Tag Archives: healthy food

Pumpkin Nutrition

Sandy              By: Sandy Spitler (Dietetic Intern)

Pumpkin is everywhere as the fall season comes full circle, from carving them at Halloween to the endless variety of pumpkin flavored coffee drinks, it can incorporated into almost anything you can think of. While pumpkin compliments breads, ravioli, beer, and pie, this fall squash also packs a bounty of health benefits. Below provides evidence to why it is perfectly acceptable to obsess over pumpkin not only this fall but all year long: 

  • Pumpkin seeds help elevate moods and improve sleep  – especially needed during the fall and winter months as the weather cools down and daylight fades away. Pumpkin seeds are rich in the essential amino acid tryptophan needed in the production of serotonin – a major hormone that affects mood and sleep. Regular consumption of pumpkin may even help prevent depression.
  •  Aids in weight loss – as good source of fiber, with 3 grams per 1 cup serving, and only 50 calories, pumpkin can help you feel fuller longer, preventing you from reaching for the candy corn or indulging in a candied apple.
  •  Protects your heart – nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are naturally abundant in phytoesterols, plant-based chemicals shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure. After carving all your pumpkins, keep the seeds to roast in the oven to use as a snack or added crunch in salads.
  •  Keeps vision fine-tuned – 1 cup of mashed pumpkin provides more than 200% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A, aiding to keep your eyesight sharp. 
  • May reduce risk of cancer – pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, displayed by their bright orange color, enhancing the antioxidant beta-carotene, possibly aiding to prevent cancer. These antioxidants also foster skin’s smoothness by helping to prevent wrinkles.
  •  Refuel after a tough workout – 1 cup of cooked pumpkin gives you 560 milligrams of potassium compared to a banana’s 420 milligrams. Potassium aids to restore your body’s electrolyte balance after a grueling workout allowing your muscles to perform at their best.

The endless supply of pumpkin goes hand in hand with its long list of health benefits, giving perfect reason for the obsession with this fall super-food. As the fall air cools down and winter nipping at our toes we begin searching for warm, filling, meals to fuel our bodies through. Warm up with this comforting, delicious, and nutrient dense pumpkin chili, easily modified to please any palate. Recipe below:

Slow Cooker Pumpkin & Bean Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can (15oz.) black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can white northern beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can solid-packed pumpkin
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 4.5 oz. can chopped green chile
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, diced OR 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 avocado, sliced and used for topping
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, used for topping

 

Directions:

  1. 1. Heat medium sauté pan over high heat and add ½ teaspoon olive oil to pan
  2. 2. Add onions then garlic to heated oil in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes
  3. 3. Add cooked garlic and onions to crock pot followed with remaining ingredients (except for the avocado and cilantro saved for topping). Allow ingredients to cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours
  4. 4. Top with cilantro and avocado if desired.  

Tip: You may also replace 1 can of beans with ¾ lb. lean ground turkey by simply browning the turkey in sauté pan and then combine with remaining ingredients in crock pot.

pesto-sauce

Go Green with Pesto!

By: Jillian Ouhrabka MS, RD, LDN, CHC

What is Pesto?

We all love it but what is Pesto exactly? Pesto is easily made in a food processor and while there are variations, it is typically composed of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese.

Get Creative!

Spice up your Pesto with a little orange rind or add home grown veggies!  If your garden has cilantro, thyme, chives, mint, or parsley (or any other green) add it for a twisted Pesto or try a new Pesto Recipe:

Kale Pesto Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 4 cups of firmly packed kale
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 oz grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. In food processor finely chop garlic
  2. Add nuts and pulse
  3. Add Kale and pulse
  4. With food processor running, add olive oil, and water until you have created a paste
  5. Using a spoon, mix in the cheese and salt (optional)
  6. Add to your favorite dish!

Suggested Use:

You can add Pesto to most any dish for a great burst of flavor! Try adding it to:

  • Pizza or Pasta Sauce
  • Chili
  • Beans and Rice
  • Lettuce, turkey, and hummus wrap
  • Quinoa
  • Salad

 

 

Spinach-poached-egg

Spinach, Peppers, and Poached Eggs!

Takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp low fat cheese (grated)
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar

    Directions

  • Thinly slice the onion and pepper.
  • Using a little olive oil, sauté onion and pepper in pan over medium heat.
  • Cook onions and pepper until soft
  • In separate pot add 3 to 4 inches of water, boil water and add 2 tbsp vinegar
  • When water starts to boil, reduce heat to a simmer
  • Now it is time to add the spinach to the onions and pepper. Saute the spinach briefly (about 1 minute) until it is wilted.
  • To poach the eggs: Crack in a small bowl one at a time and then drop into the simmering water one at a time.
  • Allow eggs to cook for about 3 minutes (longer it cooks, the more firm it will be)
  • Once eggs are cooked to desire firmness,  place the spinach, peppers and onion on two plates. Place eggs on top of veggies, add a little bit of low fat cheese, pepper and enjoy!
  •  *Make your eggs and veggies to go by adding them to Whole Wheat Toast or English muffin.
quinoa

Quinoa and Bean Salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings for a main course or 8 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 ½  cups quinoa
  • 1 ½  cups cooked black beans
  • 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
    • Tip: If you buy canned beans always rinse them so cut down on the sodium content
  • 1 ½  tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 ½  cups cooked corn
  • 1 ripe avocado diced
  • Tip: Use fresh corn in the summer, or frozen in the winter, again if you use canned rinse it before cooking
  • 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • ¾ cup diced banana peppers
  • ¼  cup finely chopped coriander
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Tip: If you are watching your sodium intake, use salt substitute
  • 1 ¼  teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Making the Dish:

  1. Clean and prep quinoa as indicated on box or bag: Typically you will need to wash the quinoa under water until the water is clear
  2. In a large saucepan bring water to boiling, then add quinoa and cook for about 10 minutes
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, start another saucepan with about 3 cups of water for step 5
  4. Drain quinoa and rinse under cold water
  5. Next, using a sieve you will put the quinoa over a saucepan with boiling water, cover the quinoa with a towel and lid
    1. The object here is to steam the quinoa so you don’t want it touching the boiling water
    2. Steam until it appears light and fluffy (usually about 8 to 10 minutes)
    3. Once light and fluffy, put quinoa into a large bowl and let it cool (stir it occasionally to help cool faster)
  6. Mix the beans, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl
  7. Once the quinoa is cool, add the bean mix from step 6, the bell pepper, banana pepper, coriander, avocado, tomatoes and corn
  8. Make the dressing: Combine the lime juice, salt, and cumin ina small bowl.  As you whisk these ingredients together, add the oil and continue whisking. Once combined, add to the quinoa salad.
  9. Serve salad at room temperature and enjoy!