Nutrition Notes: Papaya Month

by Divya Denduluri (MS Nutritional Biology, CLEC), Nutrition Education Volunteer

Papayas are sweet, succulent with brightly colored flesh, reminding us of sunny beaches on tropical islands. These tropical beauties are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, folate and potassium. Papayas are grown in Florida and Hawaii in the United States, and are in peak season during early summer and fall. While buying papayas, select ones that are firm to touch, the skin being partly or mostly yellow in color and without bruises. Papayas may be stored at room temperature for a few days until the skin turns completely yellow-orange, and the ripe fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Fun Fact: Did you know that papayas contain the enzyme papain which is used to tenderize meat? Try a marinade of smashed or crushed papayas. Add them to a Ziploc bag with your uncooked meat and refrigerate before cooking!

Here are some additional ways to enjoy this delicious fruit:

- Chop up some papayas and add to salsa, salads or breakfast cereal for a sweet twist.
- Add them to smoothies.
- Purée some papaya in a blender and freeze in popsicle molds for some papaya popsicles.
- Dice them and enjoy as is with a squeeze of lemon juice or along with other fruits and relish a yummy fruit bowl.

References:

1. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/papaya
2. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/fruit-month-papaya
3. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/snack-and-meal-ideas/go-tropical-with-super-fruits

The FDA is debuting its new and improved Nutrition Facts Label!

Nutrition Notes: Nutrition Facts Makeover!

by Callie Brust (MPH, RDN, CHES), Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Over the last week or so, you may have heard about the update our Nutrition Facts Panel will be receiving. Can you believe that our current label is 20 years old?! The changes to our label reflect new scientific findings and will help consumers when choosing healthy food options.

Here’s a quick guide to the refreshed Nutrition Facts Panel:

1. Start with the Serving Size

Serving sizes must now be based on the amounts that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating. Always compare your portion to the serving size listed. Is it bigger? Smaller? If the serving size is one cup and you eat two, then you’ll get double of what’s listed on the label.

2. Check Out the Total Calories

This number is huge now! Can’t miss it. Whether you count calories or not, it’s always a good idea to be aware of how much energy your food is giving you.

3. Daily Values are Your Guide

The Percent Daily Value is based on 2,000 calories per day. You may eat more or less than that, but it’s a good general guide. If a nutrient has 5% or less % DV, then that’s considered low. If its 20% or higher, that’s considered high.

So if you have a healthy nutrient you want enough of, like Fiber, do you want that closer to 5% or 20%? Right, 20%!

If you have a nutrient you want to limit, like Saturated Fat, Sodium, or Added Sugar, do you want that closer to 5% or 20%? Exactly. 5%!

4. Additions to the Panel

Take a look under sugar on the new label, what do you see? Added sugar! We’ll now be able to track exactly how much added sugar we’re consuming. The recommendation is less than 10% of your total calories should come from added sugar. So for someone on a 2,000 calorie diet, that would be 50 grams or less. But overall less is best!

Vitamin D and Potassium are now required to be on our new label. These are nutrients that Americans don’t always get enough of.

The changes to our Nutrition Fact Panel will start to roll out soon and by July 2018, major manufactures will be required to use this format. So pay closer attention to the foods you’re buying. Can you spot any new labels?

Resources:
http://1.usa.gov/1obiyXp
http://bit.ly/1zK06Kz

It's National Dairy Month!

Nutrition Notes: National Dairy Month

by Divya Denduluri (MS Nutritional Biology, CLEC), Nutrition Education Volunteer

June is National Dairy Month. Dairy includes milk and its products like yogurt, cheese, cream and sour cream. Milk, yogurt and cheese are excellent sources of calcium, protein, riboflavin, vitamins A, B12 and D, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Try choosing unsweetened and low-fat, skim, part-skim or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, cream cheese and sour cream to reduce the amount of sugar and fat we eat. Also, buy cheese with lower sodium content. Lactose-free milk and reduced-lactose milk is widely available for those who are sensitive to lactose.

Click here to learn how to store dairy safely.

A fruit and yogurt parfait is a perfect and easy way to celebrate National Dairy Month, don’t you think?

_________________________________________________________________________

Recipe: Peachy Parfait

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Number of servings: 1

Ingredients:

- ½ cup peaches or your favorite fruit – washed, pitted and diced
- ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 to 3 mejdool dates – pitted, soaked in warm water and puréed
- 1 tbsp toasted nuts or granola
- A pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)

Directions:

1. Toss the cinnamon powder with the peaches.
2. Mix the date puree with the Greek yogurt.
3. To serve, start with a layer of yogurt in a serving bowl.
4. Next, add a layer of peaches and nuts or granola.
5. Repeat this to get 2 layers each of yogurt, fruit and nuts/granola.

References:

1. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/dietary- guidelines-and-myplate/dont-forget-the-dairy

CalFresh can help struggling families fill their empty plates.

Debunking Harmful Myths About a Powerful Program

by San Diego Hunger Coalition

It may surprise you to learn that San Diego has one of the most effective solutions to hunger at our fingertips. It’s called CalFresh, a program that is designed to uplift families by ensuring people receive the sustenance they need, enabling them to focus on working toward self-sufficiency. That’s a big deal.

But thousands of families in San Diego County who are eligible for CalFresh don’t use the program. Why? There are a few reasons, but a major cause is that decades ago, CalFresh was called “food stamps.” These two words conjure up a storm of stigma, stereotypes and misinformation powerful enough to keep families struggling with hunger from applying for this food assistance.

While the connotations of food stamps have always been based in myth, today they are further from the truth than ever. The reality is that after decades of improvements and technology upgrades to the program, CalFresh has become one of the most effective, wide-reaching strategies we have for bringing food to the plates of people who don’t have enough to eat.

We invite you to learn these facts about CalFresh and share them with your friends and family. If we remove the harmful stigma of CalFresh and build awareness of its benefits, we will be one step closer to ensuring no one in San Diego has to go to bed hungry.

What exactly is CalFresh?

CalFresh is simply a monthly supplement to a household’s food budget. On average, the program offers $4.38 per person, per day disbursed to a debit card (called an EBT card) that can be used to purchase a limited category of food products (no tobacco, alcohol, toiletries or hot foods). Households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line should apply to see if they qualify for the program.

CalFresh is the California name for the federally funded program called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) at the national level. It is the more advanced, modern and effective iteration of “food stamps.”

Does it work?

Like a charm. On average, households in San Diego County enroll in CalFresh for just under two years before moving towards food security. CalFresh changes lives – just ask Jim.

What’s the problem?
Only an estimated 67 percent of eligible, food-insecure people in San Diego County are enrolled in CalFresh. Enrollment rates are low because of barriers like social stigma, lengthy application processes and lack of awareness.

To fix this, San Diego Hunger Coalition leads the CalFresh Task Force, a group of over 50 organizations including the San Diego Food Bank and others, working together to improve our CalFresh enrollment systems. By leading research, education and advocacy efforts among a wide range of hunger relief partners in San Diego, the Hunger Coalition builds a more effective and interconnected system of food assistance resources to help families access the food they need.

What are some myths about CalFresh I can help debunk?

Myth: CalFresh has high rates of fraud.

Fact: CalFresh has one of the most rigorous quality control systems and the lowest fraud rates of any public benefit program, less than 2%.

Myth: Applying for CalFresh can impact my immigration status.

Fact: Applying for CalFresh does not affect your immigration status or your application for citizenship in any way. Legal permanent residents are eligible for CalFresh immediately in California, and receiving benefits will not hurt your chances of becoming a citizen. Similarly, if you are an undocumented immigrant and apply for CalFresh on behalf of your citizen children, your immigration status will not be shared with authorities. Confidentiality is strictly enforced at all CalFresh offices.

How can I make a difference?

Share the facts with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. If you think a friend or neighbor may qualify for CalFresh, tell them that many community-based organizations like San Diego Food Bank are able to help them through the enrollment process. Click here for more information on these agencies.