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Nutritional benefits of Navy beans

navybeans

Navy beans, you know them, those small off-white colored beans that look… well, pretty plain. Did you know they pack a nutritional punch?

Navy beans, like most beans, are high in fiber and low in fat – perfect for folks who want to eat healthier or who are watching their waistlines. These beans are high in potassium, which plays a role in blood pressure regulation. They are also high in protein, which is great news for anyone wanting to increase their intake of plant-based foods. They are a good source of iron, too.

Interesting fact: Navy beans got their name because they were a staple food in the US Navy during the 19th century. They are also referred to as the white pea bean, but Navy bean is its more popular name.

It is the bean most commonly used to make baked beans. They have a mild taste and this allows them to pair well with other foods. They can be used to make spreads or dips and take on the flavor of spices used in those recipes. Continue Reading »

Super (healthy) Bowl Party!

superbowlsnacks

Well, the Packers are not going to the Super Bowl this year. However, many folks will be watching the game anyway – which means Super Bowl parties! This is a time when friends and family get together to cheer on their favorite team. Along with all the cheering, there is a lot of eating! Super Bowl weekend is a good time to enjoy tasty and healthy snacks as you watch your favorite team move the ball down the field.

Go Mediterranean
Data suggests that the Mediterranean way of eating, which includes fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, olive oil, beans, other legumes, fruits and vegetables can be very beneficial. For your party, arrange a platter with a variety of olives (green, Kalamata, stuffed), along with hummus and toasted whole wheat pita chips. Or try babaganoush (an eggplant based dip) with chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery and cauliflower florets. Instead of wings try offering shrimp with a dip made from Greek yogurt. This dip could also be used for chopped vegetables. Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream cuts down on the calories and fat. Speaking of fats…

Think healthy fats
Consider putting out an assortment of nuts, served alongside dried fruit like apricots, dried pineapple, raisins and cherries. Throw in some dark chocolate dipped nuts, too.

Serve guacamole along corn chips or toasted pita chips. Try making a Mexican layer dip, which incorporates layers of black beans (or refried beans), shredded low fat cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes with green chilis, Greek plain yogurt, chopped avocado (or guacamole). Serve with whole grain tortilla chips. Speaking of avocados…

Consider mixing avocado with shredded cooked chicken and sautéed onions for a variation on the classic chicken salad. The avocado adds healthy fat to this traditional salad and allows you to cut down on the amount of mayonnaise used. Serve with whole wheat pita bread for some delicious mini sandwiches. Continue Reading »

Grocery store tours at Festival Foods

grocerystore

We all have different feelings about grocery shopping. Do you find delight in going up and down the aisles, mesmerized at the variety of foods that are available for purchase? Or do you dread it, and feel like going to the grocery store is torture? Are you an avid coupon clipper who looks at grocery shopping as the ultimate challenge?

Whatever your feelings about grocery shopping are, it’s a necessity. As we become busier with our work, our community involvement, school and our families, our time spent at the store is more valuable than ever. Grocery stores have changed to cater to busy lifestyles and have become bigger to fit a wider variety of items. How can you maximize your grocery shopping time while still making healthy food choices?

Research shows that as food variety increases so does the amount of food we eat. That is, the fewer food choices or variety we have, the less we eat. Keeping this in mind can serve as a strategy to cut down on our intake, but can be hard to do when there are so many different foods to buy! The key to healthy grocery store shopping is to not get overwhelmed by the multitude of choices.

One good strategy is to shop with a prepared list to help curb impulse buys. To avoid getting distracted from your whole-food options, keep your shopping to the perimeter of the grocery store, where the fresh produce is placed. If you need to venture into the aisles, you might have questions. How do you know what is the healthiest version of a particular food? Which is the best choice for cereal? Which nut butter is best? What about condiments and salad dressings? Is a low fat salad dressing the best choice? Is organic better? Continue Reading »

What’s sweet about sweet potatoes?

sweetpotatoes

Sweet potato: the tan skinned, orange-fleshed vegetable that is a vitamin powerhouse. It is nature’s treasure of beta-carotene, and consuming sweet potatoes more than meets our vitamin A needs. In addition to the aforementioned orange, some sweet potatoes are purple-fleshed. This variety is also rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

Aside from vitamin A, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C. They also contain fiber, which helps our digestive system.

Sweet potatoes are a sweet-tasting, starchy root vegetable. It is North Carolina’s state vegetable but originates from South America. Fun fact: the majority of sweet potatoes we consume come from China, where sweet potatoes are used for livestock feed. Continue Reading »

Healthy eating out options in the Fox Valley made a little easier with SmartPlate

smartplate

Americans are eating out more than ever. It used to be a struggle to eat healthy when eating away from home, but in the last few years restaurants and other eateries have been making some changes to remedy that. Kids’ menu items now include fresh vegetables such as baby carrots and steamed broccoli as side dishes, and fruit cups for dessert. Lighter fare and gluten free options can now be found on the menu in some restaurants. These changes are a breath of fresh air and whole-heartedly welcome. Many health professionals hope that more changes will arise as more consumers demand healthy food when eating out.

One way to choose healthier options is to look at the nutrition information. Big chain restaurants, by law, now have to provide nutrition information upon request by the consumer. Smaller or local eateries are encouraged to do so as well.

In the Fox Valley, a community-wide initiative highlighting menu items that get a “thumbs up” from local health professionals was developed to help patrons identify healthier foods when eating out. The initiative is called SmartPlate and it involves the collaboration of many local partners including Affinity Health System, local health departments, re:TH!NK, Community Action for Health Living and others.

These community partners have been working with local restaurants, caterers and Fox Valley Technical College to offer and identify items at restaurants that include healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. These SmartPlate items use fresh herbs, spices and natural flavors to create delicious food without using too much salt, fat and sugar.

The SmartPlate icon clearly identifies menu items that you can eat everyday. Look for it at local restaurants like Lara’s Tortilla Flats, Mahoney’s, and Manila in Oshkosh; Fin ‘N Feather in Winneconne; Landreman’s Family Restaurant in Kaukauna, Copper Rock and Bagelicious in Appleton; Angie’s Main Café and Luigi’s Pizza in Shawano; and Granary Supper Club in Sherwood.

Thinking of catering a meal for a work party or celebration? Catering options are also included in the SmartPlate program. LaSure’s in Oshkosh and Bridgewood Resort in Neenah are two new partners that are offering SmartPlate items as part of their catering options. So if your workplace ever needs to order lunch or there is a group hosting an event, just ask for the SmartPlate menu and feel good that your co-workers, and guests, are eating foods that are SmartPlate approved.

For more information about SmartPlate visit: www.smartplatewi.com or watch this short informational video. http://www.thenorthwestern.com/videos/life/2014/12/01/19734335/

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.