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/

 

 

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

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/