Eating whole, nutritious foods is important for living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet can help you reach and maintain an optimal body weight, increase your energy and mood, reduce inflammation, and enable cell repair, which can also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer.
A healthy, well-balanced diet includes:
Vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and peas
Whole fruits, such as blueberries, apples, avocados, and strawberries
Whole grains, such as quinoa, barley, brown rice, and oats
Lean protein, such as beans, chicken, and fish
Our Nutrition Corner serves as a place to learn about new fruits and vegetables, their benefits and how they can help you, and simple ways to prepare them.
Click on a category for a tasty recipe
Why do we need to eat vegetables?
Many vegetables are an important source of essential nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C. A diet rich in vegetables can lower blood pressure and reduce risk for chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat, calories, and cholesterol.
What are some vegetable options?
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to eat 1-4 cups of vegetables a day. Some of the most nutritious and readily available options include:
Sweet Potatoes, Yams
FEATURED VEGETABLE OF THE MONTH
What is it?
Butternut squash is a type of winter variety of squash that is nutty, sweet, and creamy. Technically, squash is a fruit; however, it is more commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. Its tan, hard rind gives it a long shelf life, and can be kept for about a month when stored in a cool, dry place.
What are its health benefits?
Butternut squash is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. Plus, it is low in calories and high in fiber, making butternut squash a great way to feel fuller for longer and support long-term weight loss.
How to prepare: Butternut squash is extremely versatile and can be prepared several ways, including roasting/baking, boiling, steaming, and sauteing. Its flavor is extremely versatile as well – you can add it to sweet, savory, or spicy dishes!
Why do we need to eat whole, fresh fruits?
Many whole fruits are an important source of essential nutrients, including Vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, and are naturally low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories. Regularly consuming whole fruits can decrease the risk of many diseases as well as help support a healthy weight loss and management plan.
How should we be consuming fruits?
It is recommended that you obtain your daily intake of fruits by eating them whole, rather than drinking juices, which may be filled with added sugars, or blended drinks, which can lose some of its fiber during the blending process. Both juices and smoothies can affect one’s blood sugar as the higher sugar concentration is more quickly absorbed by the body, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
What are some whole fruit options?
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to eat at least 1 cup of whole fruits a day. Most whole fruits have a low to moderate Glycemic Index (GI), making them a healthy choice for diabetics to consume as well. Some of the most nutritious and readily available options include
* Has a low GI
FEATURED FRUIT OF THE MONTH
What are the health benefits?
Apples are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and polyphenols, which may boost digestion, improve brain health, and help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers. To get the most nutrition out of apples, leave the skin on when you eat it.
Why do we need to eat whole grains?
Whole grains are an important source of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and selenium, and phytochemicals. Consuming whole grains help reduce the risk of chronic diseases as well as help with weight management due to their high fiber content, which will help you feel fuller for longer with fewer calories. Choosing whole grains over refined grains also helps those with diabetes control their blood sugar as they have a lower glycemic index (GI) and take longer to digest.
What makes up a whole grain?
- Bran – Fiber-rich outer layer of the grain. In addition to fiber, it contains many important minerals and B vitamins.
- Endosperm – Largest part of the grain and the least nutritious. It contains starchy carbohydrates, some protein, and a small amount of vitamins and minerals.
- Germ – The embryo, or core, of the grain that is filled with nutrients. It contains many B vitamins, vitamin E, phytochemicals, minerals, and healthy fats.
What is the difference between a whole grain and a refined grain?
The milling process refine a grain removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm, which is easy to chew and digest but has very little nutritional value. The milling also removes most of the fat content in the grain, which gives refined grains their long shelf life. Examples of refined grains are white rice and white flour.
What are some some whole grain options?
There are many different whole grain options to choose from. Some of the most nutritious and readily available sources include:
Old Fashioned Oats
Steel -cut Oats
FEATURED GRAIN OF THE MONTH
What are its health benefits?
Brown rice is high in fiber, relatively low in calories, and contains no cholesterol. It contains many important nutrients, such as folate, iron, and magnesium, which are involved in many bodily functions. Plus, brown rice is gluten-free, making it a great option for those with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities.
Why do we need to eat protein
Protein is essential for cell maintenance and repair, healthy hormone functions, and helps build muscles as well as antibodies for your immune system to better fight off infections. Protein also helps regulate blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which is why it’s important to eat when managing a healthy weight.
What is lean protein?
The USDA defines a lean protein source as having less than 10 grams of total fat. Lean proteins typically have fewer calories per serving than other sources of protein because of their lower fat content.
What are some lean protein options?
There are many different plant-based and animal-based lean protein sources to choose from. Some of the most nutritious and readily available sources include:
White Meat Chicken
Beans, Peas, Lentils
Eggs and Egg Whites
Plain Greek Yogurt
FEATURED PROTEIN OF THE MONTH
BAKED CHICKEN BREAST
This super simple recipe is healthy, features very few ingredients and keeps the chicken breasts moist and tender! Their mild taste is perfect for simply placing on a bed of quinoa or rice, as well as adding to salads, pasta dishes, wraps, and so many more meals. Best of all, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days after baking, so you can make these ahead to use all week in your dinners or packed lunches.