August 2018 Food of the Month - Cantaloupe

food of the month - August 2018 Cantaloupe.jpg

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

 

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

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/

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=