Gajar Ka Halwa (carrot pudding) is a custom dish often shared during Diwali!

Nutrition Notes: It’s Time to Celebrate Diwali!

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

Foreword by Callie Brust, Nutrition & Wellness Educator for the San Diego Food Bank:

The San Diego community is wonderfully diverse and the San Diego Food Bank is proud to serve many of these varying culture groups. With all these international influences, we get to learn and share amazing recipes! The San Diego Food Bank’s talented Nutrition Education Volunteer teaches us about a recipe she enjoys during Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights.

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Diwali is an Indian festival of lights, celebrated each year in the fall. The festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness, and good over immorality by lighting lamps and fireworks. It’s a time for families to come together and share the happiness and excitement of the festivities. Prayers are offered to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity and this marks the beginning of a new fiscal year in India. Family members create beautiful rangoli designs using colored rice, flour, sand and flower petals and light lamps in the evening. Diwali is a time for gifts, new clothes and lots of delicious treats, both savory and sweet. Here is a recipe of one of my favorite sweet treats, gajar ka halwa. It is a simple dessert made with grated carrots, milk, sugar and ghee or clarified butter. Though it takes some time to make it, the resulting delicacy is truly wonderful. Carrots contain beta carotene which is necessary for good vision. Research also suggests that beta carotene may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, slow ageing and diabetes-related symptoms.

Recipe: Gajar ka Halwa
Preparation time: 1 hour | Number of servings: 1 – 2

Ingredients:

- 1-1.5 cup of grated carrots
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 tbsp. of ghee or butter
- 2 to 3 tbsp. of sugar
- 1 tbsp. of chopped, roasted almonds or cashews
- 1 to 2 tsp. of raisins
- 1 to 2 pinches of cardamom powder

Directions:

1. Cook the carrots in the milk in a thick bottomed pan on a medium flame, until the carrots are cooked and the milk has almost evaporated.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and keep stirring on a low flame until the milk has evaporated and the gajar ka halwa comes together.

3. Gajar ka halwa tastes delicious served either hot or cold.

Here’s wishing you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali!!

References:
http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/24-carrot-health

Rich in potassium and fiber, bananas are always a healthy snack choice, especially on-the-go!

Nutrition Notes: Go Bananas!

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

Bananas are always popular and can be found year round.

This sweet, tropical fruit is packed with potassium, fiber and vitamin C. Bananas provide instant energy and are like whole food ‘cereal bars’ that are delicious, nutritious, economical and widely available.

Here is a recipe for a quick, and easy banana bread.

Recipe: Eggless Banana Bread
Preparation time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 45 to 55 minutes

Number of servings: 8 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

- 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- ½ tsp of baking soda
- ¼ to ½ cup of plain yogurt
- ¼ sunflower oil
- 2 big, overripe bananas, mashed with a fork
- 1 tsp of vanilla essence

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a baking tin.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together, except sugar.
3. Beat the oil, sugar, yogurt, bananas and vanilla essence together.
4. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix the batter well.
5. Pour batter into the baking tin and bake at 350°F for around 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Here are links to a few quick and easy recipes with bananas:

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/go-bananas-parfait-recipe
http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/baked-bananas-in-orangecinnamon-sauce-recipe
http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/oat-banana-breakfast-cookies
http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/chocolate-hazelnut-stuffed-banana-fro-yo-bites-recipe
https://eatrightchicago.org/bananas-for-bananas/

References:
1. https://eatrightchicago.org/bananas-for-bananas/

It's true what they say! An apple a day is good for you.

Nutrition Notes: An Apple a Day

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

An apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away! Apples are packed with fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Pectin in the fiber helps lower bad cholesterol levels and helps feel full longer. Antioxidants in apples help fight against certain cancers and may increase immunity. Apples do not contain sodium, fat or cholesterol, and are perfect to snack on. These juicy beauties come in varied colors including golden yellow, pink, red and green.

There are a variety of apples available in the market with unique tastes, textures and colors – some apples are perfect for using in salads, while some are perfect to make pies with. Click here to read about common varieties of apples and the best ways to enjoy them.

- Tip for keeping sliced apples from browning – squeeze some lemon juice on sliced apples to prevent them from turning brown.

Apples are used to make apple juice, cider, pies, applesauce, salads and many more interesting dishes. Applesauce is used to replace eggs in cakes and cookies.

I am sharing a recipe for a flavorful apple-cranberry relish that I use with burgers, in sandwiches and wraps and as a salad dressing.

Recipe: Apple Cranberry Relish

Preparation time: 30 minutes | Number of servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

- ¾ cup grated apple (sweet varieties like gala or Fuji are great)
- ½ cup fresh cranberries, minced
- 1 stalk celery, grated
- Juice and zest from 1 orange
- 1 tbsp sugar
- A dash of salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours before use.
2. Left-over relish may be cooked for 10 – 15 minutes and used as a delicious glaze for meat or as a spread for breads and wraps.
3. For some added family fun, pick your own fresh and delicious apples from apple orchards near San Diego in Julian.

References:
1. http://bestapples.com/varieties-information/varieties/
2. Gerhauser C. Cancer Chemopreventive Potential of Apples, Apple Juice, and Apple Components. Planta Med 2008 Oct; 74(13):1608-24.