August 2018 Food of the Month - Cantaloupe

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August in South Eastern Pennsylvania heralds the beginning of harvest season which brings a bounty of delicious local fruits and vegetables to supermarkets and farmer’s markets throughout Philadelphia!  This is a great time to choose locally grown produce because the taste is great and the price is right.  Cantaloupe is highlighted this month as our “Food of the Month”, but be sure to enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables this harvest season!

Did you know cantaloupe is a good source of vitamins A, C and potassium?  The average American gets less than 60% of the daily recommendation for potassium which is a key nutrient for bone health, muscle function, and even plays a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.  While some fruits have little variation in taste year round, cantaloupe is significantly more flavorful when purchased in season, so this month try cantaloupe slices as a snack or added to fruit salad for a tasty potassium boost!

Article written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

Sources:

https://www.freeimages.com/photo/melon-3-1537555

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/09181?fgcd=&manu=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=cantaloupe&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/

 

 

Add Sweetness to Your Summer!

Healthy, hot weather sweet treat tips from Spectrum's nutrition expert, Christine LiPuma, RDN, LDN. To schedule a nutrition counseling session, contact 215.471.2761 or join us for our monthly Food as Medicine cooking demonstrations!

July 2018 Food of the Month - Blueberries

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Looking for a way to cool off in the July heat?  Fresh blueberries straight out of the refrigerator make a great summer snack!  Luckily, blueberry season lasts from early July to mid-August to help you through the hot weather.  Blueberries contain beneficial plant chemicals called anthocyanins, which give them their blue color and help protect your body’s cells from damage. 

 

They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C and taste great in yogurt, oatmeal, salads, smoothies and more.  Get them at your local farmers market, super market or, if you’re up for an adventure, pick your own and get a variety of shapes, sizes and varieties (as seen above).

 

Photo and article written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

June 2018 Food of the Month - Strawberries

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STRAWBERRIES

Now that June is upon us it is officially strawberry season!  Fresh local strawberries at great prices will soon start popping up everywhere you shop, from farmers markets to grocery stores, so now is a great time to add some of this colorful fruit to your diet.  

These red gems have over half your daily needs of Vitamin C in just one cup and make delicious additions to oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, smoothies, and salads.   Whether in a mixed dish or just washed and eaten straight out of the carton, the flavor this time of year will not disappoint!  

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/strawberries-frisch-ripe-sweet-1330459/

 

Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

May 2018 Food of the Month - Collard Greens

 
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Collard greens can be an incredibly nutritious dish, but how they are prepared is important.  Collards are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and, as part of the cruciferous vegetable family, can help your body produce compounds that cleanse your liver!  However, when greens are cooked in leftover animal grease or stewed with ham hocks, bacon, or turkey necks, they become a significant source of unhealthy saturated fat.  Try sautéing greens in oil instead of animal grease or butter and adding leaner cuts of meat such as skinless chicken or turkey.  Small changes to traditional preparation will allow your body to enjoy collard greens as much as you do!  Click here for a healthier collard green recipe (try it with low sodium vegetable broth for healthiest option).

Sources:

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/301821?manu=&fgcd=&ds=&q=Collards,%20cooked,%20boiled,%20drained,%20without%20salt

 

 

Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

 

April 2018 Food of the Month - Spinach

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Did you know that more than 80% of American’s don’t meet the recommendations for vegetable intake?  It’s recommended that adults eat a minimum of 2-3 cups of vegetables each day and spinach is a great way to meet this goal.  Spinach is high in Vitamins A and C and also contains fiber and iron.  This versatile green can be used in salads, stir fry’s, smoothies, side dishes and more! 

Try the spinach containing green smoothie recipe below as a way to get vegetables some greens in at breakfast!

Basic Green Smoothie
(makes 2 servings)

  • 2 cups spinach
  • ¾ cup frozen berries, apples, or peaches
  • 1 cup chunks of frozen bananas or mangoes
  • 1 ½ cups liquid (i.e. 1% milk, almond milk, water)

 Directions: Blend all ingredients together.   If too thick, add water to thin.

For more information or to suggest other complementing recipes, please contact our nutritionist at 215.471.2761 or send us a message!

Sources:

https://pixabay.com/en/top-view-closeup-vegetarianism-1248955/

 

 

Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

 

March 2018 Food of the Month - Asparagus

Asparagus

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In March, when few vegetables in the North East are in season, asparagus hits its prime.  This unusual vegetable comes in both green and white varieties, grows directly out of the ground, and comes back each year without having to be replanted.  To learn more about how asparagus grows click here.

Asparagus is packed with fiber and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and folate.  It tastes great sautéed or oven baked and makes a perfect side dish for chicken, fish, and beef.  See the recipe below for a quick, easy way to prepare delicious baked asparagus!

Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bundle of asparagus
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic (minced fresh or powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rinse asparagus in cold water and let dry.  Lightly coat asparagus spears with olive oil and spread out on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with garlic, pepper, and salt if desired.   Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for another 3-5 minutes (until asparagus is fork tender).

Tip: To best store asparagus, place the bundle in the fridge standing upright in a bowl with ½ to 1 inch of water.  This will keep the spears fresh until you are ready to cook them, especially if you plan to wait a few days!

Photo: https://pixabay.com/en/green-asparagus-asparagus-green-1331460/

 

Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

Happy Valentine's Day to the City of Brotherly Love

#HealthTip : #DarkChocolate (not the sugary-filled milk chocolate) is filled with #antioxidants which can improve #bloodflow, lower #bloodpressure, and lower risk of #heart disease.

LOVE - valentines dark chocolates.jpg

source: Kris Gunnars, HealthLine.com

#happyvalentinesday and much #LOVE to the entire #CityofBrotherlyLove
#PreventiveHealthCare is a #FamilyAffair

February 2018 Food of the Month: Walnuts

 Photo by pixabay.com/p-2816934

Photo by pixabay.com/p-2816934

With 16 grams of heart healthy unsaturated fat per ounce, walnuts are a great food to eat in celebration of American Heart Health month.  They also contain twice the recommended daily amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) for females and over one and a half times the recommended amount for males.  ALA is an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid that can help protect against heart attack and stroke.  Have a small handful as a snack, toss them into a trail mix or try them chopped up in a bowl of salad, yogurt, or oatmeal!

Sources:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

New Year’s Nutrition Tips

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Looking for a New Year’s resolution that will help improve your health?  Here are three simple ideas for resolutions to make 2018 your healthiest year yet!

1) Rethink Your Drink

It’s recommended that you drink 64oz (about 8 cups) of water each day.  Try to increase your intake of water and cut back on soda, juice, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.  Sugary drinks tend to add a lot of calories but provide very little in the way of nutrition!  Not drinking enough water can lead to headaches, difficulty concentrating, constipation, and even bad moods.   If you don’t like water plain, try adding lemon, lime, or cucumber as flavoring.

2) Get Moving

Everyone should aim to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.  If you’re trying to lose weight the recommendation is twice that amount!  In addition to promoting a healthy weight, exercise improves mood, energy levels, and reduces your risk of chronic disease.  Whether you prefer to play sports with friends, hit the gym, or go for a brisk walk, any type of exercise will benefit your body.   Not big into exercise right now?  Start small then gradually work your way up to the goal—every little bit counts!

3) Add Color

Colorful fruits and vegetables are packed full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They’re also low in calories but still give you that full feeling, which can help you lose weight.   Aim for a minimum of 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits daily.  To maximize the benefit, try to eat a variety of colors each day.  Vegetables taste great in soups, salads, pasta, stir-fried, on pizza and even on their own.  Fruit makes a great snack or topping for your favorite breakfast food.  So get creative and eat the rainbow!

Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN
Nutritionist

Sources:

Pictures:
free for commercial use from https://pixabay.com/en/new-year-s-day-year-new-year-s-eve-2897867/

image by bcsfitness.com

Content:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

 

December 2017 Food of the Month: Clementines

 Photo courtesy of @snapfitness

Photo courtesy of @snapfitness

 

Season: November through February

Clementines may be small, but they pack a powerful nutritious punch.  On top of other vitamins and minerals, a single clementine has only 35 calories and contains 36 mg of Vitamin C.  That’s over half of what is recommended for you to get in a day! 

While there is no evidence that Vitamin C can help cure a cold, research shows that if taken before symptoms of a cold begin, then it may shorten the duration and severity of a cold.  Include clementines in your diet for a low calorie source of Vitamin C.  They make convenient snacks and go great in salads!  Delicious and nutritious, consistent intake of clementines and other Vitamin C-containing foods may help you get over your next cold a little faster.

Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403?pg=2

https://cutiescitrus.com/faq/

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4/full

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2434?manu=&fgcd=&ds=

January 2016 Food of the Month

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Acorn squash are a great source of potassium, vitamins A and C, and fiber!  These nutrients can help keep your eyes and skin healthy.  They can also help to prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.  

Acorn squash were named because of their acorn-like shape.  They are in season all winter in this part of the country.  Use in soups, pastas, pies, ravioli, or stuff with brown rice and veggies.  And don’t toss the seeds.  Roast them in the oven with some herbs for a nutritious snack!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

 

December Food of the Month

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Mushrooms are rich in various vitamins and minerals we don’t hear about too often.  In addition to being high in fiber, omega 6 fatty acids, and potassium, mushrooms also contain a notable amount of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, copper, niacin, and selenium.

These nutrients are important for metabolism and energy, healthy skin, maintenance of hemoglobin and blood vessels, and preventing oxidation.  Depending on which type of mushrooms you choose, the nutrient content will vary.  But feel free to experiment with any mushrooms from the store!  They’re all great options!

Mushrooms are a rather versatile food.  They serve as great toppings/sauces for pasta, bases for vegetarian dishes such as veggie burgers, and hearty additions to soups, salads, breakfast eggs and omelets.  Of course they’re also a great option to munch on plain!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

November Food of the Month

Fennel is a deliciously unique plant.  Both its bulb and its seeds are often used in cooking, yet have completely different tastes.  While the bulb is actually a member of the carrot family, its flavor and aroma resemble that of licorice!  The seeds, on the other hand, are often used in Italian cooking, such as sausages.

Just as both have different tastes, both have different nutritional contents.  The bulb is a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C, while the seeds are a good source of omega 6 fatty acids and manganese.  Therefore, to say fennel is a super food is an understatement!

Never tried fennel?  Now is the time to change that.  Fennel is at its seasonal peak in this part of the country in November.  Therefore, it should be abundant, fresh, and affordable!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

October Food of the Month

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Pumpkin is a seasonal favorite for many, and not only as a decoration!  Pumpkin drinks, pumpkin desserts, pumpkin soups… the list goes on, but it is certainly a staple in the fall.  The nutrients contained are reason enough to consider it a staple, let alone the flavor.  Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.  In fact, 1 cup of cooked pumpkin contains nearly two and a half times the amount of vitamin A the average person needs in one day!  Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that benefits our skin and vision.  This fall, serve up pumpkin frequently to get those extra servings of vegetables in.  That’s right, enjoy the pumpkin spice phenomenon!  Just be careful with portion sizes on the sweets.  Most anything in moderation.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Cut Back, Don't Cut Out

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Trying to eat healthy doesn't mean you have to give up the foods that you love.  In fact, many people who try to completely cut out one of their favorite "bad" foods (such as bacon, oreos, Pepsi, etc.) end up overindulging during a stressful situation, which then leads to feeling guilty or discouraged.  Don't kid yourself.  Life will give you stress.  It's better to allow yourself a cookie or a soda every now and then to satisfy that craving than to completely deprive yourself and then later overindulge.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Say Yes to Carbs

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Kick those no carb diets to the curb!  Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient in our diet which supply energy.  However, some sources of carbs are much more healthful than others.  September is whole grains month.  Whole grains include sources of carbs such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and barley that contain the WHOLE grain: the germ, bran, and endosperm.  Refined grains such as white bread, rice, or pasta only contain the endosperm and are therefore lacking in a variety of nutrients.  In other words, when it comes to carbs, whole grains give you more bang for your buck!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

September Food of the Month

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Almonds: of all the nuts, we hear about almonds probably the most.  This is because of their heart healthy properties.  However, they are additionally a great source of protein, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and copper.

These nutrients are important for a variety of functions, including: muscle development, skin health, development, metabolism, and immune function.  For example, magnesium is the second most abundant element in the human body, and makes up a large portion of bone composition.

Although almonds can be a healthy component of our diet, it is important not to overdo it.  One serving is approximately 23 almonds.  This is a small handful or about the size of a shot glass, which may not seem like a lot if you’re eating them plain out of the container.  The best way to control your portion is to mix them with other things such as trail mix or salads.  That way your small handful can be stretched into something more satisfying!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Make Your Own Pasta Sauce

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Making your own pasta sauce as opposed to buying canned sauce in the store can save you from ingesting some unnecessary sodium and preservatives.  I tried this recipe over the weekend.  Give it a shot, or make some traditional marinara sauce with some of this summer's deliciously juicy tomatoes!

1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed of tough ends and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
8 ounces of dried pasta

Bring 2 pots of water to a rolling boil, one large for the pasta and one medium sized for the asparagus.  While the water is heating, put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove pine nuts from pan and set aside. You will use 3/4 cup of the pine nuts for the pesto paste and 1/4 cup to mix in whole.  Salt the asparagus water and drop the spears into the pan. Cook for only 2 or 3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain under cool water to stop the cooking. Cut the tips off, and set aside, several of the asparagus (diagonal cut about an inch from the end) to use for garnish.  Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor or blender. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice and salt, taste and adjust seasoning.  Cook the pasta until just tender. Check the directions on the pasta package.  Drain and toss immediately with 1 cup of the asparagus pesto.  Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a dusting of Parmesan, and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Source:
Simply Recipes
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/asparagus_pesto_with_pasta/

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Pack a Cooler

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Headed to the beach one last time before summer is over?  Pack a cooler of healthy snacks you enjoy with you to avoid the temptation of overindulging in boardwalk food.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.