Foodborne illness affects millions of people each year. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics addresses the issue on their website, www.eatright.org, where additional information about nutrition can be found. Another great resource for food safety tips is the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service at their website http://www.fsis.usda.gov/home/index.asp .

Keep your family safe while using these safety techniques in the kitchen!

Before Cooking:

             1.  Start with a clean kitchen.

             2.   Thaw meat by defrosting it either in the microwave or the refrigerator. Frozen meat should never be placed on the counter for long periods of time.

             3.      Wash your hands in warm soapy water for about 20 seconds. Try singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in your head twice to help you wash up for the appropriate length of time.

             4.      Rinse off produce in cold water using a light scrubbing motion.

While cooking:

1.      Use separate knives and cutting boards when cutting meat and produce. This will avoid any cross contamination that can occur.

2.      Cook meat, poultry, and seafood to the proper internal temperate using a meat thermometer.

3.      Check the date before using any product to make sure you are using items that have not expired.

After cooking:

             1.  Refrigerate any perishable leftover items within 2 hours of mealtime. Label them with the date.

             2.  Store any raw meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent the juices from dripping onto any other foods.

             3.  Make sure to separate sponges that are used to wipe counters versus sponges that are used to wash dishes.

             4.  Throw away any food that seems to have gone bad. Never “take your chances” with questionable items!

 

Sources:

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=10948#.UPHVCncw6So

http://www.heinz.com/CSR2009/social/business/food_safety.aspx (image) 

 

Vitamin A is mainly found in eggs, milk, liver, and orange colored fruits and vegetables. It works to prevent night blindness, keeps our immune system active, and helps skin stay healthy!

B Vitamins help turn our food into energy and also aid in nerve function. Good sources of B vitamins include meat, whole grains, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is found in more than just oranges; red and green bell peppers, kiwi, guava, and strawberries are also loaded with it! Vitamin C helps us form collagen, or the tissue that holds our cells together. We need collagen to keep our bones and teeth strong! Vitamin C also helps us absorb the iron from spinach, so make sure you always eat them together!

Vitamin D keeps us strong by helping to absorb calcium that builds our bones. Our bodies can actually make our own Vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight…how cool is that?! Other sources of the vitamin include eggs and fortified milk.

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that protects our cells from damage by free radicals. Great sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oils and nuts.

Iron is a mineral that delivers oxygen to all parts of the body. Make sure to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and iron fortified cereals such as Total. Symptoms of iron deficiency include weakness and fatigue.

Potassium, also a mineral, functions as part of our muscle and nervous systems. Bananas steal the potassium show, but in fact other foods such as broccoli and potatoes (with the skin) have high amounts of potassium as well!

Zinc is a big part of a functioning immune system. This mineral is used by over 3000 proteins in our body! Sources include meat, oysters, and dairy products.

So as you can see, it is important to include a variety of foods in your diet to ensure you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals from A to Z!

Have a happy and healthy New Year with these tips! 

 

1.      Boost your day with breakfast. Eating within 2 hours of when you wake up will jumpstart your metabolism and fuel your body for an energized start to the day!

2.      Pump up the protein in the A.M. Our bodies digest protein slowly, helping us fight that dreaded mid morning hunger. Great sources of protein include eggs (alternate eggs and egg whites if you wish), 1 tablespoon of peanut butter added to oatmeal or toast, and low fat yogurt.

3.      Pack in produce. Adding more fruits and veggies will give you essential nutrients that can boost your immunity—this is crucial during flu season!

4.      Keep a food diary. Try writing down what you eat and your level of hunger when you eat to help you become more in tune with your eating habits. No need to do this every day- then it becomes a chore and maybe even an obsession! Aim to keep a log 3 or 4 days out of the week.

5.      Perfect your portions. It is challenging to stick to the proper serving size of many foods, but a few visual aids may help. A serving size of pasta is ½ cup, or ½ of a fist. A serving of meat is 3oz which looks like a deck of cards.

6.      Slow down. Have you ever actually realized how good food can taste?! Many times we eat to satisfy our hunger, but it takes roughly 15-20 minutes for our stomach to signal to our brain that we are full! Slowing down while eating will help you become satisfied without overeating. and make meal time a quite enjoyable experience.

7.      Eat often. When we wait too long to eat, our metabolism slows down and has a hard time starting back up again. Eating ever 3-4 hours will keep our metabolism running at a steady pace!

8.      Say ‘yes’ to snacks. Snacking is highly encouraged, going along with number 7! Healthy snack ideas include: 94% fat free popcorn with added seasonings such as garlic salt, pizza spices, or cinnamon, frozen grapes (about 8 grapes will be 60 calories), and low fat string cheese with a few crackers.

9.       Make your plate a MyPlate. A healthy diet is all about balance. Using the MyPlate guidelines is the perfect way to achieve that balance we all need in our lives! For a single meal, half of your plate should be fruits and veggies, one quarter should be a lean protein, and the last quarter should be a grain (make at least half of your grains whole!). Add a glass of milk on the side and there you have it- the perfect plate!

Classic holiday drink calories- revealed! See if your favorite made the list:

-Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with whole milk and whipped cream, 16 oz: 550 calories

-Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate with whole milk and whipped cream (16 oz): 470 calories

-Dunkin’ Donuts Mint Hot Chocolate, 16 oz: 310 calories

Eggnog (nonalcoholic), 8 oz: 343 calories

Hot Apple Cider, 8 oz: 120 calories

Beer, 12 oz: 150 calories

Light beer, 12 oz: 110 calories

Red wine, 5 oz: 80 calories

 

Tips to cut holiday drink calories:

1.      Hold the Whip: Whipped cream adds about 50 to 110 calories and 5 to 11g of fat to your drink.

2.      Switch to Skim Milk: Save up to 200 calories by choosing skim milk over whole milk! Honestly, you cannot even taste the difference!

3.      Keep it Small: Portion control is also important when being mindful of calorie intake . Opt for a small drink instead of a large and enjoy every moment of it!

4.      Keep it Simple: try just a regular cup of coffee with nonfat milk and for an afternoon pick me up. Add a few shakes of cinnamon to spice up your guilt free drink!

Here are some wicked Halloween recipes to get everyone in the scary spirit!

BOO-berry oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ½ cup oatmeal (Quick-1 Minute)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 or 4 walnut halves (broken into bits)
  • sprinkle of raw sugar or drizzle of honey (optional)

Preparation:

– Heat milk in sauce pan over medium/high heat until slow boil. Stir periodically so that milk does not scorch.

– Add oatmeal and flaxseed meal into heated milk. Stir for one minute.

– Remove pan from heat and allow oatmeal to sit for another minute

– Pour cooked oatmeal/flaxseed into serving bowls

– Top with blueberries, nuts, and optional sugar or honey.

Source: http://healing.about.com/od/recipes/r/oatmeal.htm

 

Banana Ghosts

Ingredients:

  • banana, ripened
  • Popsicle sticks
  • 1.5 oz white chocolate

Preparation

– Remove any stringy fibers from the peeled banana, then cut it in half widthwise. Push a Popsicle stick into each half through the cut end, then cover each pop with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (about 3 hours).

– Next, place a 1.5-ounce piece of white chocolate candy in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high until melted (it generally takes about 1 minute). With a butter knife, spread the melted white chocolate on the frozen banana halves.

– Set the pops on a waxed-paper-covered dish. Press on candies or currants for eyes and mouths and return the pops to the freezer until ready to serve.  

 Source: http://spoonful.com/recipes/banana-ghosts

Pumpkin Gunk-in

Ingredients:

  • 1 6oz container Greek vanilla yogurt
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin or roasted pumpkin pulp*
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 honey graham cracker, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds

*please note that canned pumpkin is not the same as canned pumpkin pie filling, which should not be substituted. To make your own pumpkin pulp, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and roast, cut side down, in a 400 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until pumpkin flesh is soft when poked as a fork.

Preparation:

– Fill a small bowl with yogurt and sprinkle with ¾ of the graham cracker.

– Mix pumpkin with sugar and add to yogurt.

– Garnish with remaining ¼ crushed graham cracker, chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds.

Source: http://www.meatlessmonday.com/pumpkin-pie-yogurt/

 

Cheesy Broomsticks

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks of string cheese
  • 6 pretzel sticks
  • Fresh chives


Directions:

– Using kitchen scissors, cut the ends off each string cheese stick (about 2 inches long).

– Cut one end of the cheese into strips, being careful not to cut all the way to the top. Fan out cheese strips as best you can.

– Take one side of the scissors and gently stick it into the uncut side of the cheese, to make a little hole for the pretzel. Slowly twist the pretzel stick into the hole, careful not to tear the cheese.

– Tie a string of fresh chives around the top of each cheese piece. Enjoy!

Source: http://www.internationalfood4u.com/2012/10/halloween-week-broom-sticks.html

We must eat to live, plain and simple. Intuitive eating helps us distinguish eating with our emotions from eating to relieve physiological hunger. Learning to love and appreciate the temple that we live in allows us to choose foods that will make our bodies feel good! Here are 7 ways you can eat intuitively:

  1. Say no to fad diets. Completely take the term “fad diet” out of your vocabulary! Outrageous eating plans lead to discouragement because most of the time their strict guidelines are impossible to follow. Just say no.
  2. Stay in tune with your hunger. Use a scale from 1-10 to assess your physiological need for food, 1 being “I am completely satisfied” to 10 being “I am completely depleted of energy, I must eat something”.
  3. Make peace with food. There is no such thing as a “bad” food. Creating forbidden foods for yourself will only lead to feelings of deprivation and uncontrollable cravings. This could result in giving into the cravings, bingeing, and feeling guilty. You resort to forbidding those foods once again. Such a viscous cycle. 
  4. Feel your fullness. Pause throughout the meal to determine your level of satisfaction. Deactivate your membership to the Clean Plate Club!
  5. Accept and respect your body. We are only given one body to live in for the rest of our lives, why not love it?! Obsessing over becoming some shape or figure we are not can take away from other enjoyable aspects of life.
  6. Feel your exercise. Turning exercise into a chore can diminish motivation to stick with it. Shift your focus from how many calories burned during exercise to how your body feels during activity. Get up and go for a brisk walk in the morning, appreciating how energized you are throughout the day as a result!
  7. Honor your health. Choose that make you feel good. Realize that eating one candy bar will not make you gain 10 pounds. A healthy diet is a balanced one; no one is perfect! Everything in moderation, even moderation!

For more information, visit www.intuitiveeating.org. Get inspried! Love your body and treat it well!

These 7 simple tips can be done with little effort, and boy are we thankful for that!

1.     Eat breakfast: Skipping meals in order to save calories will only help you overindulge at the main meal! Eating breakfast will help you control your appetite later on. Choose foods with fiber and whole grains to keep you fuller for longer.

2.     Petite portions: it is inevitable to enjoy a second helping at Thanksgiving. Totally understandable! Keep portions small to lessen the caloric load when you go back for more!

3.     Skip the skin: only one ounce of skin contains 80 calories and 2 grams of fat!

4.     Avoid foods you do not like: do not eat the food just because it is there! Choose your favorites and leave the rest behind.

5.     Be assertive: Many times people will only “eat some if you eat some”, but stand your ground! Do not accept food that you do not wish to consume.

6.     Help out the host: keep yourself distracted from the table by ensuring other guests have everything they need.

7.     Focus on family and friends: realize that one day of eating will not ruin your diet. Remember, it takes an additional 3500 calories without any physical activity to gain one pound of body weight. Relax and have fun!

Pumpkin provides us with many health benefits. First off, the color of pumpkin lets us know right away that it is packed with Vitamin A. Vitamin A, found in all orange fruits and vegetables, is beneficial to our vision, especially when we are driving at night. Pumpkin is also a great source of fiber. There are 3 grams of fiber in one cup, which is only 50 calories! In addition, eating pumpkin seeds can boost our mood. They are high in tryptophan, an amino acid, which is important for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is released from the brain and aids in relaxation, resulting in an improved mood! Pumpkin is also packed with minerals, such as zinc and potassium, that are essential for overall health. Here are some recipes that can help you experience the power of pumpkin:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

·                -One medium sized pumpkin

·               – Salt

·                –Olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut open the pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse the seeds.

2. In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

3. Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 10-20 minutes. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating. Either crack to remove the inner seed (a lot of work and in my opinion, unnecessary) or eat whole.

Pumpkin Pancakes

     -½ cup canned pumpkin     

     -½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt  

     -¼ teaspoon baking soda    

      -1 large egg yolk    

      -¼ cup cake flour   

      -4 large egg whites     

      -¼ teaspoon salt   

       -Cooking spray     

       -Maple syrup or honey  

Directions:

Whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, baking soda, egg yolk, and flour. Whisk egg whites with salt; fold into pumpkin mixture. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Spoon in 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Flip when tops are covered with bubbles and edges are slightly brown (about 3 minutes per side). Drizzle with syrup or honey.

Source: http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000001046790,00.html

Pumpkin Soup

·               –1 can white beans (12 ounces, rinsed and drained)

·              -1 onion, diced

·              -1 cup water

·              -1 can pumpkin

·              –1 can chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)

·              –½ teaspoon thyme or tarragon

·              -Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

           1. Blend white beans, onion, and water using a food processor

            2. In soup pot, mix bean puree with pumpkin, broth, and spices

            3. Cover and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes until thoroghly warmed

Source: http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/recipes/pumpkin-soup 

Food Day’s ultimate goal is to improve our nation’s food policies through knowledge and awareness of various food related issues. The 5 main priorities that aid in this food movement are:

  1. Promote safer, healthier diets

Fact: About two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are pre-obese or obese.

Food Day encourages Americans, especially children, to get healthy, one fruit and vegetable at a time. As we know, childhood obesity is becoming a huge problem in our country. Food Day also aims to decrease the amount we spend on diet-related healthcare costs.

  1. Support sustainable and organic farms

Fact: The USDA estimates “local” food sales total just 1.6% of the entire U.S. market for agricultural products.

Food Day urges our society to buy produce locally. It encourages citizens to write to their U.S. Representatives to increase the federal support of these local farms and beginner farmers as well.

  1. Reduce hunger

Fact: 50 million Americans are near hunger.

Food Day encourages Americans to hold Food Day events in their community that include raising awareness about the issue of hunger, information on the SNAP program (food stamps), and taking action through planting gardens and working with corner stores to provide healthy options. Cities such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia have already successfully started the movement to reduce hunger!

  1. Reform factory farms to protect the environment

Fact: Only nine states have laws mandating that some farm animals be given enough room to stand up, sit down, turn around, and extend their limbs.

                …..that is only 18% of US states that have farms where animals are not stepping all over each other! Farms that are overcrowded may require farmers to give the animals antibiotics, the same type that are used in human medicine. Food Day asks that you contact your local congresspersons to support the Prevention of Antibiotics of Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).

  1. Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers

                 Fact: Farmers who are regularly exposed to chemical pesticides may be at risk for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.

                        Listen to a local farmer’s story, and see what you can do to help spread the word about the effects of their dangerous exposure.

Now that you have a little background information about Food Day, make sure to get involved on October 24th! All of the information above was from Food Day’s official website, www.foodday.org . Please visit the site to learn even more about Food Day and find out ways you and your community can help strengthen the food movement in America!

Sometimes decoding a food label while in a hurry at the grocery store can be quite the challenge. Fooducate helps to extract the important information from the label that will help you decide whether or not there is room for the product in your shopping cart (that is probably already overflowing!). Using the app is simple: First, scan the barcode on the product using your smart phone. There are tons of brands entered in the system, so chances are the product you are curious about will appear. Once the barcode is scanned, highlights of the food are listed, both good and not so good. Fooducate will give the food a letter grade to further clarify its spot on the health scale. There is an option to see a list of alternatives that received a higher letter grade so you can make smart swaps. You are also able to browse tons of food items which are separated into categories such as Breakfast, Salty Snacks, and Beverages for easy navigation. This app is serious about getting consumers healthy!

No app? No problem! Fooducate also has a great website, http://www.fooducate.com/ , where you can still browse the food items and even get daily tips for ultimate wellness. Technology is a beautiful thing. Fooducate is by your side no matter if you are on the go or at home surfing the net, helping you to stay healthy by making better food choices every day!