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Karen Stutzman RD's blog

Recipe: Dessert bars highlight health benefits of dark chocolate

Dark chocolate cherry bars

We all love chocolate for its delicious, rich flavor, but did you know it may also have some very real health benefits?

Some preliminary studies show that chocolate can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and may even improve insulin resistance (when the body has to make more insulin in order to bring glucose into cells) and help lower your body mass index (the ratio of body weight to height).

Recipe: Kidney Bean Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Oranges

This tasty Indian-spiced vegetarian stew is low-fat but filling, and is a good source of protein and iron (thanks to kidney beans) and a great source of vitamins A and C (thanks to sweet potatoes).

If you don’t have the traditional Indian spices in your cupboard, use the substitutions suggested below, or leave them out. 

Kidney Bean Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Oranges

Makes 4 1-cup servings

Recipe: Pumpkin Chowder

As the weather starts to get chilly, warm up with a rich and creamy soup, such as Pumpkin Chowder. 

This recipe uses cubed, fresh pumpkin, but you can also use pureed canned pumpkin and simmer for less time, or until it tastes “done.”

Pumpkin, like squash, makes a tasty soup, and is a good source of vitamins A, B and C.

Pumpkin Chowder

Makes six 1 1/2-cup servings

Eight ways to get more dairy in your diet

Did you know that you should include at least three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy foods in your every-day healthy diet? That’s because dairy foods contain many important nutrients for a healthy body and strong bones and teeth, like protein, calcium and vitamin D.

What’s a serving? Just one cup of milk or yogurt or 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of cheese.

If you need to boost your daily dairy, here are some great, simple ways you can add extra servings to meals and snacks:

Recipe: Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Shake

Start the day off right with a tasty and nutritious shake that combines two favorite flavors: chocolate and peanut butter. Best of all, it’s a rich source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, important for building strong muscles and bones, and healthy teeth.

Hint: To prepare frozen bananas, peel and slice them, then arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and pop into the freezer. When the fruit is solid, transfer the slices into a zip-lock bag. Stored in the freezer, they’ll be ready for a frosty shake whenever you are!

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