August Food of the Month

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Zucchini is a nutritious option in season during the late summer and early fall months of the year.  It is a good source of heart healthy fats and vitamin C as well as vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and manganese, which are essential for metabolism, growth, and development.  Don’t forget: like most all fruits and vegetables, zucchini are also high in fiber.  Fiber is helpful for digestive health, weight loss, and lowering cholesterol among other functions!  Zucchini is one of the most versatile types of squash.  It can be included in numerous foods from muffins to shish kabobs to pastas to smoothies.  Explore a variety of recipes and don’t be afraid to think outside the box in the kitchen!

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

March Food of the Month

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Oats are one of various types of whole grains.  Whole grains are types of grains which contain all parts of a grain: the bran, germ, and endosperm.  Refined grains only contain one of these parts.  By choosing refined grains instead of whole grains, you can miss out on important nutrients that keep your body healthy and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  In addition, oats can help to lower bad cholesterol and prevent asthma.  They are also high in folate and iron, making them a smart choice for expectant mothers.  Don’t like oatmeal?  No worries.  Oats take on the flavor of the food in which they are mixed.  They can be added to pancakes, smoothies, salads, breads, you name it!  There are plenty of ways to fit this super food into your diet on a daily basis.

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

Know The Truth About The Coconut Craze

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There’s a lot of hype right now about coconut oil.  Is it healthy?  Should I use it instead of canola or olive oil? 

Coconut oil can be a good substitute for solid animal fats such as butter and shortening.  However, when compared to other plant oils, coconut oil is much higher in saturated fat and lower in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  It is recommended to consume LESS saturated fat and MORE monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for heart health and healthy cholesterol levels. 

Therefore, I would say use to coconut oil sparingly and keep canola and olive oil in your pantry as staples.