Provide Veggie Options for the Kids

By Kenda Hettinger a recent ASU Nutrition student

Children between the ages of 4-6 have heightened neophobia. Neophobia is the fear of trying something new. This makes it difficult keeping a good variety of vegetables in their diet. I know the struggle.


A new study was published in the Journal of nutrition education and behavior in September 2019, explored what would happen if you offered multiple vegetable choices versus one vegetable sources plus positive reinforcement. There were 3 different groups of parents and their children. One group did not change their dietary choices at all, one group offered a single vegetable before dinner 3 times a week, and the third group offered a variety of three vegetables 3 times a week. The group that offered the various vegetables, offered one vegetable after another before dinner.

The children were assessed before the study began and then again after 5 weeks. A 3 month follow up was also completed at home by the parents. Vegetable intake was calculated using 3 different measures, how much vegetable was consumed over a mealtime, a weighed 3-day food diary, and usual vegetable servings reported by the parents. The children were also assessed on their food acceptance and neophobia.


An increased food acceptance and decreased food neophobia were observed across both the single food group and the multiple food groups. The significant change though, is shown in the actual intakes of food over the weighed 3-day food diary. The average vegetable intake of all groups before the study began was 44 grams per day. Three months after the study ended, the group that was offered the variety of vegetable’s average intake was 74 grams per day. That is a significant change! The other 2 groups showed no change after 3 months.


In conclusion, I believe this is great information for all parents to hold on to and implement if they are having trouble getting vegetables into their child’s diets. The only problem that I see with this study is that the study group was very small. It would be great if this was repeated with a larger group of kids.







To find a farmers market near you check out our website. For more fun articles and recipes check out the Fill Your Plate blog.





Poelman, Astrid A M, Conor M Delahunty, Maeva Broch, and Cees De Graaf. “Multiple vs Single Target Vegetable Exposure to Increase Young Children’s Vegetable Intake.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 51.8 (2019): 985-92. Web.

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The Ketogenic Diet and Weight loss in Women

By Danielle Sharkey a recent ASU Nutrition student


The Ketogenic diet has been a very popular and highly promoted diet for rapid weight loss and the fight against obesity. The diet follows an extremely high-fat and low-carb regimen where about 75% (or between 70% and 85%) of your calories are consumed in healthy fat form, while 15-20% comes from protein, and the last 5-10% of your calories comes from carbohydrates. This has been proven to be a very hard regimen to follow but the results have been positive and frequent for weight loss over a short period of time. (1) When consuming 75% of your calories from fat, the blood glucose levels drop immensely, satiety increases which decrease appetite, energy levels spike, and weight loss is influenced.  Healthy and overweight women, up to the age of 50, will most likely benefit from implementing a Ketogenic diet (high-fat; low-carb) over at least a 10-week time period, by losing weight and improving body composition.

High Ketone-Levels in the Blood

A high-fat, ketogenic diet raises ketone levels in the blood, thus lowering glucose levels which helps to reduce the cravings for sweet/starchy foods. The less these types of food are eaten, the more potential for loss of weight. (2) Ketogenic diets shift your body into a fasting-like state. This happens from the extreme lack of carbohydrates accessible for fuel. As a result, your body turns to fat for use as an alternative fuel (this elevates ketone levels in the blood). (2) This means that your body is burning your excess fat constantly in order to fuel your system. The state that the body is in is called ketosis. In one study, there was a significant difference in cravings for starchy and fast-foods with the Ketogenic group reporting less cravings. (2) Low-carb diets (high-fat) not only lower blood glucose levels but they have been overall more effective in losing weight than low-fat diets. With these limited glycogen stores from the large restriction of carbohydrates in the diet, loss of fat is greater than when carbs are not restricted. (2) We know that glucose levels lower while ketone levels rise in the body during ketosis. This process then influences fat oxidation (or the melting away of fat) while changing body composition throughout the entire body.

Fat Oxidation

When ketone levels rise in the blood and the body goes into ketosis, capillary beta-hydroxybutyrate (βHB) increases fat oxidation rates… showing higher rates of fat loss, loss of visceral fat and fat tissue around organs. Researchers wanted to test how a ketogenic diet conserved lean body mass while reducing body fat in women who also implemented a resistance training regimen. Eighteen untrained women volunteers, ages 20 to 40 (BMI≥ 25kg*m^-2) were randomly assigned to a group that followed a regular diet and a group that followed a strict Ketogenic diet. 66% of the KD energy was from fat, 22% from protein, and 6% was from carbohydrates. (3)  Lean body mass (mass from the muscles) was not affected by this study but the KD group lost almost twice the amount of fat compared to the regular diet group. Blood lipid levels were tested the morning after an overnight fast. All subjects in the KD group lost weight while the regular diet (RD) group had a non-significant increase in body weight. The KD group lost on average 6-9 lbs. in the 10-week process while the RD group lost on average .6 kg. That is an extremely large difference. The subjects that were following the ketogenic diet regimen lost a substantial amount of visceral fat, fat around the organs, and all over fat mass. (3) While this study was done with the implementation of resistance training (twice a week 60-100 min each session), this study still validates the significance of the Ketogenic diet has on weight loss over a shorter time period.

Increased Energy Levels

While ketone levels rise in the blood, fat is then used for energy. Studies have shown that while following an intense ketogenic diet, energy spikes as you are burning your bodies fat stores. (4) This increase in energy allows the potential for higher intensity work-outs which then allows the possibility for a better result in weight loss and body composition while implementing the KD.


A Ketogenic diet increases ketone levels in the blood, increases satiety, decreases appetite, lowers blood glucose levels, curbs bad cravings, increases metabolism and boosts energy, and is an overall effective weight loss method (short-term) in women. (5) Although, a diet that is not extremely restrictive when it comes to carbohydrates (that implements more fruits and vegetables) is going to be more nutritionally sufficient for a long-term way of eating, a high-fat Ketogenic diet is going to be more effective for weight loss in the short term. The interesting thing is, there is difficulty not being able to find too many randomized control trials specifically on the Ketogenic diet and weight-loss in the female gender.  Within most papers that have been implemented within the research of this one, the subjects seem to have extra circumstances going on– i.e. ovarian/endometrial cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, etc. It was more difficult to find trials specifically focused on weight loss in healthy women (non-obese). More studies need to be conducted over a longer period of time in order to sufficiently prove whether or not KD diet is a sustainable method for weight-loss over many years of application or if it is sustainable over any extended period of time. It could be suggested that implementing a strict Ketogenic diet over at least a 10 week period will be highly effective when the end goal is to lose fat mass and improve your body composition.

Fill you plate has covered the Keto diet a lot in the past year.

Looking for more tips and tricks like this to keep you family happy and healthy? Check out the Fill Your Plate Blog. Looking for some new recipes to try out? Check out the Recipe Section of our website. How about some fresh produce that the whole family will enjoy? Check out the local Farmers Markets near you.



1.) Cohen, C. W., Fontaine, K. R., Arend, R. C., Alvarez, R. D., Iii, C. A., Huh, W. K., . . . Gower, B. A. (2018). A Ketogenic Diet Reduces Central Obesity and Serum Insulin in Women with Ovarian or Endometrial Cancer. The Journal of Nutrition, 148(8), 1253-1260. doi:11.1093/jn/nxy119


2.)  Cohen, C., Fontaine, K., Arend, R., Soleymani, T., & Gower, B. (2018). Favorable Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Physical Function, Perceived Energy, and Food Cravings in Women with Ovarian or Endometrial Cancer: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 10(9), 1187. doi:11.3390/nu10091187


3.)  Iacovides, S., & Meiring, R. M. (2018). The effect of a ketogenic diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on sleep, cognition, thyroid function, and cardiovascular health independent of weight loss: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 19(1). doi:11.1186/s13063-018-2462-5


4.)  Jabekk, P. T., Moe, I. A., Meen, H. D., Tomten, S. E., & Høstmark, A. T. (2010). Resistance training in overweight women on a ketogenic diet conserved lean body mass while reducing body fat. Nutrition & Metabolism, 7(1), 17. doi:11.1186/1743-7075-7-17


5.)  Josse, A. R., Atkinson, S. A., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Phillips, S. M. (2011). Increased Consumption of Dairy Foods and Protein during Diet- and Exercise-Induced Weight Loss Promotes Fat Mass Loss and Lean Mass Gain in Overweight and Obese Premenopausal Women. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(9), 1626-1634. doi:11.3945/jn.111.141028


6.)  Stomby, A., Simonyte, K., Mellberg, C., Ryberg, M., Stimson, R. H., Larsson, C., . . . Olsson, T. (2014). Diet-induced weight loss has chronic tissue-specific effects on glucocorticoid metabolism in overweight postmenopausal women. International Journal of Obesity, 39(5), 814-819. doi:11.1038/ijo.2014.188


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Instant Pot Winter Chicken and Rice Soup

By Jenifer Restuccio a recent ASU Nutrition Student

This chicken soup recipe is a go-to for cold winter nights. Why do I say that?

  • It’s easy.
  • It’s quick.
  • You probably have most of the ingredients already.
  • It’s the ultimate comfort food.

Normally, making chicken soup requires standing over a hot stove for a few hours, stirring periodically making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. The Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi make classics like chicken soup so much easier and faster to make.

Most of you might have heard of the Instant pot already. It’s the most famous electric pressure cooker that cooks food under high pressure, reducing the cooking time drastically.

The Ninja Foodi is also a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot, except it can do more. The Foodi can also air fry food! My fiancé got me the Foodi for my birthday this past summer and it has changed my life.

If you haven’t tried using a pressure cooker or an air fryer, I highly recommend trying the Ninja Foodi because  its 2-in-1!

This recipe was originally supposed to come out as a soup, but some might call it a stew because it’s hearty, chunky, and there’s not much broth left after the rice soaks it all up during cooking.

Either way, it is delicious and will warm you up on a cold winter day!

Preparation time: 14 minutes

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Serving size: 6 generous portions


1 tablespoon light olive oil

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

6 carrots, chopped

2 onions, chopped

5 stalks celery

6 cups chicken broth or stock

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup basmati rice

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


  1. Turn on your pressure cooker and hit the “sauté” button, choose medium heat. While the cooker is heating up, cut your chicken into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the oil and sauté the chicken until it is browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, chop up your veggies however you like them. I like them on the bigger side for a chunkier texture.
  3. In a separate bowl, rinse the rice at least 3 times under running water, or until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  4. Cancel the sauté function and add the chopped carrots, celery, onion, broth, rinsed rice, bay leaf, salt, pepper, parsley, and lemon juice. Give it a good stir to make sure there are no bits of chicken stuck to the bottom.
  5. Put the pressure cooker lid on and lock it into place. Make sure the pressure cooker vent is set to “SEAL” not “VENT”.
  6. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes.
  7. Once done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then hit quick release. Once pressure is done releasing open the lid carefully, away from you.
  8. Remove the bay leaf from the soup.
  9. Let the soup cool down for about 5 minutes before eating (it’s hot!).
  10. Taste the soup and add more salt or pepper, to your liking.
  11. Enjoy!




  • To make this soup vegetarian, you could omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • If you don’t have light olive oil, any vegetable oil will work just fine.

For more awesome recipes be sure to check out the Fill Your Plate recipe section

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Brown Rice Pasta

By Sarah Beleski a Recent ASU Nutrition Student

Every couple months or so, I travel four hours away to see one of my best friends. During one of my last trips, my friend made the most amazing pasta dish. Growing up in New Jersey, I’ve become accustomed to eating Italian food basically every other day. It’s everywhere around me and I’m not complaining about it. That being said… I am no stranger to pasta. This dish, however, was completely different than anything I’m used to. No red sauce, no red meat, and alternative pasta… and yet it has become one of my favorite meals.

On the night that my friend first made me this meal, I had three servings of it! And I usually eat like a bird, so that’s saying a lot. Below is the recipe for this super simple brown rice pasta dish!



  • 1 box of brown rice pasta (or brown rice quinoa pasta)
  • 1 package of garlic chicken sausage (about 4 sausage links) (or any Italian chicken sausage you can find)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • Around one cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 bunches of dinosaur kale (washed, de-ribbed, and chopped)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. In a large pot, start boiling water for the pasta
  2. Cut the sausage links in little discs and cook them in a large saucepan over medium heat for about 8 minutes, flipping halfway through
  3. When sausages are cooked, transfer them to a plate for later use
  4. In that same saucepan, add a little olive oil to the pan and the sun-dried tomatoes
  5. After a minute or two, add the chopped kale on top, season with salt and pepper, and put a lid on it
  6. After another minute or two, take the lid off and stir everything in the saucepan
  7. Add the pasta to the water and follow cooking instructions on the box
  8. In the saucepan, the kale should be wilting. You can add the sausage back to it and mix it all together
  9. Occasionally stir the mixture in the saucepan on low heat until the pasta is done cooking
  10. Once you’ve drained the pasta, add it to the sausage, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes
  11. Transfer to a large serving bowl, crumble the goat cheese on top, and mix together
  12. You may need to add more salt and pepper, adjusting for your preference. Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for later use

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Warm Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

By Morgan Crawford a recent ASU Nutrition student

I found a delicious recipe for a warm Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad that makes for a perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner side dish. Try it out as a healthy, wholesome addition to your next holiday meal.


  • 1 small Butternut Squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1/3 cup Thinly Sliced Scallions
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Salted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Feta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Balsamic Glaze



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place butternut squash on lined tray, cover with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in medium pan. Add quinoa and toast for 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth and stir. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn to low. Cover pot with lid and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Quinoa is cooked when all of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa looks fluffy.
  5. Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Add butternut squash, cranberries, feta, pomegranate seeds, parsley, and scallions.
  6. Drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired.
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