Shop Smart for Back-to-School Snacks!

1-Be cart-smart!  Fill your shopping basket so that it mirrors a healthy meal plan, meaning about half fruits and vegetables, one quarter whole grains and one quarter lean protein.  Make some of the choices calcium-rich.

2-Save time with and avoid impulse purchases with a list; organize items on your list to correspond with the order you will travel the market for a faster trip.

3-Read food labels and packaging claims to ensure a healthy purchase.

4-Bend and stretch for a good deal!  Bargains or often on lower or higher shelves rather than at eye-level.

5-Use the freezer to avoid wasting fresh produce.

6-Shop the edges of the store for fresh foods but don’t miss healthy foods in the center aisles.

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Firecracker Cupcakes

Firecracker Cupcakes

Happy Independence Day!

I’ve long wanted to try these fun cupcakes from Taste of Home, and today, I made a mini- version.  These would be a sweet finish to a July 4th cookout, and their size makes them kid- and waistline-friendly!

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Fluttering Butterfly Fruit Salad

Flutter from spring into summer with a fruit platter that is sure to please!

 

Ingredients

4 cups cubed cantaloupe

2 cup cubed honey dew

2 cups cubed pineapple

1 small kiwi cut into rings

1 ½ cups red seedless grapes

4 large strawberries, sliced lengthwise

½ cup blueberries

2 jumbo marshmallows

2 mini chocolate chips

1 red Twizzler

On a large platter, arrange cantaloupe and pineapple into 4 piles, two at the top and two at the bottom, to resemble butterfly wings.  Arrange honey dew, grapes and kiwi in the center of the wings for the body.  Use watermelon, blueberries and strawberries to outline the wings.  Place the two marshmallows at the top of the plate, and press the chips into their centers for eyes.  Peel off small pieces of the Twizzler, and shape into antenna and a smile.  Press these onto the plate to complete the butterfly’s face.

Tip:  I covered the platter tightly with plastic wrap first.  This kept the fruit juice from staining the platter and made clean-up easy.  Using pre-cut fruit speeds prep time.

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Reducing Food Waste for Earth Week

Celebrate Earth Week this year by cutting back on trash!  Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture developed a new infographic, “Let’s Talk Trash,” to educate consumers about reducing food waste.  Their website has great tips on topics such as food product dating and freezing leftovers.

The Food and Drug Administration’s fridge and freezer chart is another handy tool for quickly determining how long food items will stay fresh.  And, foodsafety.gov provides guidelines about how long food will stay safe following a power outage.

Happy Earth Day!

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Celebrating National Nutrition Month

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right, March 2016

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right, March 2016

This year, March is all about flavors!  National Nutrition Month 2016 proclaims, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” just as spring produce comes into season and spring holidays appear around the corner.  Celebrate with some great tips for making vegetables extra tasty and elevating them to the celebrity status they deserve.  Here are a few of my favorite resources, some of which went into this month’s bulletin board:

From Prevention Magazine, “14 Ways to Make Eating Your Veggies A Lot Less Boring

From The Produce for Better Health Foundation, a tip sheet on storing fruits and veggies for best flavor

From The American Heart Association, tips for helping picky eaters enjoy veggies

 

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New Dietary Guidelines and Delicious Bread

Among other recommendations, the newly-released U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest limiting salt and added sugars.  While scouting out lower-sodium frozen dinner options for a coworker, I was reminded of another sodium culprit – bread.  So, it was fun to try this version of Honey Whole Wheat Bread from Taste of Home.  It tastes great, comes together in a snap using a bread machine and has only 2 g of added sugars and 146 mg of sodium per slice.  Pair with some  lower-sodium soup, and you have a winner for a frosty evening’s dinner!

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Healthy Holiday Appetizers

In need of a quick appetizer for a holiday gathering?  Cooking Light shares 100 of its favorites, ranging from Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Blue Cheese to kid-friendly Sloppy Joe Sliders and everything in between.  Entertaining “light” was never so easy or tasty!

Wishing you “Healthy Holidays!”

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