With the USDA’s new MyPlate, there has been a surge of attention given to the importance of a balanced diet. As demonstrated on the plate, a balanced diet consists of a large amount of fruits and vegetables. The problem is, we get it in our heads that we don’t like certain foods. We remember brussel sprouts from our childhood, and can’t get past that memory of forcing them down so that Mom and Dad would let us have dessert. The truth is that there are a lot more options than just brussel sprouts and beets. We’ve decided to put together a list of the Top 5 Fruits and Vegetables you’ve probably never tried, and the health benefits of each one.
- Paw Paw (fruit) This fruit is easily digestible and aids in the digestion of other foods. It is rich in vitamin A and C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and soluble vegetable fiber. It is enjoyed best when eaten fresh and ripe.
- Persimmons (fruit) This delicate oriental fruit is native to china. It spread to Japan very long ago and later was introduced to California during the middle of the nineteenth century. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that are vital for good health.
- Dragon Fruit (fruit) This exotic fruit contains large amounts of Vitamin C. Not only that, the vitamin C in dragon fruit is more easily digested than a vitamin c supplement. It is also said, but not proven, that Dragon Fruit aids in controlling blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 Diabetes (Note: This is not a sufficient medical plan for controlling diabetes)
- Purple Dragon Carrot (vegetable) This unique carrot has a sweet flavor, making it great for salads and for juicing. Carrots help reduce cholesterol, fight infections and stabilize blood sugar. High in nutritional value, but low in calories, carrots play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Sweet Baby Broccoli (vegetable) Broccoli provides a high amount of vitamin C, which aids with iron absorption in the body, and fiber, which enhances the gastrointestinal tract. They can help prevent the development of cataracts, and also ease the symptoms of the common cold. The folic acid in broccoli helps women sustain normal tissue growth and is often used as a supplement when taking birth control pills and during pregnancy. The potassium in broccoli aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis.
Are you ready to go out and try all these great new fruits and vegetables? Each of them has a unique flavor, as well as all the health benefits mentioned. So, give ‘em all a try. And, be sure to let us know what you think on our Facebook page.
Okay, we know that kids all across the country are jumping for joy over summer break! But, we also know that parents everywhere are cringing. Summer break provides a new set of challenges for parents everywhere. One of those challenges is what to serve for lunch. When the kids are in school, it is so easy to send them to school with a few dollars to purchase their lunch. However, that option typically isn’t available during the summer. So, that’s where we want to help! We’ve found the ultimate lunch that your kids will enjoy making and will also give them the fuel they need to power through the day! (Kids Cook 1-2-3)
In many Middle Eastern countries, ground beef or lamb is grilled on sticks or skewers. These are known as kebabs. Press the mixture with your hands onto 8-inch wooden skewers and broil (or grill) them to your liking.
¼ pound ground beef chuck
1 small garlic clove
½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Turn the broiler (or grill) on high.
- Put the ground beef in a medium-sized bowl. Peel the garlic and push it through a garlic press. Add to the beef. Add the cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
- Divide the mixture into 4 mounds. Using your ahnds, squeeze the mixture onto 4 wooden skewers, making a long cylinder that is about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. Flatten the mixture slightly and put the skewers on a rimmed baking sheet (if broiling). Cover the exposed wood of skewers with foil so the skewers don’t burn.
- Broil for 3 to 4 minutes (or grill for 8), until just cooked through. Do not overcook. Serve immediately.
Hopefully, this recipe will get you started planning and making nutritious lunches for your active kids. Summer is a great time for all of us, especially kids, to get outside and remain active. It’s important to remember that our bodies need fuel to operate at their best! We’ve got some great books that will help you as you continue making lunches for your kids. A couple of these books are ‘Bag Lunches and Snacks to Fit your Food Plan’, ‘Funky Lunch’ and ‘Kids Cook 1-2-3’. They can be found by clicking the title or by visiting www.ncescatalog.com. Ya never know. You may even like them so much that you decide to keep packing your kids a balanced lunch throughout the school year, not just during summer break. And, don’t forget, if you ever have any questions about NCES products, feel free to go online or give us a call to chat live with a dietitian.
The thought of homemade ice cream brings back a flood of childhood memories, running around with friends from sunup to sundown during summer break. Plus, as the weather heats up outside, these refreshing evening treats sound more and more appealing! Since June is National Dairy Month, we decided there is no better way to show our appreciation than to whip up a batch of cold, refreshing homemade ice cream.
The question is, how do you mix up a batch of ice cream that is smooth and creamy without loading it with sugar and extra calories? Well, we’ve got the answer for you with this healthy twist on traditional homemade vanilla ice cream.
Low-Calorie Vanilla Ice Cream
1 tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 egg yolks
1 14-ounce can non-fat sweetened condensed milk
- Put water in a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin; let stand, stirring once, while you make the ice cream mixture.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Add vanilla
- Heat the milk and vanilla mixture over medium heat until steaming.
- Whisk egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not boil or the custard mixture will curdle.
- Strain the custard through a soft clean tea towel into a bowl. Add the gelatin and water mixture and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
- Stir until blended well, churn in your ice cream freezer.
- Makes approximately 2 quarts
The key for loading this recipe with flavor is fresh fruit. If you want all of the ice cream to have the same flavors infused throughout, grind your favorite fruit lightly and mix in before churning in the ice cream freezer. To provide a number of flavors for everyone to choose from, add some whole fruit pieces to the top after you’ve already dished up your ice cream.
It’s always important to remember that eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of all your favorite foods. By choosing lower-fat options you can still fit the foods you love into your diet and enjoy them in moderation.