Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Tasty Way to Eat Your Veggies

Written by Jordan Zelenky
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

How many times have you been told to eat two or three servings of vegetables every day?  If you’re anything like me, you probably hear that message all the time. Unfortunately, most people just don’t like the taste of those green, leafy veggies.

Image by Jordan Zelenky
What’s so special about greens? Take spinach, for example, which is an excellent source of Vitamins K and A, and is very low in fat (Palmer, 2009). All of those benefits are great, but because spinach has such a bland taste, it is often excluded from my meals. I knew I had to start eating spinach because relying on broccoli and carrots to get enough veggies doesn’t provide enough variety, so I thought about adding spinach to smoothies.

Image by Jordan Zelenky
Smoothies are so versatile, which makes them an easy way to add new foods to your diet if you’re unsure about a new food’s texture. The thought of an overwhelming spinach taste in my smoothie made me nervous at first, but after my first try combining the ingredients the flavors were nothing but strawberries, bananas, and soy milk! The spinach blended into the flavors of the fruits perfectly, and I was left with my normal smoothie, just a little more green in color.

To make my smoothie, use 2 large strawberries, ½ ripe banana, a couple of ice cubes, ½ cup of soy milk, and a ¼ cup of spinach. Next, cut up the strawberries and banana, then combined all of the ingredients into the blender. Pulse the blender for 30 seconds, but you can adjust that time depending on the thickness you prefer. Try to come up with your own combination of flavors and veggies! I’d love to hear new ideas to mix up my routine ingredients.


Palmer, S. (2009). Spinach Flexes Its Mighty Nutrition Muscle. Environmental Nutrition, 32(3), 8-8. 

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Better Flavor, Better Savor: Marinara Sauce

Written by Lindsey Wallace
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

Have you ever considered how much money is saved by preparing meals from scratch? Want better flavor and be a better saver for your family? Consider preparing your own marinara sauce.

Save yourself from high sodium and mediocre flavor when buying store bought marinara sauces. Venture to make your own from fresh produce from your local grocer or farmers market.

Image by Lindsey Wallace

Your marinara will be flavorful and inexpensive compared to store brands. The savings are more than monetary; just 50mg of sodium per serving compared to most store brands of 400mg sodium per serving. Foods low in sodium keeps the heart healthy. Sodium in excess can damage the heart by making the heart work harder to pump blood.

The taste of homemade marinara with fresh ingredients is much more dynamic than store brands. The various herbs, spices, and aromatics are creating the flavor instead of salt. I hope you are up to the adventure of making your own. Enjoy the flavors!

Consider canning your sauce for serving up a quick. Safely canning practices allow you to savor these flavors year round! The recipe below is intended for canning 8 pints of marinara; however the recipe can be adjusted to fit your serving size needs. What’s your favorite meal to serve up your marinara?

Yield: 8 pints
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper


AmyZoe (2009, January 9). Canning marinara sauce. Retrieved from

American Heart Association (2014, February 19). Sodium (salt). Retrieved from

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Avoiding the Freshman Fifteen

Written by Kelsey Tripp
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

If you currently live on a college campus, you may be afraid of gaining the dreaded “freshman fifteen”. I often find myself eating chips, cookies, and other tasty snacks, but I later regret those empty calories. Everyone should eat those delicious treats on occasion, but it is important to eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables.  I’ve found that the best defense against unwanted weight is to stock my mini fridge or cabinet with healthy choices to eat as snacks between meals or late at night.

Some of the foods you can find in my dorm room are the following:

-          Clementines are easy to peel and they are small enough to fit in any book bag if you have a lot of back-to-back classes.
-          Apples and bananas are always my go-to fruits; they are sweet treats any time of the day.
-          Baby carrots are my best defense against late-night study sessions when I just want to munch on chips or candy.

-          Red peppers are one of my favorites and a vegetable you should try! According to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database, red peppers have two times more Vitamin C than oranges.

Image by Kelsey Tripp

Carrots and red pepper are delicious on their own, but you can dip them in hummus or your favorite dressing!

Start a shopping list including your favorite fruits and vegetables to pick up next time you go to a grocery store. When you’re in the produce section, don’t be afraid to explore different foods! What are some other easy, healthy snacks you would include with this list?


National nutrient database. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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Scrumptious Spinach

Written by Deanna Teter
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

Spinach is a veggie many people do not like because of the rep that comes with it; people do not think it tastes good. But, if you are not a fan of how it tastes by itself, it can taste great when you add it to many dishes. It can be added to sandwiches or wraps, omelets, in a dip, in a dish as an appetizer or even as a side dish. Not only does it taste great in recipes but spinach has many benefits and can be good for the body. It has lots of vitamins and minerals that make it a good vegetable to add to your grocery list. Spinach can help maintain bone health, protect eyesight, fight infections, and help keep skin healthy. Now that you know a little more about spinach here is a simple recipe you can try to add spinach to any meal.

Quick and Easy Sauteed Spinach

Image by Deanna Teter

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1(10 ounce) bag spinach leaves
1 ½ tsp garlic salt
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat then add spinach and cover.
2. Cook for 5 minutes then stir in garlic salt and cover for another 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and sprinkle with parmesan cheese to serve.

If you are still not convinced on how spinach can taste great try some of these simple steps to incorporate spinach into your everyday meals:

·         Add spinach to a smoothie
·         Sprinkle spinach on any pasta dish
·         Eat a salad with spinach
·         Add spinach to your pizza
·         Toss spinach into soup

What will you do with spinach?


Basic report: 11457, spinach, raw.(n.d.) Retrieved from 

Quick and easy sautéed spinach (n.d.). Retrieved from

Spinach Health Benefits. (2014, February 20). Retrieved from

What are the health benefits of spinach? (2014, February 2). Retrieved from

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Rhapsody in Orange

Written by Katarina Smiljanec
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

Imagine a rainbow of tropical colors combined in a nutritious drink! Fresh squeezed juice is a delicious way of refreshing and energizing your body. By focusing and thinking about what you are tasting, you are also making your brain exercise and stay healthy.

Image by Katarina Smiljanec
I decided to make a juice from fresh oranges, carrots, grapefruit and ginger (in the picture). The pigments from each blend together to create an appealing bright orange color, stimulating the appetite. The dominating citrus aroma from the oranges is fused with a hint of ginger, making your brain curious as to what exactly you will taste. When the refreshing drink touches your taste buds, the smooth consistency allows you to differentiate between each of the blended fruits and veggies. The mild, sweet flavor of carrots and citrusy, sweet flavor of oranges makes the base of the juice while the grapefruit and ginger root give just a slight bitter aftertaste, but enough to make you go for more.

There are numerous fruit and veggie combinations that will excite your taste buds. It takes no longer than a few minutes of your busy schedule to make juice with them. Some of them might not taste good to you, but experimenting with different ingredients can open up the doors to amazing flavors. Which is your favorite combo?

For those that would like to try the described juice, here is the recipe:
7 carrots
3 oranges
1/2 grapefruit
0.5”x1” piece of ginger root
Yields 12oz of juice.

Wash all the ingredients. Peel the oranges and the grapefruit. There is no need to peel the carrots and the ginger root. Juice the fruits and veggies, pour in a glass, and enjoy! 


Ding, S. (n.d.). Juicing basics. Retrieved February 19, 2014. Message posted to

Nguyen, A. (2012). Juicing: How healthy is it?. Retrieved March 5, 2014. Message posted to 

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Quick Breakfast Ideas to Help You Earn an A!

Written by Rachel Sable
Part of National Nutrition Month 2013

I’m the type of person who presses the snooze button at least three times before actually getting out of bed. I love my sleep (as do all college students!) and absolutely dread setting my alarm clock.  Due to about 30 minutes lost during my over pressing of the snooze button, I have to get ready for the day in the quickest way possible.  As a student studying nutrition I am aware of the importance of breakfast and must decide, “What can I eat that is quick yet provides a jump start to my day?”  I’ve found that cereal seems to be the most tasteful option.

Image by Rachel Sable
Cereal can be a great breakfast option if you are choosing the right ones.  I always check the nutrition label and serving size.  Never rely on the claims made on the front of the box!

What should be in your cereal per serving size?

High in fiber (more than 3g)
Low in sodium (less than 200 mg)
Low in sugar (10g or less)
Image by Rachel Sable

Now we all have a hard time choosing the ‘healthy’ cereal over the ‘sugar’ cereal in the grocery aisle but there are healthier cereal options that taste just a great as the ‘sugar’ cereals.  Some options include raisin bran, miniwheats, or honey bunches of oats. Plus, you can include a serving of fruit to your cereal, like I always do, to add some sweetness to your breakfast.  My most popular choices include Honey Nut Cheerios with sliced bananas or Special K Fruit n’ Yogurt with blueberries.

Which cereal will you choose for breakfast?


Mayo Clinic Staff (2011). Healthy Breakfast: Quick, flexible options to grab at home. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from

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A Spin on Spinach

Written by Maureen Pryatel
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

What words come to mind when you hear the word "spinach?"  Let me guess:  did the words gross, yuck, and blah come to mind?  Well, clear your mind of those negative connotations about spinach because this superfood is about to become your favorite vegetable!

Image by Maureen Pryatel
You might ask, well why should I eat spinach, anyway?  Spinach is a great source of vitamin K, which helps with the mineralization of bones in our bodies.  In addition to vitamin K, a serving of spinach contains a substantial amount of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, folate, and magnesium, just to name a few. Spinach has many health benefits, and there is a way to eat spinach that makes it taste good.

A great way to incorporate spinach into your meals is to make it a hidden ingredient, and make it seem like you are not even eating it.  Spinach can be blended into smoothies, which gives them a unique green color but tastes just the same.  It can also be hidden in common dishes such as omelets, or quiche.  Hide spinach at the bottom of your salad and pile all of your other ingredients on top.  You might even forget the spinach is there!

There is no need to compromise taste when it comes to eating healthy; you just have to be creative and find ways that work for you.  So give it a try and add some spinach to your meals--you won't regret taking a spin on spinach!


The World's Healthiest Foods.  (2014).  Retrieved from:

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