Sometimes our efforts to eat smart miss the forest for the trees. We spend a lot of time wondering if individual foods are healthy. But we don’t always pay the same attention to our overall diet pattern. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate have helped to shift the focus from nutrients and food groups to healthy eating patterns. This makes sense, because we eat meals, not just protein and Vitamin A or chicken breast or butternut squash. It also helps remind us that everything we eat or drink matters. And those choices day by day can impact our health over a lifetime. There are many ways to eat a healthy diet. Your own eating pattern reflects your taste, culture, traditions, and budget. So how can you shift your thinking from eating smart foods to eating a smart diet? Continue reading
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
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.
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
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.
Winter Produce Recipes
- Baked Apple and Sweet Potato Casserole
- Beef Pot Roast
- Delicata Squash with Walnuts
- Egg nests
- Egg, Broccoli, and Rice Stir-Fry
- Fennel and Apple Slaw
- Glazed Parsnips
- Greens and Apples
- Mashed Potato and Vegetable Pancakes
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples
- Spiced Turnips and Apples
- Sweet Potato and Apple Skillet
- Turkey and Sweet Potato Dinner
- Vegetables with Lemon Sauce
- Winter Greens and Orange Salad
If we finally get some real winter weather, soup is always a great warming comfort food to enjoy.
Winter Soup Recipes
- Bean Soup
- Brunswick Stew
- Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
- Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup
- Cheese and Corn Chowder
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Pozole Soup
- Ground Turkey Vegetable Soup
- Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup
- Italian Bean Soup
- Leftover Turkey Soup
- Lentil Soup
- Lentil Stew
- Lentil Vegetable Soup
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- Mushroom Barley Soup
- Navy Bean Soup
- Potato Corn Chowder
- Potato Soup
- Pumpkin and Bean Soup
- Salmon Cheese Chowder
- Sausage, Bean, and Kale Soup
- Slowcooker White Chicken Chili
- Split Pea Soup
- Tomato Soup
And as a holiday treat, I threw in a few seasonally flavored dessert options, too!
Winter Dessert Recipes
- Apple Cinnamon Crisp
- Apple Crunch
- Baked Apples
- Berry Bread Pudding
- Carrot Cake
- Carrot Cookies
- Crustless Pumpkin Pie
- Fruit Chewy Cookies
- Peach and Pear Cobbler
- Pear and Apple Compote
- Rice Pudding
- Sweet Potato Pie
What are some of your family’s favorite winter recipes? Share in the comments!