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Plant the Seeds of Good Nutrition

This month, which is National Fruits and Vegetables Month, give a little extra thought to the naturally grown foods that you eat (hopefully) on a daily basis.

One thing you can find scattered around the offices here at NCES are members of the Fruit and Vegetable Seedies. We know they’re for kids, but there’s nothing quite like having a friendly, smiling fruit or vegetable looking your way when you’re going about your daily business.
The fact of the matter is: it’s good to have healthy reminders around to keep you in the nutritious mood. Children especially, are more prone to picking up good nutrition habits, just by being exposed to it. Having kids help prepare meals and pick out the items for the meals gives them a sense of control when it comes to their nutrition, and gives you a chance to educate them a little bit on what might be best for them to eat.
One of the biggest areas they get their habits from is you. Leading by example works well in many situations, and when raising a child, it’s no exception. Just by eating well yourself, you’ll be giving your own child that much better of a chance to develop good eating habits in the future.
Of course, the Fruit and Veggie Seedies probably wouldn’t hurt your odds either. Food can always seem more enjoyable when it’s got a big pair of eyes and a silly smile with it.
Check them out for yourself in our catalog, in the ‘Educated Kids’ section, or by searching Item #’s 2661 and 3001 at www.ncescatalog.com.

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Low Carbon is the New Low Carb (“7 Nutrition Trends of 2010”)

Looking back at our post on “7 Nutrition Trends of 2010” we can see that carbon footprints are being improved in the health and nutrition education areas. Going green isn’t just for homes and cars anymore.
When something goes from garden to grocery store these days, it tends to travel a little farther than we realize. Take, for example, that can of corn sitting in your cupboard. If we were to track how much fuel and energy it took to get there, you might reconsider going straight for the canned goods aisle next time.
First of all, before it’s even grown, fuel is spent to fertilize and plant all of the corn seeds in large farms. When it’s harvested, more fuel is spent to gather all of it up. Immediately after, the corn is stored and either heated or cooled to optimum temperature, yet another use of some energy.
Then, it’s taken, by a fuel-powered truck, to a processing plant, where the machinery uses its vast energy resources to process and pack all of the corn into those cans that fit so nicely into the cabinet. The corn then flies by plane, and then is moved again, by truck, and finally arrives at the store. While it sits in storage for you to buy it, more energy is used.
It’s a bit excessive on an example, but the truth is, buying local can make a bigger impact on our world than you think. If a local farmer goes out and plants something by hand, then grabs the ear off the stalk, washes it, and brings it to the local farmer’s market, you have a product that took a lot less fuel and energy to make. And, it probably tastes a lot better too!
This story is summed up in a pretty fun illustration in the book “Go Green Get Lean,” which talks a lot about how eating more ‘green’ foods can improve your waistline, and preserve our world. Check out “Go Green Get Lean” in our catalog or online at www.ncescatalog.com.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

The flavors in this recipe are incredible! Visit www.ncescatalog.com for many nutrition products including healthy cook books!

Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top

Directions

     

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin, or line with paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, oil , eggs and sugar until well blended.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Add to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle a few more chips on top of the muffins.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack.

Recipe attained from http://family.go.com/food/recipe-an-800148-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins-t/

     
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Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Super Foods

  1. Healthy cells, healthy you. “Super Foods” are foods that help your body create healthy cells, and help slow down the onset of many age-related diseases.
  2. High in what you need, low in what you don’t.  Super foods contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while being low in fat, sugars, sodium and calories.
  3. Don’t be fooled by fancy wording. When you see words like “enriched” and fortified” it may make those foods seem like super foods. They just mean that they’ve replaced or added vitamins and minerals that were either lost in processing or absent to begin with. Take the natural route when possible.
  4. There’s no single solution. You don’t need to eat specific foods to fight off specific diseases. A healthy diet consisting of a variety of super foods will help you maintain weight, fight disease, and live longer.
  5. Easy to include. By substituting or adding super foods to your diet, you can seamlessly introduce the benefits of this kind of diet into your life. Each change could add health and years onto your life.
  6. Know your super foods. Fruits like oranges, blueberries, strawberries and pineapple, or veggies like, broccoli, tomatoes, artichokes and carrots are great for you. If you eat whole grains like oatmeal or quinoa, or dairy like soy, egg whites or yogurt, you’ll get a great benefit from your diet. Proteins such as beans, salmon, walnuts or cashews are great for you, as well as some other foods like dark chocolate or tea.

NCES is your Nutrtion Expert. Look to www.ncescatalog.com or our catalog for hundreds of products that support good nutrition and healthy living.

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Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Eating Veggies

  1. Green Veggies. Green vegetables can help protect your eyesight and reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration, which is an eye disease that can lead to blindness. Some good choices for green vegetables are: broccoli, romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts.  
  2. Red Veggies.  By eating red vegetables, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Some good choices for red vegetables are: tomatoes, radishes, red bell peppers.  
  3. Yellow Veggies. Having a good dose of yellow vegetables in your meals can help strengthen your immune system, due to the increased amounts of vitamin C in these plants. Some good choices for yellow vegetables are: yellow bell peppers, squash, yellow corn.
  4. Orange Veggies. With the eating of orange vegetables, you can help yourself maintain healthy skin and bones, and help with eye health. Some good choices for orange vegetables are: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes.  
  5. Purple Veggies. An interesting fact about purple vegetables is that they could help you guard your body from cancer. Some good food choices for purple vegetables are: eggplant, purple onions.  
  6. White Veggies. The advantages of eating white vegetables are reduced risk of heart attacks, and reduced risks of some cancers. Some good food choices for white vegetables are: mushrooms, onions, garlic, cauliflower, white potatoes.
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Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Fruits

  1. Green Fruits. Green fruits can help protect your eyesight and reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration, which is an eye disease that can lead to blindness. Some good choices for green fruits are: limes, kiwi, honeydew and green grapes.  
  2. Red Fruits.  By eating red fruits, you can get antioxidants to ward off inflammation, urinary tract infections, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Some good choices for red fruits are: watermelon, red grapes, cranberries, strawberries, cherries, pink grapefruit, papaya.  
  3. Yellow Fruits. Having a good dose of yellow fruits in your meals can help strengthen your immune system, due to the increased amounts of vitamin. Some good choices for yellow fruits are: grapefruit, pineapple, lemons.
  4. Orange Fruits. With the eating of orange fruits, you can help yourself maintain healthy skin and help with eye health. Some good choices for orange fruits are: apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, mangos.  
  5. Purple Fruits. An interesting fact about purple fruit is that they could help slow down age related loss of brain activity, and act as an anti-inflammatory or guard against certain cancers. Some good food choices for purple fruits are: blackberries, plums, prunes, blueberries, raisins, purple grapes, figs.  
  6. White Fruits. The advantages of eating white fruits are reduced risk of heart attacks, due to the high potassium content. Some good food choices for white fruits are: pears and bananas.
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Where in the World is Your Cholesterol?

September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. That being said, where is your cholesterol coming from, and what can you do about it?
Saturated fat is one of the main sources of LDL cholesterol. Hiding in dairy products, red meats and oils, you can prevent a rise in your cholesterol numbers by avoiding cheese and ground beef, which are the two largest sources of saturated fat, according to Dietary Guidelines reports.
Another thing to avoid is trans-fat. This tends to be found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in fried and processed foods like baked goods and desserts. Make sure to read the label before you buy to see if you’re getting 0g trans-fat.
Some foods to avoid as much as possible for those watching their cholesterol: prime rib, coconut milk, dried coconut, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cake donuts, ricotta cheese or ground beef.
How do you lower your cholesterol if it’s already high? Get some soluble fibers.  Things like cooked oatmeal, oat bran, avocados, broccoli, carrots, prunes, and sunflower seeds are all excellent sources of soluble fibers that can raise your HDL cholesterol levels and lower your LDL cholesterol.
Some other ideas:

  • Eat 6 to 8 small meals daily instead of 1 or 2 large meals.
  • 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day goes a long way.
  • Limit sugar and fructose intake.
  • Limit coffee drinks made without a paper filter.
  • Use sterol and stanol rich margarines and salad dressings.

For more information about cholesterol and tips for controlling your levels, check out our “Cholesterol: Control Your Numbers” Handout, Item # 4139 at www.ncescatalog.com or in our catalog.