Fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients and fiber that help maintain good health. (by extension.org)
Fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients and fiber that help maintain good health. They are full of phytochemicals the natural plant compounds, that produce the bright color and provide a variety of health benefits. Known phytochemicals have a broad range of protective benefits.
Eating large amounts of colorful fruits and vegetables that are high in phytochemicals may decrease the risk of developing diabetes, decrease the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and may protect from some cancers. Fruits and vegetables naturally yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, and white, along with a diet of whole grains/cereals and beans can provide a powerful health benefit. For optimum health, create a colorful plate with these naturally beautiful hues:
- Tomatoes, red peppers, cranberries, cherries and other naturally red foods will help maintain a healthy heart, memory function, and urinary tract health.
- Blue/purple foods such as blueberries, plums, blackberries, purple grapes, purple cabbage and others help maintain healthy aging, memory, and urinary track health.
- Yellow/orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, oranges, and pumpkin also help maintain a healthy heart, immune system, and night-vision health.
- Green fruits and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kiwi, green grapes, and green peppers help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
- White foods like bananas, garlic, apples, onions and cauliflower help maintain heart health and lower the risk of some cancers.
Sports Drinks: Are They Needed ? (by NDSU Extension Services)
They’re flavorful and colorful with names such as Frost, Rain, Xtremo, Fierce, Mountain Blast and Arctic Shatter. What kid wouldn’t want a sports drink during soccer, baseball or hockey practice? Sports drinks are everywhere and are heavily marketed at youth and adolescents.
According to the ads, these drinks not only look and taste good but can improve sports performance while replacing key vitamins and minerals, something we all want for our kids.
But are the ads correct? What isn’t quite so clear in the advertising is the amount of calories in one bottle and what type of performance can be improved.
The idea that sports drinks can enhance sport performance is well accepted. However, the effect is apparent only during higher-intensity, longer-duration activities, usually in excess of 60 minutes. Anything less, and water should be the drink of choice.
The hidden calories of sports drinks are another concern. A bottle of Gatorade is considered four full servings and has 200 total calories. POWERade has 120 calories. This is a lot of calories, especially since your children might not even use this many calories in their practice or games. Even tennis star and POWERade spokesperson Venus Williams says, “I have a nutrition plan and need to rehydrate without the calories.” POWERade vice president of marketing Matt Kahn states, “… even an elite athlete is going to be careful about consuming wasted calories.”
In response to this and to health advocates pressuring for healthier drinks for kids, drink manufacturers recently introduced no- or low-calorie sports drinks. These new drinks provide considerably fewer calories than past products, yet still retain all of the flavor and performance enhancement potential. Specifically, the amount of calories per 8 ounces (remember, all the bottles in the store are much larger than 8 ounces) is: 50 for Gatorade, 35 for POWERade, 25 for G2, 10 for flavored Propel Fitness Water and 0 for POWERade Zero. Plain water also contains zero calories, comes at little or no cost and is the healthiest thing a kid can drink during practice.
If you still want to get the “popular” drink for your sports minded kids, opt for the low- or no-calorie choices. Otherwise, stick to water; it is still the best drink around.
Prepare Healthy Meals (by choosemyplate.gov)
Whether you’re cooking for your family, or just whipping up a quick snack for yourself, it’s easy to make it healthy. So go ahead, get started and channel your inner chef.
Try these kitchen timesavers to cut back on time and make less work for you. By taking the stress and hassle out of cooking, you’ll have more time to enjoy it and to spend with your loved ones.
- Organize your kitchen. Keep frequently used items such as cooking oils/sprays, spatulas, cutting boards, and spices within easy reach. This will save you from having to search for them later.
- Clear the clutter. Before you start cooking, clear off your counters. This allows more room for prep space.
- Chop extra. When chopping up veggies for a meal, chop more than you need. Take the extra, place in a reusable container and freeze. Then next time you need it, you can skip a step.
- Have everything in place. Grab all ingredients needed for your meal – vegetables chopped, spices measured, and meats thawed. It will be easier to spot missing items and avoid skipping steps.
- Double your recipe. For your next casserole or stew, try doubling the recipe and freezing the extra. You’ll save time and make cooking next week’s dinner a snap!
- Clean as you go. Fill up the sink with soapy water and wash the dishes as you cook. It’ll make clean up go much smoother!
- Save some for later. Freeze leftover soups, sauces, or gravies in small reusable containers.
Cooking for Your Family
You can easily prepare foods for a large family without breaking the bank. To save time, money and stress when making meals for your loved ones give one of these tips a try:
- Keep it simple. Healthy and creative meals don’t have to be complicated. The simpler the menu, the less money and stress it will cost you in the end.
- Allow your family to help. Divide jobs among family members. Remember -- kids love to be in the kitchen! With help, you can get more done and have more time to enjoy with your family.
- Enjoy yourself. If you feel yourself becoming stressed, take a deep breath. Have fun and enjoy spending time with those closest to you.
- Options for the holidays. Try having a brunch. Breakfast foods like eggs are less expensive and make a great protein for the main dish. Another fun idea is to have a yogurt parfait bar, where everyone can add their favorite toppings to yogurt.
- Make it a potluck. Potlucks are a great option for large families. Prepare a side dish and let each family member make the rest. It creates less work for you and allows everyone to make and sample each other’s creations.
- Tired of counting pennies? Discover more about nutrition assistance programs by visiting the links below:
Tasty & Low-Cost Recipes
Sometimes the hardest part of being in the kitchen is deciding what to make. Visit one of the resources below to discover delicious and inexpensive recipes your family will love!
FNCS Recipe Box
In the FNCS Recipe Box, you will find tasty and affordable recipes from the SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder, Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook by the White House, MyPlate-inspired recipes, WIC Works! and more.
SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder
Browse nearly 600 recipes and build your own free cookbook with the SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder! You can personalize your search by ingredients, price, dish type, available kitchen appliances, and audience.
Visit the links below for more recipe ideas and inspiration:
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