Easy and Delicious Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

December 28, 2016 at 9:14 am | Posted in Nutrition | Leave a comment
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Kelsey Vilcek, Dietetic Intern

We all know that fruits and vegetables are needed for our health, but sometimes it is quite difficult to add them into our meals. For anyone who thinks fruits and vegetables are “bad” for people with diabetes, think again! Fruits are great because they are an easy way to enjoy something sweet without creating large spikes in blood sugar levels compared to eating candy or desserts. This is because fruits are high in fiber, which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady. As for vegetables, only the starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peas, winter squash and corn have an effect on blood sugar. Non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, carrots, greens, cauliflower, etc.) are important to eat because they are low in carbohydrates and calories. Eating vegetables is another simple way to feel full and satisfy your appetite, while adding vitamins and minerals and minimizing rises in blood sugar.

Some easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet:

  • Use vegetables for dipping in hummus or low-fat dressings
  • Make kebobs: grill vegetables such as peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes with chicken as a fun meal (You can even do this with fruit!)
  • Veggie wraps: roast vegetables and roll up in a whole-wheat tortilla
  • Add vegetables as toppers to salads
  • Smoothies (low-fat milk, frozen fruit, frozen spinach or kale, and nut butter)
  • Try vegetables as pizza toppings
  • Puree vegetables as a sauce for pasta, chicken, pork, or seafood
  • Chop, grate, or shred zucchini, carrots, or spinach and add into lasagna, casseroles, or meatloaf
  • Have an apple or banana and peanut butter as a snack
  • Egg omelet with vegetables
  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Substitute butter with avocado
  • Puree prunes, bananas, peaches, or apples and use in place of ½ of the fat in recipes for muffins, pancakes, breads, etc.
  • Add carrots or zucchini to baked goods
  • Low-sodium vegetable soup with beans
  • Leave fresh fruit out on the counter where you can see and grab it easily
  • Consider making fresh vegetables juices
Content reviewed by Melanie Pearsall, RD, CDE

Be Fit Basics: Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad

June 30, 2016 at 11:09 am | Posted in Nutrition, recipes | Leave a comment
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A quick and easy side dish to bring to this weekend’s cookout.  Miso is typically found in the refrigerated food section, often either by the dairy or chilled salad dressings.

Ingredients:
1½ tbsp sesame seeds, roasted
2 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
4 cups thinly sliced cucumber

Directions: 
Combine the first 6 ingredients and whisk in 1 tbsp hot water.  Add cucumber and toss to coat.

Yield: 5 servings

Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories: 100 • Protein: 2 g • Sodium: 260 mg • Carbohydrate: 13 g • Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 5 g • Sat Fat: 1 g

Recipe adapted from Cookinglight.com. Originally posted on mghbefit.com.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

February 2, 2013 at 11:13 am | Posted in Nutrition, recipes | Leave a comment
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Tomorrow’s the big game!  Need an appetizer to serve at your viewing party?  How about this BeFit spinach artichoke dip with an assortment of your favorite veggies.

Ingredients:

1½ cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (divided)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (divided)
½ cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup red pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1½ blocks 1/3 less fat cream cheese (12oz), softened
1-10oz package frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, yogurt, red pepper, garlic, artichokes, cream cheese, spinach and black pepper in large mixing bowl and stir well until combined. Place mixture into a baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown.

Serve warm with your favorite raw veggies; carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower and celery make great dippers.

Yield: About 4½ cups (or about 18 servings)

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING (¼ cup vegetables not included):
CALORIES: 165 • PROTEIN: 16 g • SODIUM: 260 mg • CARBOHYDRATE: 7 g • FIBER: 1 g • FAT: 9 g • Sat Fat: 3.5 g

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Green Seasoning

August 30, 2012 at 9:00 am | Posted in Nutrition, recipes | Leave a comment
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By Fern Harper
Administrative Coordinator for the DSME Program

Mixed vegetables in a wicker basket

Season your food using only fresh ingredients and no salt. I like to use this green  seasoning in soups and as a marinade for meat and chicken.  It’s also very delicious with steamed vegetables.

You can buy these vegetables at your local supermarket or Farmers Market, or you can even pick them fresh from your own garden. Depending on your taste, you can add more or less of any ingredient, or substitute in other vegetables.

Ingredients:

2 cups of green onions
1 whole red pepper (seeded, chopped)
1 whole green pepper (seeded, chopped)
2 cups of celery
One bunch of cilantro (fresh)
One cup of thyme leaves (fresh)
One cup of basil (fresh)
One cup of rosemary (fresh)
1 bunch of chives
2 cups of onion
3 cups of garlic
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
2 shallots
A small piece of Ginger
¼ of a lemon
One quarter of a scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed if you do not like it hot (optional)
¼ to ½ of cup of vinegar to moisten.

Additional items you will need:

Food Processor
Preserving glass jars
Mixing bowl (optional)
Ziploc bags (optional)

Preparation:

Wash vegetables and cut into small pieces.  Place in a food processor and process to desired texture, adding vinegar as needed.  When finished, pour into a preserving glass jar and store in the refrigerator.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix your vegetables in a large bowl and store in quart size Ziploc bags (vinegar, lemon juice and ginger are optional with this method).

Green seasoning will last about 2 months in the refrigerator.  You can also store in Ziploc bags in the freezer and take out and defrost as needed.

Enjoy!

(Post content reviewed by MGH Nutrition Department)

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