October 3, 2020
Stock Up Saturday!
One key to eating better and not wasting a lot of money on fast food (which doesn’t tend to be all that fast) is keeping a stocked pantry and freezer. Check out the sales circular for items that would be good to buy in greater quantity and keep on hand. When stocking up on canned goods, try for ones identified with lower sodium or no salt added. Think veggies, soups, fish, beans, etc.
Fill the pantry with brown rice, quinoa and other grains; pasta, dried beans and other shelf-stable goods that can be stored for a long time. The nice thing is that when you have some time, you can cook them in large batches and freeze the extra. It helps to reduce cook time for a future meal. Having cooked rice frozen in a single serving can make it easy to build a grain bowl. Just top it with fresh, frozen or canned ingredients, some lean meat or beans and the crunch of nuts or seeds. Add some flavor with a drizzle of dressing or marinade.
Using pantry and freezer stock for quick meal ideas is a great kitchen hack! For more ideas on how to stock the pantry, check out Healthy Pantry Essentials.
September 29, 2020
Two for Tuesdays – Cook Once for 2 Meals!
Batch cooking where you make double portions is great for some recipes (think prepping 2 casseroles at one time and freezing the 2nd one). But, you can also cook up extra servings of meat, grains, pasta, etc. and use them in different ways. The folks at InSeason have kicked that concept up a notch with some flavorful kabobs. Instead of just a re-heat of the same menu on a 2nd day, change up the flavor profiles.
Fire up the grill and prepare extra meat and veggies that can be included in a 2nd (or even a 3rd) meal for the week. Day 1 is a delicious salad with a southwestern profile and Day 2 offers an Asian profile featuring fried rice. Let these recipes inspire you or add your own flair!
September 25, 2020
It’s Friday… let’s talk FRESH vs. FROZEN!
With many home gardens and local farm markets having a dwindling selection of produce with the change of season, it’s the right time to talk about FRESH vs. FROZEN foods. Many people think fresh and locally grown are the best. They offer whatever variety of produce is available given the area’s growing conditions and crops. But sometimes, that can be a limiting factor. Fresh foods are only as fresh as the time from when they were picked. Fresh foods are sometimes left to ripen or picked early, due to the time it takes to ship it to market. That can impact the quality and variety of nutrients in the foods we consume.
When people hear FROZEN, they think processed. Yes, the foods are cleaned, trimmed and packaged in the freezing process, but it does not mean they have a bunch of additives or preservatives. Freezing foods halts ripening and is a natural process for preserving. Since foods do not continue to ripen, their nutrients are kept intact. So, the vegetables you find in the freezer section may actually have MORE nutrients than those in the produce department which were trucked across the state or country.
Next time you head to the store, stock up on fresh and frozen items. With the nutritional value of frozen, and shelf-life that they remain edible, they can offer a quick and nutritious option that is easily incorporated into quick recipe ideas. Check out these ideas for breakfast, lunch or dinner featuring some frozen ingredients!
September 23, 2020
Wellness Wednesday is here!
Let’s do a gut check! There’s a lot of information available about use of probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health. But what’s the real deal about what they are and why they are helpful?
Probiotics are found in certain foods containing live bacteria (microorganisms) that help to clean out the gut for better health. If you’ve ever heard the terms gut “microbiota” or “flora”, it refers to the types and balance of bacteria in the gut. Initial studies have shown promise that probiotics help the body fight allergens, regulate weight, and protect the heart. But, those are just preliminary and more research is needed to validate and understand how these effects may occur. If you want to incorporate probiotic foods into your menu, choose fermented and aged foods. They are also available in supplement form.
Prebiotics are a type of soluble fiber that feed the probiotics (good bacteria). Consuming sources of probiotics and prebiotics together may enhance the effectiveness of the probiotics. Prebiotics can be found in foods and supplement form. For a list of foods, check out this article.
Dietitians Dish – September 21, 2020
Egg-cellent meal ideas – for breakfast or dinner
If you’re looking for quick and easy dinner options – just add eggs! They are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein with many valuable micronutrients, including:
- Vitamins A, D, E, K, B6 and B12
Eggs are also rich in choline, which is good for the brain. Most people think eggs should be avoided because they’re high in cholesterol, but current research has shown that does not lead to heart disease in a majority of Americans. Saturated fat is actually the main culprit, not cholesterol. In fact, eating eggs regularly has been found to raise HDL (good) cholesterol, which protects the heart! Combining eggs with the monounsaturated fats in avocado and the potassium in potatoes offers a heart-protective meal for breakfast or dinner. Whatever time of day you choose, be sure to try this winning combination!
Avocado and Potato Hash with Eggs
- 1 lb. red or yellow potatoes
- 3/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- Hot sauce to taste
- 2 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled & diced
- 1/2 cup ham, diced
- 4 eggs
- Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Dice potatoes when cool enough to handle
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions, bell peppers, thyme, salt, and hot sauce. Cook for 5 minutes until onion and bell peppers are tender. Add in potatoes and ham, cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in avocado.
- In a medium skillet, cook eggs over-easy or to desired doneness.
- While waiting for the squash to cool, sauté minced garlic in the olive oil until it’s softened and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano to the garlic and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve eggs over avocado and potato hash.
Recipe and image courtesy of Avocados from Mexico.