In this issue:
- Featured Recipe: Chinese Tilapia "Hot Pot" with Shrimp, Asian Greens and Glass Noodles
- Nutrition Notes: To Your Heart Health
- Omega-3s for a Healthy Heart
- Tips for Eating Seasonally
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Improves Nutrition Standards for School Meals
- Recommended Reading: Veggiesaurus Lex
Featured Recipe: Chinese Tilapia "Hot Pot" with Shrimp, Asian Greens and Glass Noodles
Gather around the table to share a simmering pot of this Chinese delight. Sustainable and eco-friendly tilapia combined with shrimp, Asian greens and mushrooms make this delicious and heart-healthy.
Nutrition Notes: To Your Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death in America, so chances are you know someone with heart disease. You can reduce your risk of heart disease by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, getting physically active and eating a heart-healthy diet.
Since February is American Heart Month it's the perfect time to make some lifestyle changes to improve your heart health. You can start with some simple changes to your diet.
- Limit saturated and trans fats which can increase cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats include solid fats like butter, margarine and shortening. Good fats are monounsaturated (such as olive oil) and polyunsaturated (found in fish, canola oil and walnuts).
- Choose low fat proteins. Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, as well as lentils, peas and beans are all good sources of proteins.
- Go fish. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Enjoy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Mix up your menus with a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables in deep colors. They are low in calories and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals and are a delicious way to help improve your heart health.
- Eat whole grains. Select whole grains over refined grains. They are good sources of fiber and other nutrients important for regulating blood pressure and supporting heart health.
- Limit sodium. Sodium can contribute to high blood pressure which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Instead of reaching for the salt, switch to delicious herbs and spices to flavor food. Cayenne, chives, dill, fenugreek, garlic, parsley, rosemary and turmeric are some flavorful options.
Celebrate American Heart Month and take the first step to a more heart-healthy diet with this delicious MyFoodMyHealth recipe for Chicken Curry Over Rice.
Omega-3s for a Healthy Heart
When it comes to a heart-healthy diet, research has found that foods rich in Omega-3s are very beneficial. Studies indicate these healthy fats commonly found in marine and plant oils may help relax blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, prevent abnormal rhythms and lower blood fats known as triglycerides—all of which can improve heart health among their other health benefits.
Adding more Omega-3s to your diet is not difficult. Nature offers a cornucopia of delicious foods you can enjoy to increase your intake of Omega-3 fats. Some of the foods rich in Omega-3s you can add to your diet include:
- Collard greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Winter squash
In addition to their benefits for heart health, more and more scientific research indicates a diet rich in Omega-3s may help prevent other health conditions such as depression, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis just to name a few. With all these potential health benefits, why not grab a handful of walnuts for a healthy snack or enjoy some wild salmon for dinner?
Tips for Eating Seasonally
The most delicious, nutritious and affordable way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet is to focus on local, seasonal produce. While there are some regional differences, here are some general tips to help you figure out which fruits and vegetables are in season and at the height of freshness:
Fall and Winter: Foods that are in season during the fall and winter take longer to grow and are warming. Think carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash.
Spring: Turn towards tender, leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard, spinach and Romaine lettuce.
Summer: Select light cooling foods like strawberries, apples, pears and plumbs, summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower and corn.
For a list of local and organic food sources, visit www.localharvest.org
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Improves Nutrition Standards for School Meals
Through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the USDA is making the first major changes in school meal standards in 15 years to help improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs. As an active supporter of developing healthy school lunch programs in our communities, MyFoodMyHealth is pleased the USDA has strengthened school lunch standards. The new standards align school meals with the latest nutrition science and will:
- Double fruit and vegetable servings and increase the variety of vegetables
- Set first-ever standards for sodium, trans fat and whole grains for school meals
- Require all the milk to be low fat or fat free
- Set calorie standards that address not only hunger but also obesity
Keep your kids on the healthy track once they are home from school with fun recipes from the MyFoodMyHealth Kid-Delicious Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook. Learn more
Recommended Reading: Veggiesaurus Lex
Want a fun way to inspire your kids to make healthier food choices? Pick upVeggiesaurus Lex by Karen Fine. It tells the tale of a dinosaur named “Lex” as she learns why the food she eats makes her feel sluggish and slow and that eating vegetables will give her that “get up and go."
Its colorful illustrations and charming characters are engaging to kids and make it easy to help teach kids why their food choices and eating healthy vegetables matter.
Karen Fine has written several children's picture books on healthy eating. Learn more about Karen Fine
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