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.

 

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.

July Food of the Month

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Who doesn’t love a fresh, juicy peach in the summer?  There are few foods more refreshing on a hot day in July.  Whether you just bite in to a whole peach or add it to a smoothie, this fruit will satisfy your taste buds and provide you with valuable nutrients.  Peaches, like many fruits, are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.  Vitamin C, in addition to warding off the common cold, can also relieve stress!  Peaches are freshest during the mid-late summer months in the Philadelphia area.  However, frozen peaches bought any time during the year will taste just as ripe because they are frozen just after harvested.  That means the frozen peaches you buy in the dead of winter are just as refreshing and nutrient-packed as the ones you buy now in July!

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

June Food of the Month

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Cherries are a nutrient-packed, flavorful fruit, high in fiber, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.  Together, these nutrients can benefit blood pressure control, digestive health, and heart health among other things.  A lot of people take omega 3 (fish oil) and/or omega 6 supplements for these health benefits.  However, these fatty acids are readily found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices in addition to seafood.  So save a few dollars and get these nutrients through foods such as cherries as opposed to buying extra supplements.  Cherries aren’t only delicious added to desserts.  They serve as a great addition to numerous meals such as salads, cereal, and chicken salad.

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.

February Food of the Month

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Sweet potatoes are nutrient-packed starchy vegetables.  Their bright orange color is from a pigment found in vitamin A, the same component in carrots that everyone tells you to eat to protect your vision. Vitamin A also keeps your skin young and healthy.  Sweet potatoes, compared to regular white potatoes, contain more fiber, calcium, copper, and vitamin C.  While white potatoes are not a bad choice, replacing items such as French fries, chips, baked and mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes is an easy way to pack a few more nutrients into your diet.  Sweet potatoes are at their peak in the Northeast during the winter season, making them a very affordable food this time of year.

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