Tag Archives: healthy eating

colorful arrangement of fruits and veggies in shape of a rainbow

Eat a Rainbow!

Fruits and vegetables come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors. Eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, like cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients for health and maintenance of your body. Different types of fruits and vegetables provide different nutrients, so it’s important to get a good variety. An easy way to make sure you’re getting all the different nutrients is to choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to fill half your plate. Continue reading

nakesha moore

How FNP Helps Feed VA

In honor of Feed VA Day of Action, we’re highlighting Virginia Family Nutrition Program’s educators who take action every day as they empower Virginians to make good food choices, work to eliminate food deserts and strive to end hunger in our state.

Our Program Assistants, SNAP-Ed Agents and volunteers work with individuals and families by teaching them grocery shopping strategies, meal planning tips, cooking skills, food safety skills, and tips for maintaining active lifestyles. These are the folks who work in their communities, sharing their knowledge and giving people tools to make healthy choices for their families.

Are you interested in helping us in our mission? We are always looking for volunteers to work with our educators throughout Virginia. Take action to end hunger in your community. Contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office to learn about volunteer opportunities.


Building a Healthier Sandwich

Sandwiches are a quick and easy meal for busy families. You can customize them to your taste preferences. They’re portable, making them a favorite item in packed lunches for both kids and adults. In fact, on any given day about half of Americans eat sandwiches (which includes burgers, hot dogs, and breakfast biscuits). Unfortunately, the researchers found that people who ate sandwiches also ate more calories overall and sandwiches were a large source of saturated fat, sodium, processed/cured meats, and refined grains. Continue reading

Winter Produce Recipe Round-up 2016

It may not feel like it with the unusually warm weather, but today is the official first day of winter. My favorite part is that starting tomorrow, the days will begin to get longer again. Yay!

Winter is not typically thought of as a prime time for seasonal produce. However, many local farmers are able to offer fruits and veggies that grow in cooler weather or store well. Also, tropical fruits, like citrus fruits, pomegranates, or pineapples, are in season in winter.

Seasonal Winter Fruits and Vegetable Recipes

Winter Produce Recipes

If we finally get some real winter weather, soup is always a great warming comfort food to enjoy.

Winter Soup Recipes

And as a holiday treat, I threw in a few seasonally flavored dessert options, too!

Winter Dessert Recipes

What are some of your family’s favorite winter recipes? Share in the comments!

How to Cut Down on Added Sugars at Home

Lately we’ve talking a lot about added sugars and heart health. Here are some simple swaps to help you cut down on added sugars at home:

Eat Smart

  • Choose low-calorie, sugar-free drinks like water, calorie-free drink mixes, or diet drinks. If you like fizz, try adding slices of your favorite fruit or a splash of fruit juice to seltzer water.
  • When drinking juice, choose 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks that are mostly just added sugar. Or eat a piece of whole fruit instead of drinking juice for added fiber and less sugar!
  • Buy fresh or frozen fruit or canned fruits in water or 100% juice. Try to avoid canned fruit in syrup. Eat a piece of fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Use fruit in place of sugar to sweeten your cereal or oatmeal.
  • Choose reduced-sugar syrups, jams, and jellies. Other condiments like ketchup and salad dressings have sugar, too. Use these in moderation.
  • Cut down on the amount of sugar you add to your food at home such as in your oatmeal, cereal, coffee, and tea. Try cutting the amount you normally use in half or try using a sugar substitute.
All the places sugar creeps into your diet really adds up.

All the places sugar creeps into your diet really adds up.

Cook Smart

  • If you like to bake, try cutting down on the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. Use unsweetened applesauce in its place. One cup of sugar is equal to one cup of unsweetened applesauce. Try out this recipe for Apple Raisin Bran Muffins. You can also try using a artificial sweetener baking blend to cut the amount of sugar in half.
  • Add flavor to your baked goods without adding extra sugar by using spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. You can also add vanilla or almond extract to boost the flavor.

Cutting down on added sugar will not only save you calories, but it may also help you choose a healthier diet overall, with more fruits and whole grains and less processed foods. Do you already limit added sugars at home? Share your tips or changes your family has made with us!