Gingerbread – Delicious AND Healthy?

There’s no denying that gingerbread is a classic holiday dessert. Flavored with ginger, cloves, allspice and some additional sweetening ingredients, this tasty treat offers some nutritional benefits that might just surprise you!

Originating in Southeast Asia, ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the planet. The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger comes from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in the spice, responsible for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. According to National Library of Medicine, gingerol could also explain ginger’s role in keeping blood sugar levels steady, which helps to control on of the long-term effects of type 2 diabetes. The health benefits of ginger are endless, such as reducing symptoms of nausea, helping with osteoarthritis, and treating uncomfortable indigestion.

Depending on the recipe, the spices used with ginger are equally as healthy. With significant levels of copper and iron, allspice is ideal for increased circulation and blood flow. Eugenol, quercetin, and tannins are all chemical compounds that aid in the antioxidant properties within allspice, perfect for removing toxins from the body.

Known for their sweet and fragrant spice, cloves have also been used for their medicinal properties. In fact, one teaspoon of ground cloves contains 55% of the daily value of manganese, an essential mineral for healthy brain function and building strong bones. Studies have also shown that due to their antimicrobial properties that help to eliminate harmful bacteria, cloves may promote oral health in combination with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene.

It is important to note that despite their many health benefits, gingerbread cookies and cakes are often loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, so too much of a good thing can be bad.

Check out some of our favorite recipes that feature ginger for more inspiration!

Ginger Roasted Salmon

This fish is loaded with nutrients, tasty, versatile, and widely available no matter where you live. A great source of protein, salmon is also rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Fall Ginger and Turmeric Tea

Offering tons of healthful benefits from each ingredient, it’s a ‘must have.’ This beverage is perfect for boosting your immune system with antioxidants and more.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

Did someone say pumpkin and gingerbread in the same sentence? That’s right folks, you’ve been asking for fall and this recipe gets you there fast than ever before.

Navigating the Holidays as a Diabetic

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN | Nutrition Supervisor

Food choices can feel difficult to make during the holiday season if you are diabetic. It’s especially hard to make good choices among a spread of options at every holiday party and get together. Taking time to make a plan before the event is a good way to avoid temptation; you’ll feel good about your choices and your body will too.

Tips to Stay on Track

Be a picky eater when choosing your foods. Scan the options first before choosing and find a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables.

Choose a smaller dinner plate. Use a plate that is 9” in diameter or smaller to combat overeating for better portion control. Avoid going back for extra helpings of carbohydrate foods like potatoes, stuffing, casseroles, and dessert.

Serve yourself non-starchy, low carbohydrate foods first as these foods won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar. Vegetables like asparagus, green beans, carrots, leafy greens, mushrooms, and broccoli are all great low carbohydrate options.

Watch the drinks which can contain hidden calories and sugar. Opt for water, zero-calorie sparkling water, or only one glass of something special!

Stay active by taking time to walk around mingling, playing with family members, or helping to cook and prepare food.

Find substitutions for ingredients when you are preparing any food. Offer to bring a dessert that you can enjoy and know how it will fit into your other choices (ex. sugar-free pudding with cool whip, baked apples, oatmeal bars). Check out NOAH’s collection of healthy recipes for inspiration!

Don’t skip meals in anticipation of a feast! Although we want to save up our calories for a great dinner, make sure meals or snacks are still included during the day to avoid spikes in blood sugar.

Although the holiday season might seem challenging, use the tips above to make it more manageable. The holidays are more than food – they’re about seeing family and friends, playing games, and enjoying good company. Don’t get down on yourself. Making small changes is a great first step, and we’re here to help!

Learn how to manage your diabetes with the help of a NOAH dietitian. Call 480-882-4545 to schedule an appointment or request one online.

The Function of Fiber

By Noel Ugarte, MS, RD | Registered Dietitian

Let’s talk about fiber. I’m sure most of us have heard that fiber is good for us – but how? It turns out that fiber can help manage and prevent many diseases.

What is Fiber?

Fiber is plant material that our bodies cannot fully digest. This means that the only food sources of fiber are plants. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans are all excellent sources of fiber. Fiber is a functional food. This means that as fiber travels through our bodies, it does different helpful jobs. But how does undigested plant material traveling through our body help improve our health?

Type 2 Diabetes

Fiber is technically a type of carbohydrate. The great news is, as stated above, we do not have the digestive tools to break it down into sugar. Instead, our stomachs break down fiber into smaller pieces. This takes a long time for our stomachs to do. Slower digestion time means that blood sugar levels will rise at a slower rate. This is great news for people who are trying to keep blood sugar levels steady. The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics consume adequate fiber in their diets each day to help manage diabetes.

Whole grain bread, brown rice, beans, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, popcorn, and potatoes with skins are all examples of high fiber carbohydrates.

Broccoli, carrots, onions, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, eggplant, cucumbers, and celery are all examples of non-starchy vegetables. These vegetables do not raise blood sugar levels like potatoes and corn do. They are also packed with fiber!

High Cholesterol

Fiber may also help to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels. Specifically, soluble fiber has been shown to help with this. Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that softens and grows when it comes into contact with liquid. Imagine what happens when you cook rice, oats, or dried beans – they soften and grow in size! As this thick fiber travels through your gut, it grabs some cholesterol that you ate in your meal and stops it from getting absorbed into your blood.

You can get soluble fiber into your diet by eating more lentils, beans, oats, chia seeds, fruits such as apples, oranges, and bananas, and vegetables such as brussels sprouts, carrots, and potatoes.

General Gut Health

Fiber is the main food source for the bacteria in our gut. It may not sound good to have bacteria in your gut, but in fact, these intestinal friends are necessary and help us to stay healthy. As they eat (or, rather, ferment) the fiber, they produce gas. This is why fibrous foods can sometimes cause bloating and gas! It’s important we feed them well in order to keep our gut bacteria diverse and flourishing.

According the the American Cancer Society, fiber has been linked to lowering colorectal cancer risk. It can also help to prevent polyps and diverticulitis flares. This is because the undigested plant material acts as a brush, brushing clean the lining of our intestines as it makes its way through us.

Fiber can also help regulate bowel movements. The different types of fiber – soluble and insoluble – work to change the shape and texture of our stools.  Soluble fiber absorbs water and becomes thick, insoluble fiber travels unchanged throughout the body making stools more bulky in size. These two functions – viscosity and bulking – help our stools to be more regular in schedule and texture.

The great news is that most fibrous foods have a mix of both types of fiber.

Weight Loss

Higher fiber diets have been linked to weight loss. Foods that are naturally high in fiber tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. Think about the difference between cheese puffs and carrots. You can eat a lot more carrots for 100 calories than cheese puffs for 100 calories. Thus, when meals are higher in fiber, you are more likely to feel fuller for longer while taking in less overall calories.

How Much Fiber Do I Need?

Adult females should get about 25g fiber per day, and males should get about 38g fiber per day (or about 14g fiber per 1,000 calories per day).

If you are looking to increase your fiber intake, consider increasing your fiber intake slowly. Going from a low fiber diet to a normal fiber diet too quickly can cause abdominal pain and bloating. Try increasing intake by 5-10 grams every few days as tolerated and remember to drink plenty of water.

Take a look at some of these higher fiber foods. Which foods can you add into your diet today?

High Fiber Foods (4 grams or more)

FoodServing sizeGrams of fiber
Artichoke1 medium10.3
Beans, baked, plain1/2 cup5.2
Beans, black1/2 cup7.5
Beans, kidney, canned1/2 cup6.9
Beans, lima1/2 cup6.6
Beans, navy1/2 cup9.5
Beans, pinto1/2 cup7.7
Beans, white, canned1/2 cup6.3
Blackberries1/2 cup3.8
Bulgur1/2 cup4.1
Cereal, high fiber, bran1/2 cup4-9
Chickpeas, canned1/2 cup5.3
Lentils1/2 cup7.8
Mixed vegetables, frozen1/2 cup4
Pear1 medium5.1
Peas, green, frozen1/2 cup4.4
Peas, split1/2 cup8.2
Potato, baked with skin1 medium4.4
Potato, sweet, baked with skin1 medium4.8
Quinoa1/2 cup5
Raspberries1/2 cup4
Soybeans1/2 cup5.1
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (sources: US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Resource Service. 2008. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl; accessed November 5, 2008. Nutrition Data.com: Nutrition Facts and Information, www.nutritiondata.com; accessed April 28, 2008. American Dietetic Association, Nutrition Care Manual: Constipation Nutrition Therapy, http://cms.eatright.org; accessed June 25, 2008.)

Moderate Fiber Foods (1-3 grams)

foodserving sizegrams of fiber
Banana1 medium3.1
Barley1/2 cup3
Beans, green or yellow1/2 cup2
Beets, canned1/2 cup1.5
Blueberries1/2 cup1.8
Bread, whole or cracked wheat, pumpernickel, rye1 slice2
Broccoli1/2 cup2.5
Brussels Sprouts1/2 cup2
Cabbage1/2 cup1.4
Carrots, frozen1/2 cup2.4
Carrots, raw1/2 cup1.6
Cauliflower1/2 cup2.5
Cereal, bran w/ raisins1/2 cup3.4
Cereal, wheat or oat1/2 cup2 – 4
Cherries, canned or fresh10 cherries1.4
Coconut, shredded1 oz.2.5
Corn, canned or frozen1/2 cup2.1
Cornbread2″x2″ piece1.4
Crackers, whole wheat4 crackers1.7
Cranberries1/2 cup2.6
Dates, dried5 dates3.3
Eggplant1/2 cup1.3
English muffin1 english muffin2
Figs, medium1 fig1.9
Fruit cocktail, canned1/2 cup1.2
Grapefruit1/2 cup1.4
Greens, such as turnips, beets, collards1/2 cup1.6-3.2
Kale, cooked1/2 cup1.3
Kiwi1 medium2.3
Melon1 cup1.4
Muffin, oat bran2 oz.2.7
Nuts, almonds1 oz.3.5
Nuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts1 oz.2-3
Oat bran1/2 cup2.3
Oatmeal1/2 cup2
Okra1/2 cup2
Orange, 2 1/2″1 orange3.1
Papaya1/2 papaya2.8
Peaches, fresh or canned1 fresh or 1/2 cup canned1.5
Peanuts1 oz.1 oz.
Pears, canned1/2 cup1/2 cup
Peas, green, canned1/2 cup1/2 cup
Pineapple, fresh1/2 cup1.1
Plum, 2″1 plum1
Popcorn, air-popped1 cup1.2
Prune juice1/2 cup1.3
Prunes5 prunes3.5
Pumpkin, canned1/2 cup3.6
Raisins, seedless1/4 cup1.4
Rice, brown or wild1/2 cup1.8
Sauerkraut, canned1/2 cup3.4
Seeds, sunflower or pumpkin kernels1/4 cup1.1
Spaghetti, whole wheat1/2 cup3.2
Spinach, canned1/2 cup2.6
Spinach, frozen1/2 cup3.5
Squash, all varieties1/2 cup2.9
Strawberries1/2 cup1.7
Tangerine1 tangerine1.5
Tomato sauce, spaghetti or marinara1/2 cup3..3
Tomatoes, raw1 medium1.5
Tortilla, corn, 6″1 tortilla1.6
Veggie or soy patty1 patty3.4
Wheat germ2 tbsp.1.7
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (sources: US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Resource Service. 2008. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl; accessed November 5, 2008. Nutrition Data.com: Nutrition Facts and Information, www.nutritiondata.com; accessed April 28, 2008. American Dietetic Association, Nutrition Care Manual: Constipation Nutrition Therapy, http://cms.eatright.org; accessed June 25, 2008.)

We’re Here to Help

Learning the ins and outs of a healthy diet can be tricky. Whether you’re just getting started or need a refresher, NOAH nutrition educators are here to guide and support you in living your healthiest life. For more information on nutrition services at NOAH, visit our website, or call 480-882-4545.

Sources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity

Mechanisms of Dietary Fiber – Fiber Facts

Types of Carbohydrates | ADA (diabetes.org)

Whole Grains, Refined Grains, and Dietary Fiber | American Heart Association

Do Jalapeños Make You Sweat?

If jalapeños and other spicy foods make you sweat, you’re in luck because they are actually cooling you down!

Chili peppers contain, capsaicin, an oil-like compound that makes them spicy. The hotter the pepper, the higher the capsaicin content.

We can thank Native Americans for early experimentation with the chili pepper plant and capsaicin’s variety of uses in food and even medicine.

Many people experience a physical response when eating foods that contain capsaicin.

According to the American Chemical Society, although capsaicin doesn’t actually generate heat, it triggers pain receptors in your tongue, mouth, and back of your throat that send a signal to the brain, which is interpreted as heat. Your brain’s natural reaction to this heat is to engage your body’s built-in cooling system by generating sweat. Your body cools down as the sweat evaporates.

While everyone’s body might not have the same reaction to capsaicin, most people will experience the cooling effect. It’s no wonder why areas with hotter climates are known for their spicy foods!

It is important to note that in this case, more is not always better, while peppers have many health benefits beyond triggering your cooling system, you can build a tolerance to spicy foods and make yourself sick by ingesting too much of a good thing.

Start off on the lower end of the scale with these recipes from our NOAH dieticians that are healthy, tasty, and bound to cool you off!

Fresh Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce

Fresh Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce

Fresh spring rolls known as goi cuon, made with carrots, lettuce, red pepper and purple cabbage served with a sweet chili sauce are fun to make. They are a quick healthful bite that is great as a snack or appetizer.

Chipotle Pork Chops

Take your pork chops to a whole new level with this spicy and flavorful chipotle adobo sauce. I’ve been known to make a few extra chops just so I have leftovers for tacos later in the week when are nights are busier than usual and there just isn’t as much time to cook. And besides, who doesn’t love tacos?

Stuffed Jalapeños

Stuffed Jalapeños

These baked stuffed jalapeños are an amazing and super easy appetizer to make when entertaining guests. They also make a great snack that is low in carbs and high in protein.

Understanding Food Allergies

Food allergies are getting more attention in recent years – which is a good thing! Around 32 million Americans, including 5.6 million children, are living with a potentially life-threatening food allergy. The more we know about allergies, the better!

Food Allergy vs Food Sensitivity

First things first; food allergies and food sensitivities or intolerances aren’t the same thing. Food allergies are a serious medical condition where your body’s immune system reacts to a specific food protein. It can look like getting a rash or hives, swelling, dizziness, itching, and even anaphylaxis (a serious reaction that can affect breathing and blood pressure read more here).  

If someone thinks they or a family member may have a food allergy, a medical provider should be the one to test and diagnose the allergy.

Food sensitivities or intolerances do not involve the immune system. Things like lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity, and others are in the digestive system. They can cause serious discomfort like bloating, constipation, cramping, and nausea, but they can’t be fatal. Read more about food sensitivities.

Most Common Food Allergies

People can be allergic to many different kinds of food. Common food allergies are:

  • Peanuts – One of the most common food allergies in children and adults, peanuts – a legume (different from a tree nut) – is usually a lifelong allergy.
  • Milk and Dairy Products – Cow’s milk is the most common allergy in infants and young children, though most outgrow it. It is also one of the most common adult food allergies too.
  • Eggs – A common food allergy for babies and children, many will outgrow it. Some adults remain allergic, and it can be to egg whites, or egg yolks since they contain different proteins.
  • Shellfish – Allergies to this type of seafood, including shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crayfish are typically lifelong, though most people don’t experience a reaction until they are an adult.
  • Soy – Most common in infants and young children, most outgrow a soy allergy. Soy is a legume like peanuts but being allergic to one doesn’t mean someone will be allergic to the other.
  • Wheat – This allergy affects children the most, but many outgrow it by age 10. This is not the same a celiac disease, wheat allergies are to the proteins found in wheat, not gluten.
  • Tree Nuts – Not the same as peanuts, tree nuts include almonds, cashews, walnuts, and more. An allergy to these nuts also includes things like nut butters and oils. Being allergic to one type of tree nut increases the risk of becoming allergic to other tree nuts.

What Next?

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a food allergy, try not to feel overwhelmed. While it does mean you need to change what you eat, there are many resources and people and groups to support you, including NOAH’s Nutrition Services team.

Make sure you have a proper diagnosis with a medical provider. Discuss with them what the diagnosis means. Will the child outgrow it? What medications should you have? What does a severe reaction look like?

Finally, the most important thing to know is that the best way to prevent an allergic reaction to food is to avoid that food. That is what most doctors recommend along with having an epi-pen on-and always to treat any reaction to food allergies. Even a small amount can cause a reaction, but here are some tips.

There is promising news about a new intensive treatment called “food allergen desensitization” which is available and can resolve the allergy in some cases – though definitely not all cases. If you are interested in learning more about this treatment, ask your medical provider if this is right for you.

To get you started on figuring out your food allergies and staying safe, check out our recipes with different ingredient options.

Fiber and Your Colorectal Health

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN |Nutrition Supervisor

Fiber is an important nutrient. But why is it important and what can we eat for more fiber are common questions.

Simply put, fiber helps keep us ‘regular’ going to the bathroom more frequently. That is a good thing! When we are regular, stool spends less time in the large intestine. That means less chance of harmful bacteria or carcinogens (substance capable of causing cancer) building up. In a study, The American Medical Association found that when 1,500 patients with early-stage colorectal cancer began eating more fiber-rich foods, it reduced their risk of dying from colorectal cancer by 20%!

Good Sources of Fiber

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Oats or oatmeal
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains or whole wheat products like wheat bread and wheat pasta

A good tip for determining what foods are a good source of fiber is to read the nutrition facts label on products. Grab a package of bread at your house or the next time you’re in the grocery store – if the line for fiber says one serving contains at least three grams of fiber per serving, then it’s a good source of fiber. You can also look for 100% whole wheat as the first ingredient. 

Daily Fiber Intake

Fiber recommendations are different for everyone depending on age and any other medical conditions. In general, achieving an intake of over 20 grams of fiber per day is recommended. Start by trying to add just one extra fiber source daily, like switching to oatmeal for breakfast or adding a larger serving of vegetables at dinner. Not only does a gradual approach make it easier to adapt to new eating habits over time, introducing fiber into your diet slowly prevents bloating and cramping sometimes associated with increased fiber intake.

Kickstart your new eating habits with these tasty, fiber-rich, recipes:

Pozole Verde with Chicken - A Good Source of Fiber

Pozole Verde with Chicken

Hominy is a product of corn and is considered a grain. Low in fat and high in fiber, it has a similar taste to corn though the texture is much different. A main staple in Mexican cuisine, hominy is highlighted in this flavorful soup. We’ve taken it to another level by using chicken instead of the traditional pork shoulder. Also, add in those veggies for an added nutrition benefit and this hearty soup will be a crowd pleaser on any table.

Summer Black Bean and Rice Salad - Good Source of Fiber

Summer Black Bean and Rice Salad

This cold salad is perfect for a warm spring day! It’s packed with protein, high in fiber and delicious flavors that will rock your taste buds. Make this dish ahead of time and keep refrigerated until it’s time to serve! Make this recipe even more fiber-rich by choosing brown rice over white.

Avo Mango Smoothie - Good Source of Fiber

Avo-Mango Smoothie

The bright flavors of the mango and the creaminess of the avocado and banana is a perfect match. Plus you get some amazing health benefits from this smoothie that make it a yummy treat for anyone!

Drink Plenty of Water

Speaking of helping things move through your digestive tract, it is extremely important to drink more water once you start increasing your fiber intake. Constipation can be an unwelcome side-effect of consuming fiber without being sufficiently hydrated. Most people require a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day. You can use the same gradual method here and start by drinking one extra glass or bottle of water each day. It can also be fun to get a special water bottle for yourself, or set a reminder on your phone to remember to take a few extra sips of water throughout the day.

While making just a couple adjustments to your diet can impact your colorectal (and overall) health; there are many other factors like age, family history… that contribute to your risk of colorectal cancer. The next step after prevention is detection. If you are age 50 or older and at average risk for colorectal cancer, NOAH providers recommend you begin your regular screenings now.  It just might save your butt.

Let’s Talk About Eating Disorders

By Maggie Hensley, RD | Registered Dietitian

The last week of February is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. This week helps raise awareness on how common eating disorders actually are. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 28.2 million Americans experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week also helps end the stigma of getting help and treatment for them. Have questions about eating disorders, signs, and treatments? You aren’t alone.

What’s an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are mental and physical illnesses. People of all ages, genders, and ethnicity can face eating disorders. In general, an eating disorder involves a person becoming focused on food and weight issues to the point where it gets harder to focus on other parts of your life.

Eating disorders include several related conditions each with its own unique symptoms. Some of the more well-known eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa – involves weight loss and challenges having a healthy body weight for age and height.
  • Bulimia Nervosa – is when a person goes between cycles of binge eating and getting ride of the excess food they ate, either by vomiting, laxatives, or excessive exercise.
  • Binge Eating – involves someone losing control over their eating, usually eating large amounts of food even when they aren’t hungry.

The more we learn about eating disorders, the more we realize these illnesses can affect any type of person; people who have larger bodies, men, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and people of minority or marginalized identities can have eating disorders. Many people who don’t fit our perception of what an eating disorder looks like don’t get diagnosed because of current kinds screening tools used.

Signs & Symptoms of Eating Disorders

According to the NEDA, there are emotional and physical signs that someone might be living with an eating disorder. Some signs like weight fluctuations, extreme mood swings, uncomfortable eating with others, dizziness, sleep problems, and others listed here.

The NEDA also has a confidential online screening for those 13 years and older here. The earlier an eating disorder is detected, the sooner treatment can begin, and the better the person’s recovery. And recovery is important, because after opioid-dependency, eating disorders are the second most deadly mental illness.  

Eating Disorder Prevention

The best way to avoid an eating disorder is to have a healthy relationship with food. That usually means ditching diets that call for heavy calorie restriction or eliminating an entire food group. Anything less than 1800 calories per day is usually not advised. When thinking about any diets, remember that all food groups are important, even carbohydrates!

It is also important to practice body positivity or body neutrality. This helps us realize we are so much more than just our bodies. This can help us learn that bodies come in all kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes and to celebrate that amazing diversity!

If you are unhappy with your current eating patterns or want to pursue a healthier relationship with food, talk to NOAH. We have on-site dietitians who are experts in nutrition and can help you with those needs.

Mouth Healthy Eating

Recipes and Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy

By Brandon Bolton, RDN | Nutrition Educator

February is American Heart Month, so let’s raise awareness and support for heart health in the fight against heart disease!

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it is the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many risk factors that impact your chances of having heart disease. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risk factors are and what you can do to lower them.

Some risk factors for heart disease include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • lack of physical activity
  • unhealthy eating behaviors

Heart Healthy Eating Habits

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining a heart healthy diet. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Eat a balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources
  • Try to have at least half of your grain intake come from whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa
  • Aim for 1 to 2 cups of fruit daily
  • Aim for 1 to 3 cups of vegetables daily
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products when having milk, cheese, or yogurt

If your menu needs a pick-me-up or you’re looking for some heart healthy recipes to get you started, try these yummy options which are brand new to NOAH’s recipe collection:

Peaches N’ Cream Overnight Oats

This yummy breakfast tastes great and includes plenty of fruit, dairy and fiber to get your day off to the right start. It’s super easy to whip up before bedtime and ready to enjoy the next morning. Swap out the peaches for seasonal fruit and enjoy a variety of flavors throughout the year.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

This salad packs a punch when it comes to heart health. Lentils are high in potassium which counters the bad effects of salt and lowers blood pressure. Bonus, just 1/2 cup of lentils contains almost one-third of the recommended daily fiber intake.

Jackfruit “BBQ” Sandwiches

Grab some extra napkins because this sandwich is dripping with classic barbecue flavor. While jackfruit can be used as an alternative source of protein, it only contains about three grams of protein per serving so you may want to add some beans to your plate for a well-rounded meal. Since cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals, switching to a plant-based protein meal one night a week is a great way to lower total cholesterol intake.

For even more tasty menu options, check out our full library of nutritious recipes.

Snack Food Month – Tips for Healthier and More Satisfying Snacks

By Mina Goodman, RD | Nutrition Educator

When thinking about snacking, what often comes to mind is chips, cookies, ice cream and more foods we consider to be “junk foods”. What we may not realize is that snacking can be a healthy way to keep blood sugar and energy levels steady between meals, prevent overeating at mealtimes, and provide more opportunities to get the right nutrients each day. Below are some tips for healthier snacking that are easy, delicious, and dietician approved.

  • Think of snacks as small meals. Use the MyPlate model to plan your snacks. At a minimum, try to include a source of protein and a source of carbohydrate, for example an apple with peanut butter or grapes with cheese. When possible, add vegetables to the snack to add fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals to your diet.
  • Make small changes to your current snacks. For example, if you like snack packs from the supermarket that include a mix of meat, cheese, nuts, crackers, or fruit, try to recreate your own healthier (and less expensive) version at home. Look for low sodium cold cuts, low fat cheese, unsalted nuts, berries, and high fiber or whole grain crackers.
  • Enjoy a variety of healthy snacks. Check out NOAH recipes or speak with a dietitian at NOAH for personalized snack ideas.

Here are some examples to get you started!

  • 2 Tbsp hummus with 1 cup cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes and/or celery sticks
  • 4 dates with 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter with 2 celery stalks and raisins (ants on a log)
  • 1/4 cup salsa and 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup low sodium cottage cheese with fresh tomato and basil
  • 6 oz Greek yogurt with
    • 1/2 Tbsp honey
    • 1/2 sliced apple or mango
  • 20 grapes dipped in Greek yogurt and frozen
  • Brown rice cake and 2 Tbsp almond, peanut, or sunflower butter
  • Turkey jerky and 1/4 cup mixed nuts
  • 1 hardboiled egg with whole wheat bread or high fiber crackers