“Can”tastic Reasons to Choose Canned Fruits and Vegetables!

apricots and cherries

Back in the 18th century, canning began its evolution when Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte issued a challenge for someone to come up with a safe way to preserve food in quantity to feed his troops. Hundreds of years later, canned food is a part of everyday life.

In the canning process, food is sealed into an airtight, cleaned and sterilized container using heat to kill bacteria and other microorganisms that cause food to spoil. Over the years, the processing conditions have been dramatically refined so the best texture, greatest flavor and maximum nutrition are retained in canned foods.

Myths about canned foods are abundant. Here is some “food for thought” to help reveal the truths:
Myth # 1: Canned food is high in sodium.
Fact: No sodium (or other preservative) is needed to make canned food safe. Salt is added simply to enhance the taste of a particular food. In fact, “no sodium” and “low sodium” options are readily available for many products. Draining and rinsing canned food before use reduces sodium levels 23-40% according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Myth # 2: All canned fruit is high in sugar.
Fact: Besides those fruits canned with heavy and light syrups made with added sugar, many canned fruits are available packed in their own juice or water. Just as with rinsing added sodium from vegetables, rinsing fruit before serving can reduce the amount of added sugar.

Myth # 3: Fresh food is best.
Fact: In a University of California-Davis study, researchers found when a food is eaten, regardless of being fresh, (frozen) or canned, the nutrient levels are not significantly different. Researchers at Michigan State University found a nutritional advantage in certain foods for canned vs. fresh fruits and vegetables.

From olives to tuna and pureed pumpkin to evaporated milk, canning is a healthy way to decrease food waste, increase convenience of perishable foods and save money. Canning also increases the variety of nutritional fruits and vegetables available to consumers in the Midwest where food is not grown year-round.
Remember – if a can is leaking, bulging, dented, cracked, discolored or smells bad, DON’T USE IT! Take advantage of specials and stock up on “cantastic” canned foods for great taste, economy, variety, convenience and nutritional benefit.

Try this great-tasting recipe using canned fruits to see for yourself how delicious, nutritious and easy it is to take advantage of canned fruits. Unlike fresh fruits, these canned fruits are ready to use!

Apricots and Cherries with Ricotta and Thyme
All you need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic glacé (thicker than vinegar)
  • 2 (28 oz. each) cans pitted apricot halves
    in light syrup, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tart red cherries, pitted, drained
  • 4 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

All You Do:
1. Preheat broiler to high. Move rack to second position from the heat element.
2. Mix together salt, olive oil and balsamic glacé in small bowl.
3. Place drained fruit in 8.5-by-11-inch jelly roll or other pan lightly coated with pan spray – apricots first, and then cherries scattered evenly throughout the pan.
4. Drizzle olive oil mixture evenly over the fruit. Lay thyme sprigs on top of the fruit.
5. Broil fruit mixture (not too close to flame; adjust shelf position if needed) until tender, juicy and slightly gooey. The edges may brown or even begin to blacken as sugars caramelize (approximately 15 minutes).
6. Remove from oven; tuck spoonsful of ricotta around the cooked fruit. Sprinkle with goat cheese.
7. Return pan to broiler until cheese is slightly brown and melted.
8. Remove pan from broiler; carefully remove charred thyme sprigs if desired. Sprinkle broiled fruit with chopped fresh parsley and thyme.
9. Serve immediately on pieces of grilled whole grain bread, whole wheat pita wedges, water crackers or other plain cracker of choice.

This dish pairs nicely with a green salad and grilled chicken or fish.   Serves 8

Recipe adapted from Pacific Coast Producers

Nutrient Facts: Per serving: 280 calories (50 calories from fat), 57 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber,
5 g protein, 6 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium

- Lindsay

Perfect Dark Chocolate Pairings


With Zoet Premium Belgian Chocolate

Smooth, decadent chocolate is a classic Valentine’s Day indulgence. But do you know dark varieties of chocolate are actually good for the heart, too? Here’s why…

The darker the chocolate, the healthier it is for you and your Valentine. Cacao beans contain nutrients such as iron, potassium and fiber, and also a potent class of antioxidants called flavonoids. The higher the percentage of cacao in a chocolate bar, the darker the chocolate, and the higher it is in flavonoid antioxidants. These flavonoids appear to have beneficial effects on the body, such as relaxing blood vessels, promoting healthy circulation and playing a role in healthy blood pressure levels.

As with many of the finer things in life, less can be more. The health benefits associated with dark chocolate consumption have been seen in modest consumption of approximately one ounce – one-third of a Zöet bar – a few times per week.

Darker chocolate’s characteristic bitterness is best appreciated through pairing it well with complementary flavors. If you’re new to dark chocolate, start with 57% cacao Zöet dark chocolate and work your way up to higher percentages of cacao over time. The smoothness of Zöet premium Belgian chocolate will make a dark chocolate aficionado out of anyone!

Try some of these perfect dark-chocolate-with-food-and-drink pairings; we believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of these combinations:

1. Fruit: Known for its bitter bite, dark chocolate helps neutralize very sweet fruits such as strawberries, bananas and dried apricots. However, its properties also create a combo with citrus fruits that pack an edgy punch for true chocolate connoisseurs.

2. Nuts: Nuts in chocolate desserts make an interesting addition from both taste and texture points of view. Add roasted hazelnuts, almonds and/or walnuts to a chocolate bark recipe (such as the one listed below) for added crunch and a delicious nutty bite.

3. Cheese: The sweetness of chocolate can sometimes overwhelm the palate, which is why aged cheddars, Gouda, Havarti and Parmigiano-Reggiano have a strong enough flavor to balance perfectly. Spread toasted baguette slices with melted chocolate and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

4. Coffee: Dark chocolate can have some very strong coffee undertones. And, since these two favorite foods are grown in similar regions of the world, coffee and chocolate have flavor profiles that tend to naturally complement each other. Dark chocolate goes well with a bold coffee, such as Italian roast. Serve small chunks of dark chocolate with freshly brewed coffee for a sweet and ultimately satisfying end to a meal.

5. Wine: Pair chocolate and wine according to the darkness of the chocolate. Like food, follow the general rule of wine pairings: the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine. Red wines (like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel) are ideal for dark chocolate.

For beer drinkers, dark chocolate pairs well with dark beers, like oatmeal stout.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Bark

Makes 3 dozen (1-1/2-inch) pieces

All you need:
2 cups chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (or chips), such as Zöet Premium Belgium 57% Dark Chocolate
12 caramel squares
1 teaspoon water, divided
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
Chopped nuts (optional)

All you do:
1.Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles!)

2.Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on MEDIUM for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on MEDIUM, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. (Alternatively, place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.)

3.Combine 6 caramel squares and ½ teaspoon water in a small bowl; microwave on HIGH just until melted, 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately stir the melted caramel thoroughly into the melted chocolate. Scrape the mixture onto the foil and spread it into a 9-inch square.

4.Combine the remaining 6 caramel squares with ½ teaspoon water in the small bowl and microwave on HIGH until melted, 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately drizzle the caramel over the chocolate and sprinkle with salt (and nuts, if desired). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

5.Transfer the bark and foil to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces.

Nutrition information per piece: 52 calories; 3 g fat (2 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars;1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 20 mg sodium; 6 mg potassium

Adapted from: Eating Well

- Lindsay


loaded potato pig skins

Source:  Taste Spotting

Whether you’re a football fanatic or couldn’t care less, we can all unite around one thing on Big Game Sunday: the food.

This is America’s second largest eating day, falling behind only Thanksgiving in terms of calories consumed. An average daily intake for Americans is 2,000 calories, but during the big football show we eat that much in less than three hours.

Top picks for game day include chicken wings, chili, meat and cheese trays, nachos, chips and dips galore. Often missing from the spread, however, are fruits and vegetables. If you’re afraid a veggie platter will play second string to the standard fare, pull a kitchen quarterback sneak by incorporating fresh foods in creative ways.

Imagine the cheers you’d get if you carved bell peppers into football-helmet shapes and used them to hold carrot and celery sticks. Watch the crowd go wild when you present a tray of dark chocolate-dipped strawberries decorated as miniature footballs. And savor a big win when guests throw back a few of your potato pigskins—a lighter and veggie-filled take on fried potato skins. Fruits and vegetables can add more variety, nutrition and color to the traditional super spread—and that’s a touchdown any day.


Serves 12 (2 potato skins each)

All You Need:

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Hy-Vee olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Hy-Vee light sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup Hy-Vee shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage

All You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters. Arrange potato quarters on a parchment-lined baking sheet, skins facing up. Brush olive oil over the skins of the potatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper over potatoes. Bake about 20 minutes or until potato flesh is easily pierced with a fork and skins are crisp and golden. Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sour cream, oregano and garlic powder; stir until well combined.

3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to remove most of the potato flesh from each quarter, leaving just a quarter-inch of the potato skin. Return skins to the same baking sheet, skin-side down. Sprinkle cheese over potato skins and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

4. Top each potato skin with a spoonful of the diced tomato and shredded cabbage. Drizzle sour cream mixture over loaded skins and serve immediately.

Nutrition per serving: 104 calories, 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 232 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate (2 g fiber, 1 g sugars), 3 g protein.

- Lindsay

Save Your Way to Slim


If you started a diet the first week in January and were tempted to overeat the second week, you may agree the third week in January, Healthy Weight Week, is the perfect time for a sustainable approach to achieving a healthy weight. Occurring on the third week in January since 1982, Healthy Weight Week celebrates the non-diet approach to healthy living. During this week we are encouraged to improve our health habits in lasting ways by eating well, fitting physical activity into our day and feeling good about ourselves and others.

Your Hy-Vee registered dietitian, Lindsay, recommends a personalized meal and snack plan that allows for your favorite foods and fits your budget. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive; wise choices can extend your food dollar. As we mark Healthy Weight Week, your Hy-Vee dietitian invites you to save your way to a slimmer you with some of our weight-friendly Hy-Vee private label picks:

  1. Hy-Vee eggs are an economical, protein-packed addition to any meal or snack.
  2. Hy-Vee string cheese is a portable, portion-controlled mid-afternoon choice to hold you over until dinner.
  3. Hy-Vee hummus can be enjoyed with raw veggies as dippers.
  4. Hy-Vee Thick & Chunky Salsa is a low-calorie condiment for omelets, turkey burgers and more.
  5. Hy-Vee frozen fruits are just as nutritious as fresh; never run out of fruit when you keep frozen fruits in your freezer.
  6. Hy-Vee 100 Calorie Greek yogurt is a lower-carb version of fruity-flavored Greek yogurt.
  7. Hy-Vee salad blends offer you a time-saving shortcut to eating daily salads; simply add lean protein and your favorite salad dressing.
  8. Hy-Vee whole wheat pasta is made from whole grain wheat, offering you a good source of satisfying whole grains.
  9. Hy-Vee black or green tea bags make a calorie-free beverage that will warm you up on a cold winter day.
  10. *New* Hy-Vee All-Natural Peanut Butter is brand-new to store shelves, offering you a natural peanut butter that’s a budget-friendly source of satisfying protein and healthy fats.

Peanut Noodles with Shredded Chicken and Vegetables

Serves 6 (1 1/2 cups each).

Active time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

All you need

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup smooth Hy-Vee natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 11/2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 8 oz Hy-Vee whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh vegetable medley, such as carrots, broccoli, snow peas

All you do

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking pasta.

2. Place chicken in a skillet with water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Shred into bite-size strips.

3. Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, chile-garlic sauce and ginger in a large bowl.

4. Cook pasta in the boiling water until not quite tender, about 1 minute less than specified in the package directions. Add vegetables and cook until the pasta and vegetables are just tender, 1 minute more. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Rinse the pasta and vegetables with cool water to refresh. Stir the reserved cooking liquid into the peanut sauce; add the pasta, vegetables and chicken; toss well to coat. Serve warm or chilled.

Nutrition facts per serving: 371 calories, 13g fat, 2g saturated fat, 42mg cholesterol, 369mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 27g protein.

Nutrition bonus: 76% vitamin A, 47% vitamin C, 16% iron

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

- Lindsay

Get Creative with Citrus!

winter sangria

Source:  Browser.net

This time of year, we find the number of clementines, oranges, lemons and grapefruits (just to name a few) are so abundant that it seems impossible to figure out what to do with them all. The fact is, citrus is versatile. It’s a no-brainer when it comes to enlivening the usual applications — vinaigrettes, salads, desserts — but there’s more than meets the eye, especially in the case of unique varieties. Here are some fun ways to bring your favorite dishes to another level of flavor:

Add citrus zest and juice to pesto.

Blend 2 cups fresh basil, ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, 2 cloves garlic, zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until the mixture is finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve over your favorite fish.

 Top your favorite meal dishes with gremolata.

Gremolata is a combination of lemon zest, garlic, parsley and olive oil. Traditionally an addition to Osso Bucco (braised veal shanks), it is also great as a garnish on grilled or roasted lamb, pork chops, beef and even roasted potatoes. Gremolata is best made fresh – it doesn’t keep for more than a day – but is also best if it has an hour or so before serving for the flavors to meld. Fortunately it only takes about 5 minutes to make!

To prepare, simply combine the zest of one lemon, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Brighten up ricotta.

Ricotta cheese has a very mild flavor but with the addition of citrus juice and zest, it comes to life. Stir together 1 cup ricotta cheese, zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper. Smear on a whole wheat flatbread or pizza crust and top with trimmed and diced asparagus and ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Finish with more fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Add color and extra “zip” to sangria.

Sangria is typically served as a summertime beverage, but this winter version is perfect for entertaining. It’s perfumed with clementines and sliced pears, and garnished with fresh pomegranate arils.

This information is not intended as medical advice. For individual medical advice, please contact a health care provider.

Winter Sangria with Citrus & Pomegranate

Makes 10 servings

All you need:

  • 1 pear, washed, seeded and sliced
  • 4 clementines or 2 tangelos, washed and sliced thinly
  • 1 apple, washed, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 3 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup orange juice, ideally freshly squeezed
  • Hy-Vee ginger ale or club soda for serving
  • Ice cubes

All you do:

  1. In the bottom of a large glass pitcher or gallon jar, combine sliced fruit and pomegranate.
  2. Sprinkle with sugar and toss in the cinnamon stick.
  3. Pour the red wine and the fruit juices over the fruit.
  4. Stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  5. To serve, remove cinnamon stick, and pour over ice into glasses. Top with ginger ale or club soda to taste. Garnish with more pomegranate arils if desired. 

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 158, Total fat 0g, Saturated fat 0g, Sodium 7mg, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrate 26g, Fiber 1g, Protein 0g

Adapted from: Simple Bites

- Lindsay

Link Love



Source:  Ambitious Kitchen

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to put up a “Link Love” post, despite the fact that they are my favorite to create.  It’s been a busy start to the new year, needless to say.  But I’m happy to be back in the swing of things bringing you a couple of nutrition-packed posts per week.  

The healthy change that I’ve been instilling since the start of the new year:  meal planning.  For quite some time I found myself doing the same boring meals.  I missed being in the kitchen.  So once holiday season was over, I resolved to get back into my habit of planning a few new recipes a week.  I’ve even found ways to pre-prepare some of those healthy recipes to make week day dinners a cinch.  I’ve also been loving green smoothies again; they really are a great way to start the day off in a healthy way.  See tips in link love below!

Have a great weekend!

My favorite make-ahead meals right now:

And you can’t go wrong with crock-pot recipes this time of year either:

Other links from around the web:

Make ahead your breakfast too!

New Year vegan recipes

Use chickpeas for croutons!

Love how this dad made his kid’s lunches fun

A extremely yummy way to utilize winter citrus

Books for the mind, body and spirit

Use these youtube channels to do your workout at home

Another great make-ahead meal

Make your own (no sugar added) granola bars = make ahead snack!

LOVE Laura’s YouTube videos: Raw, Vegan, Not Gross

- Lindsay

A Saladicious Start to the New Year

kale salad

Start the new year right by eating fruit and vegetables in delicious salads.  With a variety of salad greens and fruit and vegetables, there are endless combinations and each salad can offer different flavors and nutrients.  Fruit and vegetables add vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber which support good health.   

Make any meal “saladicious” by creating a salad with flavorful and nutritious mix-ins.   Start with salad greens, add fruit and vegetables, drizzle lightly with dressing, add a lean protein, and top it off to create a unique meal.

Salad greens – The darker and greener, the more nutritious!  Darker salad greens are higher in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, calcium and manganese which help support eye health, healthy bones and the immune system.  Choosing darker salad greens is an easy way to create a more nutritious salad that also offers more flavor. 

Dietitian Tip:  Since darker greens have a stronger flavor, try mixing romaine with darker greens to lessen the flavor intensity while still boosting the nutrition content of the salad. 

Kale is one of the most nutritious greens and the start to a saladicous salad.  Kale has curly leaves and can be purchased as a bunch; it is now available in bagged salads so there is no added preparation.  If purchasing a bunch, rip the leaves from the stalk and wash under cold water.   The stalk can be discarded and the leaves torn into bite-sized pieces. 

Try massaged kale: In large serving bowl, add one bunch of kale (washed, removed from stalks and torn into bite-sized pieces), the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a small pinch of salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften, wilt and turn bright green, about one to two minutes.

Fruit or vegetables – Add fruit and vegetables for color, texture and extra nutrients.

Dressing – A light drizzle or side of dressing will add just the right amount of flavor.  For portion control, measure the salad dressing or dip the fork into the dressing, then pick up the salad.  In addition to adding flavor, salad dressing can increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.

Protein – Feel fuller longer by adding a lean protein. 

Top it off – Add a fun ingredient to finish the saladicious meal. 

Whether staying in or on-the-go, a saladicious meal is pleasing, easy to prepare and a good way to eat fruit and vegetables.

Saladicous Examples

Salad Green Fruit or Vegetables Dressing Protein Top if off!
Kale Bell pepper strips Plain Greek yogurt Seasoned ground meat Black beans
Spinach Mandarin oranges Sesame vinaigrette Canned salmon Lo mein noodles
Arugula Pear slices Olive oil and red wine vinegar Crumbled blue cheese Pecans and pomegranate arils
Romaine Grape tomatoes Caesar Grilled chicken breast Parmesan cheese
Red Leaf Lettuce Strawberry slices Balsamic vinaigrette Grilled chicken breast Crumbled feta cheese
Green Leaf Lettuce Marinated mushrooms Italian Salami Olives
Butter Lettuce Shredded carrots Ranch Sliced hard-boiled egg Whole wheat croutons


Massaged Kale Salad

Serves 6 (about 2 cups each).

Active time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Here a pungent garlicky dressing is infused into kale by massaging the greens and the dressing together with your hands. Any type of kale will work in this recipe, just remember to remove the tough stems before you start.

All you need

  • 2 bunches kale
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Hy-Vee lemon juice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hy-Vee freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hy-Vee salt

All you do

  1. Strip leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning with more Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and/or pepper, if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving: 185 calories, 15g fat, 3g saturated fat, 6mg cholesterol, 321mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 5g protein.

Daily values: 234% vitamin A, 159% vitamin C, 18% calcium.

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

- Lindsay

Be a Supplement Savvy Shopper

Supplements can help provide nutrients not consumed in ample amounts from food. One way to know if a supplement is safe is to check Consumer Reports for the product you are buying, or look for USP Verified on the label. The USP Dietary Supplement Verification Program is a voluntary testing and auditing program that helps dietary supplement manufacturers ensure they are making quality products for consumers. Always make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any supplements you are taking. There are several types of popular dietary supplements:

Multiple Vitamin/Mineral Supplements –A multi-vitamin/mineral supplement can help fill nutrient gaps in our diets. These should not provide more than 100% RDA (recommended daily amount) for most of the nutrients they contain.

Omega-3s/Fish Oil – It is recommended to consume fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc. two to three times each week. If you don’t like fish or do not consume it regularly, an omega-3 or fish oil supplement can be very helpful. It is recommended to consume at least 500 mg of EPA + DHA from an Omega-3 or fish oil supplement.

Individual Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs – There are many situations in which an individual vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement is needed. Below are the most popular individual supplements:

  • Vitamin C – People who smoke, have inflammatory conditions or have wounds likely need more vitamin C than a healthy individual. Talk with your healthcare provider about your needs.
  • Vitamin B-12 – There are many conditions that can reduce your ability to absorb B-12. If you are told your level is low, look for a sublingual B-12 to enhance absorption. A Hy-Vee pharmacist or dietitian can help you choose the one right for you.
  • Vitamin D – If you are told to take vitamin D supplements because your level is low, make sure to take them with food that contains a little fat to enhance absorption.
  • Folate – Deficiency of folate or folic acid can cause birth defects. Women who may become pregnant should consume 400 mcg of folic acid from a supplement or fortified food in addition to consuming a healthy diet.
  • Probiotics – Keep probiotics refrigerated for freshness. Patients with inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases may benefit from a product containing saccharomyces boulardi. For general health, a product containing lactobacillus and bifidus are recommended in the dosage of 1 – 10 billion CFU. A probiotic can help with the side effects of taking an antibiotic.

There is a wide variety of supplements on the market, and not all of them are necessary. It is important to remember that foods provide us with vitamins and minerals. Consuming a variety of foods and following the MyPlate model can help ensure an adequate diet. For a list of food sources of each vitamin and mineral and for additional supplement questions, please contact your Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian, Lindsay.

- Lindsay

Link Love

gingerbreadpumpkinbars 4023   Pumpkin Gingerbread Snack Bars

Hope you all are having a happy and healthy holiday season.  I know I’m crossing my fingers that I don’t catch any of the bugs going around.  I’ve had a bad track record of getting sick on holidays ever since I was young. 

Twelve days until Christmas – hope your shopping is all wrapped up and ready to go!

healthy way to enjoy the seasonal flavors (see picture above!)

And another

In case you are still looking for gifts, here are 63 vegan ones

And being that I love natural beauty products, I would go for any of these gift ideas

My family is doing soup for Christmas Eve.  Maybe this would be a good option.

Or any of these options from Cooking Light

I could eat this all week for lunch – just mix up your toppings:  chickpeas, nuts, sliced chicken, salmon….

Winter health myths

Bacteria is amazing

- Lindsay

Holiday Entertaining with DIY Food Bars


Source:  Eat Drink Pretty

We find ourselves in the middle of holiday season and the peak of holiday parties. A big trend this year for holiday entertaining is to serve a Do-It-Yourself Food Bar. These parties are a great option at holiday time because you can make the bar as simple or elaborate as you wish, depending on how busy you are.

Another advantage to serving a DIY Food Bar at your holiday party is that you can customize the menu to provide healthy options for partygoers. Guests then are able to customize their own plates to their preferences making this an ideal option for anyone with food allergies or dietary concerns.

Most DIY food bars can be kid-friendly if your invite list includes people of all ages. They also can be served at any time of day. Host a holiday brunch to free up the rest of your day for shopping, wrapping and other items on your holiday to-do list. A few brunch bar ideas can include a pancake or waffle bar, breakfast burrito bar, yogurt parfait bar or oatmeal bar, with all your favorite toppings. 

Go beyond the usual mealtime build-your-own burger bars and serve an upscale mashed potato bar. Use elegant serving dishes and utensils to make this fun. Try serving the potatoes in martini glasses and let guests top them how they wish with meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces. Pasta bars are another fun meal to serve. Offer various whole wheat pastas with a few different sauces and let everyone pick their perfect combinations.

Beverage bars can also be included along with any of your parties. For kids and those who are still kids at heart, serve a hot cocoa bar with fun mix-ins. For your adult-only parties, provide a bubbly bar with a variety of fruit juices and sparkling wines. Dessert bars and appetizers are perfect for parties where a full meal is not required. Crostini is a very popular appetizer offering and can be a delicious and healthy option, with the right ingredients. Crostini is a fancy name for toasted bread – usually a baguette – and toppings. A crostini bar makes for an endless variety of appetizers with various topping options and pairings. By incorporating lean meats or fish, cheese and roasted vegetables, party guests can have a complete, custom-built meal! Try this spread for one of your toppings at a Crostini Bar at your holiday party.

Whipped Blue Cheese Spread

Makes approximately 1-½ cups spread

Adapted from Chobani.com

All you need:

  • 2/3 cup Chobani Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons 1% milk
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3 dried apricots, thinly sliced

All you do:

  1. Prepare blue cheese spread by blending yogurt, blue cheese, olive oil and black pepper in a food processor until combined. With processor running, drizzle in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached; it should be thick but fluffy and spreadable.
  2. Gently stir in dried cranberries and apricots. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with crostini toasts and assorted toppings.

- Lindsay


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