Welcome to my blog on healthy eating and food safety. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information. This blog will be updated on a regular basis.

Friday, May 22, 2015

New USDA ‘FoodKeeper’ App:  Your New Tool for Smart Food Storage
Posted by Christopher Bernstein, Food Safety Education Staff, Food Safety and Inspection Service,
 
How many times have you gone into your pantry or refrigerator, only to find that what you were going to use in your meal was spoiled? The USDA, Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute would like to help you avoid that problem in the future with our new application, the FoodKeeper.
Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because home cooks are not sure of the quality or safety of items. USDA estimates that 21% of the available food in the U.S. goes uneaten at the consumer level. In total, 36 pounds of food per person is wasted each month at the retail and consumer levels!

Our new application will help you understand how different storing methods affect a product’s shelf life. This should help you maximize the storage life of foods and beverages in your home. In addition, the application can remind you to use items before they are likely to spoil.
 
Application Features
The FoodKeeper application offers users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more. With the application you can:

·         Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
·         Get cooking tips for cooking methods of meat, poultry and seafood products;
·         Note in your devices’ calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
·         Search the application with swipe gestures or voice control; and,
·         Submit a question to USDA using the ‘Ask Karen’ feature of the application. ‘Ask Karen’ is USDA’s 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.

Food Waste Challenge
The application is part of a larger effort between USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. Launched in 2013, the Food Waste Challenge appeals to participants across the food chain – farms, agricultural processors, food manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, universities, schools, and local governments – to join efforts to:

·         Reduce food waste by improving product development, storage, shopping/ordering, marketing, labeling, and cooking methods;
·         Recover food waste by connecting potential food donors to hunger relief organizations like food banks and pantries; and,
·         Recycle food waste to feed animals or to create compost, bioenergy, and natural fertilizers.

By joining the Challenge, organizations and businesses demonstrate their commitment to reducing food waste, helping to feed the hungry in their communities, and reducing the environmental impact of wasted food.- See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/04/02/new-usda-foodkeeper-app-your-new-tool-for-smart-food-storage/#sthash.No8kWUpd.dpuf

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring Brings Rhubarb

Spring Brings Rhubarb
Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable, though it is generally used as a fruit in desserts and jams. You only eat the stalks, which have a rich tart flavor. The leaves of this plant are poisonous, so be sure that they are not ingested. Rhubarb is easy to grow, but needs cool weather to thrive.

Here are some tips for harvesting rhubarb.
·       Harvest the stalks when they are 12 to 18 inches long. Usually after 3 years, the harvest period runs 8 to 10 weeks long. If the stalks become thin, stop harvesting; this means the plant's food reserves are low.
·         Grab the base of the stalk and pull it away from the plant with a gentle twist. If this doesn't work, you can cut the stalk at the base. Be sure the discard of the leaves!
·         Field-grown rhubarb's peak season is April and May and it is available through the early summer. Hot-house rhubarb is generally available January through June
·         You may have a bountiful harvest for up to 20 years without having to replace your rhubarb plants.
After harvest time, the stems may die back. Just remove all plant debris. Once your ground freezes, it's best to cover rhubarb with 2 to 4 inches of mulch, preferably well-rotted compost; by adding nitrogen to the soil, you're preparing the rhubarb plants for a good spring season.
Rhubarb can be eaten raw but because of its tartness, it is generally cooked and sweetened first. It can be sweetened with sugar, honey, syrup, or berry preserves. When cooking rhubarb do not use aluminum, iron or copper pans. Rhubarb has high acidity and will react with these types of metals. The reaction will cause the rhubarb to turn a brownish color and can cause the pan to discolor. It is best to use anodized aluminum, non-stick coated aluminum, or enameled cast iron pans. If the rhubarb is being baked, glass bakeware can be used also.
Rhubarb can be eaten raw with a little sugar sprinkled over it but it is generally cooked with other ingredients to produce a fruit dish of some type. Rhubarb can be used nicely to enhance the flavor of other fruits, such as pairing it with strawberries in baked sauces or beverages. It makes a delicious pie filling and is also used to make sauce in the same manner as applesauce. Rhubarb can also be used to make jellies, jams, cakes, muffins, and other desserts. It can also be used in savory dishes and is good as a sauce to serve with meats and fish.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dietary Cholesterol Recommendations & The Dietary Guidelines

Dietary Cholesterol Recommendations & The Dietary Guidelines
You may have heard or read , reports in the press suggest information was shared regarding the work of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee which reviews research and generates an Advisory Report, every five years. The Advisory Report is one important piece considered by the agencies in producing The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans serves as the basis for the government’s nutrition policy and nutrition education (e.g. MyPlate). News stories are indicating the 2015 Advisory Report (not yet available to the public) will recommend that cholesterol no longer be considered a “food component to reduce,” which currently comes with a recommendation to limit intake to <300 day.="" mg="" o:p="">

Just a bit on cholesterol: We make cholesterol in our bodies in order to make our cells; animals do this as well-so we take in cholesterol when eating foods containing animal fats. One risk factor for heart disease is how we transport that cholesterol around our body in our blood, with “bad cholesterol” (LDL cholesterol) increasing our risk for heart disease, while “good cholesterol” (HDL cholesterol) reduces our risk. Some people appear to adjust their production and blood cholesterol to accommodate how much cholesterol they eat, while other people do not. It is this second group that may benefit from reducing the cholesterol in their diet. We have learned from research that other dietary factors influence our blood cholesterol as well-including saturated and trans fats. Even for saturated fats, we’re finding differences among the types of saturated fats and how people respond to them.

Implications: This makes providing dietary guidance that can apply to the entire population difficult. Do we recommend limiting dietary cholesterol for everyone, if it may be only a subpopulation that benefits? That approach was used in requiring enriched grains to contain folic acid for the benefit of women at risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect. However, our recommendations can have unintended consequences. An example is the public perception that eggs are bad for them. Eggs were a “victim” of early concerns about cholesterol, potentially eliminating a relatively inexpensive source of high quality protein. Those developing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will consider the latest research and the most appropriate way to translate that for the public.

For the moment: Access to the final Advisory Report is not available so we don’t know the cholesterol recommendation. We also don’t know how this will be translated into the final Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Advisory Report will be published, public comments as well as comments from other federal agencies will be solicited, and all will be considered in developing The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015. This 2015 version may not be put out until late this year. Until then, we’re basing our work on the current US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Current guidelines include recommendations on dietary fats and the limit on dietary cholesterol, but do note that consuming one egg/day does not adversely affect blood cholesterol or increase heart disease risk. A program participant or member of the public concerned about their individual heart disease risk and the role of dietary cholesterol, would appropriately be referred to their health care provider.

Source: UW-Extension Nutrition Specialists

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pickled Asparagus

Pickled Asparagus
With asparagus in season, pickling is a great way to preserve asparagus for the months ahead.
10 pounds asparagus
6 large garlic cloves
4 1/2 cups water
4 ½ cups white distilled vinegar (5% acetic acid)
6 small peppers (optional) ½ cup canning salt
3 teaspoons dill seed 

1. Wash asparagus well, but gently, under running water.  Cut stems from the bottom to leave spears with tips that fit into the caning jar with a little less than ½-inch headspace. Place a peeled garlic clove at the bottom of each clean, hot pint or 12-ounce jar, and tightly pack asparagus into jars with the blunt ends down.

2. In an 8-quart Dutch oven or saucepot, combine water, vinegar, hot peppers (optional), slat and dill seed.  Bring to a boil.  Place one hot pepper (if used) in each jar over asparagus spears. Pour boiling hot pickling brine over spears, leaving ½-inch headspace.

3. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims and place on lid then screw band.

4. Process in boiling water bath canner 10 minutes for 12-ounce jars or pints.  Remove from boiling water and allow pickled asparagus to sit in processed jars for three to five days before consumption for best flavor development.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Garden is a Great Place to Teach Kids

A Garden is a Great Place to Teach Kids
A garden is a great place to teach kids valuable lessons while spending enjoyable time together. Gardening can be more entertaining than any video game. Kids get a kick out of playing in the dirt, planting seeds and watching them grow. There's no better way to get kids to eat veggies than to grow their own.
· Let them choose. While at a nursery or garden center, ask your children to pick out a few seeds or plants they want to grow. If they're involved from the very beginning, they're more likely to remain interested throughout the growing season.
· Continue in the kitchen. Invite your children to help you make dinner by adding cut-up garden produce to a salad or soup, and let them snack on a few as you cook. Don't be surprised if they learn to love veggies.
· Put kids in charge. Ask your child to create and name new vegetable or fruit creations. Let them arrange raw veggies or fruits into a fun shape or design.
Bugs on a Log
Use celery, cucumber, or carrot sticks as the log and add peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, or cherries, depending on what bugs you want!
Sources:
1. Kid-Friendly Veggies and Fruits: United States Department of Agriculture.
2. Food Safety for Preschoolers: United States Department Agriculture
Article written by Sandy Preston, MS, Extension Educator in Dixon County, NE.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Assisting Older Adults Who Live Independently to Eat Healthy

Assisting Older Adults Who Live Independently to Eat Healthy
Americans now live longer than ever. Eating well adds vitality to these extra years while reducing the risk of disease.  Making sure that your loved one has access to healthy meals and snacks can be a real challenge for caregivers.

 If your loved one is living independently, make sure he/she has access to nutritious meals by stocking the pantry and fridge with healthy foods, such as cereals, soups, fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grain rice, pastas and breads (for added fiber), canned beans, yogurt, canned soup, 100% juice, and jarred pasta sauce. Frozen dinners are also an option.  Make sure to look for dinners with less sodium and fat. Your loved ones will make better choices when these nutrient-rich foods are within reach. Look for low sodium and high fiber options that can help manage chronic health conditions.

The act of preparing a meal can be exhausting, but proper prep work minimizes the effort. Begin by creating a comfortable and safe cooking environment. Keep heavy appliances on the counter top while pots, pans, cooking utensils and equipment should be stored in accessible spots. Kitchen items that are used the most should be kept within easy reach to prevent unpredictable falls or muscle sprains that can come from straining to reach something that is stored too high or too low. Look for kitchen tools that can make completing tasks easier.

·         Seek out prepared ingredients, which have already been chopped, washed and even cooked -- from stir-fry vegetables to salad greens to sliced chicken. These items can be combined for a variety of quick simple meals. Be sure to choose low- and reduced-sodium items.
·         While stocking fresh fruits and vegetables can be a struggle, frozen and canned items are not only easier, but some also provide equivalent nutrition.
·        Cereal is a viable option as it is well fortified.  Consuming a loaf of bread in a timely manner can be a challenge.
·        Repackaging bread after purchase to reduce incidence of spoilage. Place two to four slices in freezer sandwich bags.  It is easy to remove one bag at a time and have bread that does not grow stale over time.
·         Home delivered meals are another option as this reduces the stress of preparing multiple meals a day. 
·         Purchase single-servings: Individually wrapped items will extend the life of certain foods and allow for portability (examples include cheese, milk, yogurt, and fruit). Though these items might initially be more expensive compared to bulk items, greater savings will be seen in the long run due to less wasted food

Friday, May 8, 2015

Make Mother's Day Healthy

Make Mother’s Day Healthy
Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching. Rather than flowers or chocolate (unless it is dark) give her the gift of health.
  • Fitness tech device such as Fitbit.
  • A good quality blender for making smoothies, juice, sauce or soup.
  • Gift certificate to a gym or fitness center.   Pilates, yogo, or indoor cycling classes are other options.
  • New gym bag or exercise clothes.
  • Foam rollers are a simple, cost effective present that will leave her muscles relaxed.
  • Assortment of teas and new tea kettle.
  • Raised bed garden for those who like to garden.
  • Subscription for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to enjoy locally produced foods while supporting local growers.  
  • Items for the kitchen: wooden salad bowl, steamer, oil mister.
  • Home exercise items such as workout DVD, pedometer, arm weights or tape measure.
  • A gift of time and support.    

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Importance of Water

Importance of Water
Water makes up 60 percent of your body’s weight.  Every system in your body depends on water.  For example, water, flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for various tissues. Lack of water can make you tired.

How much water a person should drink daily depends on a number of factors including your health, how active you are and where you live.  If you exercise or engage in an activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for fluid loss. Hot, humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluids.  Illness or health conditions such as a flever, vomiting or diarrhea can cause your body to lose additional fluids.  Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated.  Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing.    
A person does not need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs.  What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs.  For example, many fruits and vegetables contain significant amounts of water.  Beverages like milk and juice are comprised primarily of water.  Coffee, tea and soda can contribute as well.

To make sure you do not get dehydrated and that your body has the fluids it needs, make water your  beverage of choice.  Drink water or other low-calorie beverage with each meal and between meals.  Drink water before, during and after exercising.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Healthy Eating for Older Adults

Healthy Eating for Older Adults
Eating a variety of foods from the MyPlate can help older adults get the nutrients needed.  A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and other protein sources and low-fat or fat-free dairy.

 Eating right and staying fit are important no matter what your wage.  As people get older, bodies have different needs, so certain nutrients become especially important for good health.

Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health.  Have three servings of vitamin D-fortified low-fat or fat-free milk or other dairy product each day.  Other foods that contain calcium include cereals and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables and canned fish with soft bones. 

Many people over age 50 do not get enough vitamin B12. Fortified cereal, lean meat and some fish and seafood are sources of vitamin B12. 

Eat fiber-rich foods to stay regular.  Fiber also can help lower your risk for heart disease control your weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.  Eat whole-grain breads and cereals, and more beans and  peas.  Fruits and vegetables also provide fiber.
Increasing potassium along with reducing sodium may lower the risk of high blood pressure.  Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are good sources of potassium.

Know your fats.  Foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol help to reduce the risk of heart disease.  Most of the fats consumed should be mono-unsaturated  or poly-unsaturated fats. Check the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels for total fat and saturated fat.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics     

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Eliminating Food Waste Part II

Eliminating Food Waste Part II
About 40 percent of the United States food supply (1,500 calories/ person/day) goes uneaten. Discarded food in homes and foodservice accounts for 60 percent of this total food loss and is mostly avoidable. The remaining portion is lost or wasted during food production.

Here are some additional tips for eliminating food waste.
Check product dates on foods. The United States Department of Agriculture/Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) defines them as:
·         A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.>
 
·         A "Best if Used By (or Before)" date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
·         A "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product. Do not buy or use baby formula after its "use-by" date.
Look for recipes on websites that can be searched for by ingredients to use up food at home. USDA's "What's Cooking: USDA Mixing Bowl" website (www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov) offers several tools for searching for recipes with specific ingredients, nutrition themes and meal course. To find more recipe websites, try using such search words as: "recipe websites that use ingredients you have at home (include these words in quotation marks).

Buy misshapen fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets and elsewhere. They taste just as good and are just as nutritious as those with a "perfect" shape but are more likely to get thrown away.
Rather than buy a food for use in only one recipe, check if there might be a suitable substitute already in the home. The Cook's Thesaurus website (http://foodsubs.com) gives thousands of ingredient substitutions.

Check the garbage can. If the same foods are constantly being tossed: Eat them sooner, buy less of them, incorporate them into more recipes or freeze them.
Donate safe, nutritious food to food banks, food pantries and food rescue programs.

If you have several foods that might go to waste at the same time, try adding them to such adaptable recipes as salads, soups, pasta and casseroles.
Source: Source:  Adapted from Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Food Reflections Newsletter. University of Nebraska Extension, Lancaster County

 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Eliminating Food Waste

Eliminating Food Waste
About 40 percent of the United States food supply (1,500 calories/ person/day) goes uneaten. Discarded food in homes and foodservice accounts for 60 percent of this total food loss and is mostly avoidable. The remaining portion is lost or wasted during food production.

This amount of food waste is among the highest globally. Preventing food waste saves money and resources. Resources used to produce uneaten food include: 30 percent of fertilizer, 31 percent of cropland, 25 percent of total fresh water consumption and 2 percent of total energy consumption.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates food wastes at almost 14 percent of the total municipal solid wastes in the United States in 2010, with less than 3 percent recovered and recycled. Food in landfills decomposes to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Feeding the world will become more difficult in the future as 9 billion people are expected on the planet by 2050, compared to a world population of around 7 billion people in 2015. Developing habits to save more of the food we already have will put less strain on the resources associated with producing and buying food and aid in reducing the creation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some ways consumers can help reduce the amount of food wasted. Additional tips will be shared on Wednesday.
Shop the refrigerator before going to the store Use food at home before buying more. Designate one meal weekly as a "use-it-up" meal.

Move older food products to the front of the fridge/cupboard/freezer and just-purchased ones to the back. This makes it more likely foods will be consumed before they go bad.
Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below to prolong the life of foods. Foods frozen at 0 degrees F or lower will remain safe indefinitely but the quality will go down over time.

Freeze or can surplus fresh produce using safe, up-to-date food preservation methods. Visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation website (http://nchfp.uga.edu) for freezing and canning instructions.
Take restaurant leftovers home and refrigerate within two hours of being served. Eat within three to four days or freeze. Ask for a take home container at the beginning of the meal if portions look especially large. Remove take home food from your plate at the beginning of the meal so leftovers are as appetizing as the original meal … rather than the picked-over remains. Or, choose a smaller size and/or split a dish with a dining companion.

Dish up reasonable amounts of food at a buffet and go back for more if still hungry.
Compost food scraps for use in the garden.

Source:  Adapted from Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Food Reflections Newsletter. University of Nebraska Extension, Lancaster County

Friday, April 24, 2015

Try Edamane

Try Edamame
You may have been reading about edamame or seen them in the supermarket.  They are green, immature soybeans usually in the pod.  There has been a lot of interest in them due to their nutritional value.  Per half cup serving, they have 9 grams of fiber, only 2.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein for 120 calories.  The isoflavones in soybeans have been linked with reducing overall blood cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol, and raising HDL “good” cholesterol.

I attended the Wisconsin Association of Family and Consumer Science annual conference recently and the following recipe was shared. The recipe is a great way to enjoy edamames.

Edamame Dip
3 cups frozen soybeans, cooked (shelled and steamed if fresh and still in pods)
½ cup red onion, minced
2 teaspoons jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice
¼ cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup cooked Great Northern beans, drainer (can also used canned beans to eliminate cooking step – rinse and drain well)
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water, as needed 

1.       If using frozen edamame, cook according to package directions.
2.       Put edamame, minced red onion, jalapeno pepper, and garlic in the food processor, and pulse to puree.
3.       With the motor running, drizzle the cider vinegar, followed by the lime juice.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add cilantro, sea salt and cumin and blend.
4.       Add the Great Northern beans and olive oil in three parts.  Scrape sides of the bowl, taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.  Add up to 2 tablespoons of water until the mixture reaches desired consistency. 

Source of recipe: Learning Zone Express       

 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Engage in Physical Activity

Engage in Physical Activity
Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing to exercise? Here are some ways exercise can improve your life.
No. 1: Exercise controls weight. Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases.  In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
No. 3: Exercise improves mood. Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
No. 4: Exercise boosts energy. Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

Engaging in daily physical activity to burn 100 calories can be the difference between a high-risk sedentary lifestyle and being moderately inactive.  Below is a list of activity that will burn about 100 calories, depending on your weight in about 20 minutes.

·         Walking briskly
·         Gardening
·         Lawn mowing with a power mower
·         Playing tennis doubles
·         Raking leaves
·         Shooting baskets
·         Below are some more strenuous activities that burn about 100 calories in 15 minutes.
·         Dancing fast
·         Hiking
·         Lifting weights
·         Using a push mower
·         Treading water
·         Using a stair climber

Friday, April 17, 2015

The New Wave of Healthy Foods

The New Wave of Healthy Foods
While there is not a standard definition to define super foods, it seems like there is a new group of super foods that garners attention each year.  Here are some super foods to consider incorporating into your diet for 2015.

Maca powder is rich in vitamins B, C and E.  It also provides the body with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and amino acids.  Serving size is approximately one teaspoon which can be mixed with a glass or milk or juice or add to a smoothie or yogurt.

 Chia seeds have gained popularity in recent years.  The chia seed is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.  It contains protein and omega3 fats. They are also high in fiber.  This super food is calorie dense at 140 calories per two tablespoons.  It is important to pay attention to serving size.

Black rice also known as forbidden rice is reported to have anti-inflammatory properties and a high level of antioxidants.  A serving size is ¼ cup uncooked rice.
 
Ancient grains like amarantha, kaniwa and teff.  Kaniwa also known as baby quinoa is gluten free, and an excellent source of amino acids.  While it is smaller in size than quinoa, it actually has more protein.

Fermented foods have been gaining attention in recent years.  These foods pack a lot of nutritional value and they are good for gut health.

Coconut flour is a nutritional heavyweight.  Gram for gram compared to other flours it has the highest fiber and protein content.  It has a very nice light coconut flavor.  Try it when making pancakes.   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Healthy Pasta Salad

A Healthy Pasta Salad
I recently was going through my cookbooks as I need to bring a pasta salad to an upcoming event.  I was looking for a healthy pasta salad recipe that included a number of healthy ingredients.  During my search which was not producing many options, I came across this formula for making a healthy, great tasting pasta salad.

 4 cups cooked pasta + 4 cups chopped vegetables + 1-2 cups lean protein + ½ -1 cup flavor booster +3/4 cup dressing  =  great tasting pasta salad.          
  
1.       Chose whole-wheat pasta.  I selected bow ties, so cooked three cups of dry pasta to get four cups of cooked pasta.
2.       Select vegetables.  I thawed frozen peas, added some mushrooms and a little onion to equal four cups.
3.       Add lean protein.  I considered options like hard-boiled eggs, cooked chicken breast, cooked ham, beans and tuna.  I selected diced ham.
4.       For a burst of flavor, I considered dried cranberries, cheese, olives, salami and sun-dried tomatoes.  I chose ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
5.       For a dressing, I wanted something healthy.  I made a buttermilk dressing with low-fat mayonnaise, buttermilk, a little salt and some fresh dill.