Date-Oatmeal Stuffed Apples

Dates: Rich and sweet, they are a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and health-promoting polyphenols.

 

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Mix 1/2 cup cooked cold oatmeal; 1/4 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts; 5 chopped, pitted dates; 1 tablespoon maple syrup; 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg; and a pinch of salt. Use a melon baller to make a cavity three quarters deep in each of 4 Rome apples and pack with filling. Place apples in a baking dish, pour 1/2 cup apple juice around them, cover with foil, and bake at 375 until tender, 40 to 70 minutes. Top with a teaspoon of heavy whipping cream.

Makes 4 servings

Per Serving: 270 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 58 g carbs, 40 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 3 g protein

Tip of the Day

Up for a challenge? Challenge yourself to make half your grains whole. Mix white rice with equal parts brown rice and enjoy with a veggie-filled chicken stir-fry. Serve with a side of fruit and a glass of milk to include all 5 food groups.

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Best Practices at Home from School Lunches

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School lunches have a large influence on your child’s diet, and they have come a long way in offering healthful meals to students. Schools across the country have begun to remove unhealthful processed meats and dairy products from their menus in favor of more plant-based options. Recently, P.S. 244 in Queens, N.Y. and The Village School in Eugene, Ore., switched to a vegetarian menu while the K-12 MUSE School in Calabasas, Calif., adopted a plant-based menu for optimal sustainability and nutrition. As a parent, you may ask yourself, “How can I adopt some of these healthful practices for my children at home?” Healthful eating starts at home.

Simple tasks, such as letting your children be involved in choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or helping you cook healthful meals at home, can be great teaching tools. This hands-on experience will help make them more likely to choose healthier items elsewhere. Eating habits are set in early childhood. A vegetarian diet can give your child the opportunity to experience a variety of wonderful, nutritious foods.

Try new snack ideas between meals to ensure healthful options are available:

  1. Chopped raw vegetables and dip
  2. Chunks of avocado, cucumber, or cooked sweet potato
  3. Breadsticks or pita chips with hummus
  4. Dried fruits, especially raisins
  5. Frozen bananas blended with a little nondairy milk
  6. Nuts, especially mixed with dried fruit
  • Avoid beverages with added fat, salt, and sugar, such as soda and fruit punch, and avoid fried snack foods. Instead of building meals around fatty meats and cheeses, try whole grains, legumes (such as beans and peas), fruits, and vegetables seasoned with herbs, spices, and lemon juice instead of added salt.
  • Use the Power Plate to plan new daily meals to maintain a healthy weight and reduce their risk of certain diseases later in life. Try new fruits and vegetables in your favorite recipes or explore new low-fat options alongside your child.

Tip of the Day

Veggies at breakfast? Who said you can’t have veggies at breakfast? Omelets and frittatas are a great way to enjoy veggies in the morning! Try adding mushrooms, peppers, spinach or tomatoes!

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Easy Vegetarian Crock-Pot Chili

Serves: 8

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1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans Diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1 cp. Frozen Corn

1 large Onion, chopped

1 Green Pepper, chopped

3 Carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp. Cumin

Dash of Tabasco Sauce

Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 qt. low sodium Vegetable Broth

1/4 tsp. Salt or to taste

Place all ingredients in a large slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 2-4 hours.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 

Calories 220, Fat 1.5g, Saturated Fat 0g, Carbohydrate 42g, Fiber 12g, Protein 11g, Sodium 620mg

Tip of the Day

Are you food safe? Use a food thermometer when cooking. A food thermometer should be used to ensure that food is cooked and held at safe temperatures until eaten.

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Dos and Don’ts for Baby’s First Foods

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Introducing your baby to solid foods is an exciting milestone your little one (and her taste buds) is sure to enjoy. When you start introducing children to the world of solid foods, you are helping them shape food and feeding habits while establishing healthy eating patterns.

Not sure how to get your baby started on solid foods? These tips will help.

Is My Baby Ready for Solid Foods?

DO check with your pediatrician before starting solid foods. Most in the medical community agree the best time to start your baby on solid foods is when she is 4 to 6 months old. Look for physical signs that your baby is ready for solids, such as sitting up with limited support, good head and neck control and keeping most of the food in her mouth and swallowing it.

DON’T get caught up in comparing your baby’s progress or readiness to start solids to another baby. Not all babies reach milestones at the same time. Never force your baby to eat if she cries or turns away when you offer solids. She might not be ready to try eating from a spoon, or she might just not be hungry! Go back to nursing or bottle-feeding exclusively for a day or two before trying again.

What Should I Feed My Baby?

DO start with a single-grain infant cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, or a pureed fruit or vegetable. Some easily tolerated first foods are iron-fortified infant rice or oatmeal cereal, pureed avocado, banana, sweet potato, carrots, pears or peas. Mix breast milk or formula with your desired pureed food until it has a thin, liquid consistency. Gradually increase the thickness of the puree when your baby can swallow without trouble. Wait three to four days before introducing another food to your baby. If you suspect a reaction, stop feeding your baby the new food immediately and contact your pediatrician.

DON’T stop breast-feeding or formula-feeding just because you’re working on the switch to solids. Breast milk or formula is still your baby’s main source of nutrition and calories. And, even if it might seem like an easy out, never add honey, salt or sugar to baby food to “entice” or “trick” your baby into liking a certain food.

How Do I Feed My Baby?

DO try to relax. Most of the first few solid-food feedings will wind up on your baby’s face, hands and bib. While there is no exact serving size of solid foods for babies, the general rule of thumb is to start small, giving your baby about one to two teaspoons of pureed food. Gradually increase this amount over time.

DON’T feed your baby solid foods from a bottle. Always spoon-feed from a bowl, not from the jar of baby food unless she will finish it. Feeding your baby directly from the jar may introduce bacteria from your baby’s mouth to her spoon and back into the food, creating a food safety issue. If your baby is still hungry, use a clean spoon to take more food from the jar. Stop feeding your baby when she turns her head away from the spoon or keeps her mouth closed. Never force-feed a baby.

Whatever happens, don’t get discouraged and do enjoy the ride. With a little patience and creativity, you can make your baby’s first solid food eating experience fun for everyone involved!

Adapted by: Katherine Serbinski, MS, RD

Tip of the Day

Reach for produce! Enjoying fruits and vegetables is a delicious way to get vitamins, minerals and fiber. People who enjoy fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may lower their risk of some chronic diseases.

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Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese….Minus the Cheese

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Base:

3 cups of quinoa penne (noodles, rice, zucchini can also be used)

Sauce:

3 cups cubed butternut squash, baked until soft

1/2 onion

1 garlic clove

1/4 cup cashews or other nuts

1/2 avocado

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon paprika

3 dates (or 1 teaspoon liquid sweetener)

Salt & pepper to taste

Water as added

Prepare the base: Cook the noodles, rice, or whatever base you choose.

To make the sauce: Blend everything well until smooth and creamy. Mix into the base.

Adapted from This Rawsom Vegan Life 

Tip of the Day

Invest in yourself. Making healthy food and lifestyle choices can help you feel good and be at your best. It’s also an investment into good health for years to come.

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Sweet Potato Crisp

 

Serves: 12

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Ingredients: 

2 lbs. sweet potatoes

5 c. water

1/2 c. sugar

3 T. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 T. butter, cut into small pieces

Ingredients for topping:

1 c. quick cooking oats

1/2 c. all purpose or whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. butter, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare 13 X 9 inch baking dish by spraying with vegetable oil spray (not olive oil). Peel potatoes and slice 1/4 inch thick. Add potatoes and water to saucepan. Cook potatoes until crisp tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving 1.5 c. liquid. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in separate bowl. Layer potatoes in pan, sprinkling flour mixture on top of each layer. Pour reserved liquid over potato mixture. Dot with butter. In another bowl combine topping ingredients and sprinkle topping on top of potato mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top has browned.

Nutrition per serving:

Calories 190, Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 3g, Carbohydrates 34g, Fiber 4g, Protein 3g, Sodium 120mg

Original author: Barbara Hopkins MMSc RD LD

Tip of the Day

Go on a grocery field trip. Use grocery shopping to teach your child about food and nutrition. Discuss where vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods come from. Let your children make healthy choices.

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Crockpot Chipotle Pulled Pork with Avocado Ranch Sauce

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Yields: 8-10

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 8 hr

Total Time: 8 hr, 15 min

Ingredients for the pork:

  • 1 Medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2-4 lbs pork shoulder, excess fat removed

Ingredients for the spice rub:

  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp adobe sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce)
  • 1 Cup water

Ingredients for the avocado ranch sauce:

  • 1 Small avocado, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 tbsp low fat or fat free ranch dressing
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp adobe sauce
  • 1/4 Tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tsp chili powder
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns

Instructions:

  1. Slice the onion and mince the garlic and place in the bottom of a crock pot. Pour in 1 cup water.
  2. Combine all the spices for the spice rub in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Cut any huge, visible chunks of fat off the pork shoulder and rub it all over with the spice rub, until it is evenly coated.
  4. Place the pork on top of the onions, garlic and water and cook until it is tender and moist, 6-8 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
  5. Once the pork is cooked, strain the liquid out of the crock pot and place the solids ( made up of the onions and garlic) back into the crock pot.
  6. Transfer the pork onto a cutting board and shred with 2 forks.
  7. Transfer the shredded pork back into the crock pot and mix with the onions and garlic. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
  8. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve the pulled pork on a whole wheat bun, topped with chipotle sauce.

Reprinted from Food Faith Fitness

Tip of the Day

Wash your produce. Don’t forget to wash fruits and veggies before preparing or eating them. Wash them under running water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.

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