Glorious Grapes

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

 

One of my favorite fruits in the world is the humble grape, and although they are little, they are tasty, packed with nutrition, and one of the more versatile fruits I’ve come in contact with. When people think of grapes they don’t usually think of complex recipes that use grape as an ingredient; but those recipes are how we get the most use out of the tiny fruit. From salads to whole roasted grapes, there are so many healthy and tasty recipes to be made. (There are even recipes the kids will love, too!)

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Grapes are packed with antioxidants, vitamins like Vitamin C and Vitamin B2, and minerals like potassium and calcium, which means that along with being yummy, they are one of the healthiest fruits you can add to breakfast, lunch, and dinner! No matter when you are going to eat them, we have a recipe for you! Here are our top grape recipes from Fill Your Plate, as well as some of our favorite recipe websites!

 

Breakfast:

  1. Grape Jelly – A great addition to any breakfast, spread this jelly on toast, English muffins, or bagels for an easy and tasty start to your day! If you don’t make your own homemade grape jelly, hunt for one in the store that’s low in sugar.

 

  1. Grape Muffins – A wonderful breakfast for those on the go! Make them the night before and grab them as you are leaving in the morning. You can always freeze the extra!

 

  1. Easy Grape Salad – This sweet salad will make you actually exited to eat something in the morning! No more forcing yourself or the kids to eat one more bite of your normal boring breakfast food! (Plus it’s easy to make!)

 

  1. Raw grapes as your morning fruit – Don’t forget to have a bunch of grapes as your morning fruit! Add them to a breakfast of eggs and bacon! We often go for the orange or apple, but fresh grapes are a perfect breakfast fruit too. (And no pealing is involved, just a quick rinse!)

 

Lunch:

 

  1. Pistachio Salad – The grapes are what make this salad! If you’re looking for a tasty recipe that you can tote with you to work, this is it! The recipe is simple to make, and the results are delicious!

 

  1. Grilled Tuna Steaks with Grape and Caper Salsa – Who would have thought grapes and capers could be mixed into a perfect harmony to top a juicy tuna steak? Well they can be! And the results are that of dining in a fine restaurant!

 

  1. Spiced Chicken and Grape Skewers – Not only are these skewers fun to make and eat, they are super tasty too!

 

 Dinner:

 

  1. Goat Cheese and Grapes White Pizza – This pizza is something new and different to get your family excited about dinner. Whether your family already likes goat cheese or wants to try it, this is the perfect recipe to use to introduce it to everyone!

 

  1. Garlic Chicken and Grapes – Chicken is always a crowd pleaser, and what better compliment to it than juicy, tasty grapes!

 

  1. Focaccia with Rosemary and Grapes – This is a recipe that many people have not tried, but that we highly recommend trying! It will probably be new to your repertoire, and to your tastebuds!

 

With all the different recipes provided, and the others scattered across cookbooks and the internet, there is no doubt you will find a recipe that includes grapes that you and your family will love! Check Fill Your Plate for more grape and raisin recipes, and enjoy!

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Enjoy a Cheesy Mushroom Pizza During Pizza Week

By Veronica De Lira, Nutritionist

It’s Pizza Week! If you’re like my house we usually avoid using the oven in the summer months, as it gets too warm in the house.  Therefore cooler weather means more cooking options. Maybe that’s why Pizza Week is in January.

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Here is my healthy pizza recipe, I came up with it for a class I took but it was so delicious it has become a staple in our house.  It is high in fiber, and full of nutrition and healthy eating essentials.

 

Ingredients:

1 Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 Jar Organic Fat Free Pizza Sauce

½ cup of organic mushrooms

¼ cup of fresh basil

2 cups of low fat shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

Heat oven to °375

Take your whole wheat Pizza Crust

Add the Pizza sauce to your crust

Sprinkle your shredded cheese evenly around the crust

Slice your basil into strips or pieces

Sprinkle your basil over the cheese evenly

Take your mushrooms and according to your preference

Place Pizza in oven bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the cheese in the center of your pizza is evenly melted.

Let cool for 10-15 min.

Enjoy!

 

* You can also add ½ cup of black olives for flavor or pineapples for sweetness

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What not to Eat or Drink before Bed

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

If you are having trouble sleeping at night and are waking up very tired it might be what you are eating before bed. It could also be the fact that you look at your phone, computer, or television up until the time you go to bed, or it could be a medical condition, in which case we recommend consulting with your physician.

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If you sleep well on a regular basis and there are certain nights where you just can’t fall asleep, it is likely an unsuspecting food you ate within a few hours of laying down and trying to catch some shut-eye. A general rule of thumb in the health world is to not eat food after a certain time of night. That recommended time varies, but is usually between seven and nine in the evening. There are foods and beverages that make sense not to eat in the evening including caffeinated drinks like soda and coffee, but sometimes people forget and grab a soda anyway. Other than these caffeinated products that people know might keep them up, there are all kinds of other foods lurking in the shadows, waiting to keep your sleep at bay.

  1. Coffee, Soda and Tea – We are starting with the obvious here! Coffee, soda, and some teas are full of caffeine. Usually we drink such beverages in the morning to wake us up, so it’s not a very good idea to drink it before bed. Caffeine itself stays in your body for up to five hours, while the wakening effects can last for up to 14. If you want to opt for caffeine-free beverages that’s okay, but even decaffeinated coffee and soda can still keep you up with tummy aches and heartburn. It’s best to leave your morning cup of Joe in the A.M. and keep your soda limited to lunch time.
  2. Chocolate – Another sneaky source of caffeine, chocolate may keep you up at night if you eat enough of it. Whether you’re munching on a chocolate bar, eating chocolate ice cream, or drinking a nice warm cup of hot chocolate, you are at risk of losing sleep. The risks are a little bit higher if you are a dark chocolate lover, as dark chocolate contains more caffeine than milk chocolate.
  3. Spicy Foods – Put down that Sriracha bottle! Eating spicy foods in the hours before bed can lead to you not catching enough ‘Z’s’. My downfall is Mexican or Chinese food, both of which can get very spicy, and both of which should be avoided late at night. Eating a large meal of any kind before bed is bad because you’ll end up over-full and bloated, making sleep something that will not happen. If you add some spice in there, you are very likely to end up with acid reflux and a tummy ache. Say ‘bye-bye’ to sleeping well!
  4. Alcohol – Like many of the other things talked about, alcohol can definitely give you a tummy ache which makes it harder to sleep, and it can give you acid reflux, too. You’ll notice that when you drink alcohol you might get sleepy quickly, but although alcohol can knock you out, it will keep you from getting the deep sleep you need so you aren’t tired in the morning.
  5. Ice Cream  – For some reason ice cream always sounds delicious right before bed. Don’t be tempted to have a cone though, the sugar will keep you up all night long! Or, see if you can at least find a low-sugar alternative. Since it’s ice cream, sometimes it doesn’t hurt once in a while. .

Before you ‘hit the sack’ tonight, make sure you don’t eat anything that will keep you away from a good night’s sleep! I you are craving a little something, try a small, warm bowl of oats, or a glass of almond milk. Sleep tight!

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3 Reasons to make Purple Potatoes your go to Potato

By Lisa Kaschmitter, Nutritionist

 

As a born and raised Idahoan, potatoes have always been a part of daily life, even a part of multiple meals during the day. Potatoes have a reputation for being one of the more versatile foods. They are an inexpensive carbohydrate, packed with fiber, potassium and protein. I know Idaho is not alone in their celebration of potatoes because they are a staple on tables in Arizona as well!

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Photo: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/2/3698737_9bd66bc14e_z.jpg

Although potatoes range from red to gold, many people are most familiar with the russet potato, as it can be prepared in many different ways. Mashed, chopped into home fries, sliced into French fries, boiled and added to a creamy potato salad or thinly sliced into rounds, covered with cheese and made into an au gratin side dish, we all have a favorite way to eat this versatile food. Potatoes bring a great range of vitamins and minerals to the dinner table that is important for health.

 

Although I have spent my life surrounded by potatoes, one day I was stopped in my tracks at the grocery store by a potato I didn’t recognize. It was dark purple in color and was on the shelf above the red potatoes that I had been purchasing for months. Being the potato fan that I am, I had to pick some up.

 

When I began researching the purple potato I discovered that they are very similar to the russet potato in the many ways it can be prepared, but the purple potato hides important added health benefits that makes them my new favorite go to potato for all my favorite dishes.

 

What is so great about the purple potato?

 

  • Antioxidants: The purple coloring of the purple potato is a sign of its high antioxidant levels. Anthocyanin is responsible for blue/purple colors in foods.1 This pigment adds an antioxidant level in purple potatoes that is four times the antioxidant levels in russet potatoes.2 It is believed that anthocyanin is also responsible for heart healthy benefits and healthy blood pressure levels.1,3

 

  • Fiber: They contain double the fiber of russet potatoes. Although fiber levels in both types of potatoes are rather low, (1/2 cup russets: 1 gram, ½ cup purple potatoes: 2 grams), it is an important difference.2 Increasing your intake of fiber from plant sources is essential for a healthy body. Potatoes are a form of soluble fiber that plays a role in removing cholesterol from the blood.4 The best way to take advantage of this fiber source is to utilize the potato skin.3 The skin contains the most fiber and therefore it is better let on and enjoyed when possible.

 

  • Lower Blood Pressure: As was mentioned in the first reason, the blood pressure lowering qualities of purple potatoes have been studied with positive results. In one such study people who saw the benefits were required to eat 6 to 8 potatoes for two meals a day.3 Although, this seems like a lot of food, it only added to approximately 218 calories per day and saw their blood pressure reading lowered by 4.3 percent, while they saw a 3.5 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure.3

 

These unique potatoes come in many varieties, my favorite being the Purple Viking, and they were originally cultivated in the South American countries of Peru and Bolivia.2 Cooking these antioxidant filled potatoes is just as easy as using the russet potato and the taste is identical. Not only will is it fun to serve something that looks so different, everyone will be able to enjoy the extra boost to their antioxidant level and their daily fiber intake.

If you want to know more about purple potatoes, check out our previous blog: The Scoop on Purple Potatoes!

References

  • Glover BJ, Martin C. Anthocyanins. Current Biology. March 2012; 22(5): R147-R150. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.01.021
  • Makkieh K. Purple Potatoes Nutrition Facts. SFGATE. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/purple-potatoes-nutrition-2182.html Accessed November 9, 2015.
  • Vinson JA, Demkosky CA, Navarre DA, Smyda MA. High-Antioxidant Potatoes: Acute in Vivo Antioxidant Source and Hypotensive Agent in Humans after Supplementation to Hypertensive Subjects. J. Agric Food Chem. January 2012; 60(27): 6749-6754. doi: 10.1021/jf2045262
  • Why is fibre important? NHS Web site. http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1141.aspx?categoryid=51 Updated: May 3, 2015. Accessed November 9, 2015.
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10 Dos and Don’ts with Sweets for your Teeth

By Angela C. Torrence, RDH and nutritionist

You try to teach your kids to brush two times daily, floss daily, and see your hygienist at least 2 times yearly. This should lead to perfect teeth, right? I’ve spoken with so many caregivers who only consider pop and candy enemies of the mouth; but, there is more to it than avoiding those simple sugars! So many parents and grandparents have heard that sugar is bad for teeth, but what exactly is sugar and how can kids (and adults) avoid it?

Snacking is one of the biggest contributors to tooth decay and yet, it is hardly discussed. The following are some snacking dos and don’ts for the health of your and your kids’ mouth.

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Don’t include:

  • Gummy snacks and caramels are sticky sugars that are definite no-nos.
  • Granola bars are laden with sugar and stick to the grooves of your teeth keeping the sugar in contact with the tooth longer.
  • Potato chips have small amounts of sugar and also stick to teeth. Notice a trend? Keep those sticky things off your teeth.
  • Carbohydrates are sugars. Bagels, breads, and pastas are sugars when broken down in your saliva. Things like bagels stick to the teeth keeping the sugar in contact with the tooth longer, so limit these items to reduce the carbs from sticking.
  • Constantly sipping on drinks including diet soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks can definitely contribute to tooth decay. Note: if you must have these drinks, drinking it faster (in about 10 minutes) is better for the teeth than drinking it slowly (over the course of an hour).

Do include:

  • Eat healthy snacks like carrots, celery, bell pepper slices, cheese sticks, whole apples, and nuts which are great options.
  • Drink water after snacks helps to wash away excess food debris.
  • White milk helps restore minerals in the enamel and helps to buffer acid in the mouth.
  • Swish with a fluoride rinse after snacking to help strengthen enamel.
  • Brush your teeth two to three times daily and aim to floss daily (this can include using a water flosser).

In Arizona, you have access to a great variety of fruits and vegetables that are not only better for your teeth but naturally healthy for you. Remember Fill Your Plate to find ideas about vegetable snacks and more.

 

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