Fill Your Plate with Cabbage

By Sarah Levesque, Recent ASU Nutrition Student

We grow lots of cabbage and bok choy in Arizona during the winter. Here’s why it’s so healthy.

A staple in kimchi, and is used for soups or for the outer rolls for pork, chicken and seafood dishes, Chinese cabbage is a green leafy vegetable that is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  But Chinese cabbage is more than just a side at a Korean dinner, it’s a nutrient-dense vegetable that has many health benefits. Chinese cabbage has been studied for its ability to reduce inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Adding bok choy, another name for the Chinese cabbage, to your plate at home does more than add variety of nutrients, it also has a mild flavor. Although this leafy vegetable has been around for years, its health benefits and cancer-fighting properties are still being discovered today.

If the bold flavor and crispy texture aren’t enough to convince you to add it to your weekly menu, here’s a list of what bok choy has to offer otherwise. Competing against kale, bok choy is a nutrient-dense option to add a variety to your kitchen to help you mix it up and take a chance on a less popular green that deserves some attention.

Bok Choy contains:

Glutamine

It’s the same family of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. These are cruciferous vegetables that are rich in nutrients, minerals, and carotenoids. Cabbage is high in glutamine when it’s uncooked. Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles. Even though your body can make enough of this amino acid, after an intense workout or injury, your body might need more than it can produce. Instead of taking glutamine supplements after tough workouts, incorporating green leafy vegetables like Bok Choy is a healthier option that could save you money.

Vitamin A-RDA 2300 IU for Women, 3000 IU for men

Bok Choy is also high in vitamin A. Vitamin A helps with our vision in dim lighting and lower the risk of cataract and macular degeneration. It also helps keep our skin healthy and supports our body’s natural ability to fight against illness and infection. Just 100 g of fresh bok-choy is 149% of our daily-required amounts of vitamin A coming in with a whopping 4468 IU of vitamin A in just 100 g of uncooked bok choy.

Vitamin C- RDA 60 mg

Just 100 g of bok choy provides us with 75% of our daily requirements of vitamin-C, which supports our immune systems. This makes bok choy a great option to add to soups or broths when trying to fight off that cold since it acts as a shield against free radicals.

Vitamin K- RDA 122 µg-138 µg

This vitamin is being studied today for its potential role in strengthening our bones and delaying osteoporosis. Vitamin K is also known for its role in blood clotting and regulation of blood calcium. We can get 38% of our recommended daily allowance of Vitamin K in just 3.5 ounces or 100 g of uncooked bok choy.

Calcium– RDA 1000 mg

Bok choy offers a variety of minerals. It contains approximately 11% of our daily recommended allowance of calcium. Calcium helps keep our bones strong and control muscle and nerve function.

Magnesium- RDA 310-420 mg

Magnesium helps regulate reactions in the body from protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It’s also important for muscle contraction, regulating your heart rhythm, and nerve impulse conduction. Just 100 g of bok choy serves up 5% of the recommended daily allowance.

Iron- RDA 11/15 mg

10% of our recommended daily allowance of iron can be obtained from just 100 g of bok choy. Women actually require a little more iron in their diet than men because of menstruation. Iron supports a healthy metabolism, is necessary for growth, development, cellular function, and synthesis of hormones and connective tissue.

Potassium-  RDA 4700-5100 mg

For healthy muscle and nerve function, potassium is an important mineral. Potassium helps regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, heart function, nerve impulses, and contraction of skeletal and smooth muscle.  With about half of what a banana offers, bok choy offers 5% of our RDA.

 

There’s a lot of studies being done on bok choy, and similar dark, leafy greens, to understand the full potential eating Chinese cabbage has on our health. Bok choy is inexpensive and is found in most stores next to the other greens.

Instead of cooking the cabbage, I decided to try it as a salad to preserve the flavor and the nutrients that the greens offer. As someone who eats mostly spinach and arugula, I loved having this green in place of the usual. It was an enjoyable way to mix things up a bit. It had a very robust and full flavor that paired well with the aromatic red bell pepper I added to the dish. The cucumbers tied together the bell peppers and bok choy well. I dressed it with just balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and olive oil.

The Fill Your Plate website has many amazing recipes, some of the recipes call for bok choy! Be sure to take a look at the recipes and other articles on the Fill Your Plate Blog!

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The Fill Your Plate Blog is Pouring its Heart into Healthy Eating

By Bailey Roden, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

The month of February isn’t just about hearts of love, but also healthy hearts. During this month many organizations work to raise awareness for heart disease. This awareness is to remind people of the importance of their heart and ways to keep it healthy. On the Fill Your Plate blog there are some articles relating to heart health with some amazing tips, and even some healthy heart recipes as well.

An often overlooked item that’s great for your heart is olive oil.  The olive oil works to protect your heart from heart disease podcast gives interesting insight. Olive oil can be purchased from local growers in Queen Creek, Arizona at the Queen Creek Olive Mill.

Did you know dairy can help prevent cardiovascular disease? Diary is another product that can be purchased from local farms! Bashas’ and other grocery stores carry a variety of different dairy products that are locally raised.

Have you heard of the Mediterranean Diet? This diet has picked up as a popular food trend. While it may be in style, it’s also good for your heart. This diet works to prevent heart disease and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is the lesser known disease but it has had a huge impact on the human race. This disease is a silent killer as people often don’t know they have it until it’s too late. So, it’s important you are creating an environment for a healthy heart to avoid the disease. A healthy heart environment means healthy food in the house and regular checkups to the doctor to ensure your heart is in the best shape it can be.

Heart disease can be prevented by eating the right foods. By eating simple things that include lots of fruit and vegetables and lean meats and whole grains.

For more information on how to keep your whole body healthy keep your eye on the Fill Your Plate blog. New blogs are posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and each blog is jammed packed with information to keep you healthy and happy.

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Ginger-Mushroom Spring Rolls

By Cameron Saylor, Recent ASU Nutrition Student

Spring is around the corner. Okay, in Arizona it’s already here. When I think of spring I think of spring rolls. Well, yes, because it’s in the title. But they are light, refreshing and healthy.

These spring rolls will take your springtime get-togethers to the next level!

Depending on your skills with wrapping a spring roll, this recipe should make about 10-15 rolls.

Filling:

  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (your favorite variety will do just fine, I use whatever is on sale)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp neutral cooking oil (I use avocado but you can use whatever you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup minced green onions
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger (must be the fresh stuff, this isn’t pumpkin pie time)
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

 

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce (totally optional but who doesn’t love dipping sauce?)

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic chili paste
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 finely chopped peanuts (Optional)

 

Rolls:

  • 6-8 lettuce leaves
  • 1 cucumber sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 carrot sliced into matchsticks
  • 2/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 pack large spring roll/rice paper wrappers

 

Directions:

 

Step 1 – Heat neutral oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms start to get a little watery, should be about 2-3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, green onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then add the sesame oil and stir to combine. Set the filling aside to cool while you make the dipping sauce. If you’re skipping on the sauce, proceed to step 3

 

Step 2 – In a small sauce pot, combine vinegar and sugar and simmer over medium heat. Allow the mixture to cook for about 3-4 minutes and then gradually stir in the chili paste and lime juice. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Once cool, move to a storage container for later use. The peanuts will have their debut soon.

 

Step 3 – It’s finally time to make some spring rolls. Follow the directions on the back of the rice paper package for preparation. Making one at a time, lay a leaf of lettuce down on the rice paper and then begin adding your contents. Remember, you’re going to roll these beauty’s up so be careful not to pack too much in one roll. Once you have added all the ingredients from step one and three, fold the wrapper over once left to right or right to left, whichever you prefer, and then fold the bottom up like the end of a burrito. The paper can get sticky quick, so be careful. Continue making rolls until you run out of filling. When you’re ready to serve, add the peanuts to the dipping sauce and get ready for a mouthful of happiness. These spicy little treats will last about two days in the fridge but mine never even make it there.

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Quality Carbohydrates

By Alise Robers, Recent ASU Nutrition Student

The most important thing about carbohydrates is the type you choose to eat. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fibers that work as the body’s main source of energy. We are probably most familiar with them in their refined forms, which include table sugar and high fructose corn syrup used in cookies, soft drinks, candies, jams, and other sweetened foods.

Keep in mind that some sources are healthier than others. Good sources of carbohydrates include legumes (dried beans and peas), vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grain foods.  For example, switch out the french fries or highly refined white bread you were going to have for dinner with some whole wheat bread or quinoa!

Listed below are eight quality carbohydrate options to mix into your diet.

 

Brown Rice

 

Steamed brown rice is a great carbohydrate option. The difference between white and brown rice is how they’ve been processed.1 Before white rice went through any kind of refining process it looked exactly like brown rice. Once the rice is refined it is stripped of the side hull and bran, which contains protein, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium.2 This process also changes how our bodies use the carbohydrates. Food is our body’s source of energy and brown rice burns much slower than white rice, meaning you will have more energy for a longer period of time after eating brown rice.1 knowing this, adding a serving of brown rice combined with a portion of protein and vegetables is a quality meal. But, rice in general is better than none. So, even white rice has its merits.

 

Potato

 

Potatoes make it easy because nature has made them the perfect size; just pick one that is about the size of your clenched fist and you’re good to go.1 No measuring or weighing necessary.  They are good to pair with any protein and taste great even without adding all the butter or sour cream. However, if you need that extra flavor then try it with a spoonful of salsa, ketchup, or a pinch of salt and pepper!

 

Oatmeal

 

Oatmeal is a delicious breakfast option that is easy to make, inexpensive, and packed full of nutrients.  Something to watch out for when picking your oatmeal is the large amount of sugar hidden in instant oatmeal products.1 Avoid these and grab yourself some old-fashioned Quaker Oats and top them with berries, cinnamon, and honey for some added texture and flavor!

 

Whole-grain Pasta

 

Pasta is a good low-fat source of carbohydrates as long as you can recognize the difference between a plateful and a portion! Opting for whole grain pasta is an even healthier option because it contains the same amount protein, has more fiber, and fewer calories.3 Instead of topping your pasta with a heavy sauce, butter, or cheese try adding a good source of protein (shrimp or chicken) and squeezing some lemon on top. Now you have a delicious and simple meal.

 

Sweet Potatoes and Yams

 

Contrary to popular belief, many people assume that sweet potatoes are higher in calories than a regular potato because they are so much sweeter. This is not the case. Both are actually very similar when it comes to calories.1 It is best to store sweet potatoes in a cool dry place and not in the refrigerator. Putting them in the refrigerator will cause them to become hard and bitter tasting.1 the best way to prepare these carbohydrates is by baking, boiling, or microwaving them.4 If you want to spice up your sweet potato try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dab of butter.

 

Greek Yogurt

 

Yogurt is not only a good source of protein but also of carbohydrates. It is also loaded with probiotics that can help maintain the balance of bacteria necessary for a healthy digestive system and boost your immune system.1, 5 Sadly, I’m not talking about frozen yogurt because it is too high in sugar. Greek yogurt, however, is a great snack that can be topped with fresh fruit or granola.

 

Fruit

 

Fruit is a deliciously sweet carbohydrate that nature has also already portioned for us! 1 Grab an apple, a banana, or a peach and you’re good to go. They’re packed with nutrients and are easy to throw in your bag for a snack on a busy day. You can also combine them with a source of good protein and you have yourself a healthy meal. One example, enjoy a hard-boiled egg and a grapefruit.

 

 

Whole-Wheat Bread

 

Whole wheat bread is great as long as you make sure you are buying breads that list whole grain, whole oats, whole rye, whole grain corn, whole grain barley, or brown rice as the first ingredient.7 Stay away from breads that list wheat flour, degerminated cornmeal, or enriched flour as their first ingredient because these are not good sources of whole grain.7 A serving size is generally one slice of bread or one whole-wheat tortilla.1,6 To make this a wholesome meal add some protein (chicken or turkey) and veggies for a hearty but healthy sandwich or wrap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

 

  1. Phillips, Bill, and Michael D’Orso. “The Nutrition for Life Method.” Body For Life. 1st New York: HarperCollins, 1999. 86-89. Print.
  2. “10 Reasons Why Brwon Rice is the Healthy Choice.” VegKitchen. N.p., 09 Apr. 2017. Web. 2017
  3. Writer, Leaf Group. “Whole-Grain Pasta vs. Regular Pasta.” Healthy Eating | SF Gate. SF Gate, 05 July 2012. Web. 2017
  4. “Whats New and Beneficial About Sweet Potatoes.” The Worlds Healthiest Foods.p., n.d. Web. 2017. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=64&tname=foodspice.
  5. “Yogurt Nutrition- Nutrients Contained in Yogurt, Health Benefits, Greek Yogurt.” org. Dairy Council of California, 2017. Web. 2017. http://www.healthyeating.org/Milk-Dairy/Nutrients-in-Milk-Cheese-Yogurt/Yogurt-Nutrition.aspx
  6. “U.S. Dietary Guidelines and WG.” S. Dietary Guideline and WG | The Whole Grains Council. Whole Grains Council, n.d. Web. 2017.
  7. Drummond, Karen E., and Lisa M. Brefere. “Chapter 3, Carbohydrates.” Nutrition for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals. 8th New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., n.d. 92-93. Print.

 

 

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The Do’s and Don’t of Your Valentine Weekend

By Bailey Roden, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

The day that every hopeless romantic waits on is quickly approaching.  That’s right you guessed it! I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t noticed there’s a lot of pressure to turn a normal weekday into a romantic dinner for two. Some would say this day was created for marketing purposes, while others cherish the belief that a day of love is necessary on February 14th.

Now, don’t get me wrong I’m just like every other woman, I want to feel loved and appreciated, but I don’t feel like an over- the- top evening full of romance is necessary. To help you have a truly enjoyable Valentine’s Day, I have created what I find to be an extremely informative list of Do’s and Don’ts.

Don’t over think it, let the night happen. The expression “live in the moment” is important in every aspect of your life. This day isn’t a deciding factor in your relationship, at least it shouldn’t be. You don’t need this one day to show your significant other how you feel about them, you should be doing that 365 days of the year.

Do keep a relaxed composure, it’s more than okay to celebrate this holiday with the one you love. The presence of one another should be more than enough for a perfect night. Whether it’s a night out in town, or curled up watching movies, keep this night as meaningful as you do other date nights.

Don’t worry about having an expensive night. Like I said earlier some believe this day was made for marketing purposes. That may be true, however, you can avoid falling for the marketing trap. Love and romance never have to be expensive, sometimes even the smallest gestures mean the most. Although, this may sound childish, homemade items are always sweet and inexpensive. Nothing like something made from the heart to show the one you love how much they truly mean.

Do put some thought into your gifts or at least into the evening you plan on spending with one another. The thought you put into the night will always shine through, showing someone you love them works best when your significant other is able to see that they are worth your time.

Don’t do a double date, you can always see your friends later. If you really want to take this time to show your love for one another, spend some time with only each other. Our daily lives get busy quick and often times we forget to show one another how much they truly mean to us. Use this night to bring back that special feeling to your significant other.

Do incorporate your significant other’s favorite things! This will help show how much you listen and that you pay attention to the little things.

I hope this list has helped relax you and inspire some new ideas to help you enjoy the day of love with your favorite person. If you liked this article and want to read more fun and interesting articles, check out the Fill Your Plate Blog.

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