It’s that time of year! Pumpkin Spice is a staple salt-free blend used to season many fall favorites.
What you need:
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
Mix the spices together in a small bowl and take a little whiff – smells heavenly, right? Store the mixture in a small clean jar or spice container and sprinkle it on a hot drink recipe or delicious dessert to add a little fall flavor!
October is Blindness Awareness Month. What does that have to do with Diabetes? A lot actually – according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among adults in the U.S.
Over time, high blood sugar levels from diabetes can lead to damage of the retina, the layer on the back of the eye that captures images and sends them to the brain.
Eye damage can occur without any initial symptoms. This is why it is so important for people with diabetes to get regular eye examinations and catch problems before serious retinal changes occur. What is the best way to preserve your vision? Control your blood glucose. “When you have vision loss from diabetes, it also indicates that your blood glucose levels are abnormal,” says Raj Maturi, MD, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at Indiana University School of Medicine. High blood pressure and kidney problems are also risk factors for diabetic retinopathy. Follow these guidelines to protect your vision.
- Do your best to control your glucose by monitoring daily.
- Keep your A1C (overall measure of blood glucose control) within your target range.
- Avoid extreme and frequent high blood glucose highs and lows, even if your A1C is on target.
- Eat healthy foods and maintain a well-balanced diet.
- Do aerobic exercises to improve vascular function or check with your physician if you’ve been diagnosed with proliferative retinopathy, detached retina, or other eye problems.
- Maintain good eye protection habits such as wearing sunglasses to reduce UV light exposure, taking a multivitamin that contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc. The National Eye Institute studied high-dose vision supplements and found that 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta-carotene and 8 mg of zinc reduced vision loss from advanced age-related macular degeneration in some people. Discuss these supplements with your physician before taking for eye health.
Cooking a meal doesn’t have to take up your whole day. Try these 5 kitchen tips to save time and make cooking fun.
Before you begin cooking, clear your kitchen counters and set up a prep space. Keep your most used cooking utensils within reach – unflavored cooking spray, cutting boards, and spices – and pull out all ingredients you’ll need before you begin. Keep your work space clean as you go, it will make cleaning up after your meal much easier!
When chopping vegetables and fruits, cut up more than you require for your recipe. Freeze the extra servings and next time you need it, you can skip a step! Save/freeze extra servings of food for a quick and easy dinner later.
Create a meal plan for the week and commit to it. This will save you from standing in front of the fridge after work worrying about what to make for dinner. Make sure you have all needed ingredients ahead of time so you won’t have to make any last minute grocery shopping trips.
If you’re just learning how to navigate your way around a kitchen, choose simple recipes to start. Read through the entire recipe when meal planning (to make sure you have all ingredients on hand), and there won’t be any surprises when you begin cooking.
Use the Right Knife.
It seems obvious, but most individuals end up using the same cooking knife for everything from chopping to peeling. Different knives are made to perform specific tasks, so use the knife that is intended for the task at hand to save prep time when cooking.
People tend to think of apples, pumpkins and falling leaves when it comes to October, but with autumn’s generous harvest, there are many fruits and vegetables at their peak. Here are four seasonal favorites to look for this month.
These green gems thrive in cool weather so they are abundant and affordable at their peak in October. One of the most nutritious vegetables, they are also filled with fiber, folate and cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Roasting them can char the edges, imparting a rich flavor and texture. Top them off with a touch of vinegar for a delightful side. They can also be shaved or thinly sliced to add dimension to salads. Try this delicious Apple Brussels Sprouts recipe!
Many think of grapes as a summer fruit but in the U.S., they are actually grown from May through January making fall the perfect time to enjoy them. Red, green and black grapes are a natural source of polyphenols and antioxidants that contribute to heart health. High levels of resveratrol are believed to play a role in healthy aging. Roast halves with other fall vegetables like Brussels Sprouts or add them to a salad. Freeze clean grapes in a baggie or container and they can double up to keep the contents of your lunch container cool and help keep you hydrated when it’s time to snack.
Although you can find mushrooms all year long, many are at their peak in the fall. Unlike any other plant food, mushrooms have a wonderful meaty texture making them ideal for vegans and vegetarians. Mushrooms are high in vitamins and minerals such as selenium, copper and vitamin B and potassium. Add diced mushroom to ground beef or turkey burgers to boost flavor without adding fat or enjoy them in soups.
Pears are technically in season from August through December but they are at their peak in October. An average pear of any variety can be packed with 6 grams of fiber. At least one study revealed that eating white-fleshed produce like pears helps reduce the risk of stroke as much as 9%. Ripen them by storing at room temperature and eating within a few days for best taste. Slice a pear over an arugula salad or add a dash of cinnamon and clove for a low-calorie dessert.
Interested in preserving your fresh fruit for future use? Follow these steps to freeze your fresh fruit with ease!
- WHAT YOU NEED
- Ripe fruit
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Freezer bags or containers
Wash and dry your fruit by rinsing under cool, running water. Lay the fruit in a single layer on a clean, dry dish towel and allow the fruit to dry. The layer of fruit will need to be completely dry prior to freezing or it will quickly develop freezer burn.
- SLICE THE FRUIT
Prepare or slice the fruit the way you expect to be using it. Cut it into chunks or wedges if you will be using the fruit in a pie. A rough chop works well if you will be blending it into smoothies. Remove the pits or any seeds/core from apples, pears, peaches or nectarines then cut them into slices or chunks. For melons, remove the rinds and chop into chunks. Berries can be left whole.
- ARRANGE THE FRUIT IN A SINGLE LAYER ON A PARCHMENT PAPER LINED BAKING SHEET
It’s OK if the fruit touches slightly, but avoid layering or overlapping the fruit. This allows the fruit to freeze individually, making it easier to store and, eventually, use.
- FREEZE UNTIL FRUIT IS SOLID
You can leave the fruit overnight, but package within a day or two or they will start to develop freezer burn. It should take approximately 4 hours to freeze fruit to a solid.
- LABEL THE CONTENTS
Jot down the date, type of fruit and the amount inside the bag or container. This makes it easier to find the fruit you want so you can pull out the specific quantity you need.
- ONCE THE FRUITS HAVE FROZEN SOLID, PACK THEM INTO FREEZER CONTAINERS
Lift the edges of the parchment to dislodge sticky fruit and use a spatula to transfer the fruits to the freezer bag or container. Handle the fruit as little as possible to prevent quick thawing and seal tightly. Press out as much air as possible and return the fruit to the freezer.
- GRAB WHENEVER THE MOOD STRIKES
Fruit keeps for several months — at least 3 months and sometimes longer — before starting to develop ice crystals and freezer burn. There is usually no need to thaw the fruit before using it.
The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that 33% of breast cancers in the U.S. never have to happen. Call MWLC today to learn how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight!
Grating the outer peel of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits releases highly concentrated flavors that reside in the oils of the fruit’s skin. A little zest goes a long way towards punching up salads, stews, grilled meat, and beverages. The zest can also provide a beautiful garnish to any drink or dish. This Real Simple video shows how to zest like a pro.
Wash fruit in soap and water
Wash and dry your citrus fruits thoroughly to remove the wax coating. If you plan on using the juice and zest in a recipe, you will want to zest first. Zesting little lemon wedges is no fun!
Choose the right grater
A Microplane is an ideal tool, because its fine holes zest only the peel, not the bitter white membrane beneath. If you don’t have a Microplane, the fine side of a box grater or a vegetable peeler are good alternatives.
Glide the fruit across the plane
Hold the handle of the Microplane or box grater in one hand and hold the fruit in the other. Glide the fruit down the grater from top to bottom, pressing hard enough that you take off the outermost layer of skin. Repeat, rotating the fruit in your hand as you go so that you only grate each section of peel once.
Grate lemon from end to end
Glide the blade of a vegetable peeler over the fruit with enough pressure to remove long strips of the outermost layer of colorful skin, avoiding the bitter white pith.
Tip: Strips of zest can be cut into thinner pieces or finely diced with a small knife.
Learn more about ProTeen, Medical Weight Loss Clinic’s program designed to how to make healthy food choices.
Tracy joined Bob & Mary from Fox 47’s The Morning Blend to discuss how families can work together to to set children up for a lifetime of healthy decision making starting within the kitchen. For recipes, visit www.mwlc.com/recipes
Did you know that home cooked meals contain 60 percent less calories than the average restaurant meal, which can typically cost $9 to $25 per person? That adds up to more than $200 per week for an average family. Your waist line and pocket book will thank you for choosing to cook at home instead of dining out or convenience foods.
Improves Family Dynamics
- Initiates Conversation. Everyone could use a break from screen time. Cooking and eating at home provides a better opportunity to have meaningful face-to-face conversations with your loved ones in a less distracting environment.
- Learning Opportunity. Time in the kitchen with your toddlers is a great opportunity for them to explore their senses. Touching, tasting, smelling while helping you prepare can help foster healthy eating habits and practice food safety.
Encourages Healthier Habits
- Healthier Portions. While dining out, servings are normally two to four times larger than recommended. At home, you have the power to control your portions and weigh or measure your ingredients.
- Healthier Prep. Cooking at home can eliminate the temptation of making poor food choices that may be high in sugar, fat and sodium. Eating in can also appease picky eaters or those with dietary restrictions.
Supports Healthier Futures
- Better Grades. A Columbia University study found that adolescents who enjoy between five and seven family dinners per week were twice as likely to see mostly A’s and B’s on their school report cards, compared to those teens who have fewer than three family dinners together per week.
- Improves Mental Health. Facilitating conversations during meal times can help families increase their bonds, having a significant positive impact on children. Time Magazine reports that teens who eat with their family at home often show fewer signs of depression and feel more supported than those who do not.