Food and Nutrition Services - NUTRITION BITES

November, 2013

·         November 29th is National Chocolates Day.  Instead of reaching for milk chocolate, satisfy your sweet tooth with dark chocolate, which contains a higher percentage of cocoa than milk chocolate, less sugar, and is a source of antioxidants and may help lower blood pressure and protect your heart.

·         If you enjoy baking, try replacing half of the white flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour.  The recipe usually tastes the same and you have added more whole grains and fiber into your diet.

·         Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of fiber.  Try toasting them with salt and olive oil in the oven for a healthy and delicious snack.

·         Keep foods safe by refrigerating leftovers promptly, ideally within two hours of being at room temperature.  If foods on a buffet are left out for more than four hours, they should be thrown away because they have been at the temperature danger zone too long.

·         While fruit juice counts towards daily fruit intake, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits are the better option because they contain dietary fiber and much less added sugar. 

·         Make heart healthy substitutions in cooking by using reduced fat or fat-free dairy products and canola or vegetable oil instead of butter.

·         Oatmeal is a good choice of whole grain to increase dietary fiber and may help lower cholesterol.

·         It is a good idea to include fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (heart healthy fats) in your diet.  Fish such as salmon, trout, and herring contain omega-3 fatty acids.

·         Even though it is tasty, eating raw cookie dough that contains eggs puts you at risk of food poisoning due to the ability of eggs to host harmful bacteria like salmonella.  Cook the cookie dough before consuming or enjoy cookie dough that is egg-free.

·         Remember to use refrigerated leftovers within 3-4 days of storage for optimal food safety.

·         When thawing the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, the safest methods are using the refrigerator (1 day for every 4-5 lb), the microwave (cook immediately after thawing), or in cold water in the sink for 30 minutes per pound for the whole turkey and change water every 30 minutes.  Any other methods of thawing are not advised.

·         November 15th is Clean out your Refrigerator Day.  Discard any food passed the expiration date (not use by or sell by date) along with questionable food and leftovers.  “When in doubt, throw it out”.

·          Apples are a great choice for fruit high in antioxidants and vitamins and are available year round.

·         November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month.  If you have diabetes, be sure to monitor it well and control it with a heart healthy diet low in saturated fat and sugar, high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables.  – Are you at risk?

·         Having trouble over-eating at meal times?  Use the USDA MyPlate as a reference for consuming proper serving sizes of each food group at meals. 

·         Don’t get bored with whole wheat bread sandwiches and brown rice.  Different selections of whole grains that can be added to your diet are oatmeal, popcorn, whole wheat tortillas, quinoa, amaranth, and wild rice.

·         Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry to cook with for a lower saturated fat intake.  Lean cuts include skinless chicken breast, eye round roast (beef), and sirloin steaks.

·         Explore various seasonal fruits and vegetables that you have not cooked with before.  Squash, parsnips, and pomegranate are some produce in season during the fall months to try if you have not before.

·         Build healthier salads by excluding large amounts of croutons, bacon, and cheese and adding more vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots.

·         Cut back on your child’s sweet treats by limiting them to special occasions and not using them to replace foods eaten at mealtimes. 

·         Manage your calorie consumption and avoid drinking your calories.  Sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks are beverages high in calories and low in beneficial nutrients.  Don’t forget about alcohol.  Alcoholic beverages contain 7 calories per gram, so limit them to 1-2 standard drinks per day (12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, or .51 oz spirit). 

·         Avoid salting foods at mealtimes in order to decrease sodium consumption and consume a heart healthy diet.

·         Soup is a favorite winter dish.  Try making soups with pureed vegetables like squash, pumpkin, and even apples and avoid heavy, fat-filled cream-based soups.

·         Good snacks that are easy to grab on the go include fresh vegetables, low-fat yogurt, animal crackers, and whole pieces of fruit.

·         Use vegetables as pizza toppings to increase your daily intake and lower your intake of sodium-packed toppings like pepperoni and sausage.  Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green pepper, broccoli, or spinach on your next homemade pizza.