Fruits, vegetables and lots of water

Summer Nutrition

Summer not only brings warmer weather and fun outdoor activities; it is also a great time to take advantage of the in-season fruits and vegetables and local farmers markets. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of key vitamins and minerals that the body needs to properly function. According to the USDA, some in season produce you may want to try:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Bell peppers
  • Berries
  • Green beans
  • Mangos
  • Peaches
  • Summer squash
  • Watermelon

Another key thing to remember during summertime is the importance of hydration. Your body relies on water for so many functions and aspects that help you survive. For example, you need adequate water to maintain your body temperature, remove waste and to keep your joints lubricated. Staying hydrated does not just mean drinking water, there are so many ways to help you stay hydrated if you find drinking water to be difficult. You can get water from fruits, vegetables, milk and tea; there are just added calories when you consume these products that water does not contain. It is important to continually drink water throughout the day because we lose water every time we go to the bathroom, sweat and even when we breathe. If you are not continuing to replace that lost water you will become dehydrated. According to the familydoctor.org website, here are some tips to staying hydrated:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day
  • Add fruit such as berries or lemons to your water if you do not like the taste of water
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise
  • If you feel hungry, drink water because often times, we confuse hunger with thirst
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water create a schedule such as at the start of every hour or at certain times throughout the day. 
Summer Solstice Celebration Ideas

5 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Sponsored by Traditional Medicinals

As we welcome the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year, we encourage you to let the ethereal warmth of these summer days fill your heart.

In many cultures, this day represents a time of celebration — to embrace the heat of the sun, the warm nights, the fragrance in the air, fresh, vibrant food, and our connection to nature. Plants have often played a role in honoring the change of seasons, but herbs have traditionally been prevalent in solstice events as many of our favorite herbs are at the peak of their growing season.

However you choose to honor it, it’s a special moment in time, and the perfect opportunity to surround yourself with the power, playfulness, and abundance of this season.

Host a solstice picnic
Invite friends to a beautiful sunny outdoor spot, and ask them to bring a dish that embodies summer. We like harvesting edible summer flowers to add to a fresh salad topped with our Spring Green Goddess Dressing. For a hot day, Ginger + Hibiscus Watermelon Pops or Cup of Sunshine Raspberry Sorbet are favorites for this time of year. Sip on herbal iced tea or chilled wine in the sunshine, and savor the heat of this joyous time of year.

Make plant mandalas
The word mandala means “circle.” A mandala represents wholeness, a diagram that reminds us of our relationship to something greater, extending beyond our bodies and minds. As plant lovers, we can’t think of a better way to appreciate and experience the beauty of nature than with a creative project made from the plants we love.

Collect herbs, branches, twigs, blossoms, grass, blooming flowers, crystals, and stones. Use what you can find around you, or take a trip to a local flower shop. Set them into a layout and pattern that makes sense to you. Sit in silence as you do this, and take the time to think about your intentions on these bright days, and which aspects you want to take with you into the coming year.

Spend time in nature with a meditation
Find a quiet spot, somewhere in nature; under a tree in a park, in your backyard, or near a running creek. Stretch out and salute the sun, then settle into quiet stillness to give thanks and gratitude. Slow down for 10-20 minutes and notice the sounds, scents, and views around you. Savor this particular moment in time as you breathe deeply and soak up this summer day.

Take a cold plunge or a cool bath
If you are new to the idea of hydrotherapy, a warm summer day is an ideal time to start this practice. Cold therapy is thought to encourage systemic rejuvenation and renewal and is a lovely tradition to invite into your wellness routine.

If you don’t have access to a cold creek, use your shower or tub at home, or introduce this practice following a daily shower. Allow yourself to experience a burst of cold water, standing in it for as long as you can, breathing deeply, allowing yourself to experience the sensations that arise. Once finished, give yourself a little time to rest, either by laying down for 5 minutes, or starting your day a little slower than usual.

Make Summer Solstice cordials
Preserve the sweetness of peak summer with your favorite fruit and herbs. Perfect for special occasions or as a delicious dessert!

The simple version of a cordial recipe is equal parts simple syrup, fruit and herbs, and a solvent, like brandy or vodka.

A favorite this time of year is Strawberry Lemon Balm Cordial:

Strawberry Lemon Balm Cordial
Preserve the sweetness of peak summer with your favorite fruit and herbs. Perfect for special occasions or as a delicious dessert!
Servings: Makes 1 quart. Serving size is 1 oz.

Ingredients:
About 1 quart of fresh strawberries
10 Traditional Medicinals Lemon Balm tea bags
1-2 cups simple syrup (a 2:1 ratio of honey & water)
1-2 cups alcohol preference; brandy or vodka is most popular.

Directions:
Make a simple syrup by simmering on the stovetop 2 cups of honey with 1 cup water.
Cut and chop the fruit, filling a mason jar ¾ of the way.
Cut open the tea bags and empty the dried tea into the jar.
Fill halfway with simple syrup, and then fill the rest of the jar with alcohol.
Let the cordial sit on your counter, occasionally shaking for about 4 weeks.
Once done, strain and preserve the liquid in an airtight bottle.
This will keep for a year in the refrigerator. Enjoy as is, over ice, or save for the dark days of winter when you need to bring out a little summertime energy.

For more inspiration surrounding the solstice, read our article on Herbs and the Summer Solstice.

Libby's Spring Nutrition Food Tips

Add Some Spring to Your Nutrition!

Sponsored by Libby’s®

People are always asking questions about the latest nutrition trends and if they should try them. Nutrition is individualized and what might work for your friend or colleague might not always be best for you. If you are curious and want to try something new, we recommend consulting with a Registered Dietitian before starting any nutrition program. This will make sure you are better informed with all the science-based evidence and facts before you make any drastic changes. If the research supports the trend and your RD give the thumb up, then it is okay to give it a try and see if it works for you.

With the start of a new season, everyone can always use a refresher of everyday nutrition tips. Take advantage of the spring time as with a spring cleaning of your eating habits to start anew, and add some “spring” to you diet! Below are several RD tips that are easy to follow and incorporate in your everyday lifestyle.

Go for water! Swap out a sugary beverage for water and stay hydrated, especially as the weather warms up. Drinking water has many benefits such as keeping your joints lubricated and promoting healthy skin.

Pack a snack. Plan ahead and always have a snack on hand that you know enjoy, is easily portable, and provides nutrition. This way you are not tempted to reach for less nutritious options. One great option: Libby’s® Vegetable Cups!

Add yogurt to your diet. Try Greek yogurt for added protein and live probiotics to help aid digestion. It can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a cooking substitution for sour cream or cream cheese.

Go meatless once a week. Going meatless is a great way to practice sustainability. There are lots of delicious and satisfying vegetable-based dishes you can help amp up your nutrient intake. Libby’s® Canned Fruits and Vegetables are a great option because they help take care of some the prep work.

Try something new! Try taking a traditional dish and prepare it with a twist, maybe with a new vegetable or fruit. The concept of new beginnings is always on trend!

Libby’s® Fruits and Vegetables can help you easily spring clean your diet! Check out the recipes below that incorporate some of the tips above.

Warm Baby Green Salad with Peas, Pistachios and Pecorino – Try something new!

http://www.getbacktothetable.com/recipes/warm-baby-green-salad-peas-pistachios-and-pecorino

Carrot and Beet Salad – Go meatless once a week!

http://www.getbacktothetable.com/index.php/recipes/carrot-and-beet-salad

Grilled Apricot Halves with Yogurt, Honey & Pistachio – Add yogurt to your diet!

http://www.getbacktothetable.com/recipes/grilled-apricot-halves-yogurt-honey-pistachio

For more recipe ideas and inspiration, check out Libby’s® Recipe Box and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Traditional Medicinals Tea info for wellness

11 Plants for Wellness

Those mints offered at the end of your meal have a story to tell. They’re modern day descendants of the peppermint plant, also known as Mentha x piperita. In the past, it was widely known that peppermint aided digestion.

When did people start using manufactured products more than home remedies? It wasn’t that long ago. Most of our great-grandparents relied almost entirely on plant allies for wellness.

Some people, thankfully, never forgot the power of the plants. In 1974, Traditional Medicinals was founded with a goal to pass along centuries-old herbal wisdom and a vision for the rebirth of herbalism in North America. Forty-five years later, the company is still passionate about connecting people with plants through high-quality herbal products formulated by herbalists.

Here are 11 plants Traditional Medicinals love, all of which are easy to use at home to support health and wellness:

Click here to learn more.

Sponsored by Traditional Medicinals.

Reishi Mushrooms Tea by Traditional Medicinals

Wellness with Reishi Mushroom

For centuries, cultures around the world have revered mushrooms in spiritual ceremonies, as a staple food, and as powerful sources of herbal medicine. With over 1.5 million species identified, only a fraction have been distinguished as “medicinal mushrooms.” Among this group reigns reishi – known to many as the “Queen of Mushrooms” or “Mushroom of Immortality.”

Living up to its illustrious titles, reishi’s wellness benefits have been touted for 4,000 years by eastern sages, Chinese emperors and holistic practitioners alike. Today, there is a good deal of research on reishi and its therapeutic potential in supporting the immune system. With widespread use in supporting a normal immune response, reishi also helps keep the body in balance.*

As an adaptogen, reishi has a deeply rooted history of use to reinforce the body’s capacity to adapt to stress, and as a result, support a healthy immune system.* Understanding reishi’s ability to affect change over time, traditional Chinese practitioners administered reishi as a daily tonic to fortify the body and balance Qi (vital energy).

Traditional Medicinals’ Reishi with Rooibos and Orange Peel tea captures the power of reishi in a surprisingly delightful sweet and citrusy blend. Unlike the white button mushroom’s familiar “shroomy” taste, reishi’s flavor profile is earthy, robust, and grounding. Traditional Medicinals’ herbalists masterfully paired reishi with the natural sweetness of rooibos and bright citrus peel. The result is the perfect grounding cup of tea for all times of the day.

Medicinal mushrooms are not only good for supporting our health, but also for positively impacting the environment. Today, mushrooms are being studied in fascinating research related to environmental clean-up, sustainable building materials, and even saving the honeybees.

For sustained immune support, consider adding this dose of wellness to your daily health routine throughout the year. Its deeply grounding nature makes it suitable for any time of day. For an acute immune boost, reach for Echinacea Plus or Echinacea Plus Elderberry – both featuring herbs to fire up the immune system in the moment you need it most.*

Pour yourself a mug and drink to good health with the “mushroom of immortality.”

Sponsored by Traditional Medicinals

Eating Right on a Budget

Getting the most nutrition for your food budget starts with a little extra planning before you shop. There are many ways to save money on the foods that you eat. Here are some budget-friendly tips for eating right.

Cook more, eat out less
Eating out can be expensive, and many foods can be
prepared for a lot less money (and healthier) at home.
Pre-packaged foods, like frozen dinners and
packaged pasta or rice mixes can also add up when
you calculate the cost per serving. It’s better to find
a few simple and healthy recipes that your family
enjoys and save convenience items and eating out for
special occasions.

Plan what you’re going to eat
Deciding on meals and snacks before you shop can
save both time and money. Review recipes and
make a grocery list of what ingredients are needed,
then check to see what foods you already have and
make a list for what you still need to buy. Plus,
when shopping with a list you will be less likely to
buy things that are not on it. To “Create a Grocery
Game Plan”, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Decide how much to make or buy
Making a large batch by doubling a recipe will save
time in the kitchen later on. Extra portions can be
used for lunches or meals later in the week, or
frozen as leftovers in individual containers for
future use. Plus, purchasing ingredients in bulk is
almost always cheaper.

Determine where to shop
Check the local newspaper, online and
at the store for sales and coupons,
especially when it comes to more
expensive ingredients, such as meat
and seafood. While at the store,
compare prices of different brands and
different sizes of the same brand to see
which has a lower unit price. The unit
price is usually located on the shelf
directly below the product.

Shop for foods that are in season
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in
season are usually easier to get and
may be a lot less expensive. Frozen and
canned produce are also good options and
may be more affordable at certain times of the
year. Look for fruit that is canned in 100%
juice or water and canned vegetables that are
labeled “low in sodium” or “no salt added”.

Watch portion sizes
Eating too much of even lower cost foods and
beverages can add up to extra dollars and
calories. Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses
to help keep portions under control. Fill half
your plate with fruits and vegetables and the
other half with grains and lean meat, poultry,
seafood or beans. This is an easy way to eat a
balanced meal while controlling portions and
cost. To complete the meal, add a glass of fat free
or low-fat milk or a serving of fat-free
yogurt for dessert.

Focus on nutritious, low-cost foods
Certain foods tend to be less expensive, so
you can make the most of your food dollars
by finding recipes that use the following
ingredients: beans, peas, and lentils; sweet or
white potatoes; eggs; peanut butter; canned
salmon, tuna or crabmeat; grains such as oats,
brown rice, barley or quinoa; and frozen or
canned fruits and vegetables.

Make your own healthy snacks
Convenience costs money, so many snacks,
even healthy ones, usually cost more when
sold individually. Make your own snacks by
purchasing large tubs of low-fat yogurt or
cottage cheese and dividing them into smaller
containers. For trail mix, combine unsalted
nuts, dried fruit and whole grain pretzels or
cereal; store small portions in airtight
containers. Air-popped popcorn and whole
fresh fruits in season also tend to cost less
compared to pre-packaged items.

Quench your thirst with water
Water from the tap is a low cost way to
stay hydrated. Substituting plain water in
place of sweetened beverages can not only
save you money but also help you reduce
extra calories from added sugars.

Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Berry Smoothie

Berry Smoothie

Berry Smoothie

Choose yogurt for calcium, protein and probiotics. Add in milk for 9 essential nutrients + berries for antioxidants, and you’ve got a nutritious breakfast on-the-go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Best Choice®  frozen berries (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry)
  • 1 cup low-fat Best Choice® plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup Best Choice® milk
  • 2 tsp Best Choice® honey

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Best Choice.Click here for more Best Choice recipes.