Colorful stir fries are healthy, delicious and very customizable. They can be enjoyed year round with seasonal veggies and easy homemade sauces. Stir fries make a well balanced and practical weeknight meal. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when putting together your next stir fry.
A little prep work goes a long way. The beauty of a stir fry is that it cooks fast, so if you have all your veggies and meat chopped and sliced in advance your meal could come together in about 10 minutes. The prep work of chopping carrots, cabbage and your desired vegetables can take 15 to 20 minutes. However, it can be done the day before or several hours before cooking. Prepping your sauce in advance can also save time, especially if you’re entertaining.
Stick to high smoke point oils. Since a good stir-fry is cooked using the highest heat possible you want to stick with canola oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil or avocado oil.
Use fresh aromatics. Fresh ginger, garlic and shallots add a delightful smell and deep flavor to any stir fry.
Cook in batches. Start by cooking just your protein, then remove your meat and set it aside. Cook the veggies on their own then add the meat and sauce to the veggies once they reached their desired doneness.
Sauce is key. A flavorful sauce can be the key ingredient to your stir fry. It usually includes soy sauce, broth, corn starch, a little oil, rice vinegar and a some ginger and garlic if desired. The sauce can be made in advance in larger batches and used as needed.
After the chilly winter months, there’s nothing more refreshing than the sight of fresh spring fruit and vegetables. Crisp lettuce, brightly colored rhubarb and fresh asparagus help liven up any meal. Spring is one of the best times to get in the kitchen and prepare a healthy plant-based recipe. When you are experimenting with seasonal produce that is ripe and fresh you can turn a simple salad or side dish into something extraordinary, brimming with flavor. Here are four recipes that highlight spring produce.
According to Prevent Cancer® Foundation, this year, more than 145,600 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 51,000 will die of the disease.
Colorectal cancer is more common as you age. However, colorectal cancer in adults younger than 50 is on the rise, but it’s seen more in people age 50 and over. Other risk factors include having:
▫Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. ▫A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps. ▫A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).
Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include:
▫Lack of regular physical activity. ▫A diet low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. ▫A diet high in red meat (such as beef, pork or lamb) or processed meat (such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs or cold cuts). ▫Overweight or obese, especially for those who carry fat around their waists. ▫Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.
Almost all colorectal cancers begin as precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer; therefore, preventable if removed in time. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, which increases the chance that treatment will be more effective. Start screening at age 45 if you’re at an average risk, but if you have certain risk factors, you may need to start screening sooner or get screened more often—talk to your health care professional.
Research is underway to find out if changes to your diet can reduce your colorectal cancer risk. Generally, experts encourage eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, limiting red meat, and avoiding processed meat for a healthy diet.
Incorporating more fruits and veggies into your day can seem difficult, but if you focus on eating 1-2 servings at meals and include them at snacks, you will easily be on your way to meeting your intake requirement.
Try fruit and even vegetable-packed smoothies for breakfast or snacks. Add berries to cereal or yogurt. Eat salads for lunch. At dinner makes two choices of a fruit or veggie for a side dish. Add extra veggies to casseroles or pasta. Don’t forget: can and frozen fruits and veggies count as a serving, so mix it up by using fresh, can and frozen. With a little planning, eating more delicious fruits and vegetables can be simple!
Some people may also be lacking whole grains in their diets. There are many naturally-occurring whole grain foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, and popcorn. Many foods are now made with whole grains, such as cereal, crackers, flour, baked goods and pasta. Look for the words whole grain (such as “whole wheat”) as the first ingredient on an ingredient list or look for the Whole Grains Council’s stamp on food packages. With the Whole Grain Stamp, finding three servings of whole grains is easy: Pick three foods with the 100% Stamp or six foods with ANY Whole Grain Stamp.
The 100% Stamp assures you that the food contains a full serving or more of whole grain in each labeled serving and that ALL the grain is whole grain, while the 50%+ Stamp and the Basic Stamp appear on products containing at least half a serving of whole grain per labeled serving.
Resources: preventcancer.org and wholegrainscouncil.org
In a medium-size saucepan heat olive oil, onions, and garlic over medium-low heat until fragrant and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the pumpkin purée, thyme, cumin, ginger, and ground pepper. Heat over medium heat stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 additional minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in maple syrup and heavy cream. Using an immersion blender purée soup until it reaches your desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender let the soup cool for 10 minutes then transfer contents to a food processor or blender. After the soup is puréed only heat contents on low heat, so it doesn’t boil. The cream separates if the liquid gets too hot. Serve the soup warm with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
According to the World Heart Federation, every year 17.9 million lives are taken due to Cardio Vascular Disease and at least 80% of these deaths could be avoided. So how can this astonishing number of deaths each year be prevented? Well, looking after your heart consists mainly of eating well, exercising, and reducing your use of alcohol and tobacco.
Eating well and exercising are at the top of the list of things to keep
your heart healthy. It is vital that we eat the right foods; foods that keep us
full and energized so that our hearts remain strong and fit.
A balanced diet is key to a healthy heart, and a healthy heart is the
key to a healthy body. At Libby’s® Canned Fruit and Vegetables we have an array
of recipes that can contribute to a balanced overall diet. Libby’s® products
are the perfect staple ingredient to buy.
They will save you money, time, and can help you slot vegetables into
all your meals, therefore contributing to a well-adjusted lifestyle.
We have selected some of our favorite vegetable-packed meals to get you
on your way to a healthy heart.