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Healthy Bites Newsletter
By Lisa Franzen-Castle
Extension Nutrition Specialist, PhD, RD
UNL Panhandle Research & Extension Center
As the holidays approach, keeping a commitment to healthful eating can be challenging. Research shows that the average American gains about one pound during the winter holiday season. According to a National Institutes of Health report, most people don’t lose that extra pound of weight, so it accumulates over time. Follow these helpful tips for eating sensibly at holiday parties without increasing your waistline or sacrificing taste.
If holiday eating leaves you worried about foods high in fat and calories or overeating in general, here are some tips to help enjoy the holidays without increasing your waistline. Making recipes healthier may be easier than you think. Make simple ingredient substitutions or adjustments to create healthier recipes without sacrificing flavor and enjoyment. Many of the traditional foods served during the holidays start out healthy. It’s what is added to them and how they are prepared that add extra calories and fat.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the United States. Thirty-six states grow apples commercially. October is National Apple Month, the only national, generic apple promotion in the United States. Apples come in all shades of red, green and yellow and range in size from a little bigger than a cherry, to as large as a grapefruit. Check out some apple facts and how to eat them in safe and delicious ways.
Foodborne illness, sometimes called food poisoning, is a costly yet preventable public health issue. Each year, about 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Bacteria, viruses and tiny parasites are everywhere in the environment. They are organisms you can’t see, smell, or taste and can contaminate food and cause illness. September is Food Safety Education Month, a great time to check out tips on how to keep food safe by following these four simple steps of clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Sandwiches make quick, easy, and nutritious meals. August is National Sandwich Month, a great time to try a different type of sandwich or have fun inventing a new sandwich for you or to share with family and friends. Check out the following tips on how to experiment with different veggies and fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and sandwich spreads.
Any way you toss it, a main dish green salad is an easy, nutritious meal -- especially on a hot summer's night. National Salad Week is in July, and summer is a great time to fill up -- and not out -- on fruits and veggies in a lightly dressed salad! Check out these tips on how to make salads spectacular this summer.
Questions/Comments about the Healthy Bites Newsletter or this web site? Please contact Dr. Lisa Franzen-Castle, UNL Extension Nutrition Specialist.
- December 2013: Healthy holiday party tips
- November 2013: Healthier Holiday Meals
- October 2013: Apples
- September 2013: Food Safety
- August 2013: Sandwich Month
- July 2013: Salad Week
- June 2013: Dairy Month
- May 2013: Beef Month
- April 2013: Cancer Control Month
- March 2013: National Nutrition Month
- February 2013: Baking as a family
- January 2013: Resolutions that last
- December 2012: The gift of food
- November 2012: Thanksgiving dinner
- October 2012: Healthy snacking with popcorn
- September 2012: Get more whole grains
- August 2012: Healthy Packed Lunches for Back to School
- July 2012: Grilling and food safety
- June 2012: Fruits and veggies
- May 2012: Bone health
- April 2012: Gardening
- March 2012: Colon Cancer
- February 2012: Tips for heart health
- December 2011: Holiday food and fitness
- November 2011: Tips for diabetics to take the stress out of the holidays
- October 2011: Halloween hints
- September 2011: Heart Smart -- Cholesterol
- August 2011: Stay Hydrated to Beat the Heat
- July 2011: Picnic safety
- June 2011: Men's Health
- May 2011: Beef
- April 2011: Stress
- March 2011: Colon Cancer
- February 2011: Heart Health
- January 2011: Magical Beans
- December 2010: Healthy Holiday Dietary Substitutions
- November 2010: National Prevent Diabetes Month
- October 2010: National Eat Better, Eat Together Month
- September 2010 National Breakfast Month
- July 2010 National Berries Month
Food, Nutrition and Health by the Month
National Food Days, Weeks & Months
Kayla Colgrove, MS, RD
Contributors: Kayla Colgrove, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Gage County; Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County; and Lisa Franzen Castle, MS, RD, PhD, Panhandle Research and Extension Center.
Questions or comments? Email Kayla Colgrove, MS, RD
You are welcome to link to our calendar.
Click on a link to find TIPS, RECIPES, and RESOURCES related to that day, week or month. Or simply scroll down the page.
National Food Days
- Macademia Nut Day (September 4)
- Cheese Pizza Day (September 5)
- Acorn Squash Day (September 7)
- Celiac Disease Awareness Day (September 13)
- Peanut Day (September 13)
- Eat a Hoagie Day (September 14)
- Linguine Day (September 15)
- Guacamole Day (September 16)
- International Banana Festival Day (September 21)
- Better Breakfast Day (September 26)
- Coffee Day (September 29)
- Hot Mulled Cider Day (September 30)
National Food Weeks
National Food Months
- Back to School Month
- Better Breakfast Month
- Chicken Month
- Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
- Cholesterol Education Month
- Food Safety Education Month
- Fruits & Veggies--More Matters Month®
- Mushroom Month
- Papaya Month
- Potato Month
- Rice Month
- Whole Grains Month
- Wild Rice Month
Tips for making healthy, delicious pizzas include:
Acorn squash is considered a winter squash and is harvested at a mature age when its skin is hard and inedible. It is always served cooked. Stored properly, it can keep up to 3 months.
The Fruits & Veggies More Matters website gives directions for selecting and storing acorn squash as well as Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Acorn Squash. Different types of winter squash often can be substituted for each other in recipes.
Did you know? One of the grains people with celiac disease can eat is flour processed from food sorghum varieties.
Whole grain sorghum flour is a wholesome, hearty grain that provides important fiber and has a mild flavor that won’t compete with the delicate flavors of other food.
Learn more about baking with sorghum and get the recipe for this gluten-free bread and several other recipes and fact sheets using sorghum. Obtain additional information about celiac disease on the Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) website.
A single ounce of raw peanuts or dry roasted peanuts (a scant 1/4 cup) weighs in at around 160 calories, according to the Peanut Institute. Peanuts are packed with protein and contributes to satiety which may help us eat less.
As a legume, they also are a source of dietary fiber. Peanuts are high in heart healthy unsaturated fat.. Vitamin E, niacin, folate and manganese are among are among the nutrients found in peanuts.
According to Wikipedia, the term hoagie originated in the Philadelphia area. There are several theories as to the origin of the name, "hoagie." A hoagie, according to the Free Dictionary is "a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments)."
Enjoy your hoagie today and load it up with lots of veggies for a nutrient-packed celebration of "Eat a Hoagie Day."
Did you know? The name linguine means "little tongues" in Italian?
According to the National Pasta Association, linguine is "a great shape to compliment a variety of sauces." And, "also a good choice for salads and stir-fry dishes."
Find recipes and tips for cooking with linguine and other types of pasta on the National Pasta Association website.
Photo of Linguine with Spicy Thai Shrimp Sauce Recipe, made with linguine, courtesy of the National Pasta Association.
Try Guacamole on the Go for a quick, basic guacamole recipe. Tastes great and you don't need to purchase lime or cilantro to make it.
To get started, here's how to peel and pit an avocado.
Two tablespoons or 2 -3 thin slices of fresh avocado weigh in at just 50 calories.
For more information and recipes for avocados, visit avocado.org
A bit of banana trivia: The longest banana split ever created measured 4.55 miles.
Ripen bananas at room temperature. Then, prolong the life of bananas by doing this.
Start your day with a banana breakfast by enjoying this Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Shake recipe.
Click here for more quick tips, sample breakfast menus, and breakfast recipes from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food & Nutrition Specialist, North Dakota State University Extension Service.
While the new Choose MyPlate icon doesn't include a coffee cup, there is increasing evidence of the health benefits of coffee.
Read this short article by Donald Hensrud, MD on what the research says about the health benefits of coffee.
While a plain cup of coffee has about 2 calories, the calories in additions to coffee and specialty coffee drinks can add up. Registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, Mayo Clinic, offers this advice on avoiding unwanted calories in coffee.
There are two types of cider made from apples. One type, referred to as "cider" or "hard cider" is a fermented beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% to 8.5% by volume. The other type is an unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. It is referred to as "apple cider, "sweet cider," or "soft cider."
Enjoy this mulled spiced "apple cider" recipe from University of Illinois Extension.
Learn more about Choose MyPlate tips and resources for vegetarian diets. Nutrients to focus on are protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B-12.
Tips for enjoying healthy, delicious waffles include:
Here is how to keep waffles warm if you are preparing several at a time.
For many people, breakfast is a low priority or not one at all. If you think you are saving time or cutting calories by skipping breakfast, think again.
Learn more about the benefits of breakfast and healthy breakfast ideas.
Check our Meat Preparation section for preparation, handling safety and cookery methods for chicken.
Make this Chicken Strata a la King recipe the night before and bake the next day.
Over the past 30 years, the childhood obesity rate in America has almost tripled. According to the CDC, in 2010, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were already obese. Children and teenagers who are obese are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obese youth are at greater risk of developing serious adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
More than 65 million Americans have high blood cholesterol, a serious condition that increases risk for heart disease. High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms, so many are unaware their levels are too high.
Check the following for tips, recipes, and resources:
Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium. One of the nutrients found in mushrooms that is receiving increased attention is vitamin D. The Mushroom Council gives more information about the vitamin D content of various mushrooms.
The papaya is a melon like fruit with yellow-orange flesh enclosed in a thin skin that varies in color from green to orange to rose. Papayas are a good source of vitamins A and C.
Photo by Alice Henneman
View this short video from the USA Rice Federation on how to use a rice cooker to cook rice -- you can just fix it and forget about it. Directions on cooking brown rice are given at the end. For directions on cooking rice in a microwave. Rice cookers also are great for steaming vegetables.
Teachers: Check out their brochure, including recipes kids can take home, ffor use in the schoolroom.
September is both Rice Month and Wild Rice Month. Technically wild rice isn't a rice but the seed of a type of aquatic grass. It has a pronounced flavor and is often consumed in combination with other rices or grains.
The Whole Grains Council includes a section about wild rice, which includes recipes!
The recipe for this beautiful wild rice salad in the picture to the right is from the Indiana Public Media website.