, in sweet and savory recipes. A 1/4-cup serving of lentil four contains 170 kilocalories, 29 grams carbohydrate, 14.5 grams fber, 0.5 grams fat, and 12 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, iron, manganese, and potassium.

Green pea four has a mild, almost sweet favor. It is slightly lower in calories than other fours. A 1/4-cup serving of green pea four contains 100 kilocalories, 18 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fber, 0 grams fat, and 8 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, iron, thiamin, and zinc. Be aware that this four will turn baked goods green!

Lupin four is another good source of plant-based protein. A 1/4-cup serving of lupin four contains 110 kilocalories, 12 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fber, 2.5 grams fat, and 11 grams protein. This four also promotes the “good gut bugs.” Individuals with peanut or soy allergies should be cautious about consuming items prepared with lupin four. This four should be blended with other fours to offset the bitter favor.

Source: The Ultimate Guide to Pulse Flours, www.todaysdietitian.com

Sweet Potatoes: Not Just for Thanksgiving!

Baked sweet potato

November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month! Sweet potatoes are often a part of Thanksgiving dinner, but why not enjoy them all winter long? These nutritious tubers are very versatile.

Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors, including orange, white, and purple. Orange and purple sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants, which help fght infammation and may protect against cancer. All sweet potatoes give you vitamins A and C, fber, and potassium.

One cup of cooked sweet potato with skin provides 6.6 g of fber, about one-fourth of your daily fber recommendation. The fber in sweet potatoes feeds the “good gut bugs” that are important for gut health and keep you regular. The vitamin A prevents vision loss and improves eye health. The vitamin C promotes healthy skin, helps heals wounds, and enhances immune function. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure.

You can enjoy sweet potatoes in many ways—mashed, grilled, steamed, microwaved, even in pancakes. Try today’s Sweet Potato Fries recipe!

Source: Produce for Better Health Foundation, fruitsandveggies.org

Lunch and Learn!

Working and homeschooling at home this fall? The structure of school and work can help limit our eating to designated meal times. When we’re all at home all day, though, we may graze on less-than-healthy choices. What to do?

  • Involve the whole family in planning meals and menus. Family members can suggest weekly menu items, including something new. The ISU Extension and Outreach Spend Smart. Eat Smart. (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/) website has planning tips and a Five Day Meal Planning Worksheet (tinyurl.com/yyhaf3w2).
  • Get the family involved in preparation and cooking. They may be more inclined to help if the menu was their suggestion. Children will learn colors, shapes, reading, math, and science as they cook, without realizing they are “learning.”
  • Prep meals in advance. View this video to learn how to Cook Now, Enjoy Later (vimeo.com/419747928).
  • Make snack bins in your fridge and on your kitchen table for both perishable and nonperishable snacks.
    – Nonrefrigerated Snacks: peanut butter; washed fresh fruit such as pears or bananas; individual bags of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole-grain crackers, or trail mix; individual applesauce or fruit cups; or Apple Cinnamon Bread (see featured recipe).
    – Refrigerated Snacks: low-fat yogurt; precut vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, and celery; or high-protein foods such as cottage cheese, cheese sticks, hummus, or hard-cooked eggs.
  • Keep sweet and salty snacks out of sight.
  • Everyone “starving” right before a meal? Set cut-up raw vegetables out while the meal is being prepared. Watch Veg Out! (vimeo.com/419742344) for more on vegetables.
  • Remember you don’t have to be perfect at this. Do your best as a family and have fun.

Sources:
Adapted from American Institute for Cancer Research (aicr.org).
For more snack ideas see the ISU Extension and Outreach publication Snacks for Healthy Kids (store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4605).

Back to School? Back to Work? Pack Lunch to Go!

packed lunch with sandwich and fruit

Lunch provides the midday boost that you and your child need for afternoon brainpower. Packing lunch with your child is also a great way to stay connected. What if your child is a choosy eater? This can be a sign your child is searching for more independence. Your child might benefit from packing their own lunch, while you have the opportunity to serve as a model for good nutrition behaviors. Use the five main food groups for you and your child to pack your lunch.

  • Fruit—Apple, banana, peach, grapes, pear, strawberries
  • Vegetable—Raw celery, edamame, cucumber, peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes
  • Protein—Chicken/turkey breast, tuna, peanut butter, handful of unsalted nuts, hummus, hard-boiled eggs
  • Grain—Whole grain bread, bagel, muffin, steamed brown rice, quinoa
  • Dairy—Cheese stick/cubes, low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk

Encourage your child to pick or add foods together from each category to make a well-balanced lunch!

Source:
“What’s for Lunch? It’s in the Bag,” (store.extension.iastate.edu/product/13900)

Crisp Fruit Salad

Serving Size: 3/4 cup | Serves: 6

Bowl of fruit salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 red apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup seedless grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 container (6 ounces) low fat, sugar free vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp light mayo or salad dressing

Directions:

  1. Wash fruit.
  2. Chop apple and pear (leave skin on). Add to large serving bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  3. Add grapes and raisins to bowl.
  4. Combine yogurt and mayonnaise in a small bowl; spread over fruit.
  5. Stir to combine. Refrigerate. This is best eaten the day it is prepared.

Nutrition information per serving:

130 calories, 2g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 55 mg sodium, 27g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 12g sugar, 2g 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

Berry and Greens Smoothie

Serving Size: 8 Ounces | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 cups leafy greens, washed (kale or spinach)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen berries
  • 1 cup nonfat milk

Directions:

  1. Put bananas, yogurt, and greens in the blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add berries to blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add milk to blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve immediately or freeze in individual servings.

Nutrition information per serving:
90 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, 4g 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

Snack Smart This Summer!

In the summer, eating several small healthy snacks throughout the day is often more comfortable than having bigger meals. Choose nutritious snacks that give you energy as well as help you with focus and memory. Healthy snacking especially benefits these three groups of people:

  • Older adults tend to prefer to eat light meals or snacks instead of bigger breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. Choosing nutritious snacks helps maintain their ability to live independently. Snacks high in protein and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, help the immune system to recover from illness and aids in wound healing.
  • Children need the calories and nutrients from snacks to get energy for summertime play and sports. Snacks nourish their growing bodies and minds. In the fall, snacks will help kids feel full so they can focus on academics. Read Snacks for Healthy Kids, store.extension.iastate.edu/product/4605, for more information.
  • Pregnant women have varied appetites, depending on the woman and stage of pregnancy. Snacks can provide quick, easy nutrition for both mother and baby. Smaller snacks rather than larger meals may help reduce the nausea or heartburn some women have during pregnancy.
Fruit smoothies

Here are some easy, healthy snacks:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole-grain crackers and cereal
  • Low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt
  • Hard-boiled eggs, unsalted nuts or peanuts
  • Want a cool summer snack? Enjoy a smoothie!

Do you know a child who needs healthy food this summer?

Check out the Summer Food Service Program meal sites in Iowa, educateiowa.gov/pk-12/nutrition-programs/summer-food-service-program#Summer_Meal_Sites.
211, www.unitedwaydm.org/211, is a one-stop source of information for people looking for help. This phone and online referral service can help people find food, housing, clothing, and much more.

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