Healthy Cooking

Men’s Health Month

Men need to pay attention to their own set of nutritional demands. Many problems caused in part by nutrition are common to both men and women, such as cardiac disease, obesity, and diabetes. In general, absolute nutritional requirements in men are greater than in women, simply because men as a population are larger and have more muscle mass than women.

Top Men Health Focuses:

1.Calories- men are typically taller, have more muscle mass and weigh more than women, so they typically require more calories. Visit to figure your individualized calorie needs.

2.Protein- men’s protein needs may be proportionally greater, especially if a man is physically active.

3.Nutrient Dense Diet- Quality nutrients are important to maintain men’s immune function and overall health, as well as preventing bone loss, eyesight loss, and muscle loss

4.Calcium- Calcium is as important for men as it is for women. Osteoporosis tends to be looked at as a “woman’s disease,” but men can be susceptible to osteoporosis too.

Basic eating principles for a proper diet

1.Eat a wide variety of foods: plenty of colorful vegetables, legumes/beans, fruit, grain(cereal) foods – mostly whole grain and high fiber varieties, lean meats and poultry ,fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, milk, yogurt,, cheese or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

2.Drink plenty of water.

3.Limit foods high in saturated fat, such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, fried foods, sausage, and bacon. Replace high fat foods containing mostly saturated fat with foods containing mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Swap butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with unsaturated fats from oils, spreads, nut butters and pastes, and avocado.

4.Limit foods and drinks containing added salt, and don’t add salt to foods in cooking or at the table.

5.Limit foods and drinks containing added sugars, such as sugar-sweetened soft drinks, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks.

6.Limit alcohol. (Drink no more than two standard drinks a day, on average, and no more than four standard drinks on any single occasion.)

High Blood Pressure Month

The DASH diet was created to treat or prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet is rich in foods that are high in potassium, calcium and magnesium, which are nutrients known to help control high blood pressure. The diet limits foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars which can cause hypertension. According to multiple studies the DASH diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks. The diet is rich flexible and is rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. To learn more about the diet, recommended servings and what to eat, visit: or talk to a doctor or dietitian.

The Mayo clinic also offers sample menus for people that are unsure on how to start the DASH diet. One sample menu is:


1 store-bought (commercial) whole-wheat bagel with 2 tablespoons peanut butter (no salt added)

1 medium orange

1 cup fat-free milk

Decaffeinated coffee


Spinach salad made with:

4 cups of fresh spinach leaves

1 sliced pear

1/2 cup canned mandarin orange sections

1/3 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons red wine vinaigrette

12 reduced-sodium wheat crackers

1 cup fat-free milk


Herb-crusted baked cod, 3 ounces cooked (about 4 ounces raw)

1/2 cup brown rice pilaf with vegetables

1/2 cup fresh green beans, steamed

1 small sourdough roll

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup fresh berries with chopped mint

Herbal iced tea

Snack (anytime)

1 cup fat-free, low-calorie yogurt

4 vanilla wafers

If you would like more menu ideas, visit:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month

Irritable bowel syndrome is observed every year in April. IBS is a syndrome that affects the large intestine and is quite common around the world. Although it is considered a taboo subject by some people, IBS affects 25 to 45 million Americans.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a lifelong, gastrointestinal disorder, which affects the large intestine in our body. IBS is a chronic disease related to the large intestine and the cause of this syndrome is still unknown. IBS is characterized by abdominal pains or discomfort, bloating, cramping, and altered bowel habits (chronic diarrhea and/or constipation). However, this disease does not increase the chances of colorectal cancer.

IFFGD (International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders) declared April as the awareness month for IBS in 1997. In this month more attention is given to the importance of health and awareness of IBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues. It is known that 15% of people have IBS, out of which 20% people seek medical treatment. Symptoms of IBS can occur early in life and some patients have symptoms as soon as they reach 30 years.

Lifestyle habits do not cause IBS. But minimizing excesses may help reduce or avoid symptom flare-ups. Things like lack of sleep and lack of exercise, prolonged stress, or irregular eating habits can worsen symptoms. Food common foods that can affect IBS are caffeine, fiber, nuts and chocolate. Learn more by talking with your physician about IBS.

What it’s not:

Is not caused by your diet, Is not caused by stress, Is not a risk for cancer, Is not a risk for colitis, does not cause malnutrition, does not get worse with age, and does not shorten life span.

What it is:

Is a long-term condition, symptoms tend to come and go over time, symptoms often change over time, symptoms can usually be managed so that you feel better.

Resources about IBS:

Mediterranean Diet

Year after year, the Mediterranean diet ranks as one of the best diets to follow. According to the American Heart Association this style of eating helps prevent heart disease as well as stroke, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  The Mediterranean diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat and fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation. Red meats and sweets are eaten only occasionally.

It may seem strange that olive oil is a notable aspect of this diet since it is fat. The reasoning behind this is because it is a monounsaturated fat which actually lowers your total cholesterol. This diet is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna and salmon. These Omega- 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that help fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting and lower the risk for stroke and heart failure. Another aspect of the Mediterranean diet is being physically active which a key part to staying healthy.

Below are some tips from the Mayo clinic on how to get started if you are interested in this diet. (

  • Build your meals around vegetables, beans and whole grains
  • Eat fish at least 2x a week
  • Use olive oil instead of butter while cooking
  • Serve fruit for dessert rather than other types of sweets

For more information and recipes about the Mediterranean diet, visit

CDC Flu Tips

The CDC recommends these tips and resources below to help you learn about actions you can take to protect yourself and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.

Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.

Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives – gives tips on hand washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For more resources, visit

Flu and Cold Friendly Foods

Consider eating the following foods when you have the flu or a cold. Food is what gives your body the energy and nutrients it needs to function and these foods may help keep you nourished and hydrated during an illness.

1. Broth

Broth is one of the best things you can eat when you have the flu. Broth helps prevent dehydration, and the warm elements can help soothe a sore throat and relieve congestion. Choose chicken, beef, or vegetable broth.

2. Chicken soup

Chicken soup combines the benefits of broth along with additional ingredients. Cut-up chicken provides your body with iron and protein, and you’ll also gain nutrients from carrots, herbs, and celery.

3. Vitamin C–containing fruits

Vitamin C is an important nutrient to help your immune system. While supplements can help, your body can absorb nutrients like vitamin C more effectively from the foods you eat. Some fruits high in vitamin C include strawberries, kiwi, mango, pineapple and citrus fruits.

4. Oatmeal

When you’re sick, a hot bowl of oatmeal can be a soothing, nutritious food choice. Oatmeal, like other whole grains, is also a natural source of immune-boosting vitamin E. It also contains polyphenol antioxidants as well as immune-strengthening beta-glucan fiber.

5. Vitamin E containing foods

Foods such as broccoli, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens can also help boost your immune system when you have the flu. They have both vitamin C and vitamin E, another immune-enhancing nutrient.

6. Staying hydrated

It’s easy to get dehydrated with the flu. Not only do you eat and drink less and have an overall reduced water intake, but you also lose water with sweat when you have a fever. Not only are fluids important for your body functions in general, but they can also help break up congestion and stave off infections.  When it comes to hydrating beverages, water is still the best choice. It also acts as a natural detox for your body. If you aren’t a fan of water or are looking for something with more flavor, you can also drink: broth, ginger tea, herbal tea with honey, honey and lemon tea (mix equal parts with hot water). 100% juices (look for products without added sugars), Low-sugar sports drinks or other electrolyte-containing beverages, such as Pedialyte, may be used if you’re dehydrated only.


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October serves as a reminder for women to be screened in the hope that by doing so, early detection will lead to more positive outcomes in the fight against breast cancer. Since breast cancer often has no symptoms, regular breast cancer screenings are all the more important. Mammograms can help doctors detect cancer in the early stages, when treatment is most successful.

You cannot prevent breast cancer, but these tips may help to lower your risk of developing breast cancer: maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, limiting the use of alcohol, eating a healthy diet, breastfeeding, and avoiding the use of cigarettes.

Nutrition and Breast Cancer

The following healthy guidelines are adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Diet and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking.

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (People with breast cancer who are overweight or obese should limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss)
  • Eat at least 2½-3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit every day. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. Include dark green, red and orange vegetables and legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas and soy foods
  • Choose 100 percent whole grain foods such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa
  • Eat “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocados and olives
  • Limit or avoid red meat and processed meat, such as beef, bacon and sausage. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often
  • Limit or avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose water or unsweetened beverages more often
  • Limit or avoid highly processed foods and refined grain products, such as fast food, ready-to-heat foods, snack foods and candy
  • Avoid alcohol. For those who choose to drink alcohol, limit to less than 1 drink a day for women and fewer than 2 drinks a day for men
  • Quit smoking (or never start smoking)

Resources:  For more information about breast cancer screening, risk, treatment, and information visit and

Family Meals Month

Every September is National Family Meals Month which is a national campaign whose goal is encourage families to eat more meals together.

The Family Meals Movement started in 2015 and has grown rapidly because of the positive social and health benefits that can occur by increasing the meals eaten together every week. According to the FMI Foundation there are multiple benefits to regular family meals such as:

  • Higher grades and self-esteem
  • Prosocial behaviors into adulthood such as sharing, fairness and respect
  • Children are less likely to suffer from obesity
  • Higher fruit and vegetable intakes
  • Adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression, and suicide as well as less likely to abuse drugs, run away and engage in other risky behaviors

Adolescents who have infrequent family meals are:

  • 3.5 times more likely to abuse prescription or illegal drugs
  • 3 times more likely to have used marijuana
  • More than 2.5 times more likely to have used tobacco
  • 1.5 times more likely to have used alcohol

The goal of this movement is simple, for families to pledge to have one more meal together a week.

Check out the National Family Meals website, , for more information as well as resources, recipes and much more. 

Packed Lunches

Skipping lunch can lead to a lack of energy, loss of concentration and a lower job performance. Eating out every day can be expensive and difficult to find healthier options. Packing your own lunch is the best opportunity to keep your diet on track and keep you sharp and focused throughout the day.

When making a healthy lunch it is important to include multiple food groups, such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Your best beverage option is water to stay hydrated. To make it more exciting try adding fruit or mint to your water. Try to stay away from prepackaged foods because they tend to be higher in fat, salt and sugar. Instead make more food during dinner to insure you have enough to make leftovers the next day and to help control your portion sizes.

Packing healthy lunches is just as important for your children, try these helpful tips to give your kids the healthiest lunches to help them thrive in school.
• Cut up food into dipping sticks and try new dips such as hummus, guacamole, ranch or yogurt
• If you do not have much time, try canned fruits or cups that are in 100% fruit juice or water
• Skip processed snacks
• Get your kids involved to get them more excited about their food. Take them grocery shopping or have them help pack their lunches and find new recipes
• Use cookie cutters to cut fruits, vegetables or sandwiches into fun shapes

Peanut Butter and Banana Sushi


  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter Substitute soy or sunflower butter if needed)
  • 1 whole grain flatbread or whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 med banana


  • Spread peanut butter down middle of flatbread/tortilla and reserve 1 teaspoon for later
  • Place banana on peanut butter and roll up the flatbread/tortilla
  • Spread remaining peanut butter on outer edge of flatbread to seal the roll
  • Slice roll into sushi sized pieces 
What's a Flexitarian

What’s a Flexitarian?

Article sponsored by Clearly by Best Choice

The term flexitarian has been circulating around in our vocabulary in recent years. It comes from combining the words flexible and vegetarian. Signifying that people who follow these meal planning principles have a more relaxed plant based diet compared to other vegans and vegetarians. In 2012, flexitarian was listed in the mainstream dictionary and recognized as part of the American dialect.  Common reasons for choosing a semi-vegetarian diet are typically weight management and health consciousness.  

Flexitarians consume a plant based diet, primarily focusing on getting six or more serving of fruit and veggies each day. Fish or red meat might be consumed once or twice a week. There is no set of regulations on how frequently flexitarians eat animal protein which is the essence of the flexible part of this plant based meal planning. Studies show there has been an increase in demand for vegan and vegetarian products. There has also been a rise in health conscious eating leading people to opt for a flexitarian lifestyle. Plant based eating is a valuable part of many healthy diets and it’s worth considering if you are making dietary adjustments.