Monday, July 27, 2009

All the Colors of the Rainbow

When I am strolling down the street at my local Farmers’ Market and the tables are bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables of every color, I know it is summertime. Dark red cherries or a bright yellow head of corn never cease to excite me!

Take advantage of nature’s palette of color to enhance food’s eye appeal and health benefits. For me, nothing is so delicious or appealing as a variety of colors on my plate. Also, research is uncovering the benefits of the pigment-related phytonutrients — and the colorful fruits and vegetables that supply them. Add these colors to your plate to get great flavor and health benefits:

  • Green:
    fruit — avocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, lime
    vegetables — artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers, leafy greens.
    Their lutein and indoles have antioxidant potential and may help promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risks.

  • Orange and deep yellow:
    fruit — apricot, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, papaya, peach, pineapple
    vegetables — carrots, yellow pepper, yellow corn, sweet potato.
    Carotenoids, bioflavonoids and the antioxidant vitamin C in these foods promote a healthy heat, vision, immunity and reduced risk for some cancers.

  • Purple and blue:
    fruit — blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins
    vegetables — eggplant, purple cabbage, purple-fleshed potato.
    Anthocyanins, which give a blue-purple color and phenolics, may have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits and may help with memory, urinary tract health and reduced cancer risks.

  • Red:
    fruit — cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grapefruit, red grapes, watermelon
    vegetables — beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb, tomatoes.
    This color group delivers lycopene, a powerful carotenoid, as well as anthocyanins. They may help maintain a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks.

  • White, tan, brown:
    fruit — banana, brown pear, dates, white peaches
    vegetables — cauliflower, jicama, mushrooms, onions, turnips, white-fleshed potato.
    Allicin in onion (and garlic) and selenium in mushrooms may promote heart health and reduce cancer risks.

Sarah Franz

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fill Up On Fiber

Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? Well, most Americans are not. Nutrition recommendations say that adults need a minimum of 20-35 grams of fiber per day, however most Americans are only getting around 15 grams. I love my bowl of oatmeal and fruit in the morning to help jump start my fiber intake— 8-10 grams to start! If you are lacking fiber in your diet, you are missing out. Fiber plays an important role in your diet.
Fiber helps prevent:

  • Cancer: Research shows people are less likely to develop certain types of cancer by eating a diet high- fiber diet.

  • Diabetes: Fiber helps control blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.

  • Digestive problems: Fiber can help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.

  • Heart disease: Fiber lowers your cholesterol to aid in the prevention of heart disease.

  • Weight control: Fiber tends to make you feel full faster, so you will feel full with less.

Eating enough fiber is not as hard as it seems. You can get all the fiber you need from foods. Adding more fiber to your diet can be simple.

Here are some ways to help:

  • Eat more vegetables whenever possible — serve them raw, and eat the skin rather than peeling it off.

  • Consume whole fruits rather than juice.

  • Add fruits to salads, cereal, yogurt, salsas or as a topping for any dessert.

  • Read the label when buying cereal and choose those that provide at least two grams of fiber per serving.

  • Try the rich, nutty flavor of short-grain brown rice (four grams of fiber per cup).

  • Switch to whole grains. Eat breads, cereals, and pastas that are made from whole grains.

  • Eat dry beans. They are among the best fiber sources around.

  • Drink plenty of water to help fiber do its job.

Give some of these tips a try to help reach your fiber goal!

If you asked any of my family or friends what I enjoy, the answer would be food. I enjoy every aspect of food. I love cooking, eating, and even grocery shopping. I also love staying active and being outdoors in beautiful San Diego--whether it is hiking, biking, or kayaking, I love it all! As a senior dietetics student at Point Loma Nazarene University, I am anxious and excited to start my career as a dietitian!

Sarah Franz

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fabulous Links to Check Out TODAY!

Today is a day to share--Share ideas, thoughts, tips, and knowledge with all of you. I am blessed to be in a field where I have such esteemed colleagues and fellow foodies! I hope you take a moment to check out their blogs and gather a knew idea idea!

Angela White at Blisstree's Breastfeeding 1-2-3 - Helpful Skills of Breastfeeding Counselors
Angie Tillman, RD, LDN, CDE - You Are Beautiful Today
Anthony J. Sepe - Women's Health and Migraines
Ashley Colpaart -
Women's health through women
Charisse McElwaine - Spending too much time on the "throne?"
Danielle Omar -
Yoga, Mindful Eating and Food Confidence
Diane Preves M.S.,R.D -
Balance for Health
Joan Sather -
A Woman's Healthy Choices Affect More Than Herself
Laura Wittke -
Fibro Study Recruits Participants
Liz Marr, MS, RD -
Reflecting on Family Food Ways and Women's Work
Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RD, NSCA-CPT -
Healthy Women, Healthy Business: How Your Health Impacts a Powerful Business
Marsha Hudnall -
Breakfast Protein Helps Light Eaters Feel Full
Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD -
A Nutritionista's Super Foods for Super Skin
Monika Woolsey, MS, RD -
To effectively work with PCOS is to understand a woman's health issues throughout her life
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog -
How breastfeeding helps you, too
Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, LD -
Four Keys to Wellness, Just for Women
Renata Mangrum, MPH, RD -
The busy busy woman
Robin Plotkin, RD, LD -
Feeding the Appetites of the Culinary, Epicurious and Nutrition Worlds-One Bite at a Time
Sharon Solomon -
Calories, longevity and do I care
Terri L Mozingo, RD, CDN & D. Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN of One Source Nutrition, LLC -
Crossing the Line: From Health to Hurt
Wendy Jo Peterson, RD -
Watch Your Garden Grow

Blogfest--Dietitians Can Help Your Garden Grow

Every spring I pick a special spot in my yard to plant my garden. For me, it's almost like a "nesting." I ruffle my feathers, lay my soil, drop my seeds, provide the sun's warmth, and watch my babies grow! It's truly spectacular. This year I decided to try something different.
Of course, I went through the process of finding the perfect spot, but in my California yard I don't quite have the space to spread my wings and plant a lot--or so I thought.

I picked up the book All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and that is where everything changed. The idea that in a square foot you can plant your vegetables closer and more efficiently in regards to space. Brilliant! On top of that Mr. Bartholemew has an enlightening take on soil. This is the first year that my garden was overflowing with growth. I planted two tomato plants, two jalapeño plants, two fennel, a row of carrots, lettuce, herbs, and sunflowers all in the space of 6x3! Take a look:

So, if you have limited space don't discount putting in a garden for the fall or next spring. It's worth it! The taste of fresh vegetables truly surpasses store bought produce. You can also enjoy the spontaneity of choosing fresh herbs for every night's dinner. Feeling the need to be inspired for tonight's dinner with your garden delights, try out these recipes:
Greek Salad
Although one may not think of a Registered Dietitian as a "foodie" and perhaps more of a food critic I'd like to challenge that perception. Part of what I love to do as a dietitian is to help people eat fresh, local produce and nourish their body with real food. I, like most dietitians, believe that all foods can fit. I just prefer to really savor the food that takes a swim in my mouth. Part of my business revolves on getting people set up with a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or getting their own garden started. Next time you look to plant a garden that nourishes your body and family consider contacting a "foodie dietitian" to help you get your garden growing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream...or Is It?

What pairs better with a slice of cherry pie, peach cobbler, or blueberry crisp than ice cream? Sorry, Cool Whip just doesn't cut it! What is better than any store bought ice cream is definitely homemade ice cream, until now! I really must commend Häagen-Dazs on a fabulous product. FIVE is an ice cream with few ingredients---5!! And yes, it tastes just like homemade!! Thank you Häagen-Dazs.
Now stay tuned for something to share center stage with the ice cream...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Is that my fork or yours? Tablesetting skills

My very first chore growing up revolved around setting the dinner table. My parents had a strong belief that everyone should sit down to a dinner table for a family meal. This meal meant no phone calls, no towels on the head, no television, and having manners. I couldn't begin to thank them for the values that they instilled in me and my sisters. To this day I still use cloth napkins, and enjoy setting my table for those I love. These values are something I hold true in my home, and enjoy sharing with my friends and all of you!
Have you ever struggled with a tablesetting? It is a fabulous skill to have tucked away in your recipe box awaiting that special meal or party. Just so you know the fork goes on the left, then plate, then knife, then spoon, and if you are having dessert you can place a fork or spoon above the plate. If you clap your hands together and make a "b" with your left hand and a "d" with your right hand you will now be able to know where the BREAD plate goes and the Drink (B & D). Here is a picture to help you remember how to set a table:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tips for a Mom

Just about everyday I hear from someone about the challenges of eating healthy with a family. "My husband doesn't eat vegetables," "I am having the hardest time making them eat their vegetables," "My kids only eat chicken nuggets and french fries," "Canned vegetables are bad for you, right," or "I don't know how to cook vegetables." For some of these I have choice comments that I will keep to myself, but for the rest let's explore our past. Our grandmothers (sorry to be sexist here) never had the option of cutting open a frozen package of vegetables nor the ease of running out to the grocery store--those came around in the 60's! Granted most moms work today, but the modern conveniences should make things far more encouraging than discouraging.

Number 1--frozen, canned, or fresh does not matter in the end. What matters most is that you are eating vegetables. The recommendations continue to climb to ~5+ servings of VEGETABLES per day, and most Americans get on average 1 to 2 servings per day. So, throw out the perception that frozen or canned don't matter. If that is what's keeping you from eating vegetables then it is doing you a major disservice.
Next, do you remember liking all of the vegetables your mother made you eat? Me neither, but I am thankful that she made me eat them, because it gave me the courage to keep trying them as an adult. Keep trying! Have a rule of 1 to 2 bites...PERIOD. And dads, you need to set an example and adhere to this, too! No BUTS!
So, you only like a handful of vegetables. Well, that is fine, but give them some variety. Google your favorites and try new recipes. For instance, have you ever had grilled sweet potatoes? Check out this
sweet potato recipe then! Try new things to your old favorites.
Alright, I am going to go there--so, your kids ONLY like chicken nuggets and french fries, or whatever the compressed piece of meat it is--THAT IS RIDICULOUS! If their tongue was only meant to eat that then they would have starved to death a mere 50 years ago! Do yourself a favor and force them to try new foods, and STOP BEING A SHORT ORDER COOK! You are not doing ANYONE a favor! We are in a America, where childhood obesity is now matching adult statistics! No one will starve to death. When they get hungry enough they will eat, and no, you won't lose your #1 Mom status. Get back up from dad, too!
Last, certain vegetables do have a stronger flavor than others for kids. Think back, did you once despise onions and peppers and now enjoy them? If not, there is bound to be another vegetable you can think of. For me, I strongly disliked brussel sprouts (gag reflex), and now I love them. Of course, it took me learning how to best prepare them (slice thin and sauté with pancetta or bacon and finish with orange zest). Vegetables matter and are important so figure out a way to work them in. Can you grate them, puree them, mash them, or chop them into something else? Absolutely!
Here are a couple easy tips:
1. Grate carrots into spaghetti sauce
2. Put beans into burgers or meatballs (Kidney or Pinto work great in disguise)
3. Try adding grated zucchini to muffins--this used to be the way I started every culinary class I taught and it always turned out to be a favorite for the class
4. Carrot juice is easy to add to smoothies--start small and add as you can
5. Make a soup and blend some of your veggies in it before adding chicken and vegetables that are well tolerated (my fave--tortilla soup, blend peppers, carrots, and tomatoes for the base!)
6. Salads--create your own salad bar in your refrigerator. Every night pull out a tray filled with all your favorites and create a masterpiece salad for the night.
7. Mash together cauliflower and potatoes for healthier mashers.
8. Stick a carrot stick in a hot dog and say it's cheese!
9. Try different textures. Usually kids are more sensitive to textures than flavor. Know this, if you give them a reaction to their reaction they will continue giving you that reaction because they know it works. I used to mark students down if they made any facial remarks when trying foods, so that they would not influence others. Just because you or dad don't like it does not mean that you should let everyone else know that you don't like it. You negatively effect their reactions!
10. When in doubt add ranch or catsup (ketchup). It's better that they eat the veggies than not at all!

Summer Hydration!

Are you feeling uninspired by your glass of water? If so, add a little fun to your next glass! Cucumbers create a subtle, fresh flavor that melds well with citrus. Try this for a refreshing change to your next glass of H20!
Cold Cuke & Lemon Water
2-4 slices of cucumber (with or without seeds)
1/2 lemon, squeezed
12 oz of water and keep refrilling!

Refreshing Greek Salad

Today will be a whopping 90*F in San Diego--break out the fans and turn on the A/C...first time for the summer. I know, don't hate me! As my family and friends are suffering from months of 100 degree heat, I feel that it is important to keep the ovens OFF and the fair FRESH!
Get inspired by the heat and create a refreshing picnic tonight instead. Here are a couple of ideas for a quick picnic:
1. Rotisserie chicken, gazpacho (see previous post), and grilled flat bread
2. Smoked salmon, cold cucumber and vinegar salad, and orzo pasta salad
3. My pick for tonight: Chicken skewers (marinate in Wishbone Italian dressing), Greek salad (recipe below), and a crust baguette
Greek Salad
Serves 2-4
4 large tomatoes, cubed
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, sliced and 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup green or black olives, chopped (can be omitted)
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt or Kosher salt to taste
Feta cheese, crumble on top
Gently toss ingredients together and season with salt. Crumble on top and serve! Yes, it's really
that simple! Enjoy your picnic!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ahhh, the Splendors of Summer

As my garden is starting to overflow with tomatoes, and my neighbor's garden is loaded with cucumbers it is time for some fresh cooking! Oh, and with the temperatures rising it's better to keep the oven off as much as possible! So tonight, in honor of my mom, I am making her favorite summer time classic of Garden Gazpacho!
My mom's Garden Gazpacho is not your typical gazpacho, but it is by far my favorite! There are a couple variations that I'll share with you for those of you who have different things available to you at this time. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has over the years!
Nancy's Garden Gazpacho
Serves 4
6 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 jalapeños, minced (with or without seeds, but I like it spicy!)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced or use red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Croutons to serve!

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and allow flavors to swim together. Season with salt and serve with croutons! DELICIOUSLY FRESH & SIMPLE!