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
Website: www.ccdsd.org
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.

 

Pour yourself a glass of clean drinking water!

Nutrition Notes: Healthy Hydration

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

With warmer temperatures and summer on its way, it’s important to remember to keep yourself hydrated! Our bodies are made up of about 60% water and every system of our body (from our Central Nervous System to our Immune System) depends on water in order to function properly! Water is hands-down the most essential nutrient, The question is, “Do you know how much water you should drink each day to stay hydrated?” Although adequate hydration differs for each individual depending on body weight and activity levels, the USDA recommends that adults consume six to eight 8-ounce glasses (equal to about two liters) of water each day. Hydration is a key component to health, but sometimes it can hard to remember to drink water throughout the day, especially with a busy schedule. This week try following a few of the tips listed below and drink up!

- Sweat = Water Loss : Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.

- Hungry or Thirsty? : Sometimes if you feel hungry, drink water first. It can be easy to confuse hydration needs with hunger pains.

- Drink Up Before You’re Thirsty : By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated.

- Schedule It : Set reminders on your phone or calendar to drink a glass of water when you wake up and also with every meal.

- Go Green : Carry a reusable water bottle with you, so you can refill it throughout the day.

- Make It Fun : Are you looking to jazz up your water routine? Check out the links below for easy infused water recipes and ideas.

8 Infused Water Recipes

Feast Your Eyes On… Flavored Water

Infused Water Recipes

Do you have a favorite spa water recipe? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

 

Be sure to shop the perimeter of the store for the freshest and most nutrient foods.

Nutrition Notes: 10 tips to become a savvy shopper

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

With rising food prices, it can be challenging to purchase groceries and prepare healthy meals. Below you will find 10 tips that can help stretch your food dollar.

1. Plan menus and make a list: Entering a grocery store without a shopping list can result on an additional  5-10 items. Try planning menus and writing a shopping list that corresponds with the store aisles or categories.

2. Use coupons and rewards cards: Clipping coupons can save you (on average) 10-15 percent on your grocery bill.

3. Buy store brands: These products are often less expensive than national brand products and usually maintain the same quality as national brands.

4. Compare unit prices: Many stores show this right on the price tag, so it is easy to compare products.

5. Read food labels: Make sure you try and find the most nutrient dens products using the % Daily Value on the nutrition facts label. Five percent or less is low-try to aim low in saturated fat, Trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Twenty percent or more is high -try to aim high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

6. Buy on sale and in bulk: This can be a great way to save, but only buy larger quantities if you have proper storage.

7. Shop the perimeter: This is where you will find the most nutritious products like fresh fruits and vegetables.

8. Shop seasonally: Fresh Produce often costs less when it’s in season. Check here for a list of what’s in season now.

9. Keep foods safe and prevent food waste:
Reference dates printed on food products, such as the use by and sell by dates, to help select the freshest products.

10. Pay attention at check-out: Make sure products ring up right at the register (especially any sale items you have in your cart).

Healthy eating starts with proper food preparation.

Keep It Clean in the Kitchen: The Stitch on Food Safety

by Theresa Carmichael, Nutrition Intern

Home food safety is extremely important, when it comes to overall health. Unfortunately, food poisoning is said to affect about 1 out of 6 Americans yearly and has a potential to result in hospitalization or even in extreme cases death. Food poisoning occurs when people eat foods that have been contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella, E. Coli, and others types of poisoning. The symptoms are related to the flu and are very undesirable. Certain people are at a higher risk including young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems because of pre-existing health conditions.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stresses the effects of food poisoning on health and have dedicated time to providing home food safety statistics and information to the public. Foods that commonly cause food poisoning when handled incorrectly include poultry, meat, fish, eggs, and sprouts. Follow the tips below to prevent food-borne illness in your household.

1. Keep it Clean – Washing hands with warm soap and water removes most of the bacteria that has accumulated on the hands during preparation. It is important to keep proper hygiene throughout the day in order to make sure anything you have come in contact with can be removed simply by hand-washing.

2. The Great Divide – Separate raw foods from food that has already been cooked. Designating different cutting boards for raw foods and cooked foods is an excellent way to make sure there is no cross contamination in food preparation. Also, paying close attention to where foods are placed during preparation is required for effective food safety. Washing all cutting boards, plates, and utensils if unsure of cross-contamination is highly recommended.

3. Bring on the Heat – Cook all raw foods at the correct temperature Specific temperatures are required for each type of food based on their make-up.  Some of the commonly used temperatures are as follows (given in degrees Fahrenheit):

Poultry: 165°
Beef: 145°
Seafood: 145°
Leftovers: 175°

4. Chill Out – Refrigerate leftover food to 40° Fahrenheit (or below) immediately after you finish eating. For remaining food items, place them in the refrigerator after they cool down. It is dangerous to put warm food in the refrigerator due to potential temperature changes of total storage. This change in temperature can affect the surrounding foods by placing it in the “hazard zone”: 40-140° Fahrenheit.

Modeling food safety for other family members is vital to keeping the home safe. Cooking, preparing, and eating together can help decrease the rate of food-borne illnesses at home. Check out this website and watch fun videos that can help you remember the four steps to food safety (Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill).

Ancient grains

Nutrition Notes: Serving up the scoop on ancient grains

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Below are a few of the great grains. This week, try incorporating one or two of them into your favorite dish. You will not be disappointed!

1. Quinoa: (pronounced “keen-wah”)  This South America native grain can be substituted for rice in any dish. It cooks rather quickly, is high in protein, and is a great source of iron and magnesium. Try Quinoa Veggie Salad for a fresh lunch!

2. Spelt Berries: This sweet and nutty grain tastes a little like barley and dates back to a time before wheat was commonly used. It was an important grain in ancient Greece and Rome. It is high in protein and fiber and when cooked, can be similar to a risotto. Try this protein-packed salad: Energizing Protein Power Salad.

3. Amaranth: This grain was a favorite among the Native Americans and the Aztecs (not San Diego State Aztecs). This grain is rich in iron, protein, and calcium. Switch out your usual morning oatmeal for this: Blueberry Amaranth Porridge.

4. Millet: This is the smallest of the ancient grains and is actually the name given to a group of several different small grains. It is a great source of magnesium and can be added into your favorite breads, cereals, or soups. Try Millet-Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” as a new side dish this week!

Incorporating different grains is a great way to get a variety of nutritional benefits and can give family favorites fun and exciting new tastes! Do you have any favorite recipes that use ancient grains? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Source: Food and Drug Administration

Nutrition Notes: Nutrition Label Makeover

Deciding which foods to buy at the grocery store may soon get a little easier. A major buzz over the past few weeks has involved the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed changes to food and drink nutrition labels. The changes will be the first major makeover in the last 20 years. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which first passed in 1990, was the first regulated food packaging requirement that mandated all packaged foods to have nutrition facts and health claims. With the variety of packaged food products on store shelves today, many health professionals felt these changes are well overdue.

The alterations of the nutrition label, as seen above, will spotlight calories and will update serving sizes to match what consumers actually eat or drink. For example, a 20 ounce soda that is usually consumed in one sitting will no longer be two and a half servings. Instead, its label will represent the nutrition information for one serving, making the label more user-friendly. Another addition to the new label will be a line for added sugars. Although natural sugar and added sugar are chemically the same, studies show that many Americans typically eat more sugar than they realize. By adding an additional line to the nutrition label to draw focus to packaged foods’ added sugar content, it will allow consumers to gain a better understanding of what they choose to eat and drink.

All in all, these proposed changes will help shoppers by making it easier to pinpoint a healthier option when comparing products in the grocery aisle. What do you think of the proposed nutrition label changes? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Read more about the proposed changes on CNN.

A spoonful of nutrition

Nutrition Notes: March is National Nutrition Month

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition and Wellness Educator

This coming weekend marks the beginning of National Nutrition Month. This campaign was launched in 1973 when it was initially recognized as National Nutrition Week. This week provided an opportunity to promote and educate the public about health and wellness. By its fourth year, National Nutrition Week had grown immensely in the number of people it reached and in response to the campaign’s growth; it was expanded to National Nutrition Month in 1980. Every year, the month of March encompasses a different nutrition-focused theme to encourage nutritious choices. This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” Research shows that taste is a driving force when making food choices, so learning ways to make healthy and tasty meals is an important step to healthy eating. Challenging lifelong eating habits may be hard, although with the right tools it can be easy to modify your habits to start on a new path to a happy, healthy you!

Here are a few tips to make sure nutrient-dense choices are always an easy go-to option anywhere, anytime!

- Choose whole grain bread over white or enriched wheat flour when making sandwiches.
- Avoid fried or battered foods and instead look for bakes or broiled options.
- Choose low-fat plain Greek yogurt and top with frozen fruit and granola for a delicious, pre-made parfait.
- Adopt ‘Meatless Mondays’ in your home and try new colorful vegetable-based recipes.
- Cut up fruits and vegetables right after you bring them home from the store, so they are an easy-to-grab snack.

“Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” by consuming meals that pack the most nutrients for their punch, try to eat a meal full of color. So this month, try a new fruit or vegetable, or better yet try a fun new recipe! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Spaghetti Squash Primavera                                           Lemony Kale Salad
How to Prepare an Artichoke                                          Mashed Cauliflower

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