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!

 

Vegetable Soup with Kale and Lentils

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced 1/8 inch thick)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (peeled and minced; 3 cloves) or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dry yellow or brown lentils
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) no sodium added diced tomatoes or 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale (about 7 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrot, and garlic. Cook 5 minutes.
  3. Add water to veggies in pot. Heat to boiling.
  4. Rinse lentils in colander with water. Add lentils to pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not drain.
  5. Add chicken broth, dried basil or Italian seasoning, and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5–10 minutes.
  6. Rinse kale leaves; cut out the main stems and discard. Cut leaves into 1” pieces.
  7. Stir kale, salt, and pepper into lentil mixture. Return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 minutes.

 

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 12g fiber, 4g sugar, 11g protein

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

Create a Rainbow on Your Plate

Rainbow of vegetables and fruitsWhen it comes to fruits and vegetables, eating a variety of colors—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white—provides the best mix of nutrients for your body, not to mention being more pleasing to the eye. Recommendations regarding how much people need depend on age, gender, and amount of physical activity. To learn more about your daily recommendations, visit www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate. Most Americans need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten every day. Remember, all product forms count—fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and 100% juice. By eating more fruits and vegetables, your risk of chronic disease is reduced.

Tips to increase fruits and vegetables in your diet:

  • Prepare fruits and vegetables as soon as you get them so they are ready to eat. Consider dividing into individual  servings so they are easy to grab and go.
  • Have veggies and low-fat dip for a snack.
  • Add vegetables to casseroles, stews, and soups.
  • Choose fruit for dessert.
  • Add veggies to sandwiches.
  • Enjoy a fruit smoothie for breakfast or as a snack.

For more tips, visit SpendSmart.
Source: Fruits and Veggies – More Matters

After School Hummus

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced) or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Use a blender or food processor to combine all the ingredients except yogurt. Blend on low speed until beans are mashed.
  2. Stir in yogurt with a spoon.
  3. Refrigerate several hours or overnight so flavors blend.
  4. Serve with pita chips, crackers, or fresh vegetables.

Tips:

  • Mash the beans with a fork, chop garlic finely, and then stir ingredients thoroughly before adding to the blender.
  • Store hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 2 to 3 days.
  • Add 1/3 cup chopped red peppers

Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g 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

Take Safe Food to the Potluck

Irish stew in a slow cooker potPotluck meals are a fun, low-cost way to celebrate the holidays at friend’s homes and in offices, classrooms, and churches.

During the rush of the holidays, show your concern for others by following these food transportation safety tips:

  • Car seats are often contaminated with germs that can cause illness. Cover your car seat with a clean sheet or large towel before placing the food container on it.
  • Keep cold foods cold, 40°F or below. Take cold foods out of the fridge just before leaving home. Keep them in insulated containers with a cooler pack.
  • Keep hot foods hot, at least 140°F. Put your piping hot food in a slow cooker set on low. Just before getting into the car, unplug the slow cooker and put it in a quilted carrier or insulated bag. Do not keep the food in the car for more than an hour. At your destination, plug in the slow cooker immediately.
  • If hot food has cooled during the car trip, or if you brought refrigerated food that needs to be served hot, do not try to reheat it with a slow cooker. Reheat the food in a microwave or on a stove top until it is 165°F. (For more tips on slow cooker safety, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety/content/slow-cookers.)

Healthy Choices for Healthy Events

Fresh fruits and vegetablesEveryone has a role in helping to create and support an environment for healthy eating. Try these tips to encourage healthy choices at meetings, conferences, parties, and other events.

  • Strive to provide half of the food served from a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fruit makes a great dessert. Beans and legumes, such as black beans and chickpeas, are vegetable-based protein sources.
  • Provide 100% whole-grain products in a variety of forms such as breads, rolls, crackers, or tortillas. Include whole-grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and other whole grains as part of healthful salads, mixed dishes, and casseroles.
  • Serve smaller portion sizes such as mini bagels, 6-oz. bottles or cartons of 100% juice, or 3 oz. of meat, fish, or poultry. For more information about portion sizes, visit https://store.extension.iastate.edu to download publication PM 3024, How Much Are You Eating?
  • Limit availability of processed foods, which tend to be higher in sodium and added sugars. Instead choose less-processed snack options like raw or dry-roasted nuts, fresh fruit, whole-grain chips with healthier dips (e.g., salsa, guacamole, or bean dips), or whole-grain baked products.
  • Go green; provide pitchers and cups for drinking water during the event. If needed, offer non- or low-calorie beverages (40 calories per 12-ounce serving). Try water infused with fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs.

Sources:
Tips for Offering Healthier Options and Physical Activity at Workplace Meetings and Events, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/tips-for-offering-healthier-options-and-pa-at-workplace.pdf

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.”

2016 – International Year of Pulses

ThinkstockPhotos-512114678If you’ve never heard of pulses you are not alone. The United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses as a way to increase public awareness of the nutrition benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production.

What is the difference between a legume and a pulse?

Legume: Legumes are plants whose fruit is enclosed in a pod like peas and beans, soybeans and peanuts, alfalfa, and clover. When growing, legumes fix nitrogen into the soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.

Pulse: Part of the legume family, the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils, and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients. They are naturally low in fat and sodium.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 1.5 cups of dried beans and peas (pulses) per week for a 2,000-calorie eating pattern. This includes cooked from dry or canned beans and peas such as kidney beans, white beans, black beans, red beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, edamame (green soybeans), and pinto beans. It does not include green beans or green peas.

Ways to increase dried beans and peas in everyday eating:

  • Add dried beans to soup. Think beyond the traditional bean soup and chili and add to vegetable- and tomato-based soups. Try new soup recipes that include dried beans.
  • Experiment with beans you have never eaten and learn more about cooking dried beans. They can easily be cooked in a slow cooker and don’t necessarily require presoaking.
  • Add beans to salads. They are delicious added to any vegetable-based salad such as a tossed salads, slaws, and pasta salads.
  • Add to any taco/Mexican dish, casseroles, and even egg dishes.

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

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

butternut-squash-enchiladasServing Size: 1 enchilada | Serves: 8

Ingredients:
•2 1/2 cups butternut squash (or other winter squash), cooked
•1 can (15 ounces) black beans (drained and rinsed)
•1/2 cup onion, diced (1/2 medium onion)
•1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, or 3 tbsp. dried cilantro
•2 tsp. garlic powder
•1/2 tsp. cumin
•1 cup 2% fat cheese, shredded (like cheddar or Mexican blend), divided
•8 tortillas (6”)
•1 cup salsa or 1 can (10 ounces) red or green enchilada sauce
•1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Mix the squash, beans, onion, cilantro, garlic powder, and cumin in a bowl.
3. Mix 3/4 cup of the cheese into the squash mixture.
4. Put a 1/2 cup strip of filling on each tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the filling. Put the tortilla into a greased 9” x 13” baking dish with the seam down.
5. Cover the tortillas with the salsa or enchilada sauce. Put the rest of the cheese (1/4 cup) on the salsa or sauce.
6. Bake for 25 minutes.
7. Serve each enchilada with 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt.

Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories, 3.5g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 660mg sodium, 35g total carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 7g sugar, 10g 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/.

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