Eat Local. Eat Healthy. Eat Beans

By: Chef Brenda Wattles, RDN and The Idaho Bean Commission

According to the Idaho Bean Commission, the number one reason to eat Idaho’s beans is due to our rich volcanic soil and clean mountain water that produces the “highest quality, disease-free bean seed in the world.”  If that isn’t reason enough, Registered Dietitian and Chef Brenda Wattles adds five more reasons to eat our local, healthy food.

Beans are Versatile
There are ten varieties of beans grown in Idaho. All of which have their own flavor profile and texture that offer numerous ways to prepare them. Beans can be served as a main course or a side dish. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, beans can be considered as a main protein entree or a side vegetable. That is versatility at its best!

Beans are Easy to Prepare
Whether you are cooking them dried or straight from the can, they are easy! Dried takes a little longer, but the process is simple (*see instructions below). Once they are cooked and ready to go, add them to soups, hummus, salads, or even smoothies! Visit the Idaho Bean Commission’s website for recipes ideas.

Beans are Inexpensive
If you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, beans are a great cost-conscious alternative! Adding them to your menu as a main dish protein can cut your budget tremendously. Chef Brenda recommends making homemade black bean burgers, hearty vegetarian chili, or topping entrée size salads with beans as your main protein source.

Beans are a Protein and a Fiber-Rich Superfood
Most Americans are getting enough protein. However, they are often deficient by about 10 grams of fiber a day. By adding one cup of cooked beans to their diet, they will be adding about 12-16 grams of fiber a day. Additionally, beans are high in antioxidants.  They are also low in calories and saturated fat.

Beans are Excellent for Weight Loss
One cup of canned black beans is only 218 calories! Not only are they low in calories, they provide lots of bulk during digestion. So, they will keep you full longer! Adding beans to your diet is one of the best ways to get a variety of nutrients for such a small number of calories.

*How to Prepare Dried Beans
Rinse and drain one pound of dry beans. Discard damaged beans and any foreign material. Place in sauce pan and cover with 6 cups water. Either soak overnight or boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and soak for one to four hours. Discard soaking water. Replace with clean water and cook beans at a low boil for one to two hours, until beans are tender.

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Healthy Eating While Vacationing

By: Jackie Amende, MS, RDN, LD, University of Idaho FCS Extension Educator

If you are road tripping or traveling abroad to a new and exciting place, you can still enjoy all the fun foods that come with traveling without compromising your healthful eating plan. Here are some tips for your upcoming summer vacation:

  • Focus on portion sizes. You don’t have to avoid those new and exciting foods that come with traveling. Share large food portions with your travel partner or go with the small size for just yourself.
  • Keep your regular meal times on vacation. It can be easy to graze on food all day while on vacation but try to stick with your usual eating pattern.
  • Watch what you’re drinking. Focus on water or other unsweetened beverages. Skip the sweetened and various adult beverages which are often loaded with unnecessary calories.
  • Pack non-perishable foods with you. Dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels make for relatively healthy snacks that are nutrient-rich. These non-perishable foods are perfect for a quick snack to satisfy you until your next scheduled meal time.
  • If you are road tripping, pack a cooler with fresh pre-cut vegetables and fruits. Try slicing some bell peppers and cutting up some celery sticks. In addition, keep whole fruit or sliced fruit ready to go.
  • Be physically active! Get outside and walk to enjoy the sites where you are vacationing. If you are on a road trip, schedule frequent stops where you can get out, stretch your legs, and take a short walk.

With these healthful eating tips, food safety is still a priority, especially if you’re road tripping. Bringing perishable foods with you like meats and cheeses may cause some unwanted foodborne illnesses if these items are not stored properly. Don’t store perishable foods unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours. If stored in a cooler, make sure coolers are 40 degrees or cooler. In addition, don’t leave your cooler directly in the sun or in the trunk of your car on road trips. Putting the cooler in the backseat of the car will generally be cooler than the trunk. Finally, keep hand sanitizer or moist towelettes with you if you don’t have access to a restroom to wash your hands before and after eating. Now, enjoy your trip!

Want to learn more about healthy eating and/or food safety? University of Idaho Extension teaches many classes and programs in the area, like Eating Healthy on a Budget, Nutrition for Healthy Aging, Diabetes Prevention Program, Dining with Diabetes, and more. Check out the Canyon County UI Extension website at https://www.uidaho.edu/extension/county/canyon/family-consumer or call 208-459-6003 for more information.

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Is the kitchen talking?

Office Sink

What is your office kitchen saying about your work group?  Maybe nothing…or maybe your office needs a big infusion of care into your staff and the kitchen! Here are some frightening infractions…

  • Refrigerator science experiments
  • Outdated condiments
  • Smelly dishcloths and dirty towels
  • Dirty cutting boards
  • Lack of hand and dish soap
  • Smelly/dirty sponges and scrubbies
  • Handprints on cupboards
  • Mold in the water spigot
  • Grime in the coffee pot
  • Dirty faucet handles
  • Dirty door handles on fridges and microwaves
  • Exploded food on microwave walls
  • Moldy/dirty drain catchers/plugs

Some suggestions…

  • Put someone in charge of kitchen cleanup
  • Create a roster of revolving care takers
  • Confiscate the offensive “stuff” and throw it
  • Get a dishwasher
  • Call in a professional cleaner
  • More ideas…

Ask yourself…could your kitchen (at home or at work) pass inspection? Makes you think twice about getting that next cup of coffee from the office kitchen!

It’s flu season; we don’t need kitchen germs. Keep it clean; soap up! Know the germiest places in your life.

Share your ideas on how to keep the office kitchen germ free!

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Use your “app-ti-tude”

App-ti-tude

Dedication, desire, motivation, reward – things you need to make any fitness app work. I know that. But part of me is waiting for an app that “knows” what I have eaten, records it for me, flashes an update on my eye glasses every hour, and physically alerts me with a nudge or a pinch when I stray outside the plan. Probably not gonna happen. In the meantime…here are some fitness apps to try in 2014 (my current fave is Lose It!).

Do you have a favorite fitness app that works for you?

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Sleep Deprived = Overweight?

Sleep Deprived?

Feeling tired, exhuasted, and beat before you walk out the bedroom door in the morning? You might be sleep deprived. Take the Sleep Quiz to see what you know; I failed miserably! What I find interesting is the connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Research shows that sleep deprived people select greater portion sizes which can affect the potential to become overweight in the long run. The bottom line – if you suffer from a lack of sleep keep away from the buffet! Another study shows that people who eat a varied diet have healthier sleep duration.

This fall is a great time to clean up your sleep habits and lose a few pounds. Conquer the Conk Out – make a dedicated effort to clean up your sleep. Pay attention to what and when you are eating; there are Foods that Help or Harm Your Sleep. See additional resources on How’s Your Sleep?

Have you noticed a change in your eating habits when you are sleep deprived?

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Enter the Contest!

Healthy Choice

Eating healthy during the summer isn’t always easy – the days are long and families are on the go. Planning a healthy meal can take time away from all the fun. So, let’s make it easier! Do you have a favorite healthy summer recipe?

Share the recipe and its ingredients on this blog and you will automatically be entered into a drawing for one of four sets of two FREE tickets to Roaring Springs Waterpark in Meridian, ID. 

How to play:

Make sure you are registered and logged in to ChooseHealthMatters.com. If you are not already a registered user, please register in the right hand column. Click on the “register” button to get started.

Make a comment on this blog post by answering the question: “What is your favorite healthy summer recipe?”. Be sure to include the ingredients and any special instructions.

Winners will be drawn from all comments on Thursday, 8/8/13 @ 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

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