Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Inexpensive Snacks Under 100 Calories!

 Snacking can be an unhealthy habit unless you pay attention to what you are eating. When you strive to make your snacking mindful, you are able to decrease over indulgence and excess calorie intake. 

Veggies are an easy hunger fix. They are filled with nutrients, water and contain very few calories. If vegetables aren't you're go to, there are many other ways you can avoid calories and snack smart.

Check out these snacks, each is under 100 calories. Avoid over snacking between meals and focus on what you are intaking as well as how much. Portioning out snacks is a great way to prevent over indulgence.

6 cups of Popcorn! Stear clear of all the added butter and salt that can accompany this tasty snack. Popcorn is a whole grain and filled with fiber to keep you full longer.

Cantaloupe wedge and 1/2 c cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is packed with protein and pairs well with your favorite fruit.

Handful of almonds (approx. 14 pieces). Almonds provide your body with a boost of protein. They are also very convenient and can be eaten on the go! 

Blueberry smoothie. This is a great snacking option or could serve as a healthy breakfast. Simply add 1/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt and 2/3 cup blueberries and ice. Mix until smooth for a cool refreshing fix!

1/3 cup Edamame! Purchase frozen edamame to keep on hand. Simply place in the microwave to steam and season with your favorite spices. 

3/4 cups frozen mango chunks. This refreshing snack is easy to keep on hand and can satisfy any nagging sweet tooth.

3/4 c apple slices with 2 tsp peanut butter. This sweet and savory snack will provide your body with both fiber and protein. A great duo you're sure to love.

1/2 plain non-fat yogurt with 1 tsp sunflower seeds. This combo is loaded with texture and flavor. Drizzle with honey for added sweetness.

20 pistachios for a salty fix. Fill your afternoon with a dose of protein with this satisfying snack.

1 cup fresh grapes. This is another easy, portable snack. Simply rinse, measure and enjoy anywhere and anytime!

Snack smart to keep hunger at bay, and still be ready for lunch when noon rolls around! Happy snacking :)

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Food Safety

 It is important to use proper food safety techniques when preparing meals for your family. Food poisoning is a common illness that is completely preventable. 
The CDC has established 4 specific steps to prevent food borne illness that can develop from cross-contamination or improper hygiene practices.

Step #1 Clean: Proper cleaning is the first step to fighting bacteria in the kitchen. All foods have bacteria. Preventing germ spread and over growth can be done by simple washing techniques. Washing your hands before, during and after cooking is a great habit to prevent spread. Properly washing produce can also prevent chemical ingestion from fertilizer and pesticides used in the growing process.

Step #2 Separate: Keeping ready to eat foods and raw foods seperated is crucial. This includes cutting boards and knives. Raw meats and fish contaminate anything they come in contact with. As you cook this food the bacteria is killed, but forgetting to clean these surfaces can quickly penetrate other sources to cause sickness. So keep them far from the food that won't be cooked as a means to prevent germ contamination. 
Step #3 Cook: Cooking food kills the bacteria in the food. Certain meats and other foods contain different bacteria. Each has a different growth curve, and is killed at different temperatures. So be aware of your target temperature and cook foods until the thickest internal section of the food achieves that temperature.

Step #4 Chill: Room temperature is the foods danger zone, it's prime temperature for bacterial growth.  When perishable food isn't being cooked or eaten, it should be stored in the fridge (or freezer if applicable). This slows growth and keeps food out of the bacterial danger zone. Avoid eating food that have been at room temperature for more than 2 hours. When in doubt throw it out!

Increase attention to these 4 food safety practices and keep your family safe from the preventable illness of food poisoning.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Purchase in Season

 Purchasing produce in season improves quality and taste. It also cuts cost! Check out the produce in season this month:

Making Healthy Easy

There are unlimited excuses for why healthy living is impractical, unrealistic and flat out difficult! But understanding basic nutrition guidelines and goals can give you the motivation and ability to make realistic lifestyle changes to improve your health and well-being. 

The food label is a great tool to assist in nutrition awareness and education. For a quick overview and ease of explanation click HERE!

Making the healthy choice the easy choice can be simple, inexpensive and realistic! 

1) Aim for natural foods: When selecting foods aim for your most natural option. A great way to do this is to spend the majority of your grocery time and $ shopping the corners of the store. Generally the more processed foods are in the inner store isles. 

Spend a minute familiarizing yourself with the food label. The ingredient list shows everything in the product! Typically the fewer ingredients the more natural the product. So aim for foods with fewer ingredients on the label! 

2) Moderation and portion control:

Moderation is a key factor to healthy living. Finding balance on your plate will improve your nutrient intake and cut unnecessary calories. A great tool for portioning is the USDA's MyPlate guide. This model promotes balance and diverse nutrient intake to ensure healthy growth and development. For more information on MyPlate visit the official website by clicking HERE!

3) Purchase in season: Purchasing produce in season cuts cost and improves taste. This can be done when shopping for snacks and ingredients. Also consider produce that is in season when creating your weekly menu. This helps you eat in season and save $$ at the store. Check out this list of produce in season this month by clicking HERE!.

4) Food prep: Pre-washing and cutting produce makes it easier and more accessible. This 
encourages your family to choose the healthy choice when looking for a quick snack.

5) Increase accessibility: Increasing exposure to healthy food increases the likelihood of ingestion. This can be done by prepping and proportioning healthy snacks in the fridge. As well as storing produce on the counter and in visible places.

Make the effort today, to make your families easy choice, the healthy choice!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


Eating dinner as a family promotes sensible eating habits and better weight management. Sitting down together for a meal also increases family relationships and even impacts children's school success and mental health.
Evening schedules can be chaotic, so easy realistic meals can help make this achievable. A great suggestion is to experiment with sheet meals. Along with decreasing prep and time commitment, it also makes clean up a breeze!

Sheet pan dinners are very versatile. Substitute your favorite ingredients to make this a family favorite.

Chicken Potatoes and Broccoli
1 lb. Chicken Breasts
1 lb. Potatoes (cubed)
1 lemon juiced and thinly sliced
2 tsp Lemon Pepper
2 TBL Olive Oil
1 bunch Broccoli
Heat oven to 450 F. Top a sheet pan with foil and add ingredients. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 min or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Parsnips & Kale
1 lb. Yellow Potatoes (quartered)

2 TBL Honey
2 TBL Mustard
4 Parsnips cut into 2" cubes
4 Chicken Breasts
2 cups Kale (rinsed and dried)
1/2 tsp Olive Oil
Add all ingredients to a foil lined sheet pan. Toss to cover evenly with oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake 400 degrees F for 30 min.

Mediterranean Chicken Dinner
1 lb Yellow Potatoes (quartered)
1 large Red Onion
1.5 cup Cherry Tomatoes
4 Chicken Breasts (diced)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with foil, top with ingredients. Toss to evenly coat. Bake for 25-30 min or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 F.

Teriyaki Cashew Chicken and Veggies
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 Cup Roasted Cashews
1 Head Broccoli
4 Chicken Breasts
1/4 cup Soy Sauce (low-sodium)
1/2 cup Water
1 TBL Cornstarch
4 TBL Honey
Mix glaze ingredients. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with foil, top with ingredients. Toss with glaze until evenly coated. Bake for 25-30 min or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 F.

Baked Fish and Veggies
5-6 Red Potatoes (quartered)
2 TBL Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic
6 Carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 Large Onion (cut into thin strips)
1 Lemon (sliced)
2 lbs. Fish of choice
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with foil, top with ingredients. Bake for 20-25 min or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Sheet Pan Fajitas 
1 lb. Chicken Breasts
2 Bell Peppers (thinly sliced)
1 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
3 TBL Olive Oil
1 Fajita seasoning packet
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with foil, top with ingredients. Toss to evenly coated. Bake for 25-30 min or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 F.