22 Sep

Autumn Salad Recipe

Crisp apples, nuts and seeds give this salad a nutritious crunch.

Number of servings: 6


  • 1 Granny Smith apple, rinsed and sliced thinly (with skin)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 bag mixed lettuce greens (or your favorite lettuce, about 5 cups), rinsed
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • ¹⁄3 cup low-fat raspberry vinaigrette dressing


1. Sprinkle lemon juice on the apple slices.

2. Mix the apple, lettuce, cranberries, walnuts and sunflower seeds in a bowl.

3. Toss with raspberry vinaigrette dressing to lightly cover the salad, and serve.

Per serving: 138 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 41 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 230 mg potassium.

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


  • Apple cider, apple crisp, apple pie … autumn is for apples! Many popular U.S. apple varieties are available starting in September. October is National Apple Month.Pilgrims planted the first U.S. apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • Comparing apples to oranges: Both fruits are a-peel-ing to consumers. In the United States, orange juice is more popular than apple juice. However, fresh apples are consumed more than fresh oranges.
  • Why bobbing for apples works: 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air, which allows them to float.
  • A fruit grown coast to coast: Apples are grown in every state in the continental United States. Top producing states include Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia.
  • The science of apple growing is called pomology. Honeycrisp apples have a higher education heritage — they were developed by the University of Minnesota.

Sources: U.S. Apple Association, usapple.org; New York Apple Association, nyapplecountry.com; United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, www.ers.usda.gov.

16 Apr

Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Kebabs

These colorful kebabs are fun — and healthy — for the whole family.

Number of servings: 8 (serving size = 1 kebab)


For kebabs:
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
2 red or green bell peppers, seeded
2 medium red onions
16 cherry tomatoes
8 ounces fresh mushrooms
2 medium ears of sweet corn
Nonstick cooking spray
For sauce:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon thyme


  1. Rinse all the vegetables. Cut zucchini, squash and bell peppers into 2-inch chunks. Cut red onions into wedges. Combine the cut vegetables with the tomatoes and mushrooms in a bowl.
  2. Cut the corn into 1-inch pieces and cook in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Add the cooked corn to the other vegetables.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard, garlic and thyme for the sauce.
  4. Toss vegetables in the sauce and thread vegetables onto 8 skewers. (If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before using.)
  5. Before starting the grill, spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Place the skewers on the grill over medium heat. Baste occasionally with extra sauce.
  6. Grill for 20 minutes or until tender.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 73 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 107 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 515 mg potassium.
Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, https://healthyeating.nhlbi.nih.gov.

20 Jan

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lentil Stew

Number of servings: 8


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt (optional)
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups chard, chopped
2 cups dried lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (or stock)
1 can chopped tomatoes (16 ounces)
Fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt (optional)


1. Sauté onion and garlic with olive oil.
2. Combine sauté mix with the rest of the ingredients (except yogurt) in a slow cooker.
3. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
4. Spoon stew in bowls to serve and top with a dollop of fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt (optional).

04 Nov

Chicken Noodle Soup

Warm up with this delicious homemade soup — and freeze portions to reheat when you’re feeling under the weather!

Number of servings: 6


3 pounds chicken pieces (skin removed)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 onion (chopped)
1 cup celery (washed and chopped)
3 carrots (large, scrubbed, thinly sliced)
4 cups noodles (dry)
1 teaspoon thyme or sage (optional)


1. Thaw frozen chicken in refrigerator (about 24 hours), or thaw in microwave just before cooking soup.

2. Place chicken pieces in large kettle. Cover completely with water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours.

3. Remove cooked chicken pieces from broth with tongs or slotted spoon. Cool 10-15 minutes before separating bones from meat. Break meat into bite-size pieces. Remove any bones from broth.

4. Remove fat from broth by skimming with spoon, adding and removing ice cubes, or blotting top of broth with paper towels.

5. Add chicken meat, seasonings and vegetables to the broth.

6. Bring broth to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook about 15-20 minutes on medium heat until sliced carrots are crispy-tender.

7. Add noodles and boil uncovered for about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any noodles that might stick together.

8. Ladle into soup bowls.

9. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours of cooking. If refrigerated, use within two days. When reheating, bring to a boil.

Per serving: 350 calories, 12g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 100mg cholesterol, 320mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 5g sugar, 33g protein, 120 percent vitamin A, 8 percent vitamin C, 4 percent calcium, 15 percent iron.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

19 May

Buttons and Bows Pasta

Try this light and refreshing bowtie pasta dish with peas and carrots.

Number of servings: 4


2 cups dry whole-wheat bowtie pasta (farfalle) (8 ounces)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic, minced (about 1 clove)

1 bag (16 ounces) frozen peas and carrots

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 medium lemon, rinsed, for 1 teaspoon zest (use a grater to take a thin layer of skin off the lemon)

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


1. In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat.

2. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Cook until soft, but not browned.

4. Add peas and carrots. Cook gently until the vegetables are heated through.

5. In a bowl, combine chicken broth and cornstarch. Mix well. Add to pan with vegetables, and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 1 minute.

6. Add parsley, pasta, lemon zest and pepper. Toss gently, and cook until the pasta is hot.

7. Serve 2 cups of pasta and vegetables per portion.

Per serving: 329 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 127 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 13 g protein, 59 g carbohydrates, 331 mg potassium, 220 percent vitamin A, 25 percent vitamin C, 6 percent calcium, 10 percent iron.

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute.

16 May

Broccoli Potato Soup

Number of servings: 4

Warm up with a delicious, nutritious soup!


4 cups broccoli (chopped)
1 onion (small, chopped)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium
1 cup evaporated milk, nonfat
1 cup mashed potatoes, instant (prepared in water) salt and pepper (to taste)
¼ cup cheese, shredded cheddar (or American)


  1. Combine broccoli, onion and broth in large sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Add milk to soup. Slowly stir in potatoes.
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thickened.
  6. Season with salt and pepper; stir in a little more milk or water if soup starts to become too thick.
  7. Ladle into serving bowls.
  8. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon cheese over each serving.

Per serving: 200 calories, 6 g fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 15 g protein. Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

09 Apr

The Low-down on Artificial Sweeteners

The holidays and all the sweet treats they bring may be a distant memory, but spring can bring on sugar shock, too. How many chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and King cakes will you try to resist this year?

You may wonder if there isn’t a better way to enjoy sweets without all the calories. Artificial sweeteners can seem like the logical choice. They’re sweet, readily available, have zero to few calories and don’t have an impact on your blood sugar. But are they too good to be true?

Sweetening Safely

There are so many artificial sweeteners on the market, you might feel overwhelmed by the choices. What’s the difference between those pink, blue and yellow packets, and which ones are safe?

Saccharin, commonly sold as Sweet ‘N Low®, has been around since 1879. It’s one of the more controversial artificial sweeteners, due to studies in the late 1950s that suggested it caused cancer in animals. While the Food and Drug Administration wanted to ban saccharin in 1977, the product was kept on the market with a safety warning. In 2000 a study by the National Toxicology Department found that saccharin did not cause cancer in humans, and the warning was removed from packaging.

Aspartame, such as NutraSweet® and Equal®, is added to many diet and sugarfree products. It was approved by the FDA in 1981. While it is approved as a safe food additive, people with phenylketonuria (or PKU) have trouble breaking down the phenylalanine in aspartame, and should not consume these products.

Sucralose, sold as Splenda®, is one of the newer artificial sweeteners, and was FDA approved in 1998. It is heat stable, and can be used for baking. Sucralose is made by combining table sugar with chlorine.

Xylitol, erythritol and sorbitol are sugar alcohols, and are recognized as generally safe by the FDA. Xylitol and sorbitol do contain some calories – two per serving – while erythritol does not. All sugar alcohols can cause a laxative effect if eaten in large doses. Studies show that gum and mints containing xylitol can help reduce cavities.

Enjoying Everything … in Moderation

If you like the taste of artificial sweeteners, they can be a safe addition to a healthy diet. However, just like fat and real sugar, they should be consumed in moderation. For more information on nutrition, contact your health care professional.


Baking without sugar can be a challenge, because sugar is often necessary to obtain the right texture of baked goods. You need to use a heat-stable artificial sweetener, such as saccharin or sucralose. Try the following sugar-free recipe for a sweet indulgence. Some other options for lower-sugar treats are substituting applesauce, maple syrup or fruit juice for some, or all, of the sugar.


1 cup crushed sugar-free cookies, such as Murray® Sugar Free Gingersnaps or Shortbread
2 tablespoons Splenda® granulated
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 (8-ounce) packages regular or fat-free cream cheese
1¼ cup Splenda
4 eggs
1½ teaspoon lemon juice
1½ teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine crust ingredients in a bowl, and press into a spring form pan. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until crust is browned.

Beat cream cheese and sweetener with a mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Slowly add lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Beat until well combined. Pour over crust and bake 60 minutes, or until center is set.