How can the updated nutrition facts label help you?

The nutrition facts label got an update this year! The new label was changed because of new nutrition research, updated science, and consumer input. The four big changes are the following:

  • Serving size is now how much is typically consumed in one sitting. For example, a 20-oz soda is now 1 serving instead of 2 1/2 servings.
  • Calories are now in larger and bolder font to make the information easier to find and use.
  • Daily values (DV) for nutrients have been updated. As a general guideline, 5% DV and less per serving is deemed low and 20% DV and more per serving is considered high.
  • Added sugars, vitamin D, and potassium information is also now included.

The nutrition facts label is a great tool to support your dietary goals. Select foods and beverages that reduce the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and anemia. Choose foods that have more of the nutrients you need and less of the nutrients you may want to limit. For example, use the updated nutrition facts label to choose foods high in dietary fiber and lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

To learn more about the updated nutrition facts label, watch this Spend Smart, Eat Smart.
video, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

Fiesta Skillet Dinner

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) Mexican style tomatoes
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 cup prepared instant brown rice (1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Mix the tomatoes, black beans, corn, chili powder, and chicken in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until heated through.
  2. Add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  3. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving:
330 calories, 7g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 680mg sodium, 38g total carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 4g sugar, 29g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s SpendSmart. EatSmart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Orange Dressing with Fruit and Greens

Bowl of salad

Serving Size: 3 cups salad, 2 tablespoons dressing | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Salad:

  • 8 cups greens (romaine, lettuce, or spinach)
  • 2 cups vegetables, chopped (broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, etc.)
  • 2 cups fruit, chopped (apples, berries, grapes, or oranges)

Directions:

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a container with a screw top. Close tightly and shake until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use (up to 1 week).
  2. For each salad, top 2 cups of greens with 1/2 cup vegetables and 1/2 cup fruit.
  3. Take dressing from the refrigerator and shake hard to combine ingredients again. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of dressing onto each salad.

Nutrition information per serving:
160 calories, 7g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 14g total 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

Go SNAP, For Healthy Foods

More than 38 million adults and children in the United States are going hungry. In Iowa, 1 in 11 Iowans face hunger. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s largest anti-hunger federal program. It fights poverty by improving access to affordable and nutritious food. SNAP allows individuals and families with limited income to buy food. It can also be used to buy seeds and plants to grow food.

People can use SNAP benefits at grocery stores, convenience stores, and even farmers markets, bit.ly/3B6xYdc! Farmers markets sell fresh, local produce that help you enjoy the taste of summer.

If you need help completing the online or paper application, you may contact your local DHS office. You can also call the Iowa SNAP Hotline, 855-944-3663, to speak with someone who can help with the SNAP application. The hotline is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Sources:
Food Bank of Iowa, foodbankiowa.org
Food Security in the U.S., bit.ly/3sWyiI8

Berry and Greens Smoothie

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, 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 12g 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

Menu Planning Tips and Tricks

5-Day Meal Planning Worksheet

Sticking to your budget while eating healthy is possible! Planning is the first step. Menu planning helps you save time, save money, and make healthier choices.

You can personalize your menu by choosing nutrient-dense foods you enjoy. Nutrient-dense foods are high in vitamins and minerals without much saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium.

Start with these tips below:

  • Check what you have on hand. Check your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator for foods that will soon expire or need to be used up. Make a note of how to use those ingredients in your planner. This can save you money at the grocery store and decrease food waste.
  • Don’t throw that away! Plan for leftovers. For example, if you make a spinach salad on Monday, use the leftover spinach to make a smoothie for breakfast. Another idea is if you make grilled chicken for dinner, use the leftovers in chicken salad.
  • Use MyPlate. Healthy meals can be simple and tasty. Plan a meal that has something from at least three MyPlate food groups. This is an easy way to make sure your meals are healthy and nutrient-dense.
  • Think ahead to your family’s schedules. Do you need quick and easy meals? Are you hosting company? Do you need to harvest your garden? Using a five-day meal planning worksheet can help you plan a menu based on your weekly needs.

Source: MyPlate, myplate.gov

Fermented Foods Support Your Health

Bread

People have been fermenting foods for nearly 10,000 years. Fermented foods we eat today include sourdough bread, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.

  1. In fermentation, Lactobacilli, which are natural bacteria found in fresh vegetables, feed on carbohydrates and excrete lactic acid. The lactic acid helps preserve the vegetables and gives foods a bright color and tangy flavor.
  2. Fermented foods have many health benefits. They give the body needed probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that live in the gut. They improve digestion, lower inflammation, and strengthen the immune system.
  3. To add more fermented foods in your diet, consider the following:
    • Eat yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Enjoy it alone, with fruit, or made into a smoothie.
    • You can also use kefir to make a smoothie. This tangy dairy beverage provides a different variety of Lactobacilli than most yogurts do.
    • Toss a little sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) into a sandwich or wrap.
    • Enjoy tempeh or miso, which are fermented soybeans. Tempeh has a nutty, hearty, mushroom-like flavor. Add it to a noodle bowl with vegetables.
    • Have naturally fermented dill pickles as a snack or a hamburger topping. Most pickles at the grocery store have been packed in vinegar and spices, not fermented. Be sure to buy “naturally fermented” pickles. You can also make your own fermented pickles. For recipes, see the ISU canning pickles instructions, https://bit.ly/3i7P4yQ.

Source: Taking a New Look at Fermented Foods, bit.ly/361haJI.

Santa Fe Stuffed Potatoes

Serving Size: 1 potato | Serves: 4

baked potato with toppings

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup corn (canned or frozen)
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Scrub potatoes and prick with fork. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked through.
  3. Stir together beans, salsa, and corn in a saucepan about 10 minutes before the potatoes are done. Heat over medium heat until simmering.
  4. Remove potatoes from oven. Cut in half lengthwise on plates. Spoon bean mixture over the top of each potato.
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over each potato.

Nutrition information per serving:

380 calories, 10g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 730mg sodium, 59g total carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 5g sugar, 17g protein

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

Thai Curry Chicken

Serving Size: 1 cup chicken curry, 1/3 cup rice | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste*
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (about 1/2 of 13.5 ounce can)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach

Directions:

  1. Cook instant brown rice according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Spray a large frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken, onion, carrots, ground black pepper, and salt. Cook over medium high heat for 8 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in curry paste and coconut milk. (*This dish is spicy. For less spice, use less curry paste or add a little more coconut milk.)
  5. Simmer for 5–10 minutes until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in spinach. Simmer for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently.
  7. Serve curry over brown rice.

Nutrition information per serving:

290 calories, 7g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 85mg cholesterol, 390mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 5g total sugars, 28g 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

Take a Tastebud Adventure

Bowl of rice and vegetables

March is National Nutrition Month. This year the focus is “Celebrate a World of Flavors.” While food patterns are influenced by family traditions and ethnic or cultural groups, it is also wonderful to try and explore new foods. Here are four reasons to try new foods.

  1. Gain Appreciation for Other Cultures. Trying foods from other areas of the country or world can give you a greater appreciation and understanding of a different culture. Try nearby restaurants that serve cuisine you’ve never tried before. Go to a specialty grocery store (such as an Asian market or bodega) to buy something to try at home. Cook a new recipe. Explore the USDA Culture and Food website, https://bitly/3AR0Bek.
  2. Expand Your Options. By being adventurous and trying new foods, you’ll increase your meal options. This will help stop meal prep boredom of cooking the same meals or going to the same restaurants.
  3. Improve Nutrition. Eating and enjoying a wider variety of food also means that you’ll get more nutritional variety. This means finding new sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in which your current food patterns may be lower.
  4. Find Common Ground. A common social activity across nearly all cultures is eating. Mealtime is an opportunity for people to gather lowering feelings of loneliness and enhancing happiness.

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