Now’s the Time to Teach At-Home Nutrition

With a lot of parents facing the challenge of keeping housebound kids happy and healthy, this is the perfect time to teach kids the basics of nutrition and eating right.

Consider these simple suggestions from Melanie Marcus, MA, RD, health and nutrition communications manager for Dole Food Company.

  • Healthy Snack Time Taste Tests – Sometimes it feels like kids can snack all day long on easy-to-grab crackers, chips or cookies. Next time they reach into the snack pantry, try incorporating a taste test or food critic activity to encourage something different and more nutritious.
  • Purposeful Playtime – Many households have a play kitchen or some kind of play food. Use this as an opportunity to act out how to create a healthy kitchen with activities like making salad, setting the table, peeling bananas and washing dishes. This can help young children become more independent, learn what to expect and grow into little helpers at family mealtime.
  • Sensory Activity – One idea that can work for school and at home is making a sensory box. Simply place a fruit or two inside a tissue box and have children put their hands inside then try to guess which fruit it is by feeling it.
  • Recipes for Fun – If you’re preparing a meal, it could be a good time to teach children of reading age how to review a recipe. Evaluating ingredients to learn how food transforms from raw to cooked or how a dish is created can help kids learn kitchen skills. For example, try this fun, fruity recipe for Kids with Almond Toast.
  • Food Groups Focus – Get kids involved in making dinner by setting a rule that each food group must be represented. Give them a warmup activity by asking which food groups are found in family favorites like chicken soup, lasagna or meatloaf. Asking kids to guess which ingredients are used in these dishes and identifying which food group each ingredient belongs to can help them understand dietary balance. Find more at-home tips in the free, downloadable Healthy Eating Toolkit from the nonprofit organization Action for Healthy Kids.
  • Reading Time – From food labels to children’s books to cookbooks, there are plenty of reading materials to choose from that reinforce healthy eating habits. Exposing children to fruits and vegetables outside the kitchen is a subtle way to show that nutritious ingredients are part of everyday life.
  • Explain the Bathroom Routine – Make sure to wash hands and explain that this is a way of washing away germs to stay healthy. Also explain why brushing teeth is important by reminding children that food can get stuck in teeth and cause cavities.

Find more kid-friendly recipe ideas at dole.com plus nutritional tips, free printables and other healthy fun on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

“Kids” with Almond Toast

Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 4          slices whole-grain bread
  • 6          tablespoons unsalted almond butter
  • 2          teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 1          DOLE®  Banana, peeled
  • 2          Dole Strawberries, trimmed and halved
  • 4          chunks (1 1/2 inches) fresh Dole Tropical Gold Pineapple
  • 2          Dole Blackberries
  • 2          teaspoons toasted flaxseed (optional)
  1. Toast bread slices. Spread with almond butter and drizzle with honey, if desired.
  2. To make “kids”: Cut eight slices and 32 matchsticks from banana. Arrange one strawberry half and one pineapple chunk on two slices toast; arrange remaining strawberry halves and blackberries on  remaining slices. Place one banana slice “head” at top of each piece of fruit and arrange four banana matchsticks around each “kid” for arms and legs. Sprinkle flaxseed along bottom edges of toast under kids’ feet, if desired. (Family Features)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (mother and daughter)

SOURCE:
Dole

Supplement Meals with a Nutritious Addition

Adding nutrition to meals is all about the ingredients you include. The next time you’re looking to add nutrients to your recipes, consider adding an ingredient like pecans, The Original Supernut, which are versatile and easy to add to meals and snacks.

Visit americanpecan.com for more nutritional information and recipe ideas. (Family Features)


SOURCE:
American Pecan Council

Hall Wines Comes to Guana Island for Spring Wine Program

Celebrated California Wine Brand Owned by Craig & Kathryn Hall to Collaborate on Gastronomic Program in the British Virgin Islands from May 5-7, 2020

Guana Island, the award-winning resort in the British Virgin Islands, is collaborating with renowned California wine brand, HALL Wines, to offer a three-day Spring Wine Program from May 5-7, 2020.  The program will bring some of HALL’s most celebrated vintages as well as its Director of Winemaking, Megan Gunderson, to Guana for a dynamic program for travelers and food- and wine-lovers alike.

The HALL team will work closely with Guana’s Executive Chef, Kael Mendoza, to prepare a program celebrating the flavors of the California wines alongside the island’s natural bounty. Director of Winemaking for HALL Wines, Megan Gunderson, will work with Chef Mendoza to create special menu pairings inspired by the flavors of Guana. She will also personally pour wines from across the HALL Family Wine brands portfolio including HALL, WALT and BACA Wines, and be available to chat with guests about the brand’s extensive West Coast vineyards, and the winemaking process.

Chef Mendoza will be creating new menus for the program, pulling as many ingredients as possible from the Guana Island orchard, including fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables and microgreens. The four-acre orchard has been recently expanded to include three new greenhouses and is home to tropical fruits such as breadfruit, soursop, and papaya as well as more exotic items such as lemongrass and pomegranate. The culinary team also sources fresh fish from the waters surrounding Guana, including grouper, yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi.

The three-day program will kick off with a Beach BBQ pairing Caribbean-inspired flavors with WALT Wines, known for single vineyard Pinot Noirs, complemented by live music from a local band. The following day, Gunderson and Guana General Managers Vernon Daniel and Jason du Plessis will host a formal al fresco dinner, offering tastes of some of the most celebrated bottles from the HALL wine collection, including the bold Cabernets for which they’re known. Gunderson will be on-hand to personally discuss each vintage, guiding guests through an educational and flavorful evening. The program will conclude the following day, with a guided tour of the orchard and an invitation to try some lesser-known vintages, matching HALL Wines with just-picked produce and tropical fruits that are only found in the Caribbean.

HALL and WALT Wines offered during the immersive experience will be available to order throughout the program, and each guest will receive a copy of Craig and Kathryn Hall’s New York Times Bestseller, A Perfect Score, upon arrival. As with all meals at Guana, the meals and activities prepared as part of the Spring Wine Program will be included in the cost of a room. Rates at Guana start at $720 per night. Images here courtesy of Jacqueline Marque.

For reservations or more information on the Spring Wine Program at Guana, please visit https://www.guana.com/wineprogram/ or by calling (800) 544.8262.

ABOUT GUANA ISLAND

With 850-acres of undisturbed natural beauty in the heart of the British Virgin Islands,  Guana Island is private, family-owned island resort for the discerning traveler. The island is home to seven pristine beaches and miles of tropical forest, mountains and dramatic flora and fauna. Named for an iguana-shaped rock outcropping on the South side of the island, Guana Island offers fine dining, a distinctly social atmosphere and world-class accommodations. With acres of privacy per guest (no more than 35 guests at any given time), and no marina or public facilities of any kind, Guana Island has come to exemplify the best in laid-back luxury. For more information or reservations, visit www.guana.com or call (800) 544-8262.

ABOUT HALL FAMILY WINES

HALL Family Wines produces high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel under the HALL, WALT and BACA brand monikers. Owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall, the family-owned winery produces artisan wines that express the unique and diverse character of the wine country’s soils and climates through meticulous attention to detail in the vineyards and throughout the winemaking process.  The family’s luxury wine portfolio, led by Winemaker Megan Gunderson sources fruit from some of the most prominent vineyards up and down the West Coast and includes eleven Estate vineyards– Sacrashe, Bergfeld, Hardester, T Bar T Ranch, Atlas Peak, Rainin, Dellar-Freidkin, Cook, Bob’s Ranch, Clos Pepe and The Corners. The HALL St. Helena winery was the first LEED® Gold Certified Winery in the State of California in 2009 and earned another LEED® Gold certification for its high-tech production facility and Tasting Room in 2014. Since the inception of HALL in 1995, the three luxury wine brands have earned over 600 ratings of 90 points or above from the industries top critics, including five 100-point scores from the industry’s most notable wine critics.

Visit www.hallwines.comwww.waltwines.comwww.bacawines.com for more information, or call 707-967-2626.

Delysia releases Salt Lick BBQ Dinner Collection Chocolates

Texas Independence Day is nearing (March 2). Delysia Chocolatier has crafted the perfect chocolates to celebrate the state holiday. The chocolatier, which has had a long-standing relationship with Salt Lick BBQ for a decade, has released its newest truffle collection created in collaboration with Salt Lick BBQ titled: The Salt Lick BBQ Dinner Collection — because what could be more Texan than BBQ? These delicious smoky boxed chocolates are available at Delysia, Salt Lick BBQ, online, and soon in retail locations.

About The Salt Lick BBQ Dinner Collection:

Smokey and savory.

There’s nothing more Texan than a barbeque dinner of tender smoked meats, southern style dishes, and delicious cobbler dessert. Inspired by The Salt Lick BBQ’s world-famous menu, each bite takes you to the Texas Hill Country, surrounded by good food, friends, and family.

Reminiscent of the glaze coating a fresh stack of ribs, Delysia’s Honey pecan BBQ chocolate truffles will have your mouth watering for that juicy, fall off the bone first bite. Sweet with a hint of mesquite, creamy milk chocolate is infused with The Salt Lick BBQ’s honey pecan barbeque sauce, a hint of Texas honey, and local buttery pecans. Inspired by the Salt Lick’s traditional Texas barbeque pit, slowly cooking their meats to caramelized perfection, our Smoked brisket chocolate truffle combines bittersweet chocolate with smoked salts, a hint of caramel, and Salt Lick’s very own dry rub. When cold vanilla ice cream meets a warm blackberry compote, you can’t resist going back for seconds. Delysia’s Blackberry cobbler chocolate truffle takes you back to that indulgent moment through white chocolate infused with blackberry puree, all enrobed in silky dark chocolate.

Capture a classic barbeque dinner through Delysia’s newest collection of Salt Lick inspired truffles.

This 9 piece truffle collection of barbeque inspired flavors contains:

  • 3 Honey pecan BBQ truffles
  • 3 Smoked brisket truffles
  • 3 Blackberry cobbler truffles

Beef Up Your Menu with a Trendy Twist on Sushi

Tantalizing taste buds with the latest in trendy foods can be a fun way to bring the whole family to the table for meals together. Combining familiar flavors with a new preparation method, for example, is one way to add flair to dinners at home.

An innovative sushi-style concept, “beefshi” features convenient beef products like pastrami, roast beef, summer sausage, hot dogs, corned beef or bologna prepared in rolls with rice and vegetables. Because recipes like Reuben Roll, Taco Maki, New York Deli Roll and Muffarolletta can be enjoyed individually as appetizers or grouped together for a full meal, these dishes can provide a variety of solutions from entertaining a crowd to simply feeding your family.

Find more information and recipes at beefshi.com.

Reuben Roll

Recipe courtesy of the North American Meat Institute on behalf of the Beef Checkoff

Yield: 2 rolls (16 pieces)

Hand Vinegar:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

Rolls:

  • 12 thin slices pastrami
  • 3 cups sushi rice
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 4 thin slices Swiss cheese, cut into slivers
  • 1 1/4 cups sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and squeezed dry
  • Russian dressing
  1. To make hand vinegar: In small bowl, stir water and rice vinegar.
  2. To make rolls: Lay sushi mat on clean surface and cover with plastic wrap. Lay six slices pastrami on mat lengthwise. Moisten hands with hand vinegar and shake off excess. Spread 1 1/2 cups rice across pastrami, leaving 1 inch empty at farthest end. Sprinkle rice with caraway seeds. Turn nori over so rice side is down.
  3. Cover half the pastrami crosswise with two slices cheese and half the sauerkraut.
  4. Securing meat and cheese with fingers, use thumbs to push end of mat up and over filling until edge of nori meets rice on opposite side. Press firmly on roll.
  5. Lift top of mat and roll firmly until tight and round. Squeeze gently to shape. Press ends in carefully to secure loose rice. Remove mat and set roll aside.
  6. Repeat to make second roll.
  7. Use thin, sharp knife to cut each roll into eight slices. Arrange on sushi platter and serve with Russian dressing.

New York Deli Roll

Recipe courtesy of the North American Meat Institute on behalf of the Beef Checkoff

Yield: 2 rolls (16 pieces)

Hand Vinegar:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

Futomaki:

  • 2 sheets nori
  • 3 cups sushi rice
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 6 thin slices corned beef
  • 4 teaspoons horseradish, well-drained
  • 4 thin slices Swiss cheese, sliced into thin sticks
  • Dijon mustard
  1. To make hand vinegar: In small bowl, stir water and rice vinegar.
  2. To make futomaki: Lay sushi mat on clean surface and cover with plastic wrap. Place one nori sheet on mat, shiny-side down. Moisten hands with hand vinegar and shake off excess. Spread 1 1/2 cups rice across nori. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon caraway seeds. Turn nori over so rice side is down.
  3. Cover half the rice crosswise with three slices corned beef. Spread corned beef with 2 teaspoons horseradish. Cover corned beef with two slices cheese.
  4. Securing meat and cheese with fingers, use thumbs to push end of mat up and over filling until edge of nori meets rice on opposite side. Press firmly on roll.
  5. Lift top of mat and roll firmly until tight and round. Squeeze gently to shape roll. Press ends in carefully to secure loose rice. Remove mat and set roll aside.
  6. Repeat to make second roll.
  7. Use thin, sharp knife to cut each roll into eight slices. Arrange on sushi platter and serve with Dijon mustard.

Taco Maki

Recipe courtesy of the North American Meat Institute on behalf of the Beef Checkoff

Yield: 2 rolls (16 pieces)

Hand Vinegar:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

Maki:

  • 2 sheets nori
  • 4 cups sushi rice
  • 4 ounces finely shredded spicy beef jerky
  • 16 cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 cup slivered radishes
  • 64 tortilla strips
  • queso fresco crumbles
  • pico de gallo
  1. To make hand vinegar: In small bowl, stir water and rice vinegar.
  2. To make maki: Lay sushi mat on clean surface. Moisten hands with hand vinegar and shake off excess. Place one nori sheet on mat, shiny-side down. Spread 2 cups rice across nori, leaving 1 inch empty at farthest end.
  3. Lay 2 ounces jerky, 8 cilantro sprigs and 1/4 cup radishes crosswise along rice, covering half the surface closest to you.
  4. Securing jerky, cilantro and radishes with fingers, use thumbs to push end of mat up and over filling until edge of nori meets rice on opposite side. Press firmly on roll.
  5. Lift top of mat and roll firmly until tight and round. Squeeze gently to shape roll. Press ends in carefully to secure loose rice. Remove mat and set roll aside.
  6. Repeat to make second roll.
  7. Use thin, sharp knife to cut each roll into eight slices. Arrange on sushi platter. Stand four tortilla strips upright in center of each roll then sprinkle with queso fresco. Serve with pico de gallo.

Muffarolletta

Recipe courtesy of the North American Meat Institute on behalf of the Beef Checkoff

Yield: 2 rolls (16 pieces)

Hand Vinegar:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

Rice:

  • 1/2 cup mixed olives, patted dry and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons capers, patted dry and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups sushi rice
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Rolls:

  • 8 thin slices beef salami
  • 3 thin slices part-skim mozzarella, cut into sticks
  • 3 thin slices provolone, cut into sticks
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • shaved celery
  1. To make hand vinegar: In small bowl, stir water and rice vinegar.
  2. To make rice: In small bowl, mix olives, capers, garlic and rice; season with pepper, to taste.
  3. To make rolls: Lay sushi mat on clean surface and cover with plastic wrap. Lay four slices salami on mat, overlapping by about 1/2 inch, to create surface 7 inches wide and 6 inches deep.

    Moisten hands with hand vinegar and shake off excess. Cover salami with 1 1/2 cups sushi rice, leaving 1 inch empty at farthest end.

  4. Arrange half of each cheese along center of rice crosswise, covering half of rice closest to you. Sprinkle cheese with 1/8 cup celery leaves.
  5. Securing cheese with fingers, use thumbs to push end of mat up and over filling until one edge of rice meets opposite side. Press firmly on roll.
  6. Lift top of mat and roll firmly until tight and round. Squeeze gently to shape roll. Press ends in carefully to secure loose rice. Remove mat, peel off plastic and set roll aside.
  7. Repeat to make second roll.
  8. Slice each roll into eight rounds, arrange on sushi platter and sprinkle each slice with sesame seeds. Serve with shaved celery. (Family Features)


SOURCE:
North American Meat Institute

A Plant-Based, Dairy-Inspired Dish

With the rise in popularity of plant-based diets and dishes, combining them with dairy products can create a superfood power couple. For example, the cheddar cheese found in these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers helps optimize nutrient absorption from the rice, black beans, corn and tomatoes to create a nutritious and delicious appetizer or meal.

Find more recipes that combine the goodness of dairy and plant-based foods at milkmeansmore.org.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

  • 6             large sweet bell peppers
  • 1/2         cup diced sweet onion
  • 1             cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1             cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 1/2     cups cooked black beans plain (drained and rinsed if using canned beans)
  • 2             cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2         teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2         teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2         teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4         teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2         teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2     cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a rimmed half sheet pan with non-stick aluminum foil.
  2. Slice the tops off of the sweet bell peppers. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds and white membranes from the insides of the peppers. Discard the pepper tops and seeds. Place the peppers onto the prepared half sheet pan; briefly set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the diced onion, cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans, and brown rice until combined. Sprinkle the chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper over top before stirring to distribute the seasonings throughout. Fold 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese into the filling, reserving the remaining cheese for later.
  4. Stuff the open cavities of the sweet bell peppers tightly with filling, mounding a bit of the filling over the top edge of the peppers. Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar cheese over top of the filling. Bake the stuffed peppers for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is heated through, the peppers soften, and the exteriors begin to wrinkle. Serve immediately. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
United Dairy Industry of Michigan

How to Start a Keto Diet

(Family Features) Starting a keto diet continues to be one of the leading trends in nutrition, though many find the transition to be daunting. Kristin Kirkpatrick, RDN, Quest Nutrition spokesperson and former nutrition lead for the Cleveland Clinic, recommends these guidelines for a day on the meal plan to help you get started. Find more information at questketo.com.

SOURCE:
Quest Nutrition

Winter Warm-Up

Recipes and Tips Rooted in Goodness

When cold weather hits, it’s natural to seek comfort in a variety of forms: warm blankets, layers of sweaters and delicious, hearty meals. Winter is the perfect season for spending time indoors honing cooking skills to take your culinary creations to the next level.

Opt for Seasonal Produce

While the days of peaches and watermelons may be over, dropping temperatures bring a slew of seasonal produce made for cool-weather cooking. Think winter squash, apples, root vegetables and cauliflower. Try using a seasonal food guide to learn what produce is in season in any state at any time of the year. Cooking with seasonal produce helps ensure your food is in peak form at its most nutritional and flavorful state.

Find more winter recipes at farmtoforksauce.com.

Simple Recipes for Shorter Days

With less daylight hours during the winter, many people tend to get sleepy earlier. Quick weeknight dinner recipes are usually ideal, especially when they take only 30 minutes or so to prepare. Easy dishes are perfect for those nights when you want something savory and delicious, but you also want to get into pajamas and onto the nearest couch as soon as possible. Few things are better than a warm bowl full of flavor like this taste-tempting curry recipe bursting with caramelized onion and roasted garlic notes.

Chickpea, Spinach and Coconut Curry

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1          tablespoon turmeric
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus additional, to taste
  • 1          can (29 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) FarmToFork Caramelized Onion & Roasted Garlic Sauce
  • 1          can (15 ounces) light coconut milk
  • 4          cups baby spinach
  • 1/2       cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt, stirred
  • 1/2       cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2          naan flatbreads, toasted and sliced
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil, ginger, garlic, onions, turmeric, salt and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Cook 6-8 minutes, or until onions begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add chickpeas, sauce and coconut milk; cook 3-4 minutes, or until heated through. Add spinach; cover with lid. Simmer 3-4 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Mix well.
  2. Spoon mixture into six serving bowls and top each with spoonful of yogurt, pinch of cilantro and additional crushed red pepper, to taste. Serve with flatbread slices.

The Perks of Passive Cooking

Wintry weekends call for warming meals that bring an extra sensation of coziness through the wafting aroma of slow-cooked dishes. Wintertime is the perfect season to break out your slow cooker or put your stove on low heat and let fragrant dishes such as Savory Harissa-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables simmer slowly and fill your home with enticing smells.

Savory Harissa-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1/3       cup harissa paste, divided
  • 1/3       cup olive oil, divided
  • 1          large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slivers
  • 1          small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) FarmToFork Marinara Sauce, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4       teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4       teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 6          bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 1          pound rainbow carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 1          lemon, juice only, divided
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped fresh herbs such as dill, mint or cilantro, divided
  • 1 1/2    cups plain Greek yogurt
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. In large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons harissa and 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions and cauliflower; toss to combine. Spread vegetable mixture in single layer on 17-by-12-inch foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In same bowl, whisk remaining harissa, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 cup marinara sauce, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken; toss with tongs until well coated. Arrange chicken atop vegetables on baking sheet. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until chicken is deep golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165° F.
  3. Use vegetable peeler to create long ribbons of carrots. In bowl, toss carrots with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped herbs and remaining oil, salt and pepper. In separate bowl, mix yogurt, remaining lemon juice and remaining herbs.
  4. Serve each chicken thigh with roasted vegetables, dollop of herbed yogurt, carrot mixture and 1/4 cup warmed marinara sauce.

Find Comfort in Your Favorite Foods

Almost nothing beats pasta and sauce on a chilly night. When craving warm and filling meals during winter, a quality, jarred pasta sauce like FarmToFork can add simple goodness to hearty dishes like Gnocchi with Hearty Mushroom Bolognese. Made with sustainably grown, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh garlic, basil and onions, the sauce brings rich, distinctive flavor to a variety of cool-weather favorites from traditional pasta recipes to soups and oven bakes. During the season of giving, comfort and warmth can also be found in doing good for others, which is why FarmToFork supports Big Green, a national nonprofit organization that partners with low-income schools around the country to bring garden-based learning and food literacy curriculums to children.

Gnocchi with Hearty Mushroom Bolognese

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1          yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1          carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2          ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2          cloves garlic
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          pounds button, cremini or portobello mushrooms
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) FarmToFork Marinara Sauce
  • 3          tablespoons butter
  • 1          pound refrigerated or frozen gnocchi
  • 1/2       cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4       cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  1. In food processor, pulse onions, carrots, celery and garlic until finely chopped. In large pot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add chopped vegetables, salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. In food processor, pulse mushrooms until coarsely chopped. Add to large pot with vegetables. Cook 10-12 minutes, or until most liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. Stir in marinara sauce and butter.
  3. Cook gnocchi according to package directions; drain. Add to sauce mixture; mix gently. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
FarmToFork

6 Keto Tips to Avoid Festive Season Weight Gain by Fresh n’ Lean

Keto

‘Tis the season for keto.

The festive season is difficult for any diet. This time of year is filled with food-centered festivities, parties, and time-honored eating traditions – and with the festive season often comes stress. The popular keto diet, which features high fats and moderate proteins with few carbs, comes with a diminished burden on calorie counting (yay!) but requires a fastidious approach to eating. Here are tips from experts on how to maintain your keto diet during the festive season and avoid weight gain.

Plan Ahead

It can be meaningful to discuss your keto eating needs ahead of time with whoever is hosting the festive season event or preparing the food.

Family and friends should be supportive and happy to help you! Keto-friendly, low-carb recipes are available for many festive season staples such as pumpkin pie, latkes, gingerbread cookies, and even eggnog – giving a new twist to traditional food that would disrupt your diet.

“Mashed cauliflower, sugar-free cranberry sauce, nut flour stuffing, low-carb pumpkin pie, and countless other keto takes on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve food are all great options for staying in ketosis during the festive season,” says Sofia Norton, RD and keto expert for Kiss My KetoWhere many diets involve restricted eating, keto is all about eating the right balance of ingredients, generally about 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs.

Festive season favorites may still fit within your diet, it’s just important to ensure the right ingredients are being used. And the keto versions of your favorite foods are so tasty, they may just become your new festive season tradition. Cauliflower mash and cauliflower rice are both fantastic as a low-carb side dish that’s easy to make and great to share,” Norton said. “If you have leftover keto bread, make low-carb stuffing as you would with regular bread.”

You can also use leftover keto bread to make breadcrumbs for stuffed mushrooms and keto casseroles! And for apps, deviled eggs are a great way to sneak in some MCT oil. 

“Pumpkin pie is easy to make low-carb by swapping sugar for non-nutritive sweeteners and using an almond flour crust and Christmas cookies are also easy to make with a combination of almond and coconut flours,” Norton says. If it’s not possible to adjust your party’s food options, you could bring your own ketogenic food or eat before the event to ensure that you’re maintaining your diet.

Keep Things Simple

Sticking to low-carb whole ingredients is a smart decision when food is being passed around the dinner table.

“When making choices remember our goal of regular amounts of protein, think of a palm size piece of meat as an example,” says Randy Evans, RD. “When it comes to carbs, on keto, we are mostly targeting complex or non-starchy carbs which are often leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower and they are pretty easy to find on most tables.”

Traditional festive season meals that have few carbs are:

  • Roasted turkey 
  • Shrimp
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Roasted ham
  • Whole roasted cauliflower
  • Fish stew

Green veggies can be paired with pasture butter, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts, or seeds. If you don’t know the type of fat being used, you could add fat on your own like adding MCT oil shots to coffee.

Know What to Avoid

Some festive season staples will not work with your diet, such as potatoes.

“You will want to avoid the starchy veggies, which is usually the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes,” Evans said. So, instead of a helping of grandma’s famous sweet potato casserole, go for a side of green beans or Brussels sprouts instead.

Other types of foods to skip include most fruits, processed foods and grains. And while you might enjoy listening to Nat King Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song” with its opening line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” pass on the chestnuts – they’re high in carbs – and grab a handful of pecans instead.

Drink Lots of Water – and Limit the Booze

Water is king. It flushes out toxins and fights inflammation, which can lead to weight gain and swelling. It also fills you up and fights dehydration.

This comes in handy during the festive season for sure! Evans suggests drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day but also before, after, and during meals. So, before the big meal, drink a glass or two of water. And take sips of water throughout, pausing between bites.

While you might be inclined to drink alcohol this festive season, be mindful of how it will impact your keto diet.

“The worst offender of weight gain by far is alcohol consumption during the festive season. Not only does alcohol consumption pause your ability to burn fat for 48-72 hours, but it also initiates poor decision making with respect to food intake,” says keto expert and Nutrition Scientist Christine HronecAlcoholic drinks are typically low in protein and higher in sugar and carbs, especially if they feature sugary mixers like tonic water or soda. If you want to have a drink or two, make sure you’re sticking to low-carb recipes or dry wine.

To cheat or not to cheat?

You should talk with your dietitian about how much you can stray from your diet.

Dieters on a less strict ketogenic diet could have small amounts of fruit or unsweetened sweet potatoes “and still not be too far off from ketosis,” Evans said. “I have some patients who only see good ketone levels when super limiting carbs, maybe 20g per day but I also have athletes in the 80 to 100g of carbs range on a ketogenic diet who still see good ketone levels.”

Chef Elisa, Head Chef and Nutrition Expert at WarriorMade.com, says it’s important to plan the dishes you expect to eat – as well as your recovery if you sway from your diet for a day.

“Whether it’s fasting, doing a tougher workout before your festivities, or just getting back into your normal low carb routine the next day, cheating isn’t about all or nothing, it’s about you getting to make your own rules and knowing what you need to do to get back on track,” she says.

Enjoy Yourself

The festive season can be a stressful time! It’s important to cut yourself some slack – and focus on doing the best you can.

“Remember stress has a huge impact on our health and for the most part we have no way to measure its impact other than by measuring the damage it can cause. If you are doing well on the ketogenic diet over time and have a meal or a day that is not perfect, how about we enjoy it, lower our stress level, then get back on track the next day,” says Evans.

Learn more at www.freshnlean.com/keto-meal-delivery.

Refresh Your Child’s Diet with Low-Sugar Options

Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed children consume an unhealthy amount of added sugar every day. Researchers found nearly all of the toddlers in their study ate an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar daily – the equivalent of a candy bar. Additionally, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excess sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“Small children have small stomachs,” said Courtney Hines, a nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers, which care for more than 165,000 children around the country every day. “You want them to fill up on nutrient-dense foods, not empty calories in the form of added sugar. When children consume lots of sugar, their palates get used to overly sweet flavors. They may not accept other, less sugary flavors or learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of a piece of fresh fruit.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the consumption of added sugar for children under the age of 2. Children ages 2-18 should aim for less than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.

For families that want to cut down on the amount of added sugar in their diets, Hines recommends cooking more at home, relying less on processed, packaged foods and serving only water or milk for beverages.

Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.

Dip Smart

Herbs, spices, citrus and fresh fruit add flavor without relying on the added sugars found in many popular sauces and dips. Consider making your own low-sugar alternatives at home so your family can still enjoy favorite flavors like these:

  • Ranch Dressing – In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, buttermilk, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper for a kid-tested, nutritionist-approved take on a favorite dip. Serve over salad or as vegetable dip.
  • Honey Mustard – Popular on a variety of sandwiches and as a dip or salad dressing, combining plain yogurt with milk, honey and regular or Dijon mustard can create a more family-friendly version.
  • Teriyaki Sauce – Perfect for serving with healthier options like lo mein, chicken wraps or fried rice, a homemade version can be created using water, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder and cornstarch slurry.

Swap Out Syrup

Pancakes are a popular breakfast option at KinderCare centers and in many homes, but even the healthiest whole-grain pancake becomes a plateful of sugar if it’s doused in syrup. Hines recommends these toppings that are sweet and savory without the added sugar:

  • Nut butter or seed butter (such as peanut, almond or sun) and banana slices
  • Warm fruit compote (mix of warmed berries)
  • Applesauce (no-sugar-added variety) and cinnamon
  • Nut butter swirled into plain yogurt; mix in 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract to add a sweet flavor

Snack Sweet

Opting for less added sugar doesn’t mean avoiding sweet snacks altogether. These alternatives can still help satisfy those cravings:

  • Applesauce with baked cinnamon pita triangles for dipping
  • Toast topped with nut or seed butter, smashed banana and sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Frozen fruit smoothies
  • Plain yogurt topped with granola, nuts, seeds or fruit
  • Apple slices with nut or seed butter

For more ideas to introduce your children to healthy habits from a young age, visit kindercare.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
KinderCare