Fruits & Veggies Month - blueberries, lettuce, strawberries

September is Fruits & Vegetables Month!

Fruits and vegetables are important for a well-balanced and healthy diet. They contain key vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be able to function properly.

According to the CDC, only 1 out of 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables every day. That means that most people are missing out on the essential nutrients and fiber that these foods can provide. The CDC also stated that 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in United States are from chronic diseases and by consuming a diet that has higher amounts of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing these diseases. Some of those diseases include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity.

Each color of a fruit or vegetable tells a lot about what that produce item contains. All fruits and vegetables contain many nutrients, but the color gives a hint of the key nutrients. Make sure to try and eat as many different colors as possible to ensure you are getting enough of all of the nutrients that your body needs. Below is a quick summary of what each color means for fruits and vegetables.

Rainbow Produce Benefits

Red – contains Vitamins A & C, manganese and antioxidants.
Aides in heart health.
Foods: tomatoes, red peppers, beets, red apples, red potatoes, grapefruit, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

Orange – contains Vitamins C, A & B6, potassium, folate and antioxidants.
Aides in eye health.
Foods: carrots, orange peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, oranges, peaches

Yellow – contains Vitamins C, A & B6, potassium, folate and antioxidants.
Aides the immune system health.
Foods: yellow peppers, squash, bananas, cantaloupe, pineapple

Green – Contains Vitamin K, B vitamins, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Aides in strong bones and teeth.
Foods: broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, green peppers, dark leafy greens, peas, green beans, zucchini, avocados, kiwi, green apples, pears

Blue & Purple – Contains B vitamins and antioxidants.
Aides in memory.
Foods: eggplant, red onions, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, blueberries, blackberries, plums

White – Contains Vitamins C & K, folate, potassium and antioxidants.
Aides in immune system health, and healthy eye, skin, bones.
Foods: cauliflower, garlic, jicama, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, rutabagas 

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.

Breakfast scramble sandwich, and oatmeal with fruit and yogurt

Rise and Shine: Breakfast Recipes to Keep the Family Happy & Healthy

Sponsored by Libby’s®

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s crucial to serve the family a healthy and enjoyable morning start. Here at Libby’s®, we know that spending quality family time together at the kitchen table is the best time of day. We also know that at times it can be difficult to get the kids to eat breakfast. It’s key for not only the young ones to get their morning power, but also for the whole gang.

Change up your normal breakfast menu and get everyone enthusiastic to begin the day with these family-friendly hearty recipes. Who could ask for more?

Sneak in Those Oats and Fruits!

Looking for a way to incorporate both oats and fruits in the morning? These baked Fruit & Oat Snack Bars made with Libby’s® Apricot Halves are the perfect nutritious whole grain breakfast recipe. If you’re in a rush, don’t freight because these are also perfect for on-the-go!

http://www.getbacktothetable.com/recipes/fruit-and-oat-snack-bars

Change Up Your Oatmeal Game

Whoever said that oatmeal is boring hasn’t tried this Overnight Pear Oatmeal. Made with Libby’s® Pear Halves, this recipe gives classic oatmeal a serious meal makeover. Delicious, simple, and quick – everyone will be asking for seconds, especially during the upcoming cold winter mornings!

http://www.getbacktothetable.com/recipes/overnight-refrigerator-pear-oatmeal-2-ways

Scramble It Up!

Not only are eggs packed with protein giving you the fuel to help power through your day – they also help satisfy those savory cravings. Get your veggies in while also enjoying a classic with this Scrambled Eggs with Peppers & Peas recipe. Serve on warm bread of your choice or simply on its own!

http://www.getbacktothetable.com/recipes/scrambled-eggs-peppers-and-peas

Libby's Sweet Peas in Scrambled Egg Sandwich

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

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.

Eating Right with Less Added Sugars

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

Sugar is found naturally in some foods and drinks, like fruit and milk, but it is also added to many of them. Added sugars give these items a sweet taste. Most Americans get too many calories from added sugars and over time this may affect their weight and health.

Many people think of desserts as the main source of added sugars, but many foods and drinks may contain added sugars. For example, sweetened drinks like regular soft drinks, some fruit drinks and energy drinks are all sources of added sugars. Snack foods, like crackers, and even ready-to-eat foods, like pizza and pasta sauces, can be made with added sugars. Some people may also add sugar to what they eat and drink, like sprinkling sugar
over cereal or pouring flavored creamer in coffee.


How to Identify Sources of Added Sugars
The new and improved Nutrition Facts labels can help you identify sources of added sugars. You can also review the ingredients list. The ingredients that appear first are in the largest amount. Be sure to look for foods and drinks that don’t have sugar (or some other sweetener) listed as the first ingredient. Other examples of sweeteners and sources of added sugars include: brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, sucrose, white granulated sugar.

Sources of added sugars often lack nutrients needed for good health, while foods and drinks that contain natural sources of sugar provide nutrients, like vitamins and minerals. For example, fruits like strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, and milk provides vitamins A and D and calcium.

It’s not necessary to avoid all sources of added sugars. The problem is that many of us include too many sources of added sugars or eat and drink larger amounts than is recommended. When this happens, there is less room for more nutritious foods and drinks.

If you have a taste for something sweet, try eating some fruit first. When you’re thirsty, reach for milk or water. Other ways to reduce sources of added sugars include: making or buying healthier version of baked goods; including foods and drinks with added sugars less often; and eating or drinking smaller amounts.

Tips on How to Reduce Sources of Added Sugars

· Sweeten low-fat plain yogurt with fresh,
frozen or canned (in its own juice) fruit
in place of fruit-flavored yogurt.

· Add cinnamon and dried fruit to plain
cooked oats instead of using instant
flavored oatmeal.

· Encourage healthier drinks like plain
milk and water for young children.

· Substitute 100% fruit juice for fruit punch
and other fruit-flavored drinks for older
children.

· Switch from sweetened to unsweetened
applesauce.

· Drink plain low-fat milk instead of
chocolate milk.

· Use jams and jellies with no sugar added.

· Enjoy a homemade smoothie with frozen
fruit, low-fat milk and yogurt in place of
ice cream.

· Quench your thirst with water or plain lowfat
milk instead of sweetened beverages,
like energy, soft and sports drinks.

Include healthier choices from the MyPlate food groups in place of foods and drinks with added sugars to better meet your nutrient needs.


Visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information.

©2019Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.

1. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers,tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.

2. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.

3. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.

4. Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.

5. Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.

6. Add color to salads with baby carrots,grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*

7. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner.Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets,carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.

8. Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.

9. Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries,peaches or pears in a blender for a thick,sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.

10. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli,squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.

11. “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple,apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.

12. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.

13. Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.

14. Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.

15. Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.

16. Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.

17. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.

18. Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans).Top with low-fat dressing.*

19. Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.

20. Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus,baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.

*See “Smart Tips to Build a Healthy Salad” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets for more tips on creating healthy salads.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists.

Vitamin C Rich Foods: Citrus, Broccoli, Strawberries

Tackle Cold & Flu Season with Vitamin C & Immune Support

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system.  Vitamin C is not made by your body, so it must come from foods you eat.  Vitamin C is found in many foods, not just oranges and orange juice.  Other sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, potatoes, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.  You can eat these foods raw or cooked.  However, prolonged exposure to heat or storage can cause nutrient loss.  To ensure the most nutrients, eat them as soon as possible after buying them, or if cooking them, steam or microwave them for a short time.

The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) varies by age and sex.  For adult men the RDA is 90 mg/day.  Adult women is 75 mg/day.  * Pregnant and lactating women have higher recommendations, smokers have an added 35 mg/day to RDA vs non smokers.

Below are the amount of Vitamin C in some popular foods:


(National Institute of Health, Vitamin C Factsheet for Health Professionals)

There is research that shows Vitamin C is necessary for growth and repair of tissue in the body, helps heal wounds, repair and maintain healthy teeth, skin and cartilage and improves the absorption of nonheme iron (the form of iron present in plant-based foods). Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue, inflammation of gums, widespread connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility (when the smallest blood vessels, capillaries, become weak).

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which fights free radicals in the body which can prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease and promote healthy aging.  High doses of Vitamin C may be linked to shortening the length of cold symptoms.  However more research is needed and there are risk with high doses of Vitamin C supplementation, so check with your doctor.     

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Choose Strawberries for vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fiber.

Salad:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups spring mix greens
  • 1/3 cup Clearly Organic Mixed Nuts, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup Clearly Organic Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Clearly Organic Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • In a large bowl combine mixed greens, spinach, and berries.

In a jar with a lid add olive oil, sugar, vinegar, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, chopped onion, paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Secure lid to the jar and shake dressing until contents are evenly distributed. Just before serving top salad with the desired amount of dressing.