It’s National Slow Cooker Month

Warm up from the cold weather with these easy, healthy and hearty slow cooker recipes!

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New Year Nutrition

With the new year fast approaching, it is important to set positive goals for yourself to achieve as 2018 begins. Here are some quick and simple nutrition tips and goals to have as new years resolutions to start off a new year with healthy nutrition and yummy foods.NewYearNutritionArticle

  • Eat breakfast everyday! Your first meal can help to get the body energized in the morning. Include important nutrients in breakfast that might be missed later in the day. Carbohydrates are going to provide that good boost of energy. Fiber in breakfast, like oatmeal or cereal, helps to eliminate cholesterol and keep you feeling full until lunch. Calcium and vitamin D rich foods in breakfast, like milk and yogurt, help to build strong bones and a strong immune system. If you are in a rush, grab a quick on-the-go breakfast like a granola bar or fresh fruit.
  • Read the labels! Food labels provide us with a wealth of information about a product. Nutrient contents and even a full list of all the ingredients. Checking food labels for key percentages or ingredients is a simple way to become more mindful of the products you consume. Check for the magic number of 10%. If an item has more than 10% of healthy nutrients like fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium or iron, it is a good source of nutrients; if an item has more than 10% of nutrients like saturated fat, sodium, or cholesterol it may not be the most healthy item.
  • Drink more water! Water helps to keep the body hydrated and a hydrated body can perform all of its necessary functions much more easily. Water aids in digestion and keeps skin looking young and glowing. Try carrying a water bottle around with you. Bottles with cool designs or shapes can make it more personal to carry with you and having it there will force you to take more sips. 

Adopting simple and basic nutrition techniques is a great way to start establishing healthy habits!

Disguise your Fries

Sweet potatoes are a power packed functional food that can be used to replace the standard potato in recipes for a bright and sweet kick. 

They are high in Vitamins B6, C, A and D which all help to support a healthy body. They are also anti-inflammatory and contain minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium. These nutrient dense tubers help our immune systems, bones and teeth, eyes, muscles, blood, heart, and even help to give us natural energy and stress reducing effects!

Try this easy and fun Sweet Potato Fritter recipe with eggs on top for breakfast or as a snack with a Siracha Mayo dipping sauce! Yum!

Sweet Potato Fritters

  • 1 medium sweet potato (grated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oilfritters
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Whisk egg in medium bowl and then add grated sweet potato, olive oil and salt & pepper.  Mix to coat the sweet potato. Add coconut oil to a skillet and heat. Ball up 1 large tablespoon of sweet potato mixture and place in skillet using a wooden spoon or spatula to flatten ball to a patty shape. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. 

 

Beets are a Treat

Beets are a root vegetable ideal for Fall. As the weather gets colder the root vegetables can stay strong under the earth. Beets are bright with shiny hues of pink and purple, but they aren’t only great to look at, they are great to eat!!Beets

  • Inflammation Fighter: Beets have been found to fight nasty inflammation responses in the body. Fighting inflammation in the body means beets could be a great way to also fight off chronic diseases.
  • Fiber and Nutrient Container: Beets also contain high amounts of fiber, helping to rid the body of toxins and purifying the liver. They can also boost your immune system with it’s Vitamin C content and minerals like potassium and manganese.

Try this fun Beet Brownie Recipe to add a sweet vegetable kick to a warm and delicious dessert!

Ingredients;

  • 2 medium beets boiled and peeled
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • cups whole wheat flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup golden brown sugar packed

Steps;

  • Puree beats in a blender.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9-inch by 9-inch brownie pan with parchment paper or grease pan generously.
  • Cut sticks of butter into tablespoon size chunks and place in a saucepan. Add chocolate chips. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture melts and is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and then set aside.
  • Mix the eggs for about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and brown sugar; mix about 2 minutes. Add beet puree and slowly add chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Pour batter into pan and smooth top with a spatula.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 

Trick or Healthy Treats!

It is Halloween Month! Growing up, Halloween is many children’s favorite holiday. What is better than dressing up and getting to eat all the candy and treats they want? As we get older, we are more aware of all the sugar and unhealthy ingredients in some of our childhood favorites. That is why this week we wanted to give you a few quick ideas on healthier versions of one of the classic Halloween candies: Candy Corn.

Candy Corn Ice Pops

These easy treats are made with only 3 ingredients.candycornicepops

  • Low-fat yogurt (bottom layer)
  • Orange juice (middle layer)
  • Pineapple juice (top) layer
  • Make sure each layer has 30 minutes to freeze, before adding the next layer. Freeze final popsicle for 1 hour before enjoying.
  • Popsicle molds are inexpensive investments. You can buy them at any Walmart, Target or online.

 

 

Candy Corn Veggie PlateCandy Corn Veggie Plate

  • Cauliflower
  • Baby Carrots
  • Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Wash all vegetables before cutting and arranging.
  • The size of your “candy corn” will depend on how many people you would like to feed.
  • Adding roasted red hummus with black olive “eyes” and mouth” make a great jack o’ lantern dip.

Is There a Rumble In Your Tummy?

Between the rush of our everyday lives and financial restrictions, it is not always easy to pack lunch let alone a healthy one. However, it is very important to have a nutritious lunch in order to keep our mind alert and body going while we are at school and work.

back to school

Here are a few quick tips on how to pack a healthy, easy, and cheap lunch this school year:

  1. Look at ads to see what is on sale.

  2. Choose foods that are safe to keep at room temperature.

  3. Plan out your lunches ahead of time (try to plan a full week).

  4. Pack food from at least three different food groups.

Below is a list of foods that are healthy and safe to keep at room temperature:

  • Fruits (whole): clementine, orange, grapefruit, peach, nectarine, plum, banana, pear, apple, cherries, vacuum sealed fruit cup, dried fruit, 100% fruit juice in a box
  • Vegetables (whole): baby carrots, baby cucumbers, small peppers, grape tomato, celery, broccoli
  • Grains: whole wheat bread, whole wheat crackers, popcorn, whole grain chips, whole grain tortillas, whole grain bagel, whole grain English muffin
  • Protein: peanut butter, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews
  • Dairy: string cheese, hard cheeses like cheddar, pudding pack, swiss cheese

By: Michelle Ernst Voegele, EFNEP Nutrition Assistant

The Perfect Picnic

Be a Picnic ProAugust is a great month to head to the park with a few friends and a basket full of fresh goodies. Here are some easy tips and tricks to crafting the best personal outdoor lunch lounge.

  • The venue. Bring a comfortable yet thin blanket to the park or beach incase there are no picnic tables. The thinness allows you to still feel and appreciate the natural earth beneath you but the comfort brings relaxation and a more chill atmosphere to your meal. Our Healthy Living Coordinator says bringing a tapestry with you can add a fun design to the atmosphere and is often a good size for groups because you want to make sure it’s large enough so everyone can fit and feel included! Pick a spot under a tree or umbrella if it’s a really sunny day and bring along a few items from a first aid kit for safety. A trash bag is a good idea to bring to stay environmentally friendly. basket
  • The snacks. Picnics are all about fresh finger foods and delicious snacks. Pack your treats in a basket or tote bag just before leaving so that temperature sensitive foods don’t spoil (2 hours is the magic time before food starts to go bad!). If you pack foods that aren’t going to spoil you can maintain your relaxed attitude by not having to worry about food safety. Remember to bring drinks to stay hydrated and refreshed. Don’t forget your essentials like napkins, plates and silverware. Here are some fun, healthy and safe picnic friendly foods: hard artisan cheeses and crackers, bread rolls, whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruit and dried meat like jerky, jams and jellies, peanut butter and recipes…yum.cucumbersandwiches
      • Tomato, Peach and Red Onion Salad (Serves 4)
        • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
        • 1 ripe peach, diced
        • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
        • 2 tablespoons olive oil
        • juice from half a lemon
        • salt and pepper
        • Combine everything in a large jar or plastic container. Seal the container and shake to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Best made the day of.
      • Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade (Serves 8)
        • 8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
        • 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
        • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
        • 5 tablespoons honey
        • 2 cups water
        • Combine ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
      • Cucumber Sandwiches (Serves 2)
        • 9 tablespoons cream cheese (can substitute goat cheese)
        • 5 tablespoons sour cream
        • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
        • 3 tablespoons dried dill weed
        • Lettuce Leaves, romaine or iceberg recommended
        • 1 Cucumber, thinly sliced about 6 inches long
        • 2 thinned whole wheat bread slices
        • Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic. Spread over slices of bread. Lay lettuce leaf on top of spread.  Lay 3 to 4 cucumber slices onto lettuce. Sprinkle with dried dill. 
  • The entertainment. Plan a few fun outdoor friendly games for the day. Have some activities prepared that can be played in a group either lounging on the blanket or more active games to move around. Games like Heads up!, Apples to Apples or Uno can be fun for the whole family on the blanket or bring a book to relax and read. A volleyball or frisbee is an easy activity to toss around with a group by playing keep it up or just take a walk and enjoy the scenery. marbles.png