Nutrition Notes: Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin

by Nicole Hartig, Dietetic Intern

Vitamin D is a powerhouse of a vitamin, because it plays an important role in bone strength, our immunity, and cell growth. Adequate levels of vitamin D have also been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. On the other side, not getting enough vitamin D can cause a loss of bone mass, which can lead to osteoporosis. Getting enough vitamin D through all stages of life is important so that our bones and cells can grow and stay strong.

If vitamin D is so important, where do we get it? The sun! Vitamin D is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because our skin absorbs sunlight and turns it into vitamin D. In these cloudy winter months it can be difficult to get the recommended amount, not to mention that too much exposure to sunlight is damaging to our skin. Luckily, there are quite a few food sources that are packed with vitamin D to help increase intake. Only a few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but it is added to many products. Try fish (such as salmon and tuna), mushrooms, eggs, vitamin D fortified milk, orange juice or yogurt, to get your recommended dose of vitamin D.

Click here to read more information on recommended intake and good sources of vitamin D.

Make sure to get outside, and catch some rays, too! Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t require a lot of money. Check out this list of 25 FREE things to do in San Diego for a few ideas!

Nutrition Notes: Freshen Up on Produce Storage Rules

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition and Wellness Educator

How often have you opened the fridge to find spoiled produce or a funky odor that leads to the discovery of food products that have been forgotten? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average American wastes 20% of the vegetables and 15% of the fruit purchased in and out of the home. Most of the time produce is discarded because it has gone bad before we are able to use it. In order to maximize the shelf-life of produce items, it is important that these items are stored properly.

Many fruits and vegetables should be stored only at room temperature because refrigerator temperatures can damage them or prevent them from ripening properly. For example, when tomatoes are stored in the fridge, they can lose their flavor and will not fully ripen. So, what should be stored where? Click here to view a chart that can answer all of your storage questions. This chart is a good option for printing and placing on your fridge as a daily reminder.

Villa Alta Apartments selected as January Agency of the Month!

by Shelly Hahne, Nonprofit Services Manager

In the past year, the equivalent of more than 79,158 meals (101,323 pounds of food) have been distributed by this dedicated group of staff and volunteers of Villa Alta Apartments. With a primary role of operating an apartment complex, this group recognized a need among their residents and community. They have stepped up to operate a monthly mass distribution that serves 347 households each month.

Villa Alta Apartments was selected as the Food Bank’s January 2015 Agency of the Month because of their great communication with EFAP staff and impressive customer service. Their reports are always on time and they are very well organized. Even though this apartment complex does not offer the ideal space for such a large-scale distribution, they manage to have a very efficient flow for the participants. Joe and Irma are amazing problem solvers, and have figured out how to properly serve a 280-400 families each month in a tight space.

Congratulations the Villa Alta Apartments for the amazing work you do!

Freshen up your 2015 with water!

Nutrition Notes: Kick up the water intake a notch this year!

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

The new year is in full swing, and of course, with the new year, many people are on journeys to start new habits or kick old ones to the curb to make room for your best year, yet!

Many of us know that it is very important to drink plenty of water each and every day, but there always seems to be an excuse or two as to why many of us never reach the recommended daily amount. This year, try to start off on the right foot and make staying hydrated a priority. Although, recommended water consumption differs for each individual, the average healthy adult should aim to drink about 10-13 cups of water each day.

Not sure how to get that many cups of water into your daily routine? Try adding citrus or fresh fruit to create your own spa water. Citrus water gives plain water some extra flavor, and also provides a few additional health benefits. Water flavored with citrus provides extra vitamin C, aids in digestion, freshens your breath and can help cleanse your systems by helping to flush out excess toxins in your body. Enjoy a few new spa water recipes to try out in 2015, maybe you will find a new favorite. Better yet, do you have any favorite ways to spice up your daily water intake? Or if you have other healthy New Year’s resolutions, please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!