Summer Bounty Salad

SummerBountySaladServing Size: 1 Cup | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups vegetables (chopped) (carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • 1 pepper (green, red, or yellow), sliced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tomatoes (red, yellow, or mixed)
  • 2/3 cup light or fat free salad dressing

Instructions:

  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables. (Cut the carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, and pepper in slices. Make the broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Slice or chop tomatoes.)
  2. Combine all vegetables and salad dressing in a bowl, stirring to coat vegetables with dressing.
  3. Cover and refrigerate 1–3 hours to blend flavors. Store any leftovers in refrigerator and use within 3 days.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 2g protein

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

Gardening: Top 10 Vegetables to Grow and Eat for Health

sb10062327dd-001Growing your own food doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have never gardened, start small using containers or a small plot of land. Plant vegetables you really like to eat.

Several vegetables that grow well in Iowa made it to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach “Top 10 Vegetavcbles to Eat for Health” list. Choose to grow and eat the following vegetables to boost your health:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels spouts
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Pumpkin
  •  Red bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter squash

These vegetables earned their ratings by providing at least 20 percent of the recommended dietary intake for one or more nutrients such as Vitamin A or potassium.

Each vegetable was also rated for its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). This measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. Consuming high-ORAC foods may help protect cells from damage by oxygen radicals. This, in turn, may slow down the processes associated with aging in both the body and the brain.

Numerous publications are available to download and print as you plan and plant your garden. Go to the Extension Store at store.extension.iastate.edu and enter either the title or number of the publication of interest in the search box:

  • Planting a Home Vegetable Garden (PM 819)
  • Small Plot Vegetable Gardening (PM 870A)
  • Container Vegetable Gardening (PM 870B)

If you have further questions, contact your local county extension office or enroll in classes to become a “Master Gardener.”

Lentil Tacos

LentilacosServing Size: 2 Tacos | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 package (1.25 ounces) of 40% less sodium taco seasoning*
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce.

* Homemade taco seasoning mix: 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4–6 minutes, or until they become soft and fragrant. Stir several times during cooking.
  2. Add the lentils and seasonings. Stir so that the seasonings are mixed in.
  3. Slowly add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  4. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes more until the mixture has thickened and the liquid is absorbed. Mash slightly with a fork.
  5. Heat corn tortillas according to package directions.
  6. Spread 1/4 cup lentil mixture onto each tortilla.
  7. Serve with salsa, cheese, and lettuce.

Nutrition information per serving: 350 calories, 11 g fat, 480 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 16 g protein

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

Fish Sandwich

fish sandwichServing Size: 1 tablespoon | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 4 (3-ounce) frozen white filets (e.g., tilapia), thawed
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Optional sandwich toppings: sliced onions and tomatoes, leaf lettuce, tartar sauce, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Spread the cornmeal on a plate and press the fish into the cornmeal to coat all sides.
  2. Fry the fish in the hot oil until the cornmeal is lightly browned. This will take about 2–3 minutes on each side. Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 145°F or it flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Move the fish from the frying pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Pat the fish dry with more paper towels.
  4. Assemble sandwiches with your favorite toppings.

Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories, 10g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 45mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g sugar, 22g protein

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

2015 Dietary Guidelines Released

ThinkstockPhotos-110884724The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were recently released. They emphasize that a healthy eating pattern isn’t a rigid prescription, but is adaptable so that individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget. This edition of the Dietary Guidelines focuses on shifts to emphasize the need to make substitutions—choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages in place of less healthy choices.

An eating pattern represents the totality of all foods and beverages consumed. All foods consumed as part of a healthy eating pattern fit together like a puzzle to meet nutritional needs without exceeding limits, such as those for saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and total calories. All forms of foods—including fresh, canned, dried, and frozen—can be included in healthy eating patterns.

Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts.

Healthy eating patterns are adaptable. Individuals have more than one way to achieve a healthy eating pattern. Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.

Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns. New to this edition is a specified limit to help achieve a healthy pattern within calorie limits:

  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium.

For more information on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, visit
http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/.

Salad Dressing

saladServing Size: 1 tablespoon | Serves: 21

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oil (such as avocado oil)
  • 1/3 cup acid, such as red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients into an airtight container.
  2. Secure the lid and shake until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Salad dressing can be stored in the airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes:

The size of this recipe can be adjusted up or down by keeping the same ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. For example, for a small amount of dressing, use 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 tablespoon of acid, and a pinch of each of the seasonings.

Watch How to Make Homemade Salad Dressing, youtu.be/WyHJexS6-j0

Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories, 11g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 110mg sodium, 0g total carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 0g protein

Source: This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website, www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/.

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Weighty Matter

Happy closeness senior couple sitting on the floorNew research suggests obesity and prediabetes or diabetes may make us more likely to have memory problems and develop Alzheimer’s. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than half of adults over the age of 65 have prediabetes. Prediabetes and health problems, such as having too much insulin in the body (insulin resistance), are mostly caused by obesity, little to no exercise, and loss of lean muscle mass that occurs with aging.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, the decline in mental abilities interfering with everyday life, and is more likely the older we get. Signs of Alzheimer’s can appear decades before the disease manifests. Most people begin to notice regular to frequent memory problems, such as forgetting conversations or how to get to and from familiar places.

When memory problems become clinically significant, but do not impact daily life activities like household chores or working, a person is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Most people with MCI eventually develop Alzheimer’s in three to five years, although some individuals never do. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s requires not only constant memory problems worse than MCI, but significant impairment in daily life activities and at least one more cognition problem (i.e., speech, planning or reasoning, purposeful movement).

What can I do?
Studies increasingly suggest that prevention is best. If you are middle-aged or older, obese or severely overweight, ask your doctor. Suggest a waist circumference measurement to estimate your body fat. Have your blood sugar and insulin levels checked. If you have prediabetes, consider a weight loss program, moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day at least 3 days a week, or medication to lower blood sugar and insulin. If you have diabetes, it is critical to get it under control with the plan of care your doctor suggests.

If you are concerned you have memory problems, schedule an appointment with a neurologist or psychiatrist. Memory and thinking assessments can determine if your memory is impaired. Follow-up visits help track whether or not your memory remains the same or declines.

Source: Auriel A. Willette, MS, PhD, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University

The Hype about Coconut Oil

Many claims tout the health benefits of coconut oil, including weight loss, cancer prevention, and Alzheimer’s disease. So far the scientific evidence does not support these claims. The three types of coconut oil—virgin, refined, and partially hydrogenated—are all high in saturated fat. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, tends to raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, and comes mainly from animal food products. Some examples of saturated fats are butter, lard, meat fat, solid shortening, palm oil, and coconut oil.

The two main types of coconut oil used in cooking and baking are “virgin” coconut oil and “refined” coconut oil. Virgin is considered to be unrefined. Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut pulp that is often chemically bleached and deodorized. Since coconuts are a plant and virgin coconut oil has some antioxidant properties, some individuals may view it as healthy. However, virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a type of fatty acid that can raise both good and bad cholesterol levels. Manufacturers may also use another form of coconut oil that has further processing—“partially hydrogenated” coconut oil, which would contain trans fat. Some research suggests coconut oil intake may be associated with a neutral, if not beneficial, effect on cholesterol levels.

Tips for using coconut oil:

  • Use “virgin” or unrefined coconut oil.
  • Use it in moderation.
  • Limit foods made with partially hydrogenated coconut oil like baked goods, biscuits, salty snacks, and some cereals.

Allergy Alert: Coconut is considered a tree nut. Individuals with tree nut allergies should talk with their health care provider before using or eating foods containing coconut oil.

Source: Jody Gatewood, MS, RD, LD, Assistant State Nutrition Program Specialist, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Top Fitness Trend for 2015—Getting Back to the Basics

group push ups fitnessThe American College of Sports Medicine has named bodyweight training as the top fitness trend for 2015. Dr. Walter Thompson states, “These kinds of exercises provide the benefit of requiring little to no equipment and are incorporated into many fitness programs that are currently popular.”

Bodyweight training involves exercises where the body is used as resistance. This type of training uses little equipment, making it a very affordable option! Below are some bodyweight training exercises you can try at home. Click on the highlighted ones for instructional videos or visit http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness_programs_exercise_library_list.aspx?equipment=10.

Push-up, Plank, Pull-up, Squat, Single leg stand, Wall sit, Mountain climber

Sources: http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2014/10/24/survey-predicts-top-20-fitness-trends-for-2015

http://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2014/11000/WORLDWIDE_SURVEY_OF_FITNESS_TRENDS_FOR_2015_.5.aspx

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/tipsandtricks/a/basictraining.htm

Increase Your Physical Activity Level with Tai Chi

woman tai chi figureTai chi is a martial art developed in ancient China that is now practiced for health improvement. Tai chi combines slow, graceful movements flowing into the next with focused mental concentration.

Tai chi requires very little in terms of equipment or props. This slow and gentle movement of body weight and deep breathing requires nothing more than comfortable clothes and flat, flexible shoes. It is suitable for all ages and can be done indoors or outdoors, alone or with a group. The whole family can learn and practice tai chi together.

People who practice tai chi several times weekly may experience several health benefits such as improved balance (which helps to reduce risk of falling), flexibility, strengthened muscles, stress relief, lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, and improved sense of well-being, to name a few.

Before beginning tai chi, as with any exercise program, consult your physician if you have a chronic health condition.

Sources: www.extension.org/pages/32340/tai-chi:-movment-for-health-benefits/print/ and http://nccam.nih.gov/health/taichi/introduction.htm

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