(Photo: Parfait in a mason jar and topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries.)

Vitamins & Minerals

The following are vitamins and minerals your body may need more of. Fortunately, it is easy to get them by eating more of these foods

  1. A deficiency in vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) can cause anemia, fatigue, constipation, weight loss, weakness and a loss of appetite and becomes more common with aging. Add: fish, beef, eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt. If you follow a vegan diet talk to your doctor about adding an over the counter supplement.
  2. Calcium is important for bone health, but also for blood pressure control. Include: milk, yogurt and hard cheeses for dairy sources. Plant source include almonds, bok choy, broccoli, kale, tofu and white beans.
  3. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can aid in controlling weight, as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It also fights inflammation in your body and reduces constipation. Aim for 20 to 30 grams daily (most people only get about 15 grams,) by including: legumes/beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and of course lots of produce.
  4. A lack of magnesium may cause fatigue, weakness, nauseas and vomiting. Severe cases can have even more serious side effects. Add: legumes, nuts, whole grains and dark leafy greens to what you eat to reduce your risk for deficiency.
  5. The recommendation for potassium is 4700 mg per day but 98% of us aren’t getting that amount. This amazing mineral helps prevent abnormal heart rhythms and weak muscles. A deficiency can cause a rise in blood pressure. Eat more: bananas, milk, potatoes, leafy greens, legumes and salmon. Watch for potassium to become a required part of the new nutrition facts panel on product labels. (It replaces vitamin C on the label.)

[Photo: Pasta with chicken.]

30-Minute Meals

  1. Scramble eggs with whatever vegetables are on hand (fresh or frozen) and toss in a little cheese. Add an English muffin, pour a glass or milk and add some apple slices. Call it dinner.
    –Nutrition Bonus: Toast up whole grain English muffins.
  2. Cook pasta per package directions. Add chicken meatballs to any lower sodium pasta sauce as it heats. Sprinkle with grated parmesan. Serve fresh or frozen green beans and enjoy an Italian ice for dessert.
    –Nutrition Bonus: Choose a pasta that is higher in fiber.
  3. Baste individually packaged frozen fish (can be thawed in water, in the package) with a little olive oil or butter and season with any prepared seasoning blend and then sauté, bake, broil or grill. Serve with “baked” sweet potatoes that you quickly microwave, a vegetable and enjoy an ice cream bar for a sweet treat.
    –Nutrition Bonus: Select a seasoning blend that is labeled as sodium- or salt-free.
  4. Have a “drive-thru” dinner in the dining room as you serve veggie burgers or lean ground beef patties you’ve cooked on the stove top or on the grill. Serve on buns with tomato slices. Bake frozen fries and make homemade shakes using low fat milk and slow churned ice cream for dessert.
    –Nutrition Bonus: Add frozen or fresh fruit to the shake.
  5. For a meal kids will love, press Dierbergs Deli’s pizza dough into pan and top with pizza sauce and 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese. While the pizza bakes, enjoy one of the many salad blends available. For dessert, spread graham crackers with low sugar fruit spread.
    –Nutrition Bonus: Add any variety of vegetables to your pizza.

(Photo: Hard-boiled eggs sliced in half.)

Eggs

Eggs are back in the good graces of the medical community and you can’t find a much less expensive source of high-quality protein.

  1. Only about 2% of children under the age of five are allergic to eggs. Most children will outgrow their egg allergy by later in their childhood.
  2. Eggs are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. For the 70 calories found in a large egg, you will also receive 6 grams of high-quality protein along with a dozen other important nutrients.
  3. Shell color of eggs is determined by the type of chicken and there is no difference in nutritional value. Yolk color is determined by diet.
  4. While eggs do contain a great quality protein and other nutrients, they do not contain any carbohydrate, which means no sugar and no gluten.
  5. A hen lays 300 to 325 eggs per year; that isn’t much time off for good behavior.
  6. One egg contains all nine of the essential amino acids and 6 grams of protein which make it a great addition to breakfast! The egg white and yolk have equal parts of protein.
  7. Eggs should be purchased before the "sell by" date and used within three to five weeks of the purchase date.
  8. The average American eats 255 eggs per year. This number has decreased over the years. In the 1950s Americans ate 400 eggs per year.
  9. All eggs are hormone free. The FDA banned the use of hormones in poultry production in the 1950s.
  10. Eggs are one off the few dietary sources of Vitamin D. Other sources include salmon, milk, and sardines.

(Photo: Dierbergs Natural Peanut Butter.)

Peanut Butter

The long time staple of lunch boxes everywhere, peanut butter is an excellent and inexpensive source of plant protein.

  1. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 8 grams of high quality protein (an egg contains 6 grams).
  2. Peanut butter must contain at least 90% nuts and contain no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives (but may contain sugar and salt).
  3. Americans consume 700 million pounds of peanut butter each year!
  4. Only between 0.6 to 1.0% of the population is actually allergic to peanuts and peanut butter with about 20% of peanut allergies being outgrown.
  5. Because peanut butter it is so nutritious, peanut pastes, sometimes called “miracle peanut butter,” were developed to treat and prevent malnutrition in Haiti and Africa. The original of these products was developed by St. Louis pediatrician, Dr. Patricia Wolff.

(Photo: Hand slicing mushrooms on a cutting board.)

Eating at Home

Eating more meals at home and packing your lunch are surefire ways to save a few $$ and usually to eat a little (or a lot) healthier. Try these 5 ideas:

  1. Cut up lots of veggies at the beginning of the week. These can go in your lunchbox and will minimize prep time when you are preparing dinners throughout the week.
  2. Freeze chopped bell pepper, carrots, celery, onion or peppers to use in cooked dishes or to drop into sauces, soups and casseroles to bump up flavor and nutrition.
  3. When cooking dinner, make extras to use for leftovers at lunch.
  4. Freeze small amounts of leftover vegetables and rice. Once the container is full, turn it into a quick and healthy soup. You won’t even have to thaw the vegetables before dropping them into the broth.
  5. Bulk prep some recipes to freeze, such as stews, rice, and beans.

[Photo: Produce in a box.]

Root-to-Stem Cooking

This style of cooking incorporates all parts of many types of produce to ensure no part of the fruit or vegetable goes to waste!

  1. Add beet and carrot greens to your favorite pesto recipe or saute them as is! You could also toss them into your favorite smoothie or salad.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer peel of broccoli stalks and then chop and add to stir-fries and salads and anything else you would add the broccoli florets to. The stalks can also be julienned and used as a veggie pasta.
  3. Chard stems can be blanched until tender or pickled for a great relish!
  4. A variety of stalks, stems, greens and end pieces such as carrot, celery and onion, can be used for a flavorful vegetable stock.
  5. Leek greens, the greens of this onion and garlic relative, can used as a flavorful addition to sautéed greens.

(Photo: Dried beans.)

On the Pulse

Pulses are part of the legume family, but the “pulse” refers only to the dried seed.

  1. The most common pulses are dry peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas.
  2. Pulses are high in plant-based protein and fiber which are beneficial if you are trying to eat well and perhaps lose a few pounds. Both can help you feel full for a longer time, so you may be less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
  3. Important to the diet of so many people, 2016 was named the International Year of Pulses.
  4. The first evidence of these tasty and economical goodies comes from the Middle East and dates back 11,000 years!
  5. Pulses can be found in many forms and in many products. Buy dry in bulk or bags. Find them in the canned food section, check out the flours and pastas made from pulses and look for frozen products that contain them.

(Photo: Popcorn in a bowl.)

Popcorn

  1. Hard as it is to believe, popcorn was once considered a breakfast food. One of the proponents of it as a healthy breakfast was none other than Ella Kellogg (of THAT Kellogg family).
  2. Americans consume about 14 billion quarts of popcorn each year; that comes out to 172 cups per person of this healthy whole grain snack.
  3. Popcorn adds fiber to your diet, and is naturally low in fat and calories. It is gluten free, non-GMO and plain popcorn contains only 31 calories per cup.
  4. Sales of popcorn during the Depression increased as movie theatres began to sell it as an inexpensive snack. It continued in popularity during World War II as rationing of other food items became a fact of life. Once TV was introduced into American homes, sales declined and then along came microwave popcorn in the early 1980’s and BOOM! up went sales again.
  5. Popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in the air.

[Photo: Waffles on a plate with butter and syrup.]

Waffles

  1. The word waffle comes from the Dutch word “Wafel”, which was derived from a early Germanic word waba, meaning honeycomb.
  2. The patent for the very first waffle iron was filed by New Yorker, Cornelius Swarthout in 1869. Swarthout’s original version of the waffle iron consisted of a traditional skillet with the addition of hinged lid and dividers.
  3. The original name for Eggo waffles was “Froffles”: a combo between frozen and waffles. After their invention in 1953, many consumers nicknamed them eggos because of their eggy taste. The name was officially changed in 1955.
  4. The World’s Record for the largest waffle weighs 110 lb 3.68 oz. It was created by Dutchman, Stichting Gouda Oogst, in 2013.
  5. Since its founding over 60 years ago, Waffle house has sold over 877 million waffles.

[Photo: Dark leafy greens in a bowl.]

Dark Leafy Greens

  1. Kale along with other dark leafy greens are high in calcium. Which is great for bone health!
  2. Arugula is also known as salad rocket and garden rocket, due to its rocket-fast growing speed.
  3. While it may look like celery, Bok Choy is actually a member of the cabbage family.
  4. Watercress contains 15 essential vitamins and minerals. Its health benefits have been known for centuries. Hipporatices, the father of modern medicine, located his first hospital near a stream so that he could grow an abundance of watercress to help treat his patients.
  5. Just a half a cup of spinach equals one out of the five servings of fruits and vegetables you should eat per day!

[Photo: Center Cut Pork Chop on a plate with tomato and green beans.]

Pork on Your Plate

Choose lean cuts of pork as the entrée for a heart healthy meal. Six cuts of pork now meet the USDA's standards for "lean" and include:

  1. Pork tenderloin
  2. Pork boneless top loin chop
  3. Pork top loin roast
  4. Pork rib chop
  5. Pork center loin chop

[Photo: Granola bar.]

Saturday Morning Soccer Snacks

Soccor games = hungry kids. Fuel them up with these healthy snacks:

  1. Low-fat string cheese and mini pretzels
  2. Chocolate milk
  3. 6 ounces of yogurt
  4. Turkey and cheese wrapped in a tortilla
  5. Whole-grain granola bar