You Can Stop Overeating Today

By Kevin Dietmeyer, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student


Do you know how many calories you consumed today?  What about yesterday?  Can you tell me how many calories you consume in an average week?  Even if you can pull all of your food out of the ground and directly from the pond, it’s possible to overeat.  Too much of anything can be harmful and it’s entirely realistic to have too much of a good thing.


Perhaps you overeat because it’s been one of those packed days and you haven’t had a chance to slow down for a snack or a meal.  Maybe you overeat because you feel the need to finish everything on your plate before leaving the table.  You may overeat simply because the person across from you at the table has been matching you bite for bite and you’re in an unconscious pacing war at dinner.


Plenty of well-intentioned weight loss warriors fall victim to portion control and you don’t have to be defeated anymore.  The main thing is to make moderation the main thing and here are three ways you can start taking control of your weight loss today.


Wait until your hunger level is 70% before you start eating 


Don’t wait until the end of the day or until you’ve reached the level of “hangry,” to search out your next meal.  Train yourself to eat when you’re about 70% hungry and you’ll learn to eat intentionally instead of eating reactively.


Stop eating when you’re 70% full


Portion control is all about setting boundaries and if you start eating when you’re 70% hungry, you need to train yourself to set a boundary at 70% when you stop eating.


Pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table


This one is simple but very effective.  Slow down and give your body a chance to tell you when you’ve had enough.  Pacing yourself with the slowest eater is easier than counting how often you chew and it can be fun to do at a restaurant if you look around.


For healthy, portion controlled recipes, visit the recipe section of Fill Your Plate.




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Asparagus – White v. Green, is there a Difference?

By Emily Carver, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student 

Asparagus in the United States is best known for its vibrant green color. You can find them bundled up in groups of nine, in the produce section at the grocery store, typically standing tall hoping to grab your eye, so you can enjoy them later that night.


In Europe, however, there’s another kind of asparagus that gets far more attention – the white variety. Or as the Germans call it “Weiss Spargel,” (pronounced “vice shp-are-guh-l) literally translated means, white asparagus. Each year, Germany has to import up to 10,000 tons more than the 60,000 tons grown in the country, because the demand is so high. There are even asparagus festivals held.

To say they’re obsessed would be an understatement. But what is so special about white asparagus? Is it that much different than the green we know so well?

In short, no. But in long, yes.

White asparagus is handled with care from start to finish. To grow it takes a lot of time, patience, and fortitude, as it’s very labor-intensive. The asparagus stays white thanks to how it’s grown – in the ground. The farmers do everything to ensure it never sees the light of day. Unlike its vibrant green cousin, keeping it from the sunlight prevents the asparagus from creating chlorophyll, and because of this, it won’t turn green. Not only does this keep it white, it also allows the spears, the heads of the asparagus, the chance to become more tender, as well.


When ready to be harvested, the farmers painstakingly remove each stalk by hand, so as to keep the whole asparagus intact. Once removed, they get inspected to determine what class they’ll fall in. The most expensive “Extra Spargel.” The impressive, yet slightly bent “Handelsklasse I” (HK I). And finally, the less-loved “Handelsklasse II” (HK II), which is the least expensive of them all.


This delicacy can be enjoyed until June much in the same way our beloved green variety is enjoyed. Both white and green share very similar nutritional values, with both being fat-free and full of vitamins and minerals essential to a balanced and healthy life, like folate, Vitamin K, C, E and B2 to name a few.


Vitamin K is vital in helping clot our blood.


Folate plays an important role in ensuring our nervous system works properly sending signals throughout our body.


Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radicals from breaking down our healthy cells in our body. Left unattended, free radicals can lead to disease and even cancer.


Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, plays a key role in energy production, as well as, assisting other nutrients within the body. What’s most notable about riboflavin that could be alarming at first is its noticeable impact it has on the body. Where green asparagus might give our urine a slight smell, riboflavin changes the color to a bright, highlighter yellow. It’s nothing to be alarmed about if it happens, yet something worth knowing in case you consume vitamin B2.


With either asparagus choice, you can’t go wrong with flavor and nutrition. If you come across white asparagus in the coming asparagus season, look to see if the stalks are straight, firm, and completely white – the extra spargel class. Or bent, slightly purple, and partially broken – the HK I and HKII class – and take some home with you knowing they were harvested by hand by a hardworking farmer.


Some tips for cooking them are:
Naturally bend and break the ends.
Peel away the bitter outer layer.

Gently steam for 10-15 minutes in water and a splash of lemon juice. Topping with a pad of butter and a sprinkle of salt.
Enjoy! Or as the Germans say, Guten Appetit!


Posted in Cooking, Food, Food Facts, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Produce, Vegetables | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Let Fill Your Plate Fill Your Plate

By Ashley TenBrink, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student 

I have a question for you.


Are you interested in buying ‘real food’, from ‘real farmers’, while embracing your ‘real community?’


I can bet the answer is a definite ‘yes!’


Well then, let me be your guide as we explore how Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate blog can assist you in your search and connect you with the local food that needs to be in your kitchen.

Here at, Arizonans have easy access to a searchable database of farm products, farmer’s markets, and recipes. By selecting “Find a Farm Product” from either the home page or the sidebar link, you will be able to search for a farmer who carries a specific product, near you. For instance, you could search for “cucumbers” and a list of local Arizona farms would automatically be generated. If instead, you want to find a Farmer’s Market that may carry a variety of produce, select “Find a Farmer’s Market” to access an interactive map. Your search can get even better by selecting “Find Recipes”, where you can choose a popular ingredient, popular category, or search for a recipe that uses a specific food.



How I Used Fill Your Plate to Search for Food Treasures


When I was a little girl, my mom and I would go on mini-adventures and stay-cations together.  Every Sunday we would explore the city we lived in and find either a new toy store or a new lunch spot.  More recently, we have transitioned our fun to going on food expeditions together!  Once a week, we pick a farm or farmer’s market to venture out to.  On one such occasion, we used the Fill Your Plate website to find Blue Sky Organic Farm, located in Litchfield Park, Arizona.


I discovered that this family owned and operated farm has been in business since 1994!  On our trip to Blue Sky Organic, we had a fantastic afternoon touring the farm, sampling produce and meeting the friendly, knowledgeable staff.  Needless to say, we left with a box full of affordable, organic goodies!


It is easy to fall in love with grocery shopping when you get to see where your fruits and veggies are coming from.  I will admit, after trying their strawberries and strawberry jam, I was hooked!
The Value of Local Foods
Through organizations like the Arizona Farm Bureau and farms like Blue Sky Organic, I have learned the value of buying local foods.


By investing in our farming communities we are able to embrace the development of our local economies.  There is a large return from this investment.


What began as a way to stretch my food dollars, turned into a new way of life.  After choosing to eat locally, my health has improved, I have ventured into the art of cooking, and my family has been able to enjoy balanced, delicious dinners together.  With each bite, I gain more confidence that we are enjoying quality food, grown by people we can trust. The security in that is so rewarding.


If you aren’t part of the local food movement yet, I encourage you to give it a try! Whether you are searching for ways to stretch your own food dollars, or you want to introduce your family to where food comes from, by choosing local you will not be disappointed.


What If You’re Not in Arizona?


If you are not located in Arizona, don’t worry, I have a resource that can help you.  You can visit, to access a national online search for locally grown produce.  What Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate does locally, Local Harvest does nationally.

You do not have to miss out because with this resource you can also have access to local farmers who grow and sell all types of quality food. With a national directory that lists over 30,000 family farms and farmers markets, along with local restaurants and grocery stores, I am sure you will find what you are searching for.


Posted in Arizona, Arizona farmers and ranchers, Farmer's Markets, Fill Your Plate, Focus on Agriculture, On the Farm | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Avoiding The Deadly Quartet

By Nathan Chambers, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student


Insulin resistance, an excessive intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, even eating a large amount of saturated fat… these are precursors for diabetes. But did you know that there is another issue out there? One with which some sources claim 35% of the adult population in the United States is afflicted?


Metabolic syndrome is associated with being overweight, obesity, insulin resistance, and an inactive lifestyle. But developing metabolic syndrome could only be the beginning… individuals suffering from this disorder are extremely likely to develop cardiovascular issues and type II diabetes.

What is it?


Metabolic syndrome (the deadly quartet) is defined as suffering from the following problems at the same time:


  • Excess visceral body fat (fat around the midsection)
  • Insulin resistance/High blood sugar
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol/triglyceride levels





Individuals who are eating an excessive amount of sugar are at risk of developing metabolic syndrome– or any of the individual symptoms associated with the syndrome. Attaining just one of these symptoms puts you at a severe risk compared to a person with a normal body weight, blood sugar level, blood pressure, etc. Childhood obesity is a huge factor in the development of metabolic syndrome and so many other problems later in life.



What can you do?


If you have been paying attention to our posts here at the Arizona Farm Bureau, you are probably doing just fine! All our posts are pointing to the same thing, almost every time. It isn’t about eliminating things from your diet. Healthful eating isn’t about harsh restrictions.


  • Eat more vegetables
  • Eat more fruits
  • Eat legumes
  • Eat more fish
  • Eat more lean meat or poultry
  • Eat probiotic and fermented foods


The Mediterranean diet is a diet high in healthful fats, which help to normalize blood cholesterol/triglyceride levels. It is also very high in vegetables and fruits which means it’s high in fiber. More and more I am seeing this way of eating being linked to health benefits.


An example of a day eating on the Mediterranean diet:




Greek Yogurt

Granola (no sugar added; whole grain)


A handful of almonds


(I might add a cup of coffee with coconut oil)


350 calories (not including coffee)









200 Calories





Fresh salad with oil and vinegar dressing


Hummus and whole grain pita




550 Calories





Grilled Salmon

Brown Rice

Grilled Veggies


550 Calories



That’s a total of about 1650 calories… depending on your portion sizes. This number of calories should be adequate for many people as is, or should be an okay place to start if you need to lose weight (depending on weight/health factors. When cutting calories always consult with a doctor). If you’re an active male, add in one more snack and have slightly larger portions. This will get you to 2000+ calories no problem!


For more delicious and healthy meal inspiration visit Fill Your Plate’s recipe page!





Eckel, R. H., Alberti, K., Grundy, S. M., & Zimmet, P. Z. (2010). The metabolic syndrome. The Lancet, 375(9710), 181-183. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61794-3


Yazdanpanahi, Z., Hajifoghaha, M., & Nematollahi, A. (2012). 1722 metabolic syndrome: Birth weight and childhood obesity. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 97(Suppl 2), A486-A487. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302724.1722


Sofi, F., Macchi, C., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F., & Casini, A. (2013). Mediterranean diet and health. Biofactors, 39(4), 335-342. doi:10.1002/biof.1096













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Quick and Easy Rice & Beans

By Cameron Saylor, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student


As a college student, my time can be very limited. Thus, I sometimes forget to eat and when I remember I usually go for what is fast and easy. One of the ways that I make sure I am eating plenty of nutrients and making good choices, is by meal prepping. Below, I detail one of my favorite meal prep recipes. Spanish rice and refried beans is full of many healthy fats, fiber, protein and carbohydrates. It can be easily eaten as an on the go snack or added to a tortilla with some shredded chicken and sliced avocado. The best part about this recipe is that it takes only about 30 minutes to make. Check it out below.

Refried Beans



  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp oil (I use avocado but feel free to use your favorite cooking oil)
  • 2 cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste


In a small stock pot, sauté garlic in oil until fragrant (1-2 minutes), add remaining ingredients and heat to boil. Stir until desired consistency is met. You can also try adding onions, diced green chilies or hot sauce in place of dry spices.


For a quick snack, top with cheese or whip up a quick batch of 5 layer nachos. (Chips, cheese, lettuce, beans, and tomatoes)




Spanish Rice


This recipe has a slight kick of heat to it, if you are not a fan of heat, substitute one 6 oz can of tomato sauce and 1/2 tablespoon chicken bullion in place of El Pato.



  • 2 tsp oil (avocado, canola, vegetable, or whatever oil you prefer to cook with)
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (for cooking white rice, liquid to grain ratio is 1: 2 meaning, 1 part rice, 2 parts liquid) ** You may also use brown rice, this will require slightly more water.
  • 5-2 cups water (when cooking any grain, excess water may be an issue. That’s fine, just drain remaining liquid. If too dry, add more water.)
  • 1 can El Pato. (spiced tomato sauce, in the Mexican food section)
  • 1 green onion shoot if desired. ( throw in while rice is cooking and pick out before serving.)


Brown rice in oil on medium heat until lightly browned. Do not allow to burn. In a measuring cup, add El Pato and fill remaining volume with water to equal desired portion of liquid to rice ratio. Add liquid to rice (add the liquid slowly as the liquid will start to boil). Bring to boil, toss in green onion if desired. Place on low heat until rice is done or to desired taste/texture. About 15/20 mins. When the rice is done, remove the onion and enjoy with some fresh green onions on top or mix with the beans from the recipe above and make it a light dinner.


If you liked this recipe, be sure to stay tuned for more recipes to come and check out!

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