Keep your blood pressure in check by eating plenty of local produce– your kidney will thank you for it. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables ensures there is adequate potassium to balance out the negative effect of salt has on our blood pressure. Kidneys regulate our blood pressure, so give them a hand, eat more potassium rich foods so they don’t have to work so hard. During March and early April, up your potassium levels by enjoying storage potatoes, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes. Dried cherries and apricots are also potassium powerhouses.
This year, consider what you should add into your daily diet rather than remove. Moving beyond restrictive diets is one of TLD’s top health goals for you in 2019.
In the dead of winter, we long for the abundance of summer gardens and farmers markets. While their bounty is hard to outshine, it is amazing to take stock of, and appreciate, how much variety is still available this time of year. Season extending techniques like hoophouses (aka high tunnels) allow us to have fresh tender greens, spinach, and cold sweetened carrots. We’re also able to find a wide range of storage vegetables: cabbage, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and more! And don’t forget this month’s crop spotlight: the humble turnip.
Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the US and a national leader in the cultivation of apples, asparagus, blueberries, tart cherries, green beans, dry beans, potatoes and squash. Despite our rich produce production, most Michiganders still do not meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and 32% of our children are overweight or obese.
Fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of good health and lifelong health patterns are often established in childhood. Exposure to healthy habits at an early age can encourage long term health. One of the best places for this positive exposure to occur is in the school setting. Fortunately, a statewide pilot program, 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms, is supporting schools in infusing more fresh, Michigan grown produce into their menus.
The days are getting shorter and the smell of drying leaves and woodsmoke is in the air. Fall is here and that means it’s back to school for Michigan’s 1.5 million public school students. For many of us, back to school conjures up a variety of images and smells: freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks, new backpacks, and the infamous mystery meals served in the cafeteria. For many of Michigan’s students, however, the school year also brings with it the tantalizing smells and flavors of locally sourced, and carefully prepared, food.
Almost every decent meal starts with onions.
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBA ISD) is using gardening as a tool to improve student health. Thanks to SNAP-ED funding through the USDA and the Michigan Fitness Foundation, TBA ISD implements a program called LifeSPAN, which performs cooking and nutrition lessons year round in the classroom to increase students fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity levels. Currently, they’re running summer garden camps where kids partake in nutrition lessons, help in school gardens, and cook healthy meals using produce they harvest.
Baste. Blanch. Chiffonade. Roast. Saute. Zest.
Ever see these terms on recipes and wonder “what the heck does that mean?” ? Well, if you have, you are not alone! One of the biggest challenges many of my clients face when changing their diet is navigating the kitchen and new recipes. Culinary education is no longer a staple in public education and our lives have become increasingly hectic. As a result, many people feel intimidated and overwhelmed in the kitchen and with cooking for themselves.
It was a passion for good nutrition that started Lady Jane Gourmet Seed Co in 2011. The company’s mission is to provide better access to more healthful food choices while educating consumers about the powerful benefits of hemp. Lady Jane (LJ) uses hemp seeds, a nutritionally dense plant based protein food, as the main ingredient in all their delicious, shelf-stable products.
Summer grilling is in full swing! Local vegetables are ready to join the picnic.
Here are our favorite vegetables to throw on the grill:
• Green Beans
• Summer squash & zucchini
Grilling vegetables is a good way to meet your daily vegetable intake goals or event go meat free at the next family barbecue. Find these veggies at a farmers market near you.
The National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, has identified that a high consumption of well-done, barbecued meats is associated with an increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer due to the formation of harmful chemicals when they are cooked. Fruits and vegetables do not pose the same risk when grilled as long as you avoid charring by:
• Soaking wooden skewers in water to prevent burning kabobs;
• Using a grill basket to prevent small pieces from falling, which may cause flare-ups; &
• Staying attentive to the grill while cooking.
One of my favorite things to swap into the menu during the summer is this easy grilled sandwich when I’m ready for a break from the traditional BBQ fare. It’s high in dietary fiber, Vitamins A & C, and good source of protein- PLUS it is filling & tastes great!
Grilled Vegetable Sub Sandwich: (makes one serving)
½ sweet bell pepper (green, red, yellow) ¼ purple eggplant, skin on
¼ small summer squash, like zucchini, skin on 1 tbs. balsamic and olive oil dressing
¼ small onion, peeled 1 large Kaiser Roll or sandwich bun
1 slice provolone cheese (optional) olive oil, for lightly brushing
Cut the vegetables in uniform sizes. Lightly brush with olive oil. Place in a grill basket. Grill on low to medium heat until wilted or fork tender. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, toss with the TLD recommended The Redhead’s balsamic vinaigrette. Place vegetables (as many as can fit) on the Kaiser Roll and top with provolone cheese. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts: Cal 442 , Fat 23g, Sat Fat 5g, Carb 46g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Pro 14g, Vit A 40% DV, Vit C 136% DV, Calcium 17%
Paula Martin is the Community Health Coordinator for TLD and a registered dietitian. Contact here at firstname.lastname@example.org