Food Safety

Good food safety practices are critical to preventing the spread of bacteria and foodborne illness.

It is a good idea to follow these steps to keep food safe:

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom.
  2. Wash food preparation surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing foods.
  3. Consider using paper towels to clean up. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of a washing machine.
  4. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cold running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Do not use soap or detergent.
  5. Rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables under running tap water, or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.
  6. Keep books, backpacks, and shopping bags off work surfaces where food is prepared or served.

**Remember to refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep foods safe. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40 degrees F or below. The freezer temperature should be 0 degrees F or below.

http://www.foodsafety.gov

Spring Clean Your Diet

As warm weather approaches us, spring is a perfect time to take advantage of seasonal spring produce! Seasonal fruits and vegetables are at their highest quality and optimal flavor during the months of March-June. There are also more fruits and vegetables available in season, so they cost less at the grocery store or farmer’s market. What is better than healthy choices at great prices? Some examples of fruits and vegetables that are seasonal during this time are apricots, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, Swiss chard, chives, mustard greens, mangoes, oranges, spinach, and strawberries! Spring is also a great time to think about growing your own food. Have you ever thought about having your own vegetable garden? Whether you start a garden big or small, there is nothing like picking fresh produce for you and your family in the summer. It also doubles as a great activity for you and your family to do, as well. No matter what time of the year it is, you can always incorporate a lot of healthy, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. The springtime is just a perfect time to jump start your excitement about eating and living well all year around!

http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalguide/seasonalfoodguide.php

Clean Eating

Do:

1. Eat 5-6 small meals each day

2. Eat breakfast everyday within 1 hour of rising

3. Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates

4. Eat healthy fats every day

5. Drink water often

6. Carry a cooler or bring with you to work clean foods every day

7. Vegetables and fruits should always be on your top list

8. Always be aware of your portion sizes

Don’t:

1. Over-processed foods especially white flour and sugar

2. Foods containing perservatives

3. Artificial sugars

4. Artificial foods

5. Sugar-loaded beverages

6. Excessive amounts of alcohol

7. Calorie-dense foods containing little or no nutrients

8. Super-size your meals!

Source: http://www.skinnymom.com

Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, All Kinds Of Berries!

Berries deliver fiber, vitamin C and a delicious taste for summer! Berries are also a great source of phytochemicals which help defend against heart disease and cancer. Fresh berries are a diabetes-friendly fruit and also great for weight management. They are a perfect snack, great in yogurt, smoothies and cereal and even in a salad!

Cranberry: Excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. They may play a role in preventing urinary tract infections.

Blueberry: Good source of vitamin C and fiber. They contain free-radical compounds which may provide heart health and cancer-fighting benefits.

Gooseberry: High in vitamin C. They are great in sauces or jams!

Raspberry: Low in calories and high in vitamin C. They have a whole 8 grams of fiber in one cup!

Strawberry: High in vitamin C and Folate. Great to use frozen strawberries when they are not in season!

Blackberry: Excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Great in salads, sauces and as a dessert!

Boysenberry: Provide vitamin K and are an excellent source of fiber and folate. These are slightly sweeter than raspberries!

For more information: MAY/JUNE 2014 Edition. Food and Nutrition. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Source of Photograph: atlantablackstar.com

Pomegranate Hummus

Chickpeas are boiled, mashed, and mixed with few ingredients to make hummus. Chickpeas’ fiber, protein, iron, and B vitamins make hummus a satisfying and nutritious dip! Hummus can serve as a dip or spread that is vegan-friendly, gluten-free and can be a common food for those with food allergies. Are you a fan of hummus? Try this amazing recipe!

Pomegranate hummus: Developed by Alex Caspero

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions:

  1. Place chickpeas, garlic cloves, tahini, salt, lemon, hot sauce, and 1 tablespoon of pomegranate juice in a food processor. Process until the hummus is pureed.
  2. Scoop the hummus into a bowl and top with 3 tablespoons of pomegranate juice. Using a knife, swirl in the juice.
  3. Top with pomegranate seeds.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 74; Total Fat: 5g; Sat. Fat: 1g; Chol.: 0mg; Sodium: 95mg; Carb: 6g; Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 2g; Potassium: 82mg; Phosphorus: 63mg

For more great Recipes visit Alex’s awesome website: http://delicious-knowledge.com/

Holiday Cooking

Here are some smart solutions by April Graff to making your holidays a little more healthier!

To reduce fat:

  • Substitute unsweetened applesauce,  mashed bananas or pureed prunes
  • Use egg substitute in place of whole eggs
  • Use non-fat or light dairy products rather than the original version

To reduce sugar:

  • Consider alternative sweeteners such as Splenda, Delecta or stevia
  • Cut one-third to one-half of the amount in the recipe

To reduce sodium:

  • Cut the amount by half or eliminate completely
  • Substitute salt with festive flavors of onion salt, garlic salt, celery salt and seasoning salt with onion flakes, garlic powder and herbs

Reduce portion sizes:

  • Limit the number of options available to limit the number of temptations
  • Serve smaller portions of dessert items by cutting into bite-sized pieces

Add fiber and protein to your diet during the holidays to keep you full longer:

  • Add flax seed, chia seed or oatmeal to your recipes
  • Use whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour in breads, bars, muffins, pie crusts, and cookies to turn tasty treats into satisfying sweets
  • Dried fruits add fiber and flavor to recipe favorites
  • Nuts are packed with nutrients, including heart-healthy fats, fiber and protein

stk21300wcgPhoto credit: preschooler.thebump.com

Foods For Weight Loss

According to Nicole Yorio Jurick from health.com, there are some foods that will help keep us feeling fuller for a successful weight loss.

  1. Baked Potato: Although sometimes baked potatoes are sometimes looked at as a “bad” food during weight loss, they are full of vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. They will fill you up with great energy.
  2. Eggs: this is one of a few foods that is a complete protein. About half of the protein is inside of the yolks, so it’s not always a good idea to throw away the yolks! Add some vegetables to your eggs and add extra fiber for just a few more calories!
  3. Bean soup: Soups have a high water content, which make you full faster. Broth-based bean soups are high in fiber and will have you feeling satisfied after consuming it. If you aren’t a fan of soup, add some beans to a salad!
  4. Greek yogurt: Consuming dairy proteins can increase satiety and keep blood sugar steady. Greek yogurt contains double the amount of protein and less sugar than regular yogurt.
  5. Apples: They contain pectin which naturally slows down digestion and promotes fullness.
  6. Popcorn: You can eat 3 cups of popcorn for the same amount of calories for a quarter cup of potato chips. Just make sure you are choosing a “smart” choice popcorn without the added butter to it.
  7. Oatmeal: Full of fiber and when cooked with skim milk or water, the oats thicken meaning you can last longer without eating.
  8. Smoothies: Watch out for fruit juices and flavored syrups which contain plenty of sugar and calories. Instead, opt for a smoothie with ice, skim milk or low fat yogurt, and fruit! Get creative!

oatmeal

Photo credit: http://www.grubgrade.com

Steps To Cut Out Processed Foods

Sometimes it’s good for our bodies to cut out processed foods every once in awhile. It’s easier to take small steps rather than doing it all at once. Here are some great tips by Lisa Leake to cut out processed foods in weeks.

Week one: Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.

Week two: Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup)

Week three: All meat consumed this week will be locally raised and will be limited to 3-4 times per week

Week four: No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.

Week five: Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

Week six: Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”

Week seven: All grains consumed must be 100% whole-grain.

Week eight: Listen to your internal cues and stop eating when you feel full.

Week nine: No refined or artificial sweeteners.

Week ten: No refined or hydrogenated oil

Week eleven: Eat at least 1 locally grown or raised food at each meal.

Week twelve: Avoid all added sweeteners.

Week thirteen: Avoid any and all packaged food products that contain more than five ingredients no matter what ingredients

clean eating

Author: Lisa Leake– Lisa Leake is a wife, mother, foodie, and blogger who chronicles her family’s journey on 100daysofrealfood.com as they seek out the real food in our processed food world. Projects include a 100-day pledge to avoid all processed foods and refined ingredients as well as another 100-day pledge on a food stamp budget. Leake’s award-winning blog is receiving national attention from big names like Rachael Ray, Jamie Oliver, and Yahoo! and has also been turned into a nationally syndicated newspaper column.

For more information: http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/steps-to-cut-processed-food.html