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Links We Love // July Edition

Welcome to our favorite links this month! There’s a big buzz in the exercising world about how much you should get up and move per the hours you spend sitting, being unfit may be just as bad as smoking, and how Pokemon Go is really making us move!

  1. 4 Ways to have a successful family dinners with young children – Dinner time can be stressful for parents of young kids. It can be easy to just give up and let the chaos happen. It doesn’t have to be that way! These are AWESOME tips that can help make your family meal times much less stressful.
  2. Study suggests one hour of exercise for every 8 hours of sitting – For all the sitting around we do at work, or home, here’s a formula you can follow. Try to move for at least 1 hour for every 8 hours of sitting you do each day.
  3. 5 exercises to improve low-back function – Are you one of the 80% of Americans that experience low-back pain in their life? Try these 5 easy exercises to get rid of the pain for good!
  4. Being unfit is as bad as smoking – Researchers are finding that our sedentary lifestyles are leading to pre-mature deaths. But good news, just a little bit of physical activity each day can help increase your lifespan!Couple Running.jpg
  5. Pokemon Go leading to a surge of increasing steps – Are you playing the new game ‘Pokemon Go’? It involves getting outside and walking around ‘catching’ your favorite Pokemon characters all with your phone!
  6. Why the ‘Biggest Loser’ doesn’t work at work – Whether at work or at home, these weight loss competitions aren’t successful long term. Focusing primarily on losing weight quickly will only backfire after you quit the competition. Living healthfully is much more about just the number on a scale!
  7. Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – Are you up to your ears in zucchini like me?? Here’s another recipe to stuff that extra zucchini into. These muffins are super simple and the taste is to die for!

 

I hope you all have a safe and happy weekend!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Easy Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Good morning friends! I hope your Friday is off to a great start. I’m excited to share one of our favorite recipes here at Food $ense. Not only are they delicious, but they are also low cost and take mere minutes to assemble!* (If you pre-cook the quinoa, see tip below)

These Stuffed Bell Peppers are a family favorite at my house because they are so full of flavor! I love that there are so many different textures and tastes. It compliments any Mexican – style dish well.

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This is one of those recipes that requires very little preparation – just mix everything together, put it in the peppers, and before you know it – it’s cooking in the oven. This is true, all except for the quinoa, that needs to be cooked ahead of time. TIP: I make a big batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week and use it for meals throughout the entire week. If I have leftovers, I freeze it and use it later! I look at it this way – you can spend 30-45 minutes making quinoa (or any grain such as rice) every single day or spend the SAME amount of time cooking it just ONCE a week. Doing this has saved me countless of hours when I’m out of time and need dinner on the table ASAP.

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This recipe is very versatile, meaning you can substitute basically whatever ingredients sound good to you! Adding chicken or ground beef may help to ‘bulk it up’ a little. If you don’t like quinoa then rice would work just fine. Any beans could substitute in for the black beans. You get my point, pick your favorite ingredients and go from there. It’s bound to turn out just as tasty!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 3 C quinoa, cooked
  • 1 (4 oz.) can green chilies
  • 1 C corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 C diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 C pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 6 bell peppers, seeded & tops cut off

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients besides the bell peppers. Spoon filling into each bell pepper until full.
  2. Place peppers on a greased baking dish, open side up. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.

 

What are your favorite ingredients in stuffed bell peppers?

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Let’s Get Outside! Fun workouts to do at the park + Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

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My favorite thing to do is to make exercise FUN! This time of year when the weather is warm I try to do more outside exercises to mix things up. Plus, getting some sun makes me much happier than being cooped up inside all day long. Going to a park is helpful when you have kiddos that want to run around and play too. I’ve also included an awesome pre-exercising snack made from sweet potatoes! [Recipe at the end]

Head Over to the Park!

Set your timer for 15 minutes (or however long you’d like) and do as many rounds of each set below as you can!

10 sit-ups

10 box jumps – pick something to jump up on that’s a comfortable height for you.

10 push-ups 

10 monkey bars – modification: hold one bar and bring your knees up to 90 degrees or to your chest. (if your playground doesn’t have monkey bars – skip this one!)

10 squats – challenge: hold one of your kids during your squats to feel the burn even more!

30 second rest 

Repeat as many times as you can!

Feel free to mix and match any of the above exercises – pick the ones you like and have fun! You can also modify any of the movements to fit your skill level.

One of my favorite pre-workout snacks are these Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries. With just a few ingredients and they are quick and easy to assemble. Try them today!

Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • 1/4 t pepper

Directions

  1. Cut each potato into sticks 1/2″ thick.
  2. Combine olive oil, garlic salt, cumin, salt, chili powder, and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Add potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, turning halfway through

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What is your favorite outside exercise? Comment below with your favorites! I’ll be trying THIS one out tonight!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

The Top 5 Confusing Food Label Claims

Top 5 Confusing Food Label Claims

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Food labels are everywhere claiming in bold letters that their food product is anything from “all-natural”, “skinny”, “low-fat”, “gluten free”, “organic”, and the list goes on and on. Are these foods better for us? Is it wise to only buy foods that make these amazing health claims?

Health Halos

Health halos occur when we overlook all of the other attributes a food may have and only focus on the 1 or 2 properties it claims. For instance, ‘fat-free’ foods can be enticing to purchase with the assumption that they contain less calories. However, in order to make up for loss of fat, manufactures will bump up the sugar content to ensure the taste is not compromised. You may be consuming much more sugar than you thought!

**Don’t be fooled by just one claim from a food – read the fine print to make sure the food product is exactly what you’re thinking it is.

Here are the top 5 most confusing claims we find on food products =

1. “Sugar Free”

Food products labeled as “Sugar Free” may sound great but when sugar is removed artificial sweeteners are added in their place. These artificial sweeteners confuse our metabolism and make losing weight harder by throwing our hormones out of whack. You can read more about that HERE.

Here are some common artificial sweeteners  =

  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame K
  • Saccharin
  • Xylitol
  • Sorbitol

2. “Light”

This typically refers to lower fat content in the product. When fat is taken out, sugar is likely replaced to make up for lost mouth-feel that fat gives a product. As we know, added sugar is responsible for spiking our blood glucose and making us crave more sugar later.

3.”Gluten Free”

Gluten is a protein found in grains that can be harmful to people with gluten allergies or celiac disease. The increasing availability of gluten-free foods is great for people who have problems digesting glucose, but the labeling may be a little confusing. Gluten free does not mean the product is whole grain, contains more fiber, or has fewer carbohydrates. Gluten-free products may not help you lose weight and are not necessarily more healthful for you.

4. “Organic”

This labeling is regulated by the USDA and follow strict guidelines in order to have this label. However, “organic” labels are broken up into 3 different sections =

100% Organic – All of the ingredients are made from completely organic food products.

Organic – These foods contain at least 95-99% organic ingredients.

Made with Organic Ingredients – Contains at least 70% organic ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to read the ingredient list to double check the products are organic and which ones aren’t.

5. “All Natural”

Foods that are labeled “All Natural” cannot contain added colors, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. However, they still can contain preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, or be injected in sodium. This term can be confusing and the FDA is working hard to establish guidelines for deeming foods at “natural”.

 

Good luck on your next trip to the grocery store and don’t forget to take a few extra minutes to read the food label to find out what is actually in your food product! 

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

bigbiteslittlebudget.com

10 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

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  1. Listen to music

    Research has shown that music with a slower tempo can help to relax your muscles and quiet your mind. Even if slow music isn’t your thing, listening to something you like can help to uplift your mood.

  2. Call a friend

    Interacting with friends and loved ones helps add to your support system. If you’re going through something especially stressful, try talking it out with a friend and you’ll find how much better you feel.

  3. Laugh it off

    Laughter induces endorphin production in your body. Endorphins act as a natural painkiller by boosting your self-confidence and optimism. Watch how laughter changes everyone’s mood on the subway HERE.

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  4. Enjoy your food

    If eating kale by the handful doesn’t appease your taste-buds then don’t eat it! Does eating fast food all day make you groggy and tired at the end of the day? Look for foods that you not only enjoy but that make you feel good too. Stick to the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time choose healthful foods to fuel your body, 20% of the time let yourself enjoy fun foods.

  5. Be mindful

    To be mindful doesn’t mean you need to spend hours meditating, rather it’s paying attention to your thoughts and sensations without judgement. Take a short time everyday to look inwardly and focus on how your mind is feeling. Awareness helps you to control your emotions and respond to stressful situations in a more positive way.

  6. Exercise for 1 minute

    Everybody has ONE minute to spare during the day. Take just 60 seconds to run as fast as you can, do jumping jacks, or stretch. As you exercise, neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, are released – acting as antidepressants.

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  7. Get your zzz’s

    Allow your body and mind to recharge by getting adequate amounts of sleep each night. Adults, aim for 7-9 hours a night, kids may need 9 hours or more (depending on their age). Consistently getting enough sleep has been linked to improved memory, better muscle repair, and lower rates of obesity and high blood pressure.

  8. Take a deep breath

    Usually we do a lot of shallow breathing (only breathing through the upper part of your lungs). Try 10 deep breaths that come from the stomach (focus on moving your bellow button out when inhaling). This will help you stay alert and think clearly.

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  9. Stretch

    Stretching throughout the day has been show to ease stress levels by increasing blood flow to improve circulation. This helps muscles to relax and decrease the amount of pain we feel.

  10. Take it one day at a time

    Learn from what happened yesterday but don’t dwell on it. Look to tomorrow but don’t live in the future. Take today to enjoy your life and help others do the same.

 

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

bigbiteslittlebudget.com

The Easiest Stir-fry Made in Less Than 15 Minutes!

My favorite way to cook is with ingredients I already have at home. That way I don’t have to run to the grocery store and spend more money on funky ingredients I’ll never use again. It also ensures that whatever I make is filled with foods that I know my family and I will like.

Food $ense has a brilliant “Create-your-own” recipe template that let’s YOU choose your ingredients. This is helpful especially when cooking for people with food allergies or that have very specific taste preferences (picky children anyone??). Like I said, this isn’t a recipe at all, but a template for you to follow. When I made this stir-fry, I chose ingredients in my pantry that I know my family likes. Yours may look completely different than mine – and that’s great! Cater it to what you like and what you already have at home. [Recipe template at the end]

Here’s what I did for my Stir-fry…

Step 1

1 Protein

^ I chose 1 lb. of chicken that was in my freezer. Thawed it in the fridge then cut into thin strips.

Step 2

2 Marinate

^Such an easy marinade! Usually I buy store-bought marinade but this was MUCH cheaper and I could easily make it low-sodium.

Step 3

3 Produce

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^Celery, onions, green peppers, and carrots – yum!

Step 4

4 Warm Skillet

^Get ready to cook all your ingredients.

Step 5

5 Sauce

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^ I made both the sauce and glaze recipes.The sauce helps to give flavor and the glaze helps thicken the sauce to make it more pour-able.

Step 6

6 High Heat

^Stir-frys cook at really high temperatures so it’s important to have all the ingredients close by.

Directions

  1. In a skillet on medium-high heat, cook the chicken strips in olive oil or chicken broth. Set aside.
  2. Add onions to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies to the skillet (and fresh garlic and ginger – see step 3). Pour in the sauce. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the veggies are tender but still crisp.
  3. Return chicken to the skillet. Stir in the glaze and cook another 1-2 minutes to thicken.
  4. Serve immediately over rice or noodles.

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Click on the image below for a printable version of the recipe template. Create a Stirfry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to hear all about your stir-fry creations -comment below with your favorites. Happy stir-frying!

 

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Top 5 Fruits & Vegetables In Seasonand What to Do With Them!

The Top 5 Fruits & Vegetables in Season and What to Do With Them

Farmers’ Markets are my favorite places to spend my Saturday mornings. I love interacting with the vendors and farmers and talking about their fresh produce. This time of year, when fruits and veggies are in abundance, I find myself using the same boring recipes over and over. I bring the same Greek Pasta Salad to barbecues, the same Guacamole dip to family get-togethers, and serve the same Green Salad almost daily for lunches. Though these recipes are great, there are SOOO many more out there! I’ve complied my favorite Food $ense recipes below from the top 5 fruits and veggies in abundance right now. You can click HERE for a complete list of what is in season in Utah right now.

Strawberries

Nutrition – Strawberries are high in anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanins. They are also an excellent source of the antioxidant, vitamin C. The fruit is a good source of Vitamin A and E that protect against various diseases.

Storage -Store strawberries in your fridge in the crisper drawer. Do not wash until right before eating to help them stay fresh longer. Uncut and unwashed, they will last 5-7 days.

Recipes (click on the images for a printable version)

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Beets

Nutrition – Beets contain many nutrients including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, and beta-carotene. Beets are especially good for pregnant women because of the high Vitamin B levels to grow new cells and the extra iron helps replenish depleted stores.

Storage – Keep beets dry and store them in the fridge in the crisper drawer. If you’d like to eat the greens, keep those in a separate plastic bag for 2-3 days. Beets will stay good in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Recipes – 

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Broccoli

Nutrition – This vegetable contains many nutrients including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. Broccoli also has a high amount of protein compared to other veggies. Research shows that steamed (not boiled) broccoli provides the most health benefits.

Storage – Avoid storing broccoli in a sealed container or plastic bag. Instead, wrap it loosely in a damp paper towel in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for 2-3 days.

Recipes –

Beef and Broccoli

Broccoli Quiche

Pasta Salad with Broccoli

 

Bell Peppers

Nutrition – Bell peppers come in a variety of colors including green, red, yellow, and orange. They are very low in calories and high in vitamin C, making them a great antioxidant. Bell peppers will also keep you fuller with less calories because of their high fiber content.

Storage – Keep bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not wash until right before serving. Peppers will last about 4-5 days in the fridge.

Recipes – 

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Tomatoes

Nutrition – Usually categorized as a vegetable, a tomato is actually a fruit! They are high in the antioxidant, lycopene, that has been linked to reducing risk of heart disease, and cancer. Tomatoes are also a great source of potassium, vitamin K, and folate.

Storage – Store tomatoes at room temperature away from sunlight. If unripe, place in a paper bag or carboard box until fully ripe. Avoid storing tomatoes in the fridge, as they will not last as long in colder temperatures.

Recipes –

Tomato Basil Pasta with Lemon

Summer Vegetable Pasta

Arugula Greek Salad

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It can be  easy to go to your local farmers’ market, load up on fresh fruits and veggies then forget and end up throwing everything away the next week after it’s spoiled. Don’t let all those fruits and vegetables go to waste! Try one of these recipes today – you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Farmers' Market Finds

Farmers’ Market Finds – How to Make the Most of Your Fresh Produce // Easy Roasted Veggies

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Now that it’s officially summer our days are long with lots of sunshine and time outdoors. It’s the perfect time to head over to your farmers’ market and check out what local farmers are selling. You’d be amazed at how much fresher produce is at farmers’ markets since it has usually been harvested that week! Compared to the multiple weeks it takes from harvest to get to your grocery store. Click HERE to find a farmers’ market near you!

Top 5 Reasons to Shop at Farmers’ Markets

  1. Higher quality taste and nutrition – because the produce does not need to travel many miles, it’s allowed to naturally ripen. This means it comes to your market at the peak of its quality and nutritional value.
  2. Support your local Community Supported Agriculture and economy – this means less food miles (aka pollution) that your produce must travel before ending up on your plate.
  3. Helps make your plate a “MyPlate Meal” – the main thing you’ll find at Farmers’ Markets is fresh fruits and vegetables. As you know, those two food groups should make up HALF of our plates every day. Shopping at farmers’ markets make eating fruits and vegetables easy!
  4. Gets your kids involved – no more fighting down the cereal aisle telling your son/daughter no for the 15th time (we’ve all been there right?…). Farmers’ Markets are an easy way you can teach your kids about where their food comes from and it can come with less stress than a trip to the grocery store.
  5. You can try something new – the first time I ever tried eggplant was because a farmer at the Cache Valley Gardner’s Market convinced me that I’d love it. He was right! By talking to the local vendors you get to have a personal conversation with the professionals. Go ahead, ask how or where to store the produce. My favorite is to ask for recipe ideas – they usually have a lot!

Speaking of recipes for fresh produce, this Grilled or Roasted Veggies recipe is one of my favorites because it’s easy, adaptable, and best of all – quick! [Recipe at the end]

How-To: Roast Vegetables

Gather your vegetables. I chose zucchini, yellow squash, green pepper, carrots, and broccoli. Chop them into pieces that will cook evenly. Drizzle on 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper – toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for 15-30 minutes.

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You’ll end with a beautiful, colorful, vegetable side dish. Head over to your local farmers’ market and pick up some fresh produce to roast or grill today!
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Click on the recipe below for a printable version. Grilled or Roasted Vegetables

 

Have you visited your local farmers’ market yet?

What are your favorite vegetables to roast?

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

Hello! I hope your summer is off to a great start. Since it’s grilling season I thought I’d share one of my favorite kebab recipes with you. Here in Utah it has been so hot outside that I haven’t even dared step foot in the heat (that’s where the grill is) so I made these kebabs in the OVEN! [Recipe at the end]

Let’s take a minute to talk about these kebabs. There’s something about fresh fruits, vegetables, and chicken smothered in a tangy marinade that just hits the spot on these hot summer days. This recipe is is light and perfect for any barbecue, neighborhood party, or just a fun dinner for the family! Anyone who knows me knows that I like to simplify recipes so I can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with people that I love. I’ve adapted this recipe so you can make it 3 different ways, depending on how much time or equipment you may have. All 3 options are extremely easy and don’t vary in prep time much so pick your favorite option and get cookin!

Option 1: Kebabs – Cooked on the grill in lightning fast time, you’ll want skewers for this option (metal or wood is fine, if you use the wood skewers you’ll want to pre-soak them in water 10 minutes before firing up the grill).

Option 2: Stir-fry – This is the ultra-fast version with very minimal equipment needed. Throw all the ingredients in a skillet and mix until heated throughout (make sure your chicken is fully cooked)and you’ve got dinner in 15 minutes!

Option 3: Oven – This is the option I went for this time, though you don’t need the skewers unless you have them on hand. All you need is an oven and a baking sheet.

Here are the steps for making these delicious kebabs in the oven…

First you’ll want to marinate your chicken. This step isn’t 100% crucial (speaking from experience of always forgetting to marinate until it’s too late!) but it will make your chicken extra flavorful. I like to reserve a bit of the marinade to brush on the kebabs right before grilling.

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While your chicken is marinating, cut up your pepper, onion, and pineapple and marvel in the beauty of all the colors! You can cut the produce smaller if you’re not using skewers – that will reduce the cooking time.

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Next, I placed all the ingredients on skewers then on a baking sheet ready for the oven. After brushing the leftover marinade on the kebabs you’ll bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until I saw them getting brown around the edges). Yum!! I served my kabobs with this incredible salad and a glass of fruit-infused water. It was beyond delicious.
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Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

Adapted from cookingclassy.com

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • 1/3 C ketchup
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • 1/3 C low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T rice vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T ginger, minced
  • 1/2 t sesame oil

Kebabs:

  • 2 lb. chicken breasts, chopped into 1 1/4″ cubes
  • 3 C fresh pineapple, cubed
  • 2 green peppers, diced into 1 1/4″ slices
  • 1 red onion, diced into 1 1/4″ slices

Directions

  1. Combine marinade ingredients and add chicken cubes. Store in fridge for 1-2 hours.

For kebabs – 

Add chicken and kebab ingredients to skewers. Brush with olive oil. Grill on pre-heated grill for 8-10 minutes.

For stir-fry –

Add chicken and kebab ingredients to a heated skillet over medium-high heat. Cook fro 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

In the oven – 

Place chicken and kebab ingredients on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

 

What’s your favorite kebab recipe? Comment below with your recipe!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

LINKS

Links We Love // June Edition

heart-1394204_1920.jpgWelcome to June’s edition of the links we love! Reading up on the latest nutrition studies is one of my favorite things to do. It can be frustrating when everything seems to be changing so it’s important to keep up on the latest research and not just fads. Don’t forget that not all research is 100% valid, there are exceptions to every situation and some studies are flawed. So, with that being stated, feel free to read through these articles but remember that they’re brand new research and these are just parts of the puzzle.

When you lose weight, where does it all go?  – As it turns out, when we lose weight we’re not actually “burning” it off. Read more to find out where those excess pounds go!

How to stop bloating (aka “food baby”) – Ah, the dreaded “food baby”. Bloating Mother holding her little son piggy-back.is caused by not just overeating but other things like hormones and not chewing your food enough. Ellie Krieger breaks down each reason why we may experience bloating and ways we can avoid it.

Exercise Myth vs. Realities  – The sport drinks you’re drinking after a workout may be doing your more harm then good, walking is still a great form of exercise, and even if you’re not sweating that doesn’t mean you’re not getting a good workout.

Whole Grains Can Help You Live Longer – There are many puzzle pieces that go into better health. Turns out, eating whole grains is a big piece of the puzzle to increasing longevity.

Coffee is No Longer Considered a Carcinogen – The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided, upon further research, that coffee is no longer classifiable as a carcinogen. As we know, carcinogens increase the risk for cancers such as pancreatic, breast, or prostate. Continue reading for more instruction from The National Coffee Association to keep your coffee temperature safe!

Confessions From a Former Fitness Model – from Nutrition Matters Podcast. This is an AMAZING podcast from a body-positivity series. Paige, the host, interviews a former fitness model and takes us through her journey overcoming disordered eating.

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4 Kid – Friendly Dips  – I stumbled upon these dips the other day and can’t wait to try them out. They’re perfect for kids because they love to dip their foods (and so do I!). *from the Lean Green Bean

 

 

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you enjoy some good food in good company.

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

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Create an Active Lifestyle

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Being active is one of my favorite things to do, but maybe not in the ways you may think of traditional exercising. For me, it’s much more than a gym membership and workout classes (though those do have a purpose and can be wonderful). Being active, to me, is my way of life. I choose everyday to exercise and be active throughout my day. Some days I don’t have time to make it to the gym and that doesn’t hold me back from being active that day. Instead, I’ll go on a long walk, or bike ride. And when it’s cold, I’ll stay inside and run up and down my stairs as many times as I can. Sometimes, I don’t even want to leave my living room (or my TV for that matter), so I’ll do a couch workout. You too can live an active lifestyle by making minor modifications to things you’re already doing!

Does this sound like you?

  • Do you sit at a desk all day? Try standing for just 10 minutes each hour. That will help get the blood flowing to your legs and also to your brain.
  • Do you like watching TV after a long day? During the commercial breaks you can do pushups, sit-ups, or even handstand pushups against the wall!
  • Do you have a lot of errands to run and stores to stop at? Think of all the extra steps you’re getting while running in and out of stores just doing your regular errands. If you want even more steps, try parking further away.
  • Do you go to the playgrounds a lot for your kids to run around? Perfect! You can run around with them! Playgrounds are not only for kids, you can try these movements at the park next time your kids go to play.
  • Do you like participating in group classes or individual exercise programs? Then head to your local gym and sign up! Or, you can recruit friends and neighbors and start your own exercising program (i.e. morning walks).
  • Do you just not seem to ever have the time to devote one whole hour to exercising every day? Then break it up! You don’t have to get it done all at once. Taking extra minutes to be active throughout the day can sure add up.

Choose to Be Active Today!

There are so many reasons why exercising and being Child on monkey bars.jpgactive is good for us. As we know, when we exercise, we are less likely to develop a chronic disease (cardiovascular disease or obesity), help reverse Type 2 Diabetes, and it also helps boost our energy levels. It is recommended that adults get 2 1/2 hours of aerobic exercise each week + 2 days of strengthening activities. For more information on recommendations, head over HERE.

My favorite aspect of physical activity is making it fun! Exercising shouldn’t be something you dread doing – that would be miserable. Do you remember when you were a little kid and how fun it was to run around and play? That’s how exercising should feel to you right now! If you hate running, don’t do it. If you hate walking, don’t do it! Choose activities that make you happy!

Why do you like to stay active? Comment below with your favorite ways.

 

Resources

  1. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Create a...

Create a Pizza!

I’ve never considered myself to be a great cook so long recipes with weird ingredients can be intimidating to me. Luckily, this “recipe” isn’t a real recipe at all! I used Food $ense’s “Create your own” template when making this pizza. Instead of having a list of ingredients you have to stick to, this template lets you choose the ingredients that YOU want! [At the end of the post I have attached the template for you to print out for yourself.]

4 Benefits of a “Create Your Own” Recipe

  1. Saves time – no more looking up ingredients, you use the ones you already have at home.
  2. Ingredients you and your family likes – not a fan of olives? You’ll see that you can pick from a list of different veggies to top on your pizza. Some members of my family didn’t like the pineapple and opted for more green peppers instead.
  3. Saves money– you won’t have to run to the grocery store for just 1 or 2 ingredients that you might be missing. Just choose from what you already have on hand. Feel free to improvise!
  4. Kids can help – these mini pizzas are easy enough for kids to assemble them themselves. When they can see what goes into their dinner they’re much more likely to eat it.

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The How-To

First, assemble the ingredients. I opened my pantry (and refrigerator) and this is what I found. I chose the ingredients that I knew my family would like most. Each of us made our own mini pizzas with the toppings we wanted. It took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, even with kids!

Here are the ingredients we had –

  • mini tortillas
  • tomato paste (thinned down with water with oregano and basil added)
  • olives
  • pineapple
  • green pepper
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

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Here’s the exact template I was talking about. It’s broken down step by step and the entire template can be found at the end of the post.

1 – CrustUntitled design.jpg

  • Don’t forget about our 2 Ingredient Pizza Dough recipe HERE.

2 – Sauce

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  • Making your own pizza sauce is super easy and much cheaper than buying a big jar from the store. With a small can of tomato sauce, you can add other ingredients like garlic salt and onion powder to make it fit your taste preferences.

3 – FlavorsUntitled design (3).jpg

4- ToppingsUntitled design (1).jpg

Directions

  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes (or until the edges and toppings are golden)

My favorite part about this recipe? The total cost is just $8.55 (compared to $20.00+ for takeout). For 5 servings, that’s just $1.71 per serving!! Obviously, prices are different depending on where you live so these numbers may not be the exact same for you. However, when using this method there’s a good chance that you’ll not only save money but you’ll help your family eat healthfully too!

Here’s a breakdown of the cost for my recipe

  • 24 mini tortillas = $2.18
  • 1 can tomato paste = $0.46/can + $0.10 spices
  • 1 green pepper = $0.77
  • 1 can olives = $0.88
  • 2 cups shredded cheese = $2.32
  • 1 can chicken = $0.98
  • 1 can pineapple = $0.86

Click on the image below for the recipe outline.

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Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

mango kale

Mango Kale Smoothie

Welcome to June! Spring has been so good to us this year with cooler temperatures and a little bit of rain. With summer right around the corner I thought I’d share my all time favorite smoothie with you. [Recipe at the end]

This Mango Kale Smoothie is not just a healthy treat but a refreshing one too! So bring on all the hot weather summer, we’re ready for you!  This smoothie contains lots of fruit and vegetables for plenty of extra fiber to help keep us full as well as chia seeds and avocado for some healthy fats. It tastes much better with fresh produce (have you been shopping at your local farmers’ market yet?) but you can use frozen or canned too. That’s the best part about smoothies – you can add in whatever you have on hand!

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Smoothie are a great way to add extra fruits and vegetables to your day in an easy and tasty way. However, it’s important to make sure it’s packed with fiber-rich produce and not lots of added sugar. It’s easy to get carried away with sugar laden sweeteners like honey, flavored yogurt, and of course – plain old sugar! And obviously, blended up kale on its own wouldn’t be exactly appetizing so it’s great to add a touch of sweetness to make it more delicious tasting. But, as we know, added sugars can wreak havoc on our blood sugar and increase our chances for developing type 2 diabetes and obesity. The solution? Add fruit instead of sweeteners! Fruit is naturally sweet already and is loaded with vitamins and minerals that you wouldn’t get from artificial sweeteners.

2 Mangos

My other favorite part about smoothies = one step directions. Just throw everything in a blender and mix until everything is blended up! Kids love helping me assemble smoothies because they can choose their ingredients and watch all the colors come together. Try this for your next healthy snack for you and your kiddos.

Mango Kale Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 smoothie
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 1 mango, peeled & pitted
  • 1 C kale, chopped
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 T chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 T honey

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately.

What’s your favorite smoothie recipe? Comment below!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Slowcoooker

Slow Cooker Success // Berry Crisp

Last month here in Cache County, we taught a series of classes all about slow cookersIt was so much fun!  During this class we made a yummy Berry Crisp in the slow cooker and topped it with Vanilla Almond Granola and homemade whipped cream. You can find both recipes at the end of this post. But first, I wanted to recap a few things from our lesson…

Benefits of slow-cookers

  • Cook without heating up the entire house  – especially great with hotter temperatures right around the corner. You can cook an entire meal without needing to turn on the A/C!
  • One pot preparation – aka less dishes to clean after cooking, who wouldn’t want that?
  • Dinner can be ready to eat right when you come home – this is perfect for working parents or anyone who knows they don’t want to cook after a long day.

Three tips

  • Don’t lift the lid! – each time you take off the lid, you extend the cooking time by 20-30 minutes. Wait until at least the minimum cooking time is reached before lifting the lid.
  • Time conversions – 1 hour on high = 2 hours on low.
  • Too much liquid? – remove the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking to let it evaporate.

Food safety for slow-cookers

  • No need to pre heat – avoid putting cold food in a preheated slow-cooker, this can cause food to cook unevenly and potentially crack the inside crock.
  • Take out to cool – leaving food in the crock will not cool in time since the walls are insulated. Remove the food from the slow-cooker for a quicker cooling time.
  • Leftovers are a no go – your slow-cooker will not heat up fast enough to re-heat leftovers in time and that leaves food in the danger zone for too long. Choose a quicker method such as microwave or an oven to heat up leftovers safely.

Adjusting recipes for slow-cookers

  1. Reduce the liquid by 1/3 – 1/2 from the original recipe.
  2. Remove as much fat as you can from meats before cooking.
  3. Add spices at the end.
  4. Add dairy products at the end (they tend to break down during extended cooking). If you recipe is milk-based, add 1-2 cups of water instead then add milk/cream at the end as called for.

You can find lots more tips on how to adjust recipes for slow-cookers HERE.

 

Now onto the recipes…DSC_5421-2

This Slow Cooker Granola Berry Crisp tastes amazing and is soooo easy to make. Berries, lemon juice, and granola. To cut costs, I decided to make my own granola for the topping (recipe below). Yummy flavors from the berries, lemon juice, and granola complimented each other well and the lemon juice didn’t make it sour (and no need for added sugar!). I ended up using frozen berries that I already had in my freezer. Feel free to add bottled lemon juice instead of fresh too.

Slow Cooker Granola Berry Crisp

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. Add the berries to the bottom and squeeze the lemon over the berries.
  2. Sprinkle granola evenly over the berries.
  3. Put a paper towel on top of the crock and put the lid in place. Cook on LOW for 1 hour and 45 minutes without opening the lid.
  4. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream.

For more slow-cooker recipes you can check out our Slow-Cooker Sesame Chicken, or my favorite Mac and Cheese recipe.

 

What’s your favorite thing to make in your slow-cooker? I’m trying this recipe today!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

WE

Links We Love // May Edition

Welcome to our favorite links from May! There’s been a lot of buzz in the nutrition world lately, everything from explaining food cravings to the FDA’s new ruling on The Nutrition Facts Labeling requirements. Yogurt and smoothies may not be as healthful as we thought and tips for keeping your life well-balanced – more than just nutrition!

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1. If you’re craving cookies, you might just be bored Have you ever wondered why you get sudden food cravings that are just too strong to resist? Turns out, simply being bored might be the culprit that causes those cravings.

2.Tips to keep weight off If you’ve ever lost a significant amount of weight you know how hard it can be to not re-gain the weight. These tips can help you to stick to your lifestyle change and make sure you can keep the weight off forever.

3. 10 morning habits to be well-balanced Not only are nutrition and exercise important to a healthful lifestyle, other things like getting adequate sleep to simplifying your wardrobe can help you improve all aspects of your life.

4. The facts about yogurt Every kind of yogurt explained from Greek to regular, and from plain to flavored. A dietitian goes through the differences between each type of yogurt and which kinds are most healthful to our bodies.

5. New nutrition facts label requirements Changes are coming to our Nutrition Facts Label! A new line for added sugars, more realistic serving sizes, and more!Screenshot (221).png

6. What does eating in moderation actually mean?  Moderation can be a misunderstood concept, this article explains just what it actually looks like. It may not be what you think!

7. The downside of smoothies Many smoothies can be beneficial to our health if we include fruits and vegetables in them. This post explains that not all smoothies are created equal and what you can leave out next time you’re blending up this snack.

8. Breakfast Enchiladas  These easy enchiladas don’t just look pretty, but taste good too! And the best part? You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

 

Happy reading! I hope you have a great holiday weekend!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

 

Menu planning 101

Menu Planning 101

The concept of “menu planning”, or determining your meals ahead of time, is something I never quite grasped until I moved out of my parents’ house. At home my mom just seemed to be able to whip up anything for our family at the drop of a hat. Little did I know, she had mastered the concept of menu planning and that was one of the reasons for her success in making quick and healthy meals for our big family.

Here at Food $ense we like to promote menu planning because it has so many benefits. When you plan your meals ahead of time you’re more likely to have regular family mealtime. This helps to provide more structure for yourself, your kids, and your spouse. Family mealtime gives your children a safe environment and allows them to talk freely and try new foods. It also encourages good behavior in kids and adolescents and leads to better behavior in school and with friends. When I lived alone, I thought family mealtime didn’t apply to me since I was single. However, even if you’re  eating alone it’s important to set aside time for your own “family mealtime” – even if you’re a family of one. This helps us to be more mindful during our meal and to not overeat. Successful family mealtime, whether it be for a family of 1 or 10, comes when we prepare ahead of time by menu planning.

Here are my 5 easy steps to successful Menu Planning:

1. Set a Budget

  • Divide your money into how many times you grocery shop –  If I have $100 for the month and I go to the grocery store 4 times then that means I’ll have $25 each time I go shopping.
  • Make sure to include other sources of food money – things like WIC or SNAP benefits (food stamps).

2. Plan Your Menus

  • Don’t forget leftovers – use them for another dinner or lunch. This helps you not waste as much food at the end of the week.
  • One month at a time – This planner [below] helps me keep track of all the meals my family will eat for the entire month (don’t forget to add snacks!).
  • Look at store ads – See what’s on sale so you can get all the good prices. Is ground beef on sale this week? If so, I could make spaghetti with ground beef, spaghetti sauce, and 100% Whole Wheat noodles.

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3. Make a Grocery List

  • Be organized – Use this outline to arrange your list so you get through the grocery store as quickly as possible.Screenshot (216)

4. Go Grocery Shopping

  • Try going to the grocery store just once a week – this helps you save money and time. The more time you spend shopping, the more money you’re likely to spend.
  • Use coupons wisely – If the coupon matches up with something you’re already buying then go ahead and use it. If not, you’ll end up spending more money than you had planned in the first place!
  • Don’t shop at a busy time – If there are more people shopping with you it will take you longer to get through the store in a timely manner. Remember: more time at the grocery store = more money you spend!
  • Shop on a full tummy – If you’re hungry, you’re more likely to impulse buy food you don’t need.

5. Stick to It!

  • I know it can be hard at first, but the more times you practice menu planning the more it becomes a habit. Taking 30 minutes just one time a week to plan your meals for the upcoming week saves you soooo much time and stress.

 

Menu Planning doesn’t need to be difficult or strenuous, it should help relieve you of the stress that comes every day when your child asks you “what’s for dinner?” Some more of my favorite menu planning tips can be found here HERE. If you want some ideas for what an actual menu plan look like you can see our full monthly menus way back in August, November, and January.

 

What are some of your menu planning tips? Comment below with your favorites.

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

 

1

Swiss Chard Stracciatella Soup

The weather in Utah seems to go back and forth between warm and cold each day. One day it’s sunny and warm, the other day – rainy and freezing cold! When it’s rainy outside it makes me want soup. There’s just something about a warm bowl of soup that makes you feel better when the weather outside is so yucky. I made this soup on a rainy day and have continued to eat it even on the warmer days because it’s that good!

Let’s talk about the name of this soup. The word “stracciatella” has two definitions = a) gelato containing vanilla flavor with chocolate flakes and b) Italian soup containing egg and cheese. This time we’ll be talking about the second definition. Sorry folks, I’ll save the gelato post for another time.

Swiss Chard

The best part about this soup is that it contains a vegetable that I don’t normally eat = Swiss chard. When was the last time you had Swiss chard? With the Farmers’ Market season finally upon us there will be lots more opportunities for you to purchase fresh and locally grown Swiss chard, which tastes waaaay better than the kind from the store. You can also substitute other greens in this recipe like kale, spinach, or collard greens.

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I like recipes that are quick and easy so this one is a family favorite at my house. I can have it ready in less than 15 minutes. If you’d like to “bulk” up the recipe to make it a more complete MyPlate meal you can add=

  • cooked chicken or beef strips
  • more vegetables (i.e. carrots, onions, celery)
  • a side of 100% whole wheat toast or 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup strawberries for dessert

Swiss Chard Stracciatella Soup

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 C chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. Swiss Chard, very thinly sliced
  • 2 T Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, add chicken broth, garlic, and chard. Cover and cook until the chard is tender (about 8 minutes). Stir in Parmesan.
  2. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and slowly pour into the soup. Constantly stir soup until thin egg threads appear, about 1 minute.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

 

What’s your favorite way to eat Swiss chard? Comment below with your favorite recipes.

 

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

5_24 Beverage Basics

Beverage Basics + Infused Water Recipe

 

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Now that it’s finally starting to warm up outside it’s important to stay hydrated. Unfortunately, for me, I get sick of drinking plain old water all the time. Usually when I get tired of water I reach for my favorite soda or juice – both of which are loaded with extra sugar and empty calories. Even my favorite sugar free drinks aren’t the best since they have sugar substitutes that can make me crave even more sugar later! But that’s a conversation for another time. A few weeks ago, I was at a restaurant and got served water with strawberries in it. I was surprised how good it tasted and soon realized that I can flavor my water with little to no extra calories and with whole foods!

My “Whole Foods” Water

First off, if you’ve never heard the term “whole foods” then hop on over to Candi’s blog where she explains the ins and outs of what it actually is. This recipe I’ve developed couldn’t be more simple. All you have to do is take your favorite fruit or vegetable, peel it, cut it up, and throw it in your water. Obviously not all fruits and veggies will work (potatoes and bananas are a for sure no-go). But some of my favorites to include are =

  • strawberries
  • mint leaves
  • sliced cucumbers
  • blueberries
  • watermelon
  • cantaloupe
  • kiwi slices
  • lemon, orange, or lime wedges

The How-To

Since I’m on the go a lot it’s easy for me to throw it all in a water bottle and I’m good to go. They even sell water bottle infusers to keep the fruits/vegetables packed nicely together amidst your water. You can get them eat any local grocery store for a reasonable price. But, if you’re like me, you can still put your fruit directly into your old-fashioned water bottle and it works just fine (just be careful not to swallow the produce right off the bat!).

I made my favorite combination of our Fruit & Vegetable Infused Water by adding sliced strawberries and kiwis to my ice water.

Fruit & Vegetable Infused Water

Ingredients

  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Mint leaves
  • Cucumbers, sliced thin
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon, cubed
  • Cantaloupe, cubed
  • Kiwi slices, no skin
  • Lemon, orange, or lime wedges
  • Water

Directions

  1. Combine your favorite fruit and/or vegetables in water.
  2. Store in refrigerator and serve cold.

What’s your favorite combination? Comment below with your suggestions.

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

5_13 Workout at home

5 Easy At Home Exercises – No Equipment Required!

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A few months ago, my alarm clock went off at 5:00 a.m. so I could get up early enough to go to the gym before starting my busy day. I grudgingly dragged myself out of my warm bed, drove to the gym, and forced myself to act “engaged” in my 5:30 a.m. spin class. After an exhausting workout, I came home and guess what – accidentally fell asleep on my floor! No pillow, no blanket, just me and the floor. My body felt exhausted! Exercising, to me, was NOT fun. It was merely something I checked off early in the morning so I had it done for the day.

I’m here to tell you that it shouldn’t be that way!! Exercising should be something you reward your body with, not punish! By all means, if 5:30 a.m. is your favorite time to work out then go right ahead. I’ve found that I don’t have much free time between work, moving, and traveling so I like doing my workouts at home (or at my hotel).

I did this 5-exercises HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training) workout at a hotel just last week. I love it because it only takes 10 minutes to complete and doesn’t require any special equipment.

The key to these types of workouts (HIIT) is that they are all out effort! There are HUGE benefits from exercising at a high intensity for shorter amounts of time. I was sweating and breathing HARD at the end of this one. Here’s how I broke this one up:

Set timer for 10 minutes, as many rounds as possible –

10 Jump Lunges (5 each side)

15 Squats

20 Tricep Dips

10 Burpees 

30 Russian Twists (15 each side)

<15 second break>

Repeat

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You can mix up your at home workouts in so many different ways, be creative! Did you know you can do a workout with dishtowels! Even a bag of flour? On the jungle gym or inside on your couch. If you’re traveling, you can even do a short workout at the airport.

Now that summer is right around the corner, it’s important to keep your workouts safe. Don’t forget to make sure you’re eating the right things before and after exercising too.

 

What’s your favorite at-home workout?

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

FRUIT &

A Food $ense Favorite // Fruit & Yogurt Bark

I used to be totally against Greek yogurt. I didn’t like it because the taste was too sour and the texture was  way too thick. Turns out, I had been eating it all wrong! This Fruit & Yogurt Bark is EXCELLENT with Greek yogurt – and  wouldn’t work with regular yogurt. A great thing about Greek yogurt is that it’s just regular yogurt that has been strained (hence the thicker texture). It has a whopping 60% more protein than regular yogurt, meaning that this little snack will fill you up MUCH better than regular yogurt.

This recipe couldn’t get any easier to make. It took me a total of 3 minutes to chop the fruit, dump in the Greek yogurt, and spread into a pan. Seriously, three minutes! The hardest part is waiting for it to fully freeze (about one hour). After waiting, I just used a butter knife to cut it into pieces then kept the pieces in a freezer bag in the freezer. Boom! Instant ready-to-go snack!

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I added strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi to my batch this time around. I already had vanilla Greek yogurt, but you can add any flavor you want (just watch out for the added sugar). I also had some homemade granola on hand so I added that to the top – that part is definitely optional, the recipe turns out great with or without it.

Take a few minute to make this recipe today and you won’t be disappointed!

Fruit & Yogurt Bark

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients

  • 1 (32 oz.) container Greek yogurt (any flavor)
  • 2 C sliced fruit (strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, mango, etc.)
  • 1/4 C chopped nuts or granola

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix yogurt and fruit together. Pour into a parchment paper-lined 9×13 pan. Top with granola and/or nuts.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 2-3 hours until completely frozen. Thaw for 5 minutes and break into pieces.
  3. Store in freezer for 1-2 months in an airtight container.

How else do you like eating Greek yogurt?

 

Happy snacking!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Educator Assistant

The

Farmers’ Markets in Utah! // The Season Begins

It’s our favorite time of the year here in Cache Valley – Farmers’ Market season! We have the awesome Cache Valley Gardner’s Market that goes from May 7th to October 15th. It’s located at 199 North Main Street in Logan and is open from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. every Saturday. Not in Logan? Click here to find a market near you.

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Come visit Food $ense booth this Saturday, May 7th, at the Cache Valley Gardners’ Market!

Double-Up-logo-653x900.pngShopping at farmers’ markets are a great way to buy locally grown and harvested produce. Not only do you get the freshest produce, but you’re also helping out community supported agriculture. It’s a win – win for everyone!

Did you know that many markets are now accepting SNAP benefits? You can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat, fish, baked goods, and even jam all at your local farmers market with your EBT card.

Along with SNAP benefits, there’s an AWESOME program going on called Double Up Food Bucks. This program will match up to $10 that you spend in SNAP benefits with an additional $10. Aka – free money!

It’s really simple, when you go to the market you swipe your EBT card and get however much money you want to spend in tokens (that work just like cash to pay the farmers).

DU-token.pngFor up to $10 that you spend with your SNAP benefits you have the option to accept an additional $10 in these green Double Up Food Bucks tokens. No extra hassle, no papers to sign, and no extra lines to stand in. It’s so easy!! You can either use the tokens that day or save them to use at another time.

If you’re interested in this program, check here to see if a farmers market near you is offering this great deal. A TON of markets in Utah are participating in this program so make sure to take advantage of it this season.

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What’s your favorite thing about farmers’ markets?

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Educator Assistant

LINKSWE

Links We Love // April Edition

Welcome to April’s edition of the links we love! These are some of my favorite links from around the web that I’ve stumbled upon. Here, you’ll find out that just 1 minute of exercise is effective and how a couple ate out of dumpsters for 6 months! Enjoy!

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  1. How Many Calories Do You Actually Have to Burn to Lose One Pound? – The old philosophy that 3,500 calories burn 1 pound of fat may not be accurate for each person. A good reminder that calories aren’t the only thing that may attribute to weight gain or loss.
  2. Obese People Outnumber Underweight People for First Time in Human History -Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States, this eye opening article shares just how much heavier we’ve gotten over the decades.
  3. Here’s What Happened When a couple only ate food from dumpsters for 6 months – When 40% of our food gets wasted, it’s no shocker that this couple could survive six whole months without needing to go to the grocery store (or at least go INTO the grocery store…). Sounds a little gross but it’s amazing to see just how much food we throw away – is it really necessary to waste so much??
  4. Obese people can maintain stable weight loss – I hear it time and time again, it can be easy to lose weight initially but nearly impossible to KEEP it off. Fear not! Over time, weight loss can be sustained. This article explains just how that is accomplished, it may not be as complicated as you thought!
  5. You’re never too old to start exercising! – Who says you have to be a certain age to start exercising? Tamae Watanabe climbed Mount Everest at age 73! There are amazing benefits that can come from exercising – regardless of what age you are.
  6. 1 minute of all out exercise may be better than 45 minutes of moderate exertion – That’s right, just one minute of exercise can be beneficial! This is great for us that feel like we never have enough time to do long workouts at the gym.
  7. Overnight Oats from EatWellUtah.org – If you haven’t tried Overnight Oats before then you need to try this recipe ASAP! It’s the perfect breakfast, snack, or even treat for any time of the day.

 

How are you going to waste less food this week? This post is a great resource for what you can do now to help reduce hunger in Utah and America.

Any ideas for your next 1 minute workout? I’m headed to do 1 minute of burpees!

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Educator Assistant

The Facts About Food Labels / 3 Tips + Recipe

Fun with.jpgHappy Tuesday everyone! I can’t believe it but last week I spent almost 10 extra minutes at the grocery store trying to determine which can of soup I should buy my sick friend. Option A had a TON of sodium but option B had an ingredient list a mile long – half of the ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce. I wanted to buy the healthiest option (obviously,  my friend was already sick) but the labeling on both of the products seemed to confuse me even more the longer I looked at them.

Do you ever get frustrated at the grocery store trying to determine if a food product is healthy or not? With so many additives and preservatives in foods these days it can be hard to know what to look for and what to avoid (what the heck is butylated hydroxytoluene anyway??). MyPlate is a great resource for learning about the nutrition facts label, you can find that here.

Here at Food $ense we like to remember these 3 things when looking at food labels:

  1. Check the ingredient list FIRST: Even if it says “fat free” there can still be trace amounts up  0.5 grams per serving. That may not seem like much but it can sure add up if you eat multiple servings.
  2. 5 or less is best: A good rule of thumb is to buy food products that have 5 ingredients or less. Look for ingredients you can pronounce and try to avoid the ones you can’t.
  3. When in doubt, go for the foods with no label: Fruits and vegetables don’t have nutrition facts labels because they don’t need them! Luckily, fresh produce is the real deal because there’s nothing added in and there’s always  just one ingredient – itself! If you keep getting bogged down by trying to decipher food labels then try buying more foods without them to save you time and worry.

 

If you’re unsure that a packaged food is healthy of not you can can trying making your own “copy-cat” version at home! Instead of chancing it with my friend’s soup I ended up making my own Chicken Noodle Soup for her. It had ingredients I could pronouce, no preservatives, and no confusing labels to decipher. I’ve shared it here because not only was it super easy to make but  I’m convinced it also tasted WAY better than the canned version.Chicken Noodle Soup.png

What helps you when reading food labels?

 

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Educator Assistant

 

Chinese Cabbage Salad

The perfect crunchy salad. . . colorful cabbage and crisp carrots are dressed in a ginger dressing and topped with peanuts, green onions, and sesame seeds. Shredded chicken adds protein and makes this salad an easy grab n’ go lunch option.

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I love giant salads and this one is a nice switch from the usual lettuce or spinach. The cabbage is much heartier than other salad bases, which is an awesome thing when cooking for small families. This salad gets even better with time. I would suggest making this for a weekend dinner and then packaging tupperware containers to take for lunch throughout the rest of the week. Talk about an easy peasy meal!

Let’s get started. . .

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This salad calls for some really simple and inexpensive ingredients. Start by shredding 1 1/2 cups of red cabbage and 4 cups of green cabbage. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and add 1 cup of shredded carrots, 1/2 cup sliced green onions, and 2 cups of shredded chicken.

Shredded chicken is super simple to make. Either simmer a couple of chicken breasts until cooked through and able to shred or stick a couple of chicken breasts in the slow cooker and cover with low-sodium chicken stock or water. Cook on high for 4 hours and then shred with a fork. I personally like making shredded chicken in the crockpot. I find that it has more flavor, is more tender, and I can make quite a bit and use it for other recipes throughout the week. Either method works well though!

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It’s now time to whip up a simple ginger dressing. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour this dressing over the salad. Feel free to add any additional toppings. I chose to add a handful of peanuts and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. Give the salad a quick mix and enjoy this fresh and crunchy combo!

Chinese Cabbage Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 1/2 C red cabbage, shredded
  • 4 C green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 C carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 C green onions, sliced
  • 2 C shredded chicken

Vinaigrette

  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 1/2 t ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 t pepper

Optional Toppings

  • Crunchy noodles
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Place salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
  3. Add toppings (optional). Serve immediately.

 

Chelsea Norman

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

sneakysugars

Sneaky Sugars: Limiting Added Sugars in Your Diet

Added sugars are found in so many of our favorite foods- even foods we believe are nutritious. Let’s take a little bit of time today to learn the different ways sugars are added to our foods and why it is important to limit these sneaky sugars.

Granola, apple, banana

What are added sugars?

Added sugars are simply just any sugar or syrup that has been added to a food or drink during processing. When we talk about added sugars, we aren’t taking about the sugars that are naturally found in foods like fruit and dairy products. Added sugars are typically seen in a few food products including soda, sports drinks, cookies, pastries, ice cream, and pies. They can also be added into some foods we think of as healthy like salad dressing, condiments, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, and granola bars. It kind of seems that added sugars are everywhere!

The new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests limiting added sugars to just 10% of calories each day. This is not a lot of added sugar if you think about it. On a 2000 calorie diet, this would be 50 grams of sugar per day or roughly the amount found in a 21oz bottle of Coke.

Why should I limit added sugars?

Most of us are eating too much added sugar! Sugar is just empty calories- meaning that it provides us with a lot of extra calories and no nutritional value. A lot of new research is being done on the harmful effects of too much sugar in our diet. Eating too many added sugars may lead to overweight or obesity, which can then increase our risk of many different chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or stroke.

How do I know if there are added sugars in a product?

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell if there are added sugars in a product. These tips might help you crack the sugar code.

Start by looking at the nutrition facts label and the ingredients list on packaged foods. The nutrition facts label will tell you how many grams of sugar are in the product and the ingredient list will let you know if the sugars are natural or added.

A lot of foods contain both natural sugars (which are okay for us to consume) and added sugars (the sugar we want to limit!).  Right now, the nutrition facts label doesn’t separate natural sugars from added sugars, so a little math is involved. A product like flavored Greek yogurt is a good example of a food that contains natural sugars from the milk and added sugars from the flavor. To determine how many grams of added sugar are in the product, compare the flavored version to a plain version.

Below are photos of two nutrition facts labels. The one of the left is for a container of Plain Greek Yogurt and the container on the right is Flavored Greek Yogurt. As you can see, there are 6 grams of sugar in the Plain Greek Yogurt. These are the sugars that are naturally found in the yogurt. In the Flavored Greek Yogurt, there are 19 grams of sugar. Subtract 6 grams of natural sugar and you are left with 13 grams of added sugar.

As a reference, there are about 20 grams of added sugar in a candy bar, so this flavored yogurt packs a punch in the added sugar department. It might be wise to buy plain yogurt and add your own sweetener.

 

flavored greek yogurt
Flavored Greek Yogurt
plain greek yogurt
Plain Greek Yogurt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next way we can determine if a product contains added sugar is to look at the ingredients list! Be careful though because sugar can be snuck into products using over 50 different names. Here are a few other names for sugar that you might find in an ingredient list.

  • anhydrous dextrose
  • brown sugar
  • confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
  • pancake syrup
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • white granulated sugar

Food manufacturers think they can trick us into thinking that there aren’t added sugars in a product by using these alternative names. All of the words on the list are just other names for sugar and are broken down in our bodies in pretty much the same way.

On last tip on ingredient lists! Ingredients are listed by weight, so ingredients toward the top of the list make up a majority of the product. If sugar is one of the first 5 ingredients, there is quite a bit of added sugar. Try looking for an alternate product with less added sugar!

Below is one of my favorite healthy dessert or snack recipes to make. It contains no added sugars and can be whipped up in just a few minutes. I keep frozen bananas and strawberries on hand in case I am in the mood for something naturally sweet and fruity!

Banana Strawberry Ice Cream

Chelsea Norman

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

heart shape by various vegetables and fruits

Plant Powered

There seems to be more information than ever on the importance of incorporating plant foods into our diet. If you are looking to transition to a more plant-based lifestyle, here are some great tips and tidbits to remember for maximum nutrition.

Asparagus

What is Plant Based Eating?

Plant based eating is simply eating more whole, plant foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains while minimizing the consumption of animal products and refined grains. MyPlate is a great way to begin incorporating more plant-based foods into your daily life.

Just remember to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies, 1/4 of your plate with whole grains, and 1/4 of your plate with a lean protein (this can a plant-based protein like beans, lentils, tofu, or peanut butter). Add a glass of low-fat dairy to round out your MyPlate meal.

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Think About These Tips- 

If you choose to adopt a more plant-based lifestyle, remember that there are a few nutrients that you should keep in mind and ensure you are getting enough of.

  1. Protein- most meat eaters don’t have to worry about getting enough protein in their diet. If you aren’t eating meat, build your meals around plant-based protein sources to ensure you are meeting your protein needs. Great sources of plant-based protein include lentils, whole-grains like quinoa, beans, nuts, seeds, soy beans, tofu. If you aren’t strictly vegetarian include other protein sources like eggs, fish, shellfish, and dairy products for added protein.
  2. Calcium- by reducing the amount of dairy that is consumed, you are missing out on essential nutrients like calcium. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth. It is also involved in muscle contractions. Aim to get enough of this mineral through calcium-fortified orange juice, soy milk, and breakfast cereals. Dark, leafy greens are also an excellent source of calcium as well as other nutrients, so load your plate with these veggies!
  3. Iron- this mineral is so important for transporting oxygen in our blood. Iron is typically found in animal products, so be sure you are getting enough by filling your plate with some of these other foods. Beans and lentils, iron fortified breakfast cereal, and spinach are rich in this vital mineral.
  4. Vitamin B12 and Zinc- these nutrients are mostly obtained by eating red meat. Load up on beans, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals to meet your requirements.

Here are a few of our favorite plant-based meals to add to your recipe box! Give them a try or create your own.

 

Southwestern Quinoa SaladSkillet Penne with VeggiesVegetarian ChiliBlack Bean and Sweet Potato Stew.png

Chelsea Norman

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

 

Peanut butter banana smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie and Peanut Butter Granola

Is there any better combination than peanut butter and banana? This smoothie is thick, creamy and absolutely delicious. We are kicking up the peanut butter flavor with a sprinkle of Peanut Butter Granola on top. This crunchy granola is packed with healthy fats and protein to keep you full and satisfied until lunch.

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Start this smoothie with 1 cup of ice. Add 1 banana, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Because my blender doesn’t do well with ice, I put about 1/2 cup of ice in my smoothie and used a frozen banana. It turned out creamy and smooth!

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Isn’t this granola pretty? My two requirements for great granola are that it breaks into giant clusters and that it tastes great! This granola meets both requirements. Combine peanut butter, honey, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 second increments until smooth. Add in 3 cups of oats and 1 cup of chopped nuts. I also added in 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes for a little extra flavor, and it was so yummy! If you decide to add in the extra nuts and coconut flakes, you may need a little extra peanut butter mixture, so add an extra tablespoon of peanut butter or coconut oil and a little honey. DSC_4909

Spread the granola mixture on a baking sheet into an even layer and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I baked my granola for 15 minutes and it was perfect!

The secret to big, clustery granola is not stirring the granola while baking it. After it is all baked, DO NOT touch it! Let it cool completely before breaking it up. This is how you get beautiful clusters. Can you tell I am passionate about my granola?

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This smoothie makes the perfect on-the-run breakfast idea, delicious snack, or healthy dessert! You can find the recipe for the smoothie and granola below. Click on ‘print’ for a printable version.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 smoothie
  • Time: less than 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 C ice cubes
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 T peanut butter
  • 1/2 T vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add additional liquid until desired consistency is reached.
  2. Serve immediately.

Peanut Butter Granola

Ingredients

  • 1/3 C peanut butter
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 C oats
  • 1 C chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions

  1. Combine peanut butter, honey, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt in a bowl. Microwave for 30 second increments until smooth. Add oats and nuts to and mix until well coated.
  2. Pour granola onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool before serving.
  3. Store in an air-tight container.

 

Enjoy!

Chelsea Norman

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

simple sauces

Meals in Minutes: Quick Sauces for Winning on Weeknights

After a busy day, you arrive home hangry and more than ready for dinner. The last thing you feel like doing is taking the next hour to prep, chop, season, and whip up a dinner for yourself. Lucky for you, you remember reading about simple sauces that can be paired with basic ingredients to put dinner on the table in no time at all. Keep these ideas in the back of your mind along with a well-stocked pantry to make weeknights a win!

Read More »

africanbeanstew

African Bean Stew

Happy Meatless Monday! Today, we are cooking up a batch of hearty African Bean Stew. This vegetarian dish combines sweet potatoes and chickpeas with delicious flavor from curry powder, soy sauce, and peanut butter. The best part is that this recipe can be cooked up in just 30 minutes. You will love making this filling and nutritious stew for dinner!

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Read More »

sweetpotatomuffins

5 Ingredient Flour-less Sweet Potato Muffins

Hi there and happy late Monday! I hope your week has gotten off to a great start. To make this day even better, I am bringing you a perfectly delicious sweet treat that bakes up in no time. Today, we are whipping up a batch of flour-less sweet potato muffins. These muffins are one of my absolutely favorite muffin recipes, so I am excited to share this with you. This recipe calls for just 5 simple ingredients and is nutritious enough to eat for breakfast!

Read More »

Back 2 BASICS-jan

8 Simple Swaps for a Healthier Life

Living a healthy lifestyle can easily become overwhelming. Every day, we read articles telling us what we should and shouldn’t eat and how we can get in on the latest fitness craze. I just love Michael Pollen’s philosophy,  “EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS.” It should be this simple! In this post, we will be talking about easy changes you can make to live a healthier life. Taking small steps and choosing your health everyday adds up to big differences!

Radishes

Read More »

menuplancover-jan

January Menu Planning

Happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season spent with loved ones. There is something about the start of a new year that I just love – it is a chance for a fresh start and a time to set new goals. I hope that whatever you would like to accomplish in 2016, Table For One can help encourage and equip you with helpful information. Let’s get 2016 kicked off with a fresh menu plan for the week ahead.

Baby greens and tomatoes

Read More »

Barbecue with delicious grilled meat on grill BBQ

Guest Post: Grilling with Tayla Lambright

Today’s guest post is written by Tayla Lambright, the Cache County Food $ense supervisor. She will be talking about summer food safety. Enjoy!

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This time of year is a perfect time to bring out your grills and have a barbecue! It’s also a great time to brush up on safe food practices when we’re cooking outside. It’s important to keep our food safe so we don’t get anyone sick from a food-borne illness. Each year, one in SIX Americans get sick from food borne illnesses and 128,000 of them require hospitalization. Food-borne illnesses are tough on our bodies. They induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, a fever, and have an array of other unpleasant side effects. That doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend your vacation!

Follow these tips and you will decrease the likelihood of getting you or anyone you serve sick=

  1. Keep everything clean –

Especially when you’re not in your home kitchen, it’s important to keep everything from your hands, cutting boards, utensils, and produce clean. Try to wash and sanitize everything before leaving the house and rinse it off under warm water again before cooking. It’s recommended that we wash our hands for 20 seconds with soap under warm running water. Don’t want to count to 20? – then just sing the alphabet song to make sure you’ve washed long enough.

  1. Separate –

Avoid cross contamination by using different cutting boards for raw meat and fresh produce. Avoiding cross contamination also includes your hands and any other utensil that may come in contact with the raw meat – make sure to wash it thoroughly before touching anything that will be served fresh.

  1. Cook to safe temperatures –

This is especially important when cooking meat to make sure it has been heated to a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria. Don’t forget to check the internal temperatures in the thickest part of the meat after cooking. This ensures that the entire cut was cooked to a safe temperature.

Here are a couple temperatures to remember :

USDA Temps

  1. When in doubt – throw it out!

Avoid leaving food out for longer than 1 hour outside and 2 hours inside. Leaving it out in the heat will increase the likelihood of it developing harmful toxins that produce food-borne illnesses. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

During these last few months of warm weather enjoy safe barbecues and outdoor meals. Here are some of my favorite grilled fruit and vegetable recipes.  Click the recipe cards for a printable version.

Grilled or Broiled Pineapple Zucchini Corn Salad

Tayla Lambright

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant 
Food $ense Supervisor
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Blueberry Smoothie with Honey Pecan Granola

Thick, creamy, and cold. This smoothie is the perfect summer treat or breakfast eat. Top it with crunchy granola, grab a spoon, and eat up!

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Today, we are talking smoothies! During the summer months, smoothies make the perfect go-to meal. They are quick and easy, keep your kitchen cool, and can be packed with healthy ingredients like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein. They also make just the right amount when cooking for one or two. My favorite smoothie combines blueberries, pineapple, and yogurt into a thick and tasty drink.


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The base of this smoothie consists of frozen blueberries and pineapple chunks. Blueberries are in season right now, so buy a bunch and freeze some for future smoothie making!

Begin this recipe by combining 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks, 1 cup of Light Vanilla Soy Milk (or any other milk), 1 tablespoon frozen lemonade concentrate, and 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt in a blender. The recipe card says that honey can be added, but I think this recipe is perfectly sweet without. Blend ingredients together until thick and smooth.

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I wanted to add some healthy whole grains to my breakfast smoothie, so I whipped up a batch of Honey Pecan Granola. This granola recipe is made with ingredients that you most likely have on hand like rolled oats, chopped nuts, and honey. Make a big batch and store it in the freezer so that it lasts longer. Try it on top of smoothies, yogurt parfaits, in a trail mix, or with milk as cereal.


If you don’t have everything to make this Blueberry Smoothie, that’s okay! At Food $ense, we like to show you ways that you can make meals, like this smoothie, with the ingredients you already have. Look at the template below for the steps that you can take to customize a smoothie of your own.

Create a Smoothie

Here are the two recipe cards. Click on the photos for a printable version. Enjoy!

Blueberry Smoothie Honey Pecan Granola

Comment below with your favorite smoothie ingredients!

Chelsea Norman

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Mixed rice in a bowl. Close-up.

Going Grain

Grains are one of the 5 food groups found on MyPlate. They are an important part of a healthy diet and provide our bodies with the energy and nutrients we need to thrive. Let’s take a deeper look into the grains group today!

myplate_blue

Grains-What Are They?

Grains are common foods that we typically include in most of our meals. Examples include cereals, breads, pastas, rice, popcorn, and products made with flour. Grains are broken into two groups- refined grains and whole grains.

Refined Grains

These grains have been through a process called milling. This process removes the bran and the germ of the grain. This gives the grain a white color and smoother texture. Examples of refined grains include white flour, white bread, some cereals, and white rice.

Whole GrainsBreakfast Cereal 2

Whole grains have not been through the milling process and still have the bran and germ intact. The bran and germ
provide a lot of nutrients that make our whole grains so healthy including fiber and B-vitamins. Brown rice, 100% whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat flour, and rolled oats are examples of whole grains.


Increasing Whole Grains

MyPlate recommends that we try and make half of our grains “whole grains”! Here are some tips for including more whole grains in your day.

Breakfast:

  • Try oatmeal with fresh fruit
  • Swap white bread for 100% whole-wheat bread topped with peanut butter
  • Make a breakfast burrito using a whole-wheat tortilla
  • Substitute whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour in pancakes
  • Search the shelves for whole grain cereals. Most cereals are made with whole grains today!

Lunch/Dinner:

  • Make your sandwich on 100% whole-wheat bread
  • Make a small bowl of pasta using whole-wheat noodles
  • Top brown rice with black beans, salsa, and cheese
  • Pack a stir fry with leftover veggies, chicken, and quinoa
  • Serve salads with homemade whole-wheat croutons
  • Make enchiladas with whole-wheat tortillas
  • Include brown rice or whole grain noodles in casseroles and soups

Snacks:

  • Snack on air-popped popcorn. Just don’t overdo the salt and butter.
  • Make a whole grain trail mix. Include whole wheat cereals, popcorn, nuts, and dried fruit.
  • Make a yogurt parfait with homemade granola and fresh fruit
  • Try your hand at homemade granola bars!

Meal Prep:

  • Whip up a batch of homemade granola or homemade granola bars to grab for quick snacks all week
  • Prep whole grain trail mix with whole grain cereals, popcorn, nuts, and dried fruit. Package it into single portions to take with lunch.
  • Make extra brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat noodles to keep on hand for easy leftovers. Brown rice and quinoa can also be frozen in one or two serving freezer bags. Just thaw when you are ready to use.
  • Prepare instant oatmeal packs. This link shows you how: http://www.theyummylife.com/Instant_Oatmeal_Packets

I love this fruit and quinoa salad recipe. It is light, refreshing, and perfect for summer. This recipe would make a great side dish to serve with grilled chicken! Click on the recipe below for a printable version. Enjoy!

FruitandQuinoaSalad

Chelsea Norman

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

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Banana Oatmeal Trail Mix Cookies

These trail mix cookies take no time to whip up and are perfect for breakfasts and snacks on the go. Ingredients like banana, pecans, and cranberries are used to satisfy your sweet tooth while providing healthy energy for your busy life.

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Cookies are a regular treat in many homes. While they taste great, they may not always provide the best nutrition for our bodies. Most cookies are loaded with white flour, sugar, butter, and oil. We can easily make a healthier cookie by replacing those ingredients with simple foods you already have at home.

Sweet Swaps:

  • Substitute banana for butter or oil. This switch will cut calories and the banana provides additional vitamins and minerals.
  • Swap white flour for oatmeal. Oats are a whole grain and contain more fiber than white flour. This fiber keeps our bowels healthy and helps us feel full for longer.
  • Cut down on added sugar by sweetening your cookies with cinnamon, vanilla, applesauce, and banana. These ingredients give cookies a sweet flavor without all that sugar.
  • Choose healthier goodies like pecans, sunflower seeds, and cranberries over chocolate chips. The nuts provide healthy fats that our body needs.

DSC_4340

Begin these cookies by gathering up your ingredients. You will need 3 mashed bananas, 1/3 cup applesauce, 2 cups uncooked, quick cooking oats, 1/4 cup skim milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp sugar. This is the base for the cookies. You can then choose whatever add-ins you would like. I chose to make these cookies with craisins, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

Add-Ins:

  • Almonds
  • Raisins
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Almond Extract

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Use a fork to mash your bananas until they are smooth. Add remaining ingredients and stir until a dough forms. This dough will be slightly sticky.

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Roll cookie dough into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Feel free to try the cookie dough- it’s eggless! Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees F. My oven seems to cook very quickly, so it took me just about 10 minutes.

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Place cookies on a baking rack to cool before enjoying! These make such a great breakfast and easy snack on the go. The cookies can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days or frozen in a freezer bag. I typically freeze the cookies so that I always have them on hand. Let your cookie sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes before eating.

Here is the recipe! Click on the image for a printable version.

Trail Mix Cookies

Chelsea Norman

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

Berry Kabobs

4th of July Menu Planning

Happy 4th of July weekend! We are getting the festivities kicked off with a menu plan perfect for a backyard BBQ, picnic, or dinner for 2.

Backyard BBQ

Holidays have a way of throwing off our weekly menu plans. I always seem to forget to add those extra ingredients to my shopping list. This means I have to go back to the store which can make for an expensive week. I have put together an easy 4th of July menu plan that isn’t going to break the budget. Choose a few of these recipes below to cook up for your extra special holiday weekend.


 Main Dishes:

Chicken is a budget-friendly meat for your 4th of July BBQ. If you have a  grill available, try making kabobs. They are fun and festive. Get creative by adding your favorite fruits and veggies. Below is a recipe for pineapple chicken kabobs. This recipe is so easy to throw together and would be perfect with a few simple side dishes. If you don’t have a grill handy, try making BBQ chicken stuffed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are nutrient rich and are perfect when cooking for one or two. Just roast ro microwave a couple of potatoes and stuff them with delicious BBQ chicken. Yum!

BBQ-Chicken-Stuffed-Sweet-Potatoes1
Ari’s Menu- BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Pineapple-Chicken-Kabob-Logo
Julie’s Eats and Treats- Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

Side Dishes:

Pick a couple of side dishes to round out your meal. I thought these side dishes were super fun and festive!

American-Flag-Veggie-Tray-Dill-Dip
Living Locurto- American Flag Veggie Tray with Dill Dip
Two Peas and Their Pod- Strawberry Jicama Salad
Two Peas and Their Pod- Strawberry Jicama Salad

MangoRhubarbSalsa

BlackBeanSalsa


Desserts:

Make a healthy patriotic dessert by using a mix of red, white, and blue fruit. Here are a few to try.

BerryCrisp BerryFruitSalad RhubarbStrawberryCrumble

Berry Kabobs
Family Circle- Berry Kabobs
Red-White-Blue-Smoothie_vertical_blog
Very Culinary- Red, White, and Blue Smoothie
Heather's French Press- Triple Berry Banana Bread
Heather’s French Press- Triple Berry Banana Bread

One Chick’s Love of Chickpeas

It looks like everything is in order and the business, I mean blog, is officially up and running. I guess that means I should formally welcome you to Table for One. 

As I sit down to write this post, I have a big bowl of pasta just off to my right. It’s bubbling, bright,  and smells delightful. It is actually leftover from last nights meal ( a recipe that I will be sharing with you shortly). The thing with this big bowl of leftovers is that it contains one of my favorite foods that I  add to everything. They are CHICKPEAS! And they make me one happy lady.

iStock_000005230970Small

Chickpeas should seriously be considered a superfood. They are packed with fiber (12 grams per cup), protein (14 grams per cup), and provide an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorous. While they are high ranking in the nutritional department, their versatility is equally impressive. There are so many uses for chickpeas. Their simple flavor and hearty texture make the perfect complement to a variety of foods. I have considered myself a chickpea soup and chickpea salad master for years, but thought it was time to venture out and try some new recipes with these little beans.

I decided I would start off with a snack: Curry Roasted Chickpeas . . .

I have heard of roasting chickpeas many times before, but never gave it a try for some reason. The rave reviews that this snack was getting told me that I was missing out on something. It’s true, I really was missing out. These babies are so good! Roasted chickpeas are perfectly poppable, portable, and can be made in just a pinch. Even better is the price. The can of chickpeas cost me $.89. What a steal! I roasted mine with curry powder which gave them the perfect amount of flavor and just a hint of spicy-ness.  If you are not a fan of curry, try using cayenne pepper, cinnamon sugar, or garlic powder and lime juice. You really can’t go wrong with any of these flavor combinations. Don’t these look tasty?

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Curry Roasted Chickpeas Print Here

Makes about 4 Snack Sized Packs

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Total Time: 35-45 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 (15 ounce) Can Chickpeas (Drained and Rinsed)

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons of Curry Powder (Can also use the full amount of curry recipe at bottom of page)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Place chickpeas (drained and rinsed) on a sheet of paper towel and pat dry. Place dried chickpeas in a medium size bowl. Add oil and curry mixture. Coat chickpeas completely.

3. Pour onto lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Homemade Curry Powder:

Combine:

1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander

1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/4 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

1/8 Teaspoon Fennel Seed

(Recipe contains roughly 150 calories per serving)

 


After roasting a big batch of chickpeas, I started thinking I might as well make a chickpea classic to share with you. Hummus has always been a favorite of mine. This traditional Middle-Eastern dip has a very mild taste and an unbelievably smooth texture.  I could  eat it by the spoonful, but that would be weird. Instead I choose to dip tons of fresh veggies and  pita chips in this thick, creamy spread. 

I find that there is just one problem with making homemade hummus. Most traditional recipes call for tahini, a sesame seed paste. This stuff is pretty expensive. It averages somewhere around $8.00 a container and I don’t use it much when cooking so it may end up going to waste. Because I didn’t want to buy tahini, I started messing around with a tahini-free hummus and found the perfect secret ingredient. It’s greek yogurt! I actually like my hummus better than the store-bought brand and it costs so much less.  I bought the chickpeas for $.89 and you can buy a carton of greek yogurt for $1.00, the rest of the cost comes from the spices and lemon juice which are common ingredients in most any kitchen. Play around with the recipe to make it your own. I love topping my hummus with roasted red peppers, extra garlic, or pine nuts.

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Greek Yogurt Hummus Print Here

Serves: 10 (Roughly 2 Tablespoons per serving)

Total Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 (15 ounce) Can of Chickpeas (drain and rinse, but save liquid in a separate bowl)

2 Tablespoons Saved Chickpea Juice

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 and 1/2 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt (Plain)

1 Teaspoon Cumin

1 Teaspoon Paprika

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients (including saved chickpea juice) in a blender or food processor until thick and smooth.

2. Add a dash of paprika over the top before serving. Enjoy.

Tip:

If you don’t regularly buy large containers of plain Greek yogurt, buy a single serve container. They are close enough to 1/2 cup. Feel free to add extra spices and lemon juice to complement the additional yogurt.

(Recipe contains roughly 60 calories per serving)

 


And here is that perfect pasta recipe that I told you I would be sharing!

Cooking dinner for one can be a big pain. Not only do most recipes serve 4-6 people with enough leftovers to last a year, but they are time intensive and contain ingredients I don’t normally keep in my pantry. The kinds of recipes that I find myself cooking again and again are the ones that I will be sharing with you on Table For One. This chickpea and spinach sauté is a perfect example. I know that I will be making this quite often. It takes no time to cook and is so fresh. It is the perfect summer pasta!

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Spaghetti and Chickpea Sauté  Print Here

Makes 3 Servings

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients:
Roughly 1/2 Box Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles

1 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic (or 2 whole cloves of garlic, minced)j

1/2 White Onion, Minced

1 (15 Ounce) Can Chickpeas (Drained and Rinsed)

1/2 Cup Fresh Tomatoes, diced or 1/4 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes

2 Cups Baby Spinach

1 Teaspoon Dried Basil or 1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, Chopped

1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Directions:

1. Cook spaghetti according to directions on box.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and cook over medium-high heat until slightly translucent or about 3 minutes.

3. Add garlic, chickpeas, and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.

4. Add spinach, basil, and red pepper flakes to skillet. Cook until spinach is wilted.

5. Drain spaghetti, but save 1/4 cup of water to add to the sauce.

6. Add pasta and saved water to the skillet. Turn off heat and toss lightly. Top with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

(Recipe contains roughly 350 calories per serving)

 


Three servings may seem like a lot if you are cooking for one, but 2-3 servings of a dish is quite useful. Its an easy way to have a couple of meals accessible when time is limited.  I plated myself a serving for dinner and then divided the rest into two plastic containers to take for meals throughout the rest of the week. I can guarantee that even you leftover-haters will love this pasta reheated!


Questions of the Day:

1. What is your favorite use for chickpeas?

2. Have you made roasted chickpeas before? What spice combination is your favorite?

3. Leftovers? Like or dislike?