At just 41 calories per half cup, these little guys pack a powerful punch when it comes to antioxidant and nutrient power. They contain fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K and copper. Blueberries are also high in phytonutrients including flavonols and anthocyancins which can help decrease inflammation and reduce cancer risk.
Blueberries grow on flowering bushes and will be ready for picking in late July through mid August. They have a wide range of flavors and can range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy in taste. Their colors can vary from many subtle shades of blue to maroon to very dark purple.
Choose blueberries that are firm and have a bright and uniform hue colored with a whitish bloom. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture. The blueberries should move freely in the container. Little movement could indicate damage or mold. Blueberries should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Wash just prior to eating to avoid spoilage.
Blueberries are a versatile fruit. They can be added to baked goods like muffins and pies, added to a smoothie, added to a salad, or even made into jams.
- 1 5oz bag spring mix greens
- 1 cup fresh blueberries washed
- 1 cup fresh strawberries washed and sliced
- 1/2 cup mandarin orange slices
- 1/2 ea english cucumber sliced
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 cup rotisserie chicken chopped
- 1 cup fresh blueberries washed
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the dressing, in a food processor or blender combine the second group of ingredients except for the avocado oil. Blend until the blueberries are pureed. Add avocado oil.
Wash and dry your greens and combine with the remaining ingredients. Top with dressing and serve!
Asparagus is a spring growing vegetable that you’ve probably started to see at your local farmers market or inside CSA boxes. This stalky vegetable will bloom typically from April to June. You will see green varieties more often but there are also white and purple varieties available as well.
Stem thickness can indicate the age of the plant. Thinner stalks tend to be younger and less woody where as thicker stalks are older and tend to have a woody top layer. Asparagus is very versatile and can be eaten in numerous ways. It can be chopped into 2 inch pieces and mixed into a stir fry, baked into a quiche, or cooked into a soup. The stalks can also be left long and lightly seasoned, then cooked on the grill a or roasted in the oven with garlic and lemon.
And now to the answer to the question you’ve all been thinking: “Why does my pee smell after eating asparagus?”. Asparagus contains a chemical called asaparagusic acid that when consumed, converts into a a sulfur containing molecule which convey’s an unpleasant scent. These sulfuric molecules are volatile which allows them to vaporize and travel into the
air and into your nose!
- 1 pound asparagus
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
In a small bowl mix together vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salat, pepper.
Snap ends off asparagus, wash to remove soil and debris and place in a zip lock bag. Pour the vinegar mixture over the asparagus and let sit for 30 minutes.
Place on hot grill and grill each side about 5 minutes or until stalks are tender.
*Tip: To help prevent stalks from falling through the grates of the grill, bunch 5 stalks side by side and stick a toothpick through the bottom and top to hold them in place.
Each year during March, we celebrate National Nutrition Month by focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme, Go Further with Food encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer, but it also urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food waste occurs when an edible item goes unconsumed. This can happen at grocery stores when produce looks less than perfect and is discarded, or consumers leaving food on their plates and it winds up in the trash. Has anyone brought fresh fruits and vegetables with the best intentions just to have half of it spoil before you can use it? Unfortunately this is another example of food waste.
Not all food that is wasted can be saved and eaten, but a lot of food waste can be prevented, especially at home. Reducing the occurrence of food waste can save you money, can help save the environment, and can help the prevalence of those who are food insecure. Check out the fact sheet below to see just how much food we waste every year in the United States.
What you can do to reduce food waste:
Plan and Prep: Create a list of meals you are likely to have that week. Make a shopping list based off of that plan rather than winging it at the grocery store.
Keep track of what’s in your fridge and pantry: Pay attention to what you have so extra isn’t purchased. Look at expiration dates to determine what meals you can create with the items that will be thrown away soon.
Love your leftovers: Instead of tossing extra food from dinner pack them as a lunch for the next day. Extra meat can be added to a salad for an easy protein source. Leftovers should be eaten within 3-4 days.
Freeze it: Utilize your freezer for a day when you’re too busy to cook. Remember those extra meatballs from your pasta dinner the other night? Reheat them and make meatball subs tonight! Frozen foods can be frozen up to 3-4 months.
Avoid big grocery hauls: Instead, try to stick to only items you need that week. Try not to over purchase produce as this has a shorter shelf life than pantry foods. Foods that spoil quickly should be stored so they are easy to be seen.
Be mindful of portion sizes: Choose smaller sizes of foods and drinks when eating away from home. Ask for a to-go container at the start of a meal. This will help you eat less. Plus, you’ll have a leftover to enjoy the next day.
Yesterday I listened to an episode from one of my favorite podcasts, NPR’s Planet Money. This episode was titled Walmart’s Pickle. Intriguing, yes. it started out a little silly talking about this pickle Walmart is inventing called the Tro-pickle. Apparently its a pickle, pickled in Hawaiian Punch. 1. Ew. 2. WHY?! The “why” is the interesting part.
If you were not aware, Walmart and Amazon are competing to be the place where everyone buys everything. Walmart started with the upper-hand of course, then Amazon started to pull ahead because no one wants to leave their house anymore. (That’s another whole issue, in my opinion, but let’s stay on track here.) So then Walmart opens grocery stores which send them way ahead of Amazon at the time because now people can do their grocery shopping and get their random things like light bulbs and socks. Amazon continues to grow in popularity and then, as you may know, they purchase Whole Foods. Good news for consumers because now prices are dropping (allegedly… I feel like everything is still pretty darn expensive there), but bad news for Walmart. Now Amazon is in the food game. So what does Walmart do to try to stay ahead? Create the Tro-pickle.
Doesn’t make sense? I was confused too. Actually, the Tro-pickle is just one of the many foods Walmart is trying to invent so that they can have a product that is only sold at Walmart. Seems harmless on the surface, (other than the disgusting factor and Red Dye 40), but what is more concerning as a dietitian, are the other things they are inventing/invented: tomatoes that can hold up during shipping, sweeter watermelon with a yellow rind, birthday-cake-flavored oatmeal, to name a few. My mind was racing after I heard this and the term at the forefront of my mind: GMO. Durable tomatoes and yellow hyper-sweet watermelon don’t just happen in nature. And do we want to talk about the sugar and other questionable chemicals that go into making birthday-cake-flavored oatmeal? Oatmeal, as many consumers buy it today, is already very processed, so processed actually that it loses its nutritional value. (See the post below for more on that topic.) We need to be eating foods closer to nature, not messing with the plants’ genetic makeup so that it works better in our fast-paced, high waste society.
I can confidently assume that nearly all Americans have purchased things from Walmart. It’s true, buying your groceries and your socks at the same store is convenient. So if most Americans are going to be grocery shopping at Walmart, or at least buying some food products there, you can see my concern regarding the food quality, especially when we talk about produce. The food industry has already created copious amounts of processed foods, that we shouldn’t be eating, but now they are targeting our fruits and vegetables! GMO foods are certainly not a new concern, but when one of the largest companies in the world is inventing new food products, that’s where I lose sleep. And worse than that; no one knows! We should be putting these resources towards empowering local farmers, especially organic ones, and creating initiatives that make these crops more attainable, especially for lower-income families. We should not be genetically modifying produce to be more easily transported. The further the plant is away from how it was grown in nature, the less nutritious it is. That’s a proven fact. The nutrients just dissipate. They lack freshness and more food is wasted because we as Americans only like to eat perfect-looking produce.
We are moving in the wrong direction. It’s not good! As a dietitian, I fear for the health of our nation. We need to get back to nature.
Courtney here. This is my first blog post for New England Nutrition Advisors! Exciting stuff. I wanted to write about this tasty oatmeal I made the other day. I still have some (a billion) apples left from apple picking earlier this fall, and wanted something warm in the morning for breakfast.
Backstory: Like Carly, I have a bit of a commute to work in the morning, so I am not usually hungry for breakfast at 5:00 when I am leaving. Instead, I pack my breakfast, which normally consists of Greek yogurt, fruit and a sprinkling of granola. Now that it has been getting chilly out, I wanted something warm in my belly. I found this recipe on theyummylife.com: Overnight Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats. Mmmmm!!
It is a quick, easy recipe that took me like 7 minutes to prepare and stick in this adorable crockpot I found. I’ll caution you though; for those using adorable little crockpots, this stuff expands like nobody’s business, so don’t add more oats than the recipe says. I’ve also made this in a regular sized crockpot, which was less risky in terms of making a mess. The most time-consuming part is peeling and cutting the apples. For everything else, you just toss it in the crockpot, give it a stir, turn on the crockpot and call it a night. Make sure you grease the bottom and sides though, or you’ll be kicking yourself the next day.
Why steel cut oats you ask? Great question! Here’s a little trick, the longer oats take to cook, the longer they take to digest. For example, instant oats have been flattened and shredded by machines so that they’re practically flour and therefore just require hot water/milk to eat. This means that they turn to sugar almost immediately in our bloodstream, and leave us with low blood sugar, making us feel ravenous by 9am. What happens when we’re hungry by 9am? Not good things, probably, right? Think: snack drawers, pastries in the break room, vending machines, etc. Old Fashioned Oats are somewhere in between instant and steel cut: convenient, but still fairly sustaining. Steel cut oats are closest to how they come from nature. They’re less processed and more hearty, keeping us full for longer during the day, especially when we add a few pecans or walnuts.
I am always asked for easy, healthy breakfast ideas, so here’s one! We will be posting more in the Recipe Box as time goes on. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this belly-warming, satisfying oatmeal.
Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – I really have zero excuse besides the fact that I’m exhausted after work! Waking up at 4:30 AM every morning, driving an hour, working for 8.5 hrs, driving an hour (+) home and not getting back until 4-4:30 PM takes a lot out of me! I’ve also been trying to get out and run 3-4 days a week depending on the weather and my schedule. ANDD to add to the puzzle, I need 7-8 hours of sleep a night for me to function which means I need to go to bed at 9:30 at the absolute latest.
That’s where my super easy recipes come into play. I’m usually finished exercising around 5:30 PM and the last thing I want to do is spend all night meal prepping and cooking.
Last week I made a crustless quiche and served it with fresh home fries. Voila! I give you a protein and veggie packed dinner in 30 minutes. While I was cooking it, I realized how versatile quiches are! I used roasted peppers and onions from Trader Joes as my veggie but this could be one of those dishes where cleaning out the fridge would work too! The base for whatever quiche you want to make is only a few simple ingredients eggs, a bit of milk, cheese, veggies and (maybe) some meat for even more protein. Another upside for this recipe is how readily available all of those ingredients are – who doesn’t have most of those ingredients in their fridge right now??
My recipes for both the quiche is posted below, but I’ve listed a few other combinations that could be added to a quiche base:
- spinach and (Al Fresco) chicken bacon
- asparagus and mushrooms
- spinach and roasted red peppers
- grilled zucchini and summer squash
- goat cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomato
- roasted bell peppers, onions, and (Nature’s Promise) chicken sausage
I’ve recently started making a quiche at the beginning of the week and using it for a breakfast protein most days. The eggs give protein, with a vegetable (less than a serving but hey at least I’m getting some veggies in for breakfast), and fat from the cheese, paired with a slice of whole wheat toast I’ve got a complete and balanced breakfast!
Carly & Courtney