Produce Basics—Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

vegetables

Preparing fresh produce can be easy when you have the information you need and a few skills. The Produce Basics information found on the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website and app describe how to store, clean, and prepare various fruits and vegetables. Check out this link: spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/cook/produce-basics/. Search for Spend Smart. Eat Smart. at your app store and download the free app today!

 

Apricot Pops

ApricotPopsServing Size: 1 pop (1/2 cup)
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) apricots, packed in juice or light syrup
  • 2 cartons (6 ounces each) of low fat, sugar free vanilla yogurt

Supplies:

  • 8 small paper cups
  • 8 plastic spoons or wooden sticks (for handles)

Instructions:

  1. Drain apricots.
  2. Chop the apricots finely and mix with the yogurt or blend the fruit and yogurt until smooth with a blender or food processor.
  3. Pour mixture into 8 small paper cups and put in freezer. After half an hour (when they start to freeze), stand a plastic spoon or wooden stick in the pops.
  4. Freeze 3–4 hours or until pops are solid.
  5. Remove from cup to serve. Place bottom of cup under hot running water for 20 seconds. Peel off paper cup.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 12g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 8g sugar, 2g protein

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

Get Your Brain in Shape

ThinkstockPhotos-122581849 smallNew Year’s resolutions often center on self-improvement. The number-one cited resolution is to lose weight. Instead of focusing on weight loss, for 2016 focus on eating well for your brain! What we eat can influence how well our brain functions!

Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and omega-3 fatty acids is linked with better cognitive function (ability to process thoughts), memory, and alertness.

Suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for a healthy brain include:

Put veggies on your plate. Consuming vegetables—especially broccoli, cabbage, and dark leafy greens—may help improve memory. Try a broccoli salad or using fresh spinach on your next sandwich.

Bring on the berries. Dark-colored berries—like blackberries, blueberries, and cherries—are a rich source of anthocyanins and other nutrients that may boost memory function. Enjoy them mixed into cereal, in a smoothie, or with yogurt as a parfait. Buy berries fresh, frozen, or dried; they’re all healthy choices.

Don’t overlook omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve memory in healthy younger adults. Seafood and fatty fish—like salmon, tuna, and sardines—are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are readily available. Choose fresh, frozen, or canned. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages us to eat fish twice a week. Grill, bake, or broil fish to reap the most health benefits.

Try to add these foods to your daily menu. They will not only be good for your brain, but for your heart as well.

Source: Eat Right

Superfoods: More than Kale and Quinoa

Though there is no legal or medical definition for “superfoods,” the term is typically used to describe foods that are high in nutrients and antioxidants and low in fat, sugar, and sodium. Eating these foods may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. The following “superfoods” are packed with vitamins and minerals and are versatile in recipes.

Cruciferous Vegetables – This category includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage, which are good sources of fiber and vitamin C and are easily added to a stir fry or a casserole. Substitute shredded cabbage for iceberg lettuce on tacos. Broccoli is also great for snacking raw with a low-fat dip.

Citrus Fruits – Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, tangerines, and the ugli fruit are included in this group. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. These fruits can be enjoyed as a snack or tossed in a fruit salad or a leafy green salad. Squeeze the fruit to make fresh juice and to replace the flavor of salt in recipes.

Green, Leafy Vegetables – Spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, watercress, arugula, and other dark green lettuces are nutrition powerhouses. They are packed with fiber and are a high source of vitamins A and C. Enjoy these greens shredded in a salad, sautéed with olive oil and garlic, or added to soup or casseroles.

Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are good sources of fiber and vitamin C. Add them to cereal or oatmeal or enjoy them for a snack. Try adding them to a leafy green salad for a different twist.

Beans – Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, and navy beans are a few of the more popular bean varieties. Beans are fat free, high in dietary fiber, and a good source of folate and potassium. Enjoy them in bean burritos, black bean burgers, bean salads, or bean soups.

Source: Fruits and Veggies More Matters, www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/

Grilled Peaches

grilled peaches fruitQuick cooking on a grill brings out the natural juiciness and sweetness in a peach. Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 large peaches
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Ground cinnamon to taste

Directions

  1. Grilled peaches are great served with meat, fish, or poultry.
  2. Start with peaches that are firm with just a little give when you gently squeeze them with your whole hand.
  3. Cut the peaches in half and pit them.
  4. Brush the cut sides of the peaches with canola oil.
  5. Clean and oil the grates.
  6. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat (you should be able to hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
  7. Cook the peaches on all cut sides until grill marks show and the peaches are tender but not falling apart. Total grilling time is about 6 to 8 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Nutrition information per serving
88 calories each; 2 g fat; 0 g sat fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 0 mg sodium

Nothing Says Summer Like Peaches

peachEach year, the summer season signals the arrival of juicy, sweet peaches. In the United States, most peaches are grown in California, Georgia, and South Carolina. Unfortunately, our cold temperatures in Iowa are not suited for growing this wonderful fruit tree.

There are three general types of peaches:

• Clingstone—Flesh clings tightly to the pit. The early season fruit is generally clingstone and is best used for cooking and canning.

• Freestone—Flesh readily separates from the pit. These are good for eating fresh, as desserts, and for cooking and freezing.

• Semi-freestone—Flesh is a little harder to separate from the pit. These are also good for eating fresh, as desserts, and for cooking and freezing.

Peach Nutrition Facts

• Good source of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in low light. It also helps maintain healthy skin, bones, and teeth.

• Excellent source of vitamin C, which promotes healing and helps the body absorb iron.

• A medium (2.66-inch diameter) peach provides 59 calories, 2 grams fiber and is naturally fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free.

When Buying Peaches

• Choose peaches with a strong, sweet smell.

• Look for skins that show a background color of yellow or warm cream. Avoid fruit with green around the stem (they aren’t fully ripe) or that have shriveled skin (they’re old). A red blush is not a reliable indicator of ripeness.

When Storing Peaches

• Keep them on a counter at room temperature until they are the ripeness you prefer.

• When ripe, move the peaches to the crisper bin of your refrigerator.

When Cooking with Peaches

• If a recipe calls for peeled peaches, dip peaches into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunge them immediately into ice water. The skins will slip right off.

• If peeling or cutting up peaches for a recipe, keep them from turning brown by sprinkling with lemon or orange juice.

• If you have more peaches on hand than you can eat or bake up right away, consider freezing, canning, or making extra into a fruit spread. The following Extension and Outreach publications may be useful:

o Canning—Fruits (PM 1043) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1043

o Freezing—Fruits and Vegetables (PM 1045) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1045

o Canning—Fruit Spreads (PM 1366) store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1366

Water Is Key to Life

water glasses drinksWater is the key to life — every system in our body depends on it. Water helps carry nutrients to our cells, helps rid toxins from our organs, and keeps our nose, ears, and throat moist. If we don’t drink enough water, we become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and confusion. We lose water on a daily basis by breathing, urinating, and sweating. Because we constantly lose water, we must repeatedly replace what we lose.

The Institute of Medicine states that an adequate daily intake of water for men is about 13 cups and about 9 cups for women. Water comes from more than just fluids; it is a major component of many foods. In fact, it is estimated that 20 percent of our water needs are met through food.

Foods with high water content add volume but minimal calories to the diet. Eating foods high in water can promote a feeling of fullness. Fruits and vegetables are two food groups that have generally high water content. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products like milk and yogurt can help you reach your daily water recommendations.

Fruits and vegetables high in water

Fruit: Watermelon, citrus fruits, grapes, apples, papaya, strawberries, apricots, cherries

Vegetables: Carrots, bell peppers, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach

Use these helpful resources to better understand the role water plays in your health.

Eat to Compete: What You Should Know about Fluids
https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Eat-to-Compete-What-You-Should-Know-About-Fluids

Bottled Water—Know the Facts
https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Bottled-Water-Know-the-Facts

Tips for Fresh Produce Safety

  • washing vegetablesMake sure fruits and vegetables do not touch surfaces exposed to raw meat or poultry.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables under running water before cutting, cooking, or combining with other ingredients.
  • The water should be slightly warmer than the produce.
  • Take time to thoroughly wash uncut leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach. Remove outer leaves and pull the greens completely apart; rinse thoroughly.
  • Many precut, bagged produce items (like lettuce) are pre-washed. If the package indicates the contents have been pre-washed, you can use the produce without further washing.
  • Even if you plan to peel produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. Drying produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Refrigerate sliced melons, cut tomatoes, and cut leafy greens at 41° F or lower. These foods have been implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks and need refrigeration for safety.
  • Do not serve raw seed sprouts to high-risk populations. This would include elderly people, infants and preschool children, pregnant women, and anyone with a weakened immune system.
    For additional research-based, unbiased information on food safety, visit: www.iowafoodsafety.org

Phytochemicals–They’re Good for You

In addition to vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which are compounds providing color, aroma, texture and flavor to plant-based foods. Phytochemicals help reduce the risk of many diseases.

More than 2,000 phytochemicals are plant pigments, which provide a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Just remember, the darker the color, the more phytochemicals and health benefits of a fruit or vegetable. For example, spinach will have more phytochemicals and health benefits than iceberg lettuce.

Color Phytochemical Health Benefit Examples
Red Lycopene May reduce the risk of prostate cancer Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, berries, cherries, red apples, beets, red cabbage
Orange/Yellow Beta Carotene Reduces risk for heart disease; boosts immune system; helps maintain good eyesight Apricots, pumpkin, mangos, sweet potatoes, oranges
Blue/Purple Anthocyanins May help reduce risk of heart disease and gastrointestinal track cancer; anti-inflammatory properties Blueberries, eggplant, plums, raisins, purple grapes
White Allicin May help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing risk of heart disease; may reduce risk of stomach cancer Garlic, onions, leeks
White Sulphoraphane Possible role in inhibiting cancer growth Cauliflower, jicama, parsnips, banana
Green Lutein May help reduce risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration Spinach, kale, peas, Brussels sprouts, kiwifruit, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, green grapes

March Is National Nutrition Month: Eat Right with Color

eat right with colorEvery March the American Dietetic Association observes National Nutrition Month®. This year the theme is ‘Eat Right with Color.’ Research suggests people who eat generous amounts of different colored fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet are likely to reduce their risks of chronic diseases including strokes, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that a person needing 2,000 calories a day eat 21⁄2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. To meet that goal, most people need to eat more fruits and vegetables. All forms of fruits and vegetables count: fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% fruit juice. Whole fruit, however, contains more fiber then juice so it’s best to limit juice to 1 cup or less per day. To get the variety that different colored vegetables provide, the following amounts from the vegetable subgroups (based on 2,000 calories) is recommended:

  • Dark green vegetables (3 cups per week)
  • Orange vegetables (2 cups per week)
  • Dried beans and peas (3 cups per week)
  • Starchy vegetables (3 cups per week)
  • Other vegetables (6 1/2 cups per week)

To find out how many cups of fruits and vegetables you should be eating, visit www.mypyramid.gov.

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