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.

May Food of the Month

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Spinach is one of the most popular leafy green vegetables.  It has a very neutral flavor that can be mixed well with a variety of foods, particularly in salads.  Compared to plain lettuce, spinach contains more omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and fiber.  These nutrients are important for heart health, your eyes and skin, blood clotting, metabolism, lowering your blood pressure, and keeping your bowels “regular.”  Try spinach raw or cooked.  Add it to smoothies, salads, soups, pasta dishes, etc.  It’s a great addition to nearly any meal and can help you feel healthier in nearly no time!

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

April Food of the Month

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Asparagus is a super food in season this month.  It is high in various important nutrients, including fiber, folate, and vitamin A.  However, it is particularly high in vitamin K.  In fact, one serving equals seventy percent of the average adult’s daily recommended value of vitamin K.  What does vitamin K do?  We hear a lot about vitamins A, C, or D, but not so much about vitamin K.  Its primary function is blood clotting, yet vitamin K also helps to build and maintain bone strength.  If you’re not a huge fan of plain asparagus, try hiding it in some dishes to get more vegetables in your daily diet without noticing it.  Throw some in an omelet.  Toss some into macaroni and cheese or your favorite pasta meal.  Get creative!

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.