Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dazzle your family with color! Put a rainbow of colors on your plate

As seen on Channel 7 June 29, 2010

What is an easy and simple way to ensure our families get the variety of fruits and vegetables they need in order to eat healthy?
• Eating fruits and veggies in a variety of colors — red, dark green, yellow, blue, purple, white and orange — not only provides eye candy but mixing things up also provides a broad range of nutrients.
• Think variety and think color by creating a rainbow on your plates.

What is so important about eating a wide variety of colors?
• According to a recent analysis of U.S. food intake data, 80 % of Americans aren't getting enough variety in the colors of fruits and vegetable they eat to provide adequate anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that provide a broad range of health benefits for our bodies.
• Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of these valuable nutrients.
• The brighter, deeper colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants—and different colors provide different benefits

Show us the colors!
• The color of each food represents a beneficial nutritional value needed to keep a well-rounded diet.
• Red-colored foods contain high amounts of lycopene, which has been thought to help prevent some cancers and heart disease. They also contain anthocyanins which are antioxidants that can protect us from cell damage.
o Blood oranges, cherries, red grapes, pomegranates, beets, watermelon, radishes, tomatoes, red beans and rhubarb
• Orange-colored foods have carotenoids and high amounts of beta-carotene in particular. Carotenoids help repair DNA, prevent cancers and heart disease. They also help keep our skin and eyes healthy and protect us from infections by boosting our immune system.
o Cantaloupe, mangos, peaches, carrots
o Pumpkins and gourds can be more than just fall decorations!
• Yellow foods - high doses of antioxidants and vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to keep our dental health good as well as helping us heal cuts, improves circulation, prevents inflammation and prevents heart disease.
o Pineapples, lemons, rutabagas, and corn
• Green foods: the darker the color the better they are for you.
o Greens are packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and K, and they help strengthen the blood and respiratory systems.
o Be adventurous with your greens and branch out beyond bright and dark green lettuce—kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Chinese cabbage are just a few of the options.
• Blue and purple foods have a pigment called anthocyanins which is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage; reduce risk of cancers, stroke and heart disease. Also remember that dark blue and purple foods are thought to help with the signs of aging by improving memory function, skin health, and reducing damage caused by free radicals in the body.
o Blueberries, blackberries, concord grapes, plums, eggplant
• White-colored/Brown/Tan foods, such as onions, garlic and potatoes are rich in potassium which proves healthy for your heart.
o Cauliflower, jicama, potatoes, ginger

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the bounties of the garden. Where should we shop to get the best fruits and vegetables?
• In the summer, it is always fun to shop at our local famer’s market. You can purchase fresh foods, and it’s great to come out and be part of the community, see and talk to people, spend some time outdoors, as well as support local farmers.
• Supermarkets are meeting produce demands and providing a wealth of tropical fruits and vegetables that are not grown in our climate.
• And while fresh is good, it is not always better. Contrary to popular opinion, fruits and vegetables that are canned, frozen or dried are as nourishing and nutrient-rich as fresh-sometimes even more so.
• The important point is to color-coordinate your plate and make it fun to eat both tastefully and visually.

Get recipes and ideas to get more of these into meals in easy, creative and tasty ways. Go to www.denverchannel.com and click on “Links mentioned on 7 News.”
• Make a tropical rainbow fruit salad with fruits of each color: oranges, pink grapefruit, mango, papaya, kiwifruit, bananas, and purple grapes.
• Make fruit-sicles: Puree your favorite fruit such as melon, peaches, banana, and/or berries with 100% fruit juice. Freeze in ice cube trays or paper cups or popsicle molds for a refreshing treat. Use fresh, frozen or canned.
• Sauté your own medley of mixed vegetables using each color: red onions, carrots, corn, jicama, broccoli and black beans.
• Try a spinach salad with dried cranberries, canned mandarin oranges and red onion with your favorite vinaigrette.
• Make fruit-sicles: Puree your favorite fruit such as melon, peaches, banana, and/or berries with 100% fruit juice. Freeze in ice cube trays or paper cups or popsicle molds for a refreshing treat. Use fresh, frozen or canned.
• Make a refreshing summer beverage using 100% juice and iced tea.
• Roast a whole head of garlic to make a delicious spread for an appetizer or on sandwiches.
• Steam edamame for a fun snack. Kids love it!
• Make a Greek-inspired salad: romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, chick peas, black olives and artichoke hearts.
• Make confetti coleslaw: shredded green and red cabbage, grated carrots, julienned kohlrabi and finely chopped red and yellow peppers.
• Make a Mexican pizza with tortillas, refried beans, salsa and grated low fat jalapeno cheese. Bake.
• On a busy night, check out the unique combinations of veggies in the frozen section to build a meal – a quick stir-fry, vegetable soup or stew, or a frittata.
• Make a dried fruit and nut mix for snacks. They make great gifts too. Include dried apples, apricots, cranberries, peaches, pears, cherries and mixed nuts.
• Try some different veggie toppings on your pizza:
o eggplant and black olive
o pineapple and onion
o red and green peppers and mushrooms
o fresh tomato and spinach
o broccoli and green olives
o or get the whole shebang

Fresh Tomato Sauce
• 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, about 3 large tomatoes
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• black pepper, to taste
• 1 pound spaghetti
• freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
If desired, peel tomatoes; remove seeds, straining juice into a bowl. Save the juice and discard seeds. In a food processor, combine garlic, tomatoes with juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and basil. Pulse quickly to chop roughly. Pulse more for a smoother sauce, if desired. Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper and let stand to marinate for about 20 minutes.
Cook pasta until just tender, drain and toss hot with the marinated tomato sauce. If hotter spaghetti is desired, heat the sauce just until hot on stovetop or in microwave. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Red, white and blue for July 4th holiday

As seen on Channel 4 KCNC

From backyard barbeques to front porch fireworks, the 4th of July is a cherished acknowledgement of American independence. With celebrations in full swing, the family will be ready for festive dishes to mark the holiday.

Local dietitian Mary Lee Chin has brought a number of red, white and blue food recipes to sample. And being a dietitian, she will also highlight the health benefits of these celebratory dishes.

Focus on nutrient-rich foods which can help children and adults get the vitamins and minerals they need.
• Low-fat or fat-free dairy, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are encouraged for a wholesome diet and are sources of those specific nutrients of which many Americans are not getting enough of.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified “nutrients of concern” in the diets of American adults and children – nutrients that adults and children need to eat more of.
• Five nutrients were identified in children’s diets as nutrients of concern, and they include calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E.
• Seven nutrients were identified as “lacking” in the diets of American adults. These include calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C and E.

Begin the theme by setting out red, white and blue parfaits at breakfast.
• Dairy foods such as yogurt supply three of the five nutrients of concern for which children have low intakes: calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Salads are an excellent way to deliciously get the recommended daily 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables.
• The darker the leaf, the higher the concentration of the anti-oxidant, beta carotene. So spinach, with its deep green leaf is an excellent salad green.
• Pair with strawberries and blueberries for these berries anti-oxidant power –and to provide the red and blue color.
• White jicama adds crunch and fiber
• The California raisins in the salad dressing are fat and cholesterol free and deliver potassium and anti-oxidants.

For an easy and cool appetizer, try red pepper hummus, and serve with blue corn chips and white strips of cucumber.
• Hummus is not only delicious to eat, but also contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids.
• And offer a variety of vegetables and whole grain crackers as dippers.

Pizza may come from Italy, but it is an all-American favorite. Here is Raisin, Ham, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza.
• OK—may have stretched the blue color a bit by the rehydrated raisins.
• Nuts like pecans contain healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, selenium and magnesium.

Cannot forget dessert. A fruit based dessert such as All-American Apple Raisin Tartlets can help you reach the recommended two cups of fruit a day.
• Adding raisins to recipes will help you achieve the fruit recommendations. Just ¼ cup of California raisins counts as a fruit serving.
• And this fun recipe may not be red, white and blue, but I included it as the shape reminds me of fireworks.

According to a recent analysis of U.S. food intake data, 80 % of Americans aren't getting enough variety in their diet to provide adequate anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that offer a broad range of health benefits for our bodies.
• So when you think of holiday foods, go a bit lighter, choose a variety of colors which provides a variety of nutrients-and for the upcoming Fourth of July, think of red, white and blue.
• Recipes will be on www.maryleechin.com


Berry parfaits – Yogurt, strawberries, blueberries

Spinach, strawberry, Blueberries and Jicama salad with Raisin Citrus dressing
1 (6 oz. package baby spinach
8 oz. (1 ½ cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup jicama sticks

Raisin Salad dressing
¾ cup reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
Grated peel of 1 medium orange
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup raisins

Combine sour cream, milk, honey, lime juice, orange juice concentrate, orange peel and salt in small bowl. Blend well, add raisins.

Red pepper hummus with blue chips, cucumber strips

Raisin, Ham, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza
1-11 oz. canned thin pizza crust
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2/3 cup raisins soaked in 2/3 cup hot water for 15 minutes
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup cubed, cooked ham
2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary or 2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 1/2 Tbs. honey

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and unroll the canned pizza crust on it. Bake the crust for 5 minutes at 400°. Remove crust from oven and brush with vegetable oil. Top with drained raisins, cheese, pecans, ham and rosemary. Drizzle with honey. Bake another 5 – 6 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cut into 18 pieces.

2 tablespoons heart-healthy buttery spread
4 medium green apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup California raisins
18 sheets phyllo dough
Butter flavor cooking spray
9 tablespoons shredded low-fat sharp Cheddar

Preheat oven to 375°F and spray 12 cupcake tins with nonstick cooking spray. Melt buttery spread in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in apples and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for a minute more; add raisins and set aside. Meanwhile, lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a cutting board; keep remaining covered with a damp towel to prevent drying. Spray sheet with cooking spray. Repeat with 5 more sheets, sprinkling 3 tablespoons cheese in under the last layer; press firmly to keep cheese in dough. Repeat twice more to make 3 rectangles. Cut each in half crosswise, then cut each piece into 6 strips. Press 3 strips into each tin letting the dough fold over the top by about 1/2-inch. Fill with equal amounts of fruit. Bake for 10 minutes; tent loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes more.

Makes 12 small desserts