Cool crisp mornings, early dark nights… it seems that fall has crept up on us this year! Fall offers so many varieties of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and it also marks the beginning of a long holiday season. Often times, we start eating more during this time, as well. It is important to keep our health in check during the cooler months and remember that fall foods offer great benefits to a balanced diet! Fall foods are packed with great nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that help keep our immune systems strong. Here are a few tips to incorporate some typical fall favorites (soups, stews, breads, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, apples and greens) that are sure to keep the season tasty and healthy!
Fall back with a plan: With the clocks set back, it is important to remember that it will soon be getting dark earlier. This often means that there are less outdoor activity options in the evenings. Be prepared this year. Consider joining a gym, walking at a mall or well-lit area or you can even consider rising early to get some activity in before starting your day!
Soup’s on: Use this time to experiment in the kitchen. Soups are great meals that can be filled with hearty vegetables, and they are easy to throw in the crockpot so meals are ready for the week.
Snack attack savers: Football and new fall TV shows are in full swing which is often paired with snacks. Avoid overeating by portioning out snacks and have fruits and vegetables prepared and easily accessible for healthy snack options during the big game.
Make a plan to stay healthy this fall and winter season. Here are a few Quick & Easy Fall Recipes to inspire healthy eating during these cool months.
Trick-or-treat! With pumpkins, costumes and candy galore, we all know Halloween is right around the corner. Halloween is a fun-filled family holiday loaded with pillow cases full of candy! It is fine to enjoy some sweet treats on Halloween, but often times it is easy to overdo it! This year, before your ghouls and goblins hit the streets, try to remember these tips to avoid sugar highs followed by those upset tummies.
Eat a healthy snack before trick-or-treating. This tip seems simple enough, but it is often forgotten. By providing a healthy meal such as a peanut butter sandwich, fruit or a cheese stick, it can reduce over snacking on sweet treats.
Think outside the box. When your doorbell rings what will you be passing out this year? It doesn’t have to be candy. Try something new such as: cereal bars, snack packs of fruit, nuts or trail mix, gold fish, raisins, popcorn, etc.
Go ‘mini.’ Candy bar calories add up quickly so opt for the bite size candy bars.
Post trick-or-treating candy inventory. After hitting the neighborhood and wondering how to manage all of the candy at home, consider letting the kids choose a couple of candy pieces each day and try to pair it with a healthy snack such as a fruit or vegetable.
Get creative. If you are having a Halloween party, have the kids help in the kitchen. There are plenty of healthy Halloween snack ideas. Check out a few examples here: Healthy Halloween Treats & Halloween Treats Kids Will Love.
We often think of Thanksgiving as the kickoff to the holiday season of giving, but why not start with Halloween? Get a jump on giving this year by trick-or-treating for canned goods! As you go door to door on Oct. 31 with the kids in your life visiting neighbors, ask them for nonperishable food donations instead of candy. Let them know you are hosting a Halloween food drive that will benefit the San Diego Food Bank, and their donations will help feed hungry children, families, and individuals during the holidays. You can also create and hand out flyers that have hunger facts and statistics about San Diego, and information about the Food Bank’s programs. Be sure to bring a rolling suitcase or wagon to help carry the donations!
Food items that are most in demand are canned tuna or chicken, peanut butter, canned fruit or vegetables, pasta, rice, beans, cereal, and canned soup or chili. All donation items must be unopened and nonperishable.
You may drop off your food donations directly at the Food Bank during our walk-in donation hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are located in Miramar at 9850 Distribution Ave. San Diego, CA 92121. If you cannot drop off your donations, we can pick them up from you! Just schedule a pickup date by registering your food drive here. You will receive a confirmation email within 72 hours.
Start your holiday season the right way by helping those in need. Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to host a Halloween trick-or-treat food drive!
Through the Food Bank’s SONDAS (Solving Obesity and Nutritional Disease Affecting Seniors) Program, impoverished San Diego seniors receive the nutritious food they need, the nutritional education they lack and the personal support necessary to make lasting changes to their lifestyles. Guided by the experienced hand of the Food Bank’s Registered Dietitian, Jenna Olson (pictured in the photograph above), the SONDAS Program has seen the implementation of our first-ever nutrition curriculum specifically for seniors and increased the distribution of fresh produce to this targeted population. The series of workshops and presentations kicked off in March and covers a variety of topics that are relevant to our senior population including:
- Eating Healthy on a Budget
- Making Healthy Eating Part of Your Lifestyle
- How to Navigate a Grocery Store
- How to Incorporate Physical Activity at Home
- Steps to Shake the Salt and Sugar Habit
Attending seniors receive nutrition-related handouts of the material discussed in class as well as various recipe cards that often coincide with the fresh produce participants receive at three out of the six sessions. Senior participants have shown eagerness to take steps to improve their lifestyle while attending these classes. For example, seniors have reported that they are using the MyPlate guide for making meals for their grandchildren. While other anecdotal examples of the program’s positive impact include reports from participants that show they have created a meal plan reflecting a better, more well-rounded diet, have tried new fruits and vegetables that they have not tried before and some seniors even starting to work in their apartment complex’s garden a couple of times a week alongside neighbors.
The Food Bank’s SONDAS Program is part of a larger Senior Initiative that is an important component of our comprehensive efforts to address hunger and food insecurity throughout San Diego County. In a very short time period, hundreds of seniors have added more fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets and received the relevant nutrition education that underlines the importance of eating right and regular physical activity. As SONDAS continues, we expect to see thousands of seniors benefiting from the work of the Food Bank team and the healthy approach to aging they promote. The Food Bank’s senior nutrition education initiative is funded in part by a grant from The California Wellness Foundation and by a grant from The Walmart Foundation.
Interested in learning more about the SONDAS program, volunteering with the program or having the classes at your site? Contact Jenna Olson, RD for more information at 858-863-5197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As everyone starts to stock up on hand sanitizer and tissues in preparation for flu season, it is important to remember that healthy eating during cold and flu season is essential to avoid getting sick. It is always important to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals by eating a balanced diet following MyPlate guidelines, but the next few months call for extra nutrient-packed defense systems! When the body is healthy inside and out, it has an easier time fighting off infection. In order to prepare the best protection, it is important to remember that staying healthy doesn’t end at the dinner table. In order to boost your overall health, remember the following tips:
Get plenty of rest. Sleep is important for all ages and the proper amount can directly influence how you feel as well as daily performance at work or school. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, while school-aged children get at least 10 hours of sleep.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into meal and snack time provides immune boosting nutrients that help shield the body from infection. Get some snack-spiration here.
Exercise regularly. If exercise hasn’t found a home in your daily routine, try to make room for it gradually. It is best to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. It is important to never get discouraged if you get off track with your exercise routine. It is never too late to restart your journey to a healthy and happy you!
Decrease stress. Work, traffic, family, house work… it all adds up and without an outlet, the body runs on overdrive and the stress can be an additional avenue for a sickness to form. Try to find 5 to 10 minutes each day upon waking and/or before bed to meditate or take self-reflection time to de-stress. If you have additional time, try incorporating some yoga or balance poses.
Cut back on unhealthy habits. It isn’t time for New Year’s resolutions just yet, but it is the perfect time to cut back on bad habits. Try to make one simple healthy change over the next 30 days. Some examples: read for 30 minutes every day, try a new fitness class, have a fruit and vegetable with every meal. It takes about 20 to 30 days for a habit to form, so you will be well on your way to a healthier you just in time for the holidays!
Over the next 30 days, challenge yourself to make one, maybe two simple changes that will aid in a healthier & happier you. Here is a short video for some inspiration: Try Something New for 30 Days. Share your 30 day small changes with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and stay healthy this flu season!
Teen Challenge is a nonprofit partner that is very active in both the Food to Nonprofits program and hosts a monthly Neighborhood Distribution. Their staff members are incredibly organized and efficient when they select and pick up food from the warehouse. They utilize the services offered by the Food Bank to their full potential.
In the last year through the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, Teen Challenge has distributed 196,914 pounds of food (equivalent to 153,839 meals) to people facing hunger in our community. Included in that is an incredible 160,000 pounds of fresh produce.
As part of the City Heights community, Teen Challenge is becoming engaged in a unique project between the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding America San Diego, where all nonprofits in the community will work together to provide an equitable and dignified food system for people facing hunger. This is an exciting pilot project, and Teen Challenge is enthusiastic about being involved and working with their neighboring agencies.
When asked about their Food Bank partnership, Mike Conway of Teen Challenge said, “We are so thankful that we can work together to meet the needs of the hungry families in our community.”
Regarding their recent Neighborhood Distribution that served 319 households containing 1,425 people, Conway said, “It was such a wonderful day and everyone went home with a renewed sense of hope and gratitude. Thank you so much for your partnership!”
The staff at Teen Challenge is conscientious of report deadlines and is always sure to have statistics for both its Neighborhood Distribution and Food to Nonprofits submitted on time. The San Diego Food Bank thanks Teen Challenge for being such a great partner!
Phone number for people seeking services: 619-295-0337
Neighborhood Distribution Site
Food Location: 5450 Lea Street, San Diego, CA 92105
Food Hours: 2nd Monday from 9:00 a.m. until the produce is gone
Ready… set… hike! Fall is almost here, which means football season is back! The return of America’s most popular sport marks the beginning of tailgating season, which tends to include calorie-laden drinks, chips, fried foods and don’t forget the burgers and hot dogs! Watching football without food would be incomplete, but is there a way to keep it healthy along the sidelines? Why, of course! Just because it’s football season, doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthily while cheering on your favorite NFL team.
Grill Without Guilt
Barbecuing doesn’t have to put a damper on fitness and diet goals. There are a lot of ways to stay healthy by lightening up traditional tailgate foods.
- Make it lean when it comes to meat options. Try to choose ground meat that is 93% lean or more, if possible.
- Bulk up your burger or sandwich with extra vegetables like avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes or onions!
- Looking to save some calories for dessert? Try having your sandwich or burger wrapped in crunchy lettuce instead of using a bun. You can also skip the cheese
and save about 100 calories.
Chips, dips and desserts can be hard to tackle when it comes to tailgating in a healthy way, because those treats can often lead to overeating. This year, fuel up before you hit the fields with veggies. Vegetables can help keep you feeling fuller longer and can replace chips for dipping into bean-based dips such as hummus. Need some recipe inspiration? Check out these top 20 healthy tailgating recipes.
Exercise Break at Halftime
Football games tend to include a lot of eating and sitting. Encourage guests to take a halftime walk or stretch outside to get some fresh air and get the blood pumping again. Also, never forget the importance of hydration throughout the day! Oftentimes, the body can confuse hunger with thirst, which can be a sign of dehydration.
Could you maintain a food budget of $34.31 for a week? That’s about $4.90 per day. For more than 285,000 low-income San Diego County residents, $34.31 is their weekly allotment for all of their food and beverage needs. This week marks the 8th annual CalFresh Challenge running today through Sunday, Sept. 21. The CalFresh Challenge provides participants an idea of what it is like for millions of Americans that work paycheck to paycheck to provide for themselves and their families.
The challenge started in 2007 when four members of Congress decided to live on an average food stamp budget for one week to raise awareness and understanding of what challenges many people face on a daily basis while receiving CalFresh benefits.
It isn’t too late to participate in the challenge this week. Here are the rules:
1. Budget: Each person has a total budget of $34.31 to be spent on food and beverages for the week (that’s about $4.90 per day).
2. What’s included in the budget: All food purchased and eaten during the Challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending.
3. Food at home: During the Challenge, only eat food that you purchase for the project. Do not eat food that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments).
4. Social situations with food: Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including receptions or social events.
5. Share your experience with us: Document your experience throughout the week using a blog or daily journal to track how you approached the Challenge and share your stories and recipes with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!
Eating healthy can be tough when you are on a tight budget, below are a couple of resources for low cost healthy recipes that work on a CalFresh budget:
- What’s Cooking USDA Mixing Bowl Recipes: This website provides CalFresh friendly recipes that include the total cost and cost per serving.
- Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/day: This is a free PDF version of a new recipe book that provides healthy meal ideas for a CalFresh budget.
It isn’t too late to participate in the challenge this week. Consider doing the challenge with your family, friends, coworkers or your fellow community members that are participating and make it official by pledging your participating here. We are excited that students from San Diego State University are participating in the challenge!
As summer winds down, it is almost time to reset those alarm clocks and pack this year’s school supplies for the upcoming school year! The first few weeks of school are a fun time for kids to catch up on summer stories with classmates and get back into their learning routine. Make sure the whole family has the perfect fuel in their lunchbox to keep them going through the day. It is easy to get in a rut when you’re packing the same lunch day after day. This year, change it up! Try incorporating a few of these tips to make sure this year’s lunches won’t be traded at the lunch table.
Find a good reusable lunchbox.
There are so many different styles of lunchboxes now, so you are sure to find one that fits your style. Whether it be the bento box, collapsible lunchbox or the classic lunch cooler, find one that works for you, and make sure to stock up on a few quality reusable storage containers that fit inside your lunchbox.
Make the time.
Once you get home from the grocery store, dedicate some time to do all of the food prep work for the week. This includes all of your slicing, peeling or cooking and then separating it into individualized serving containers, so they are ready to go for your lunch. You can even save by purchasing items in bulk and then placing individual serving sizes in their own containers at home.
Try something “out of the box” by switching out the classic PB & J sandwich for a wrap or pita. Try a couple of these quick and healthy lunch ideas.
Include a snack.
Once that afternoon hunger strike hits, be prepared! Bring along a few snacks that can be stored in the fridge for the week at work, so you always have a couple go-to options. Try a couple of these easy and healthy snack ideas.
All of these tips can be incorporated into the whole family’s routine. It takes some time to turn healthy changes into habits, but by having the whole family involved in the process, it can be a fun way to have a few extra hands help out in the kitchen. Do you have any creative lunch box makeover ideas? Share a picture or idea with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!
Maitake, Beech, Button, Portobello and Shitake are all types of mushrooms that are often referred to in the food community as antioxidant superstars. Mushrooms are a great addition to any dish that enhance delicious flavor while adding many different health benefits. Mushrooms are high in fiber, low in calories and are packed with various vitamins. The B vitamins found in many common mushrooms may help relieve stress and aid in energy metabolism, whereas the Vitamin D keeps bones, hair, skin, and nails strong. With so many health benefits to offer, take advantage of it by adding mushrooms to one of your favorite dishes or if you stick to the Button or Portobello mushrooms most of the time, try a new kind! Here at the San Diego Food Bank, we often have two different California-grown mushrooms known as Brown and White Beech mushrooms (pictured above) along with Maitake mushrooms. These mushrooms may look a little different, but they still pack the same nutritious punch as their fungi relatives!
Preparation and Storage Tips!
Brown & White Beech Mushrooms:
Cut off and discard the base of the mushroom cluster and enjoy in small clusters or hand-broken individual stems.
Easily separate mushrooms by hand and enjoy.
All types of edible mushrooms:
Put your mushrooms in a paper bag and place that bag on a shelf in the refrigerator. Be sure to store them away from foods with a strong odor, because the mushrooms will absorb that scent. Also, keep the mushrooms out of the vegetable crisper drawer. Don’t plan to use the mushrooms within the next couple of days? You can save them for another week by storing them in the freezer.
What You Can Make Using Mushrooms!
- Mushroom quesadilla - Roasted vegetables
- Taco toppings - Add mushrooms to fajitas, enchiladas or burritos
- Salad toppings – Omelets
- Miso soup - Make your own pizzas
Another option. Try a quick and easy mushroom sauté to add mushrooms to any favorite meal! Do you have a favorite recipe that includes mushrooms as an ingredient? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!