July 10, 2020
Let’s enjoy some Food for Thought…
With so many things out of our control, how we take care of our mind and body is one thing we can affect. Supporting our cognition and memory takes active steps, and I don’t mean just being physically active. Your brain needs to be exercised and your food choices need to support the health of the brain. Having good blood flow throughout the brain is important and choosing foods with the right vitamins and nutrients plays a big role. Fatty fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, plus dark chocolate can have positive effects. Read more about memory boosting foods here.
July 7, 2020
Make dinner easier with TACO TUESDAY! This is a great meal idea to allow everyone to serve up their favorite combination. You control the quality and variety of the ingredients, while they choose which they’ll include. It’s a great opportunity to clean out some of those leftovers also.
With Make-Your-Own meals like this, creating some ground rules for assembling a balanced meal will help even the pickiest eaters. If the taco fixins’ don’t cover all the food groups, just be sure to offer those that are missing so everyone can make sure the 5 food groups are covered – PROTEIN, DAIRY, FRUITS, VEGETABLES, and GRAINS.
Forget the usual ground meat with a packet of taco seasoning that’s high in sodium and takes some time to fry up. Reduce the hands-on time by slow cooking some meat (chicken offer lean options) for shredding. Beans are an inexpensive option for those who want a meatless or plant-based protein. If you’re trying to eat the recommended 2 servings of fish per week, fish tacos are a great way to accomplish it!
For toppings, include roasted or grilled veggies (a great use of leftovers), shredded lettuce, and fresh salsa. Include some fruits like mango chunks, diced tomato and avocado (YES, the last two are really fruits). Whole grain soft tortillas or hard shell tortillas cover the grain group. Shredded cheese and plain Greek yogurt (a great swap for sour cream) cover the dairy group.
July 4, 2020
If July 4th were represented by a fruit… it would be the Carambola (i.e. Star Fruit)!
I don’t know about you, but given that we’ve been cooking and eating at home so often, I feel like we’ve entered the territory of “a rut”! In my efforts to make going into the grocery store as easy as possible during the height of the pandemic, I don’t stray much from my list. Let’s face it – I could probably shop from memory since most things were a repeat every week and targeted to the things I can find quickly and easily.
So, it’s time to get more adventurous. I’m ready to celebrate my independence from “the rut” we’ve gotten into with our meals and snacks. I declare that my first adventure will be with Star Fruit. Although I’ve eaten it before (in raw slices), I’m ready to see how to give it a little more flare.
To start, select one that is firm and yellow (with minimal browning). Ripen at room temperature until you can smell its aroma and then refrigerate (up to a week). This waxy coated golden-yellow fruit has a sweet and tart flavor with hints of citrus, apple, and plum. The texture inside reminds me of an apple. The whole fruit has just 40 calories and is a great source of immune-boosting Vitamin C.
To prepare it, you just need to wash it (rinse under running water without soap or other cleansers), slice it and eat it. There is no need to peel it or remove the few seeds it contains. Despite its exotic nature, it’s a fairly low-maintenance choice for something new to try. Add it to a fruit salad, top a smoothie bowl or leafy green salad, skewer it with other kabob ingredients or add it to other savory dishes. You can also include it as an edible garnish for a little kick of flavor.
HEALTH ALERT: If you have kidney problems, avoid this fruit as it has oxalic acid (which can cause kidney stones to develop).