(Family Features) Nutritious eating, including smarter snacking, is an important way to protect your heart and maintain overall health and wellness. While many people understand the basics of healthy eating – avoiding too many sugary treats, for example – some are confused about important food categories that can impact nutrition.
According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Heart Association, U.S. adults are least knowledgeable about refined vs. whole grains compared to other food categories like fruits, vegetables and proteins. Whole grains are, in fact, a key feature of the Association’s recommendations for a heart-healthy diet.
There are two types of grain products: whole grains, which contain the entire grain, and refined grains, which have been milled into a finer texture like flour or meal. Most adults, according to the survey, are able to distinguish whole vs. refined grains. However, there are a few misperceptions.
Most incorrectly believe multi-grain bread is a whole grain. Additionally, only 17% believe sorghum is an example of a whole grain when it is, in fact, a whole grain option. Whole grains like sorghum, oatmeal and brown rice are rich sources of dietary fiber, may improve blood cholesterol levels and provide nutrients that help the body form new cells, regulate the thyroid and maintain a healthy immune system.
These sweet, chewy Date Nut Granola Bars from the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative, supported by the Sorghum Checkoff, are a perfect go-to snack for enjoying throughout the week. Popped sorghum adds a surprise ingredient for crunchy texture while dry-roasted oats and nuts provide a delicious, toasted flavor.
To discover more whole-grain recipes that can support a healthy heart, visit Heart.org/healthyforgood.
Date Nut Granola Bars
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association and Sorghum Checkoff
Servings: 12 (1 bar per serving)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup almond slices or whole almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup uncooked whole-grain sorghum
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup low-sodium peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- On large baking sheet, spread oats, almonds and pistachios in single layer. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly.
- In food processor or blender, process dates and cranberries 1-1 1/2 minutes, or until chopped and clumpy. Transfer to large bowl.
- Put 2 tablespoons sorghum in silicone microwaveable bowl or clean, brown paper bag. If using microwaveable bowl, cover with lid. If using paper bag, roll shut and place on microwavable dinner plate with fold facing down. Microwave on high 2 minutes, or until there are more than 10 seconds between pops. Repeat with remaining sorghum, microwaving 1 1/2 minutes, or until more than 10 seconds between pops.
- Stir popped sorghum, oats, almonds and pistachios into date mixture.
- In small saucepan over low heat, heat honey and peanut butter 5 minutes, or until peanut butter is smooth and mixture is warmed, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt.
- Pour peanut butter mixture over date mixture, stirring to break into small clumps. Transfer half to baking pan. Using bottom of drinking glass or fingers lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, press down firmly to flatten and pack tightly so clumps adhere to each other. Repeat with remaining half. Freeze, covered, about 1 hour, to firm.
- Place cutting board over pan. Turn pan over. Discard plastic wrap. Using knife, cut into 12 bars. Refrigerate leftovers in airtight container up to 1 week.
American Heart Association
‘Fall’ in love with family-favorite autumn recipes
(Family Features) With temperatures cooling and cravings leaning toward comforting flavors, fall offers a perfect time for families to explore adventurous twists on favorite foods. As you and your loved ones rework the menu for autumn, turn to versatile ingredients that provide fresh tastes and new ways to enjoy classic recipes.
One star ingredient that can be used for appetizers, main courses, sides, snacks and desserts alike is watermelon. In fact, using the entire watermelon (rind included) means you’ve discovered a sustainable way to create nutritious meals without food waste.
Consider these simple, delicious ways to use the entire watermelon in your kitchen.
In the fall, whole watermelon is still available in many areas. You can also find mini watermelon in the fresh cut produce section at many local grocers. The flesh is often the favorite (and most-used) part of the watermelon. Served on its own as a hydrating snack or as part of a recipe for tasty entrees, the flesh offers something for nearly every appetite so no watermelon goes to waste.
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a sweet choice for staying hydrated. Even if your watermelon is overripe, don’t throw it out – instead, juice or puree it to retain value and nutrition. Use it to sweeten this Watermelon Bourbon Glaze then drizzle over a perfectly grilled flank steak and serve with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables for an ideal fall meal.
The rind is often thrown out – many people don’t realize you can eat it, too. The rind absorbs flavors added to it and adds an unexpected texture to this Watermelon Walnut Currant Chutney. Try serving over brie with crackers or simply dip with naan or baguettes.
Find more flavorful fall solutions to avoid food waste at Watermelon.org.
Watermelon Bourbon Glaze with Grilled Flank Steak
- 1 1/2 cups watermelon juice (approximately 2 1/2 cups chopped watermelon, blended)
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4-1/2 cup bourbon
- 2 pounds flank steak or London broil
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce watermelon juice to 2/3 cup. Toward end of reduction, add garlic. Remove from heat, cool 10 minutes then add soy sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce and bourbon. Mix well.
- Place watermelon-bourbon glaze in large zip-top bag. Add steak and massage to cover meat. Close bag and refrigerate 3-4 hours.
- Heat grill to high heat. Remove steak from plastic bag and gently shake to remove excess glaze.
- Grill steak 4-6 minutes; turn, grill 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness of steak. Remove from heat. Steak should be pink in center.
- Allow steak to rest on platter or cutting board 10 minutes.
- Mix small amount of watermelon-bourbon glaze with cornstarch. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, add cornstarch mixture to remaining glaze and simmer 3-5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
- Cut flank steak on bias into thin strips. Drizzle watermelon-bourbon glaze over top.
Watermelon Walnut Currant Chutney
- 4 cups watermelon, juiced
- 2 cups watermelon rind (white part), diced small
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 2 tablespoons currants
- 2 tablespoons roasted walnuts
- 1 wheel brie cheese, for serving
- crackers, for serving
- In saucepan over medium heat, reduce watermelon juice to 2 cups. Combine with watermelon rind, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, white onion, garlic, nutmeg, cloves, lemon zest, lemon juice, currants and walnuts; simmer until almost dry.
- Chill and serve over brie with crackers.
Flavorful grape recipes to take summer gatherings to the next level
(Family Features) Summertime celebrations with friends, family and neighbors are a perfect way to enjoy the sunshine, warm weather and camaraderie. To satisfy a hungry crowd, though, you’ll need recipes fit for the occasion.
Turn to a versatile signature ingredient like Grapes from California, which can be used in dishes of all kinds from refreshing salads and entrees to flavorful condiments and sweet desserts. Grapes are crisp, juicy and sweet, making them a fantastic addition of flavor and texture for a wide range of recipes. Whether fresh, sauteed, roasted, grilled or even pickled, grapes make it easy to take meals to the next level.
For example, you can start the festivities with grapes as an easy, portable and healthy snack perfect for summer days or use them as a juicy addition to this all-in-one Honey-Lime Quinoa and Grape Salad that’s ideal as a light appetizer or a meal all on its own. Follow it up (or pair it) with a summertime staple – hot dogs – given a sweet-tart twist from pickled grape relish that takes these Sweet and Tangy Pickled Grape Hot Dogs to new heights.
Dessert can’t be much easier than Creamy Vegan Grape Ice Cream as a dairy-free alternative to traditional summer sweets. Oat coffee creamer and pureed grapes are all you need to create this delicious frozen treat. Simply freezing whole grapes also makes for an easy and healthy frozen dessert.
Visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com to discover more summer entertaining inspiration.
Honey-Lime Quinoa and Grape Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus at least 1 hour chill time
Cook time: 22 minutes
Servings: 6 (1 1/3 cups per serving)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups halved Grapes from California
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
- 1 large firm, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
- To make lime vinaigrette: In medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, honey, sea salt and pepper, to taste.
- To make salad: In fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa; drain well. In medium saucepan, bring broth and quinoa to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes then fluff with fork and let cool. Transfer to large bowl.
- Pour vinaigrette over quinoa; stir well to coat. Add grapes, onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper; cover and chill at least 1 hour.
- Lightly stir in avocado and transfer to decorative bowl. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.
Notes: Salad may be prepared and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead without avocado and peanuts. Add avocado and peanuts just before serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 520 calories; 10 g protein; 52 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (55% calories from fat); 4 1/2 g saturated fat (8% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 490 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.
Sweet and Tangy Pickled Grape Dogs
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (1/4 cup relish per serving)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 1/4 cups quartered or coarsely chopped Grapes from California (red, green, black or combination)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 8 turkey or chicken hot dogs
- 8 hot dog buns, lightly toasted
- Place mustard seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns in small resealable bag. Using meat mallet or rolling pin, crush seeds and peppercorns.
- In small saucepan, stir vinegar, sugar, seeds and peppercorns; bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir to dissolve sugar; let cool. Stir in grapes and onion; set aside to cool and marinate 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Heat grill to medium heat.
- Grill hot dogs 5 minutes, turning occasionally, or until charred and heated through.
- Place hot dogs in buns. Using slotted spoon, top with pickled grapes.
Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 10 g protein; 39 g carbohydrates; 10 g fat (32% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 35 mg cholesterol; 630 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Creamy Vegan Grape Ice Cream
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Servings: 8 (1/2 cup per serving)
- 1 pound stemmed black Grapes from California
- 12 ounces vanilla oat coffee creamer, well chilled
- 12 ounces unsweetened oat coffee creamer, well chilled
- In high-speed blender, puree grapes until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 10-15 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
- Stir creamer into pureed grapes and pour into bowl of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to freezer-safe container; cover and freeze until firm.
Substitution: For lighter color, use 3/4 pound black grapes and 1/4 pound red.
Note: Make sure ice cream maker bowl is well chilled or frozen before making ice cream.
Nutritional information per serving: 140 calories; 0 g protein; 22 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (39% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 45 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
5 tips to be an after-school mealtime hero
(Family Features) It’s one of the busiest times of the year, meaning managing mealtimes can be tough as families navigate the school year hustle. Between school, work, extracurriculars and social activities, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to eat and when.
Put your worries aside and become a true after-school hero with these timesaving, delicious meal planning strategies while giving back to communities in need.
Conquer Your Next Grocery Trip
When it’s time for a grocery run, write down everything you need, perhaps on your phone’s notetaking app, being sure to take inventory of ingredients you already have on hand. Keeping the list handy can make your trip to the store efficient while helping you stay on track, avoid multiple trips and prevent buying excess or unnecessary items.
Champion Your Inner Meal Planning
One of the first steps in meal planning should be making a list of all the meals you and your family enjoy on a regular basis. Compiling this list can help simplify weekly dinner plans and reduce stress at the grocery store. Include simple recipes like sandwiches, tacos or chili. If you want to make an easy, tasty dinner to save the day, consider something simple like chicken fried rice. All you need is 15 minutes and Ben’s Original Ready Rice, chicken breast meat, peas, carrots, reduced sodium soy sauce, garlic powder and eggs. As you try new recipes, add any family favorites to the list and consider reinventing classics by bringing in a different side dish like rice and grains to give them a whole new spin.
Come To the Rescue with Simple Prep Hacks
Before you plan your meals for the week, take a look at your calendar. On days that include evening activities, opt for easy-to-prepare meals or slow cooker- or air fryer-friendly recipes to save time. Leave more complex meals for less busy days or weekends, and don’t be afraid to schedule a weekly leftover night to empty out the fridge before your next trip to the grocery store.
Take Advantage of Pantry Staples
Turning to your pantry for after-school snacks and quick meals can help keep busy nights from getting even more hectic. For example, the entire portfolio of Ben’s Original Ready Rice – Whole Grain Brown Rice, Jasmine, Spanish Style and more – can help provide tasty, convenient meal options that are ready in just 90 seconds. Plus, until Nov. 12, for every $1 spent on participating products, $1 will be donated to No Kid Hungry through the “Be an After-School Hero” program, which can help provide 2.5 million meals to those who need them most.
Be a Prep Day Warrior
Setting aside some time – maybe a couple of hours on the weekend – to prep food for the week’s meals can help stretch your time and allow more moments to enjoy meals around the table as a family. This time can be used to cut, brown and divide proteins into portions; chop or slice fruits and vegetables; prepare one-pan dishes; make sauces; and more.
Fight mealtime fatigue and make school night meals a cinch with more ideas and recipes at BensOriginal.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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