Yes, I Eat My Calcium

By Angela C Torrence, RDH, ASU Nutrition Student

In more recent years, calcium has come up in the media as a mineral lacking in the Standard American Diet. With this emphasis placed on the necessity of calcium, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in calcium fortified products. Interestingly, calcium is one of the main minerals making up tooth enamel, and it is necessary to be present in saliva in order to help re-mineralize the enamel. In fact, the main components of enamel include: calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium.

Cute little girl pouring milk in glass, isolated over white

Many people are aware that fluoridated toothpaste and water helps to strengthen enamel and prevent tooth decay, but fluoride isn’t the only hope for stronger teeth. Some toothpastes are including calcium and phosphorous in order to more closely resemble the natural tooth composition and minerals naturally found in saliva too. Well that seems to make sense! How else can we get those components in our saliva? May I suggest diet?


Yes! Cheese as a healthy snack has been a long accepted part of a tooth-friendly diet. The calcium presence, and saliva-stimulation are the main reasons for the recommendation; but, are milk and dairy products the only sources of calcium?


Dark leafy-greens contain some of the highest calcium levels in the vegetable world: collard greens, turnip greens, kale, spinach, and broccoli to name a few. Dislike the greens? Well, you can still get your calcium by way of garlic, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (or tahini), oranges, soybeans, almonds, white beans, and dried figs; not to mention the fortified nut milks and orange juice on the market. One of my favorite calcium-abundant meals is the Indian Saag. Your choice of greens can be used (I often combine kale with spinach) pulsed in a food processor, and instead of the typical Indian cheese called paneer, I use cubes of tofu which has a very similar texture and mouth feel.


As taken from but altered to my preferences, I use a can of coconut milk to replace the cream and yogurt. Enjoy!



Posted in Food, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Wonderful World of Carrots

By Angela Torrence, ASU Nutrition Student


October through February is prime carrot season in Arizona, so don’t hesitate to get out those carrots and use them to your heart’s content! Despite the cooler weather season of carrots, you can have access to them year-around thanks to our abundant produce aisles in the grocery store. Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, fiber, and they provide vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, folate, and more!


You may be familiar with the benefits that carrots can have on vision, but did you know that they are antioxidant-rich and can help prevent several forms of cancer too? This article highlights a few studies which show the advantage of consuming carrots in the battle against several types of cancer.


If you’re like me, you love carrots: raw, cooked, juiced…it’s all amazing! I recently bought a huge bag of carrots and didn’t nearly eat them as quickly as I should have. Sound familiar? On my day off, I came up with a few ways to use the carrots before they went bad.


Tips for Having Loads of Carrots in Your Diet

Carrot Apple Ginger Juice – To feel refreshed and rejuvenated.


I was able to contribute the carrot and ginger pulp from the juice into this carrot-ginger dressing for one amazing salad!



Dessert is the most fun meal of the day and so I decided to make my carrots into an Indian-inspired sweet snack:


Carrot Sweet Snack


  • Peeled and sliced carrots about ¼” rounds
  • Coconut oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Dash of ground coriander
  • Hint of ground cardamom


Sautee carrot slices in the coconut oil and add spices about 8-10 minutes or until softened but not mushy. If you need some added sweetness, you can add a pinch of sugar or a nice spoonful of applesauce. Enjoy warm!


To make this carrot dessert a masterpiece, a small dollop of banana ice cream over the top is delicious!


When I have an abundance of any of these ingredients, I love to simply roast them and have a great side dish. You can alter the amounts or eliminate any of the ingredients.


Roasted Root Vegetables


  • 5 Carrots
  • 3-4 Parsnips
  • 2 Potatoes
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • Enough oil to lightly coat the vegetables (olive or canola)
  • Salt and Pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Peel and chop the vegetables into ¾ inch pieces (try to keep the vegetables roughly the same size).


On a large baking sheet, toss vegetables with oil and add pepper generously. Spread in a single layer and bake for 50-70 minutes, tossing the vegetables once or twice until all the vegetables are soft. Season with salt to taste.


For variety:

  • You might add quartered Brussel sprouts or cooked beets if you have them on hand.
  • Toss vegetables in either rosemary, thyme, or parsley for some added savory flavor.




Posted in Food, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Recipes | Leave a comment

Yum! Gluten-Free Almond Muffins made with Coconut flour

By Lisa Kaschmitter, Arizona State University Nutrition Student


For those sensitive to this duel protein, gluten has become a feared substance around the country and here in Arizona over the past few years. Gluten is a part of most people’s diet as it is found in wheat, barley, and rye. But a sensitivity that ranges from a slight intolerance to a severe form, Celiac Disease, is found in an estimated 1 out of 100 people throughout the world. However, many of those affected will remain undiagnosed.1 Gluten-free requests have become so common that many ready-to-eat food manufacturers and restaurants have begun carrying and labeling gluten-free items.


For reference, gluten is simply a substance naturally found in most cereal grains. This mixture of two proteins is what creates the elasticity texture in dough. The protein is found in the endosperm in the grain seed. For some, gluten is hard to digest and can create complications.


The symptoms of Celiac disease differ between adults and children. Children with gluten sensitivities may present a range of symptoms including constipation, vomiting, chronic diarrhea, fatigue, irritability, failure to thrive, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and weight loss. Adults with the disease my experience arthritis, fatigue, iron-deficiency anemia, migraines, tingling numbness in the hands and feet, and anxiety.1 offers many resources for those who think they may have a sensitivity to gluten.


Awareness of Celiac Disease has brought about many products that are labeled gluten-free on the grocery store shelves and restaurants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) beginning in August of 2014 regulated this gluten-free labeling.2 In order to use this label, a manufacturer must ensure that their products contain no more than 1/8 teaspoon of gluten per 18 slices of a loaf of bread.2


Beyond Labels, Preparing Homemade Gluten-Free Products at Home

Along with these newly labeled ready-to-eat products, there are now more ways than ever to prepare homemade goods without using products that contain gluten. There are many types of flour that have increased in popularity due to higher public awareness of gluten sensitivities.  These include…

  • Nut flours,
  • Buckwheat flour,
  • Coconut flour,
  • Corn flour, and
  • Others.


There are also special blends designed specifically to create results as similar to all-purpose flour as possible. Each different kind of flour presents particular tradeoffs, but if your family is affected by Celiac disease, or if you’re just ready to try something new, experimenting with these other types of flour can be a rewarding experience.


Personally, I have family members and friends who require gluten-free diets, so as my baking season gets into full swing, (October-January), I have been excited to try my hand at gluten-free baked goods. I stumbled upon a bag of coconut flour at the grocery store one day, and without much research I bought it. After bringing it home, I started experimenting. There are many recipes out there that are designed to use coconut flour, but I had a favorite Almond Muffin recipe from Baker Street in mind.  (You can find the original here


The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I modified the muffin batter recipe to the one that came with the bag of coconut flour.  Coconut flour is more dense and absorbent than traditional flours, so it requires a very different ratio of liquid to dry ingredients than is found in many recipes.


Here is what I came up with:


Coconut Flour Almond Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


  • 6 medium eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt




  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. (Flour, almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.)
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients. (Beaten eggs, milk, olive oil, and almond extract).
  4. Make a well in the center of the bowl with dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Gently mix until the mixtures are just incorporated together, be careful not to over mix.
  5. Divide muffin batter into 12 lined cupcake papers.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden.
  7. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack.


My whole house was filled with the smell of almonds as these baked.  As soon as they came out of the oven, I couldn’t resist breaking one of these in half and trying it. Although I burned myself, (I recommend letting them cool a little!),  I was immediately struck by the delicate coconut flavor this flour added to the already delicious almond batter; even my picky husband liked these better.


These gluten-free muffins are a yummy addition to your breakfast table, but I have to say, my favorite thing about these muffins is how packed full of protein and fiber they are. Here is the nutritional breakdown*:


  Traditional Almond Muffins Coconut Flour Muffins
Calories 181 186
Carbohydrates 21 g 17.3 g
Fiber .75 g 5.6 g
Protein 3 g 6.6 g
Fat 10.33 g 13.3 g
Sodium 14.9 mg 28.25 mg

*per 1 muffin


Honestly, this recipe is great for those who need to stay away from gluten, but it tastes so good you will have everyone in the family excited to eat them. Even better, you’ll be able to feel good knowing that a couple of these for breakfast or a snack are a tastier and healthier alternative to the traditional muffin.


Go to to find other gluten-free recipes and all sorts of baking recipes.





  1. What is Celiac Disease? Celiac Website. Accessed October 12, 2015.
  2. Facts About the FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule. Celiac Website. Published August 5, 2014. Accessed October 12, 2015.
Posted in Food, Gluten, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Cook with Lemons

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Lemons are one of the many tasty fruits in season in spring. A favorite of Arizonans, the lemon can be used in many different dishes to create culinary works of art. It’s not sweet like your typical fruit, or citrus for that matter, but people seem to really enjoy the taste of lemon in foods.

Abstract background with citrus-fruit of lemon slices. Close-up. Studio photography.

Here in Arizona, we grow some of the best lemons around. Though you might see old citrus orchards in Mesa turned into development, Yuma county is still host to a variety of citrus groves, among other areas in the state.

Plus, as we know, lemons are high in vitamin C. A squirt of fresh lemon in a glass of water brightens the beverage immediate and ensures an infusion of health.

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, and I can’t resist a good lemon meringue pie! As we move into spring and summer, citrus flavors become more popular, and citrus fruits become more available. So go stock up on lemons, because you’re going to need them to make the following recipes!

Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:



Refresh yourself this spring and summer with the zesty and abundant lemon. Head to your local grocery store to pick some up, and spend the coming warm months learning to cook and bake with them! The first thing I’m going to try off this list is the Arizona Sunshine Lemon Pie! Try it with me, and let me know what you think in the comments! Also, remember to visit Fill Your Plate for more fun and tasty citrus recipes!


Posted in Cooking, Food, Fruit, In Season, In the Kitchen, Produce, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast Pizza

By Maiely Lopez, a Nutrition Communication Undergrad at Arizona State University


What better way to start your morning than with pizza? A breakfast pizza jammed packed with nutrient dense, fresh vegetables! This recipe has been one of my favorites to prepare because it is a simple, quick, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to put together, which is why I wanted to share it with all of you.


What you need:

1tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup of spinach

1 (8-inch) whole-grain tortilla

1 lg plum tomato, thinly sliced

1 lg egg

Pinch of salt and pepper

½ avocado (mashed)


What to do:

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F
  2. Place an egg in a pot and cover with cold water by 1-inch and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down for about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Drain and cool the hardboiled egg under cold water and peel.
  5. Heat 1tsp of olive oil on a nonstick pan, add spinach and cook until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Heat up the tortilla. After it is heated spread the mashed avocado evenly on the tortilla.
  7. Divide the spinach and tomatoes evenly among the tortilla, leaving an empty space in the center for an egg.
  8. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and enjoy



Maiely Lopez is a Nutrition Communication Undergrad at Arizona State University. She was born, here, in the Valley of the Sun and enjoys doing a variety of different things in her spare time, such as, biking, hiking, gardening and painting.

In the past she has interned as an Outreach Community Project Coordinator for Horny Toad Farm, where she contributed to their weekly newsletter, managed the farmers’ market stand and picked up her love of gardening.

Her objective, upon obtaining her bachelor’s degree, is to seek a profession that focuses on health marketing through the use of social media and other mediums of communication. She believes that it is the responsibility of nutrition professionals to help the individual better understand the importance of nutrition and how it is essential to live a long, happy and healthy life.


Posted in Cooking, Diet Tips, Food, Health Tips, Healthy Eating | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment