Patriotism in the form of nutritious fruit and cheese.

Nutrition Notes: Make it a Healthy and Happy Fourth of July

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Hotdogs, barbecues and burgers? Oh my! According to the History Channel’s website, Americans consume 150 million hotdogs on the Fourth of July and 80% of people attend a barbecue, picnic or cookout. Although this patriotic holiday is all about friends, family and food, there is a way to still enjoy it without sacrificing your waistline. This year, try a few tips below to make your backyard BBQ both nutritious and delicious!

Use Whole Wheat Buns

Last week’s post discussed the importance of swapping out white bread for whole grains. Making the switch adds more fiber to your diet, which can help keep you full longer.

Load Up on Veggies

Try to fill half of your plate with veggies to avoid the overconsumption of calorie-laden options. Loading up on vegetables also fills you up with fiber, which can be helpful when determining if seconds or thirds are necessary. Here are two grill-friendly recipes featuring vegetables to try:

- Grilled Zucchini & Squash Stacks
- Grilled Vegetables in Easy Foil Packets

Portion Distortion

Plan ahead and pace yourself. Try to have a nutritious snack before arriving at the BBQ. If you do arrive hungry, temptation can settle in and oversized portions can look enticing. To help stop the impulse to eat everything in its tracks, try drinking a glass of water before filling your plate. Also, bring a fruit dessert to share! Fruit is naturally sweet and they also provide great nutritional benefits! Here are three recipes to try:

- Watermelon Cake
- Easy Frozen Fruit Desserts
- Red, White & Blue Fruit and Cheese Platter

Have a Fit Fourth

Incorporate physical activity into your BBQ this year. Try to organize a relay race, water balloon toss or even incorporate a group walk, swim or bike ride before the fireworks.

Making a few minor changes to the usual BBQ menu this year can help make a big impact on your health and your guests will thank you! Have a fun, safe and healthy holiday weekend!


Which bread is the healthier choice? Read on to learn the answer.

Nutrition Notes: The whole truth on whole grains

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

When walking down the bread aisle at a grocery store, the variety of choices can be extremely overwhelming. Each bread type sports different nutrient claims, and descriptions often include the terms “multi-grain,” “whole wheat,” “white wheat,” or “100% wheat.” Whole grain foods are important sources of many different nutrients and are also a great source of fiber.

Here are some tips to help ease the carbohydrate confusion  and help make choosing whole grains easier:

The “Whole” Picture
When searching for whole grain products, look for the word “whole” at the beginning of the ingredient list. Foods that read “multi-grain,” “100% wheat,” or are brown in color may not always be a true whole grain product.

Find the Fiber
If the produce provides at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, it is a good source of fiber. If it contains 5 or more grams of fiber, it is an excellent source of fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer periods of time.

Gluten and Whole-Grains
For those individuals who cannot consumer gluten, there are many whole grain gluten-free products available on store shelves. Some of these include buckwheat, popcorn, brown rice and quinoa.

Make the Switch Nice and Easy
If whole grain products are new to a consumer’s diet, then making the switch from white flour to whole wheat flour can be tough. To ease the flavor change, try mixing products such as preparing half brown rice and half white rice. You can do the same with pasta dishes, as well.

Below are some tasty recipes to help incorporate more whole grains into your diet:

Whole Wheat Pasta with Lemon            Trail Mix

Popcorn with Toppings                           Quinoa Crusted Chicken Fingers

Do you have any favorite whole grain recipes? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!

No matter how you slice them, mangos remain delicious!

Nutrition Notes: Mango Tango

by Jenna Olson RD, Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Did you know that mangos are considered the most popular fruit in the world? As the summer kicks off with barbeques and beach days, June marks National Mango Month! There is no better time than a hot summer’s day to enjoy the scrumptious, tropical flavor of a mango! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Sometimes it can be tough to get in all of those fruits and veggies each day, so varying your routine with different produce can keep it from becoming boring! The mango is a sweet treat that won’t leave you feeling guilty. Each mango contains over 20 different vitamins and minerals and is low in calories clocking in at only 100 calories per cup!

Mangos can seem intimidating, if you are new to the fruit. It takes some practice to master how to select a mango from the store and how to cut a mango. First off it is important to never judge a mango by its color…red does not always mean ripe! The best way to know if a mango is ripe is to squeeze it gently. A ripe mango will ‘give’ slightly and a firm mango will ripen at room temperature over a few days. If you would like to speed up the ripening process, you can place a mango in a paper bag at room temperature and if you would like to slow down the ripening, you can move the mango to your fridge for a few days. When you are ready to enjoy the mango, try cutting it like the above picture for ease. You can learn how by watching the video here: How to Cut a Mango.

There are a variety of different mangos throughout the world and most of the mangos in the U.S. are one of six varieties. Mangos can be enjoyed in so many different ways. They can be eaten by themselves, added to numerous recipes, or even used in a marinade due to their tenderizing properties! Try out one of the mango recipes below this summer or share your favorite recipe with us on Facebook & Twitter!
- Mango Chiles Rellenos Al Carbon
- Mango and Watermelon Salad
- Peanut Butter, Mango and Honey Roll Ups
- Mango and Black Bean Salsa
- Mango and Banana Smoothie
- Mango Yogurt and Granola Bowl

Taste the rainbow of nutrition!

Nutrition Notes: Colorful nutrition to brighten your health

by Jenna Olson RD, Nutrition & Wellness Educator

What does a nutritional day look like? Think color! The more colors on a plate, the greater the daily nutritional intake. Fruits and vegetables come in all different colors: red, orange, purple and green. They each consist of specific nutrients that, when mixed together, better cover the daily needs of vitamins and minerals for a healthy body. When putting together a salad, be sure to mix dark leafy greens with bright yellow and orange bell peppers, red tomatoes, and dried cranberries. Top it off with some sliced chicken breast and then sprinkle some feta chees to enjoy a full nutritious meal! Follow the links below to some MyPlate friendly recipes!

Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta
Apple Corn Chili
Turkey and Cucumber Sandwich
Easy Oven Fish

A volunteer hands a bag of nutritious food to a Food Bank client.

Catholic Charities – Downtown Awarded Nonprofit Partner of the Month

by Shelly Hahne, Nonprofit Services Manager

Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego has been serving the community for more than 95 years! It was first established in 1919 and because of its downtown location, a large proportion of those served by the food pantry are single-person households, homeless individuals, and seniors; but they welcome anyone who needs help putting food on the table.

Their unique and innovative food pantry services include a choice menu system and an “intake system” that calculates the caloric intake for each household, so every food selection is tailored to the client’s nutritional needs. The food pantry’s staff pre-screens clients for CalFresh eligibility and provide application assistance for those who qualify.

Catholic Charities – Downtown is planning to expand their current services within the next three to five years that will include:

- improving upon their healthy inventory
- making fresh produce available five days a week instead of just three days a week
- providing more nutrition education
- eliminating food items with a high sugar content including candy

Lisa DuMolt, Food Resource Centers Operations Manager, spent 26 years in the military working with logistics and chemical weapons and now manages food center operations.

“This is one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had. It is nice to be able to provide a service that people appreciate so much, and I have met the most extraordinary people. From volunteers to the people we serve I have never met more courageous, intelligent, people with such a sense of humor. Their stories of personal courage are incredible to be a part of,” said DuMolt.

Catholic Charities- Downtown was selected as June’s Nonprofit Partner of the Month, because their reports are always on time and their staff is very good at communicating any anticipated changes to their monthly allocations with the Food Bank staff. This food pantry is open five days a week. Catholic Charities is a part of an innovative group of downtown agencies, who coordinate food services to ensure that people who need food in that area have excess every, single day.

Agency Profile

Agency Name: Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego
Phone Number for People Seeking Services: (619) 231-2828 x102
Emergency Food Assistance Program Location: 359 Cedar Street San Diego, CA 92101
Emergency Food Assistance Program Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - noon & 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.*
Amount of Emergency Food Assistance Program Food Distributed in the Last Year Totaled: 210,518 pounds (equivalent to 164,467 meals) for people facing hunger in our community 

*Please note: There is a sign-up for intake times at 8:00 a.m. and noon, which allows people the flexibility to set an appointment and leave to run errands. Space is limited to 40 households each.