(Family Features) The importance of health and wellness is top of mind for many people. There are many contributing factors to wellness such as diet, physical activity, social engagement and genetics. All are important, but a first step to wellness is choosing healthy foods to fuel the body every day, ideally foods that support health in multiple ways.
Consider grapes from California: they are convenient, healthy, hydrating and provide energy to help support healthy and active lifestyles. Eating grapes is also linked to beneficial impacts on the health of specific body parts and systems, including the heart, brain, skin and colon.
Most of grapes’ health benefits are attributed to the presence of natural plant compounds known as polyphenols, which help promote antioxidant activity and influence biological processes that support overall health. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are natural sources of polyphenols.
Fresh California grapes are refreshing by the handful, but they also lend a tasty burst of flavor to a wide range of recipes you can enjoy any time of day. This Heart Smart Smoothie is a deliciously healthy way to start the day; pairing grapes with nuts and seeds in No-Bake Energy Bites delivers a hearty snack to enjoy midday, after school or following a workout; and Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad is perfect at any mealtime for a powerful combo of both taste and health.
Grapes and a Healthy Brain
Research suggests regularly eating grapes as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may contribute to improved health outcomes, including brain health.
In a study of people with early memory decline published in “Experimental Gerontology,” subjects were either fed whole grape powder equivalent to just 2 1/4 cups of grapes per day or a placebo powder. The results showed consuming grapes preserved healthy metabolic activity in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, where metabolic decline takes hold.
Subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in attention and working memory performance.
Find more nutritious recipes at GrapesFromCalifornia.com .
No-Bake Energy Bites
Prep time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 energy bites
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice or lemon juice
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 8 seedless California grapes
- 1/3 cup chia or hemp seeds
- In bowl of food processor, pulse almonds and walnuts 5-6 times to coarsely chop. Add dates and process until mixture is finely chopped. Add juice and process until just combined; transfer mixture to small plate.
- Dry grapes. Pack 1 tablespoon date mixture around each grape, completely covering to seal. Repeat with remaining grapes and date mixture.
- Roll balls in seeds to coat. Store in covered container in refrigerator up to three days.
Nutritional information per energy bite: 120 calories; 3 g protein; 12 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat (53% calories from fat); 0.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
Heart Smart Grape and Peanut Butter Smoothie
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup red California grapes, chilled
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, chilled
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1/2 small banana
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 2 teaspoons cacao powder
- In blender on high speed, blend grapes, almond milk, ice, banana, peanut butter, flax seed and cacao powder until smooth.
Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 8 g protein; 53 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (36% calories from fat); 2.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.
Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
- 1 1/4 cups red California grapes, halved
- 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 ripe avocados, diced 1/3 inch
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions and drain on two layers of paper towels. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add cauliflower, grapes, scallions and avocado pieces.
- To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk vinegar, lime juice, honey, cumin, oregano and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over quinoa mixture and toss gently. Season with pepper, to taste.
Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 5 g protein; 27 g carbo hydrates; 16 g fat (55% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.
(Family Features) Fun in the summer sun can mean anything from poolside play and outdoor exercise to simply relaxing in the shade. While these activities make the season special for people of all ages, the heat also leads to the inevitable: sweat.
Electrolytes, critical for the human body to function, are lost via sweat throughout the day. Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, helps keep you hydrated. However, adding 100% orange juice to your diet can help replace those lost electrolytes in addition to aiding hydration. According to a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences,” drinking 100% orange juice following exercise contributes to hydration equally as well as water and sports drinks, making the beverage a viable alternative for recovery.
“Electrolytes include nutrients such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, scientific research director at the Florida Department of Citrus. “In fluids, these nutrients carry an electric charge, which allows muscles to contract and nerves to transmit signals, and are critical for the human body to function. Plain water contains few if any electrolytes, so you must replace lost electrolytes by consuming foods or beverages that contain these nutrients. Drinking fluids that contain both water and electrolytes, such as 100% orange juice, may help support hydration.”
In fact, 100% orange juice contains about 90% water and can contribute to overall water intake. With no added sugar, it’s an ideal way to support hydration by drinking it on its own or by adding it to recipes like this Healthy Broccoli Salad with Miso Orange Dressing or Pineapple Orange Smoothie.
Consider these major electrolytes found in orange juice:
- Potassium: The major electrolyte within all cells, it helps balance fluid in the body with a strong relationship to sodium, the major electrolyte in the blood and outside the cells. Potassium is especially important for regulating heart rhythm and function. An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice provides 10% of the recommended daily value for potassium.
- Magnesium: The fourth-most abundant mineral in the body and essential in the regulation of muscle contraction, cardiac excitability, blood pressure and other vital processes. An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice contains 6% of the recommended daily value for magnesium.
- Calcium: Found in fortified varieties of orange juice, calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, nerve transmission and the contraction and relaxation of the cardiovascular system. As an excellent source of calcium, an 8-ounce serving of fortified orange juice provides 30% of the recommended daily value.
Visit floridajuice.com to find more recipes that aid in summer hydration.
Healthy Broccoli Salad with Miso Orange Dressing
- 2 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 cups purple cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Miso Orange Dressing:
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 shallot
- To make salad: In bowl, toss broccoli, cabbage, raisins, almonds and green onions.
- To make miso orange dressing: In food processor or blender, pulse orange juice, canola oil, miso, almond butter and shallot until smooth.
- Pour dressing over salad, tossing to coat. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.
Pineapple Orange Smoothie
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 1/2 cup plain almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 scoop walnuts
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2-3 ice cubes
- 1 scoop plain protein powder (optional)
- In large blender, blend orange juice, almond milk, frozen banana, frozen pineapple, turmeric, walnuts, cayenne, ice cubes and protein powder, if desired, until smooth.
- Portion into two small glasses.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
(Family Features) Introducing kids to unfamiliar flavors doesn’t have to be a frightful experience. Getting creative and taking cues from some beloved characters may be all it takes for families to explore produce in a new way and discover how delicious, satisfying and enjoyable fresh fruits and vegetables can be.
A passion for produce may begin with America’s favorites, like bananas, apples, citrus, celery, carrots and broccoli, but that’s just the beginning.
Whether it’s their angry names and tough exteriors, or simply a fear of the unknown about taste and preparation, dozens more diverse and exotic fruits and vegetables like dragon fruit, horned melon and Brussels sprouts are often the sources of produce paranoia.
An initiative from Dole, in collaboration with Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., is helping to take the scare out of specialty fruits and vegetables and widen America’s produce horizons. That’s because, like a good book or the characters in a beloved film, you can’t judge a fruit or vegetable by its appearance; nature’s true beauty often lies within.
The campaign offers character-inspired recipes, serving suggestions, digital and social activations, family-friendly activities, fun trivia and influencer partnerships that celebrate the not-so-scary world of the planet’s more unusual fresh bounty.
One easy way to introduce new flavors is by trying a variation of a familiar fruit or veggie. For example, there are more than 500 edible banana varieties in the world. You might sample a red banana or a Manzano, or even an ice cream banana, with a taste resembling vanilla custard.
These fun and kid-friendly Green Slime Nacho Cups feature plantains, for example, a member of the banana family with a different taste and texture than everyday yellow bananas – more firm and starchy like a potato. Increase your family’s produce intake even further with a Slippery Slimy Smoothie and Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads, which call for green grapes, celery, avocados, strawberries and blueberries.
Find more recipes and other not-so-scary fun at dole.com/Disney, and follow #Dole and #DoleRecipes.
Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Green Grapes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped Dole Celery
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 Dole Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
- 6 whole-wheat pretzel twists
- 18 whole-wheat pretzel sticks
- 1 Dole Strawberry, sliced
- 3 dried, sweetened blueberries
- In bowl, stir together chicken, grapes, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper.
- Scoop three equal portions onto serving plate. Shape each into oval.
- Top each with upside down avocado half.
- Decorate each avocado half to resemble Roz’s face. Using sharp paring knife, trim each pretzel twist to create horn-rimmed glasses lens by cutting off double loop section of each pretzel twist and discarding or enjoying as snack, keeping single loop portion, which will become one lens. Two lenses are needed per Roz Head.
- Place two pretzel lenses on each avocado to form glasses. Add pretzel stick to each side of avocado to form arms of glasses. Push four pretzel sticks into top of each avocado to form hair. Add strawberry slice, trimmed to look like lips for her mouth, and place blueberry on lower left side of face to form mole.
Green Slime Nacho Cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 green starting to turn yellow DOLE® Plantain, peeled and thinly sliced on bias
- 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 Dole Avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup thinly shredded Dole Purple Cabbage
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss plantain slices with canola oil and season with pinch of salt. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arrange slices in single layer with no overlapping.
- Bake 18-20 minutes, or until crispy and lightly golden. Cool completely and set aside.
- Using spoon, scoop flesh of avocado into small bowl and mash, reserving one half avocado shell. Stir mashed avocado with lime juice, garlic and remaining salt. Stir in slaw, reserving some for garnish. Scoop into reserved avocado shell and smooth top with back of spoon. Stick reserved cabbage shreds out of avocado mixture to look like hair.
- Serve slime nacho cups with plantain chips.
Slippery Slimy Smoothie
Prep time:10 minutes
Servings: 2 (8 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Spinach
- 1 Dole Banana, peeled and frozen
- 1/2 cup Dole Green Grapes, frozen
- 1/3 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup Dole Pineapple
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 5 ice cubes
- In blender, blend spinach, banana, grapes, cucumber, pineapple, almond milk, Greek yogurt and ice cubes until smooth.
- Pour smoothie into two glasses and serve.
©2020 Disney/Pixar (Roz)
(Family Features) During a period when many families are spending more time at home than normal, eating healthier is likely a popular goal. One of the many aspects to focusing on better nutrition starts with a better breakfast.
To help boost you and your family’s immunity, try focusing on protein- and fiber-packed morning meals that are low in sugar. That doesn’t have to mean hours of prep in the kitchen or stocking up on uncommon ingredients.
Instead, you can start with simple recipes that call for just a handful of inclusions. Additionally, when your menu is centered around less complicated dishes, it allows an opportunity to get kids involved in the kitchen with tasks like measuring yogurt for a parfait, pouring milk in a pudding recipe or simply pulling ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator.
To help start your healthy breakfast plan on the right foot, consider these tips from Dr. Jonathan Clinthorne and the experts at SimplyProtein:
Factor in fiber. When it comes to supporting immunity with nutrition, one of the underappreciated nutrients is dietary fiber. Fiber feeds gut bacteria, which helps produce numerous compounds that accelerate the development of immune cells and boost their function. The immune system performs better when people replace highly refined, low-fiber carbohydrates with fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Pick ingredients packed with protein. It’s important to consume adequate protein when looking to boost immune function as protein energy malnutrition is linked to poor immune function and can impair the ability of the immune system to fight viruses and bacteria. Add foods to your diet like SimplyProtein’s line of non-GMO, gluten-free bars and bites. The snacks include 11 or more grams of protein and just 0-3 grams of sugar without artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives for nutritious treats to help make busy lives simpler.
Build a balanced breakfast. People burn more energy through a process known as “diet-induced thermogenesis” when they consume high-calorie breakfasts rather than high-calorie dinners. This can ultimately help with weight loss and suggests that eating more food early in the day is better for you than eating a large amount before bedtime. For example, these recipes for Yogurt Parfait, Chia Seed Pudding and Avocado Toast provide protein and energy with simple at-home prep.
Skip the sugar. Avoid the post-lunch sleepy feeling by ditching sugar. Instead, focus on low-glycemic snacks that won’t spike blood sugar, helping to control your appetite.
Feel fuller longer. Eating immune supportive foods like vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds and protein-rich snack bars can help keep you full and satisfied while avoiding less nutritious alternatives.
Easy Additions for a Balanced Breakfast
Whether your morning meal is a lavish spread for the whole family or a simple snack before logging on for a workday, these simple add-ons can add flavor without sacrificing nutrition:
- Dairy, such as milk or yogurt
- Fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and more
- Quick solutions, such as SimplyProtein Cookie Bars, Crispy Bars or Crunchy Bites
- Eggs (for a time-saving solution, try using a muffin tin to create egg cups for ready-to-go breakfasts throughout the week)
- Seeds or nuts
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- 1 avocado, halved and sliced
- 2 poached eggs
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup crushed SimplyProtein Barbecue Crunchy Bites
- Toast bread slices.
- Divide avocado slices among toast. Place one egg on each piece of toast then sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Top toast with crushed crunchy bites.
- 1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup assorted fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries and kiwi
- 1 tablespoon shaved almonds
- 1 SimplyProtein Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar, crumbled
- shaved coconut (optional)
- In bowl, layer yogurt, fruit and shaved almonds. Top with crumbled cookie bar and shaved coconut, if desired.
Chia Seed Pudding
- 3 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 SimplyProtein Lemon Crispy Bar
- In glass jar or bowl, stir chia seeds and almond milk. Let rest 5 minutes then stir again.
- Cover pudding in refrigerator; allow to set 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Crumble lemon crispy bar and mix into pudding or cut into sticks for dipping.
Resolve to make nutritious eating a priority
(Family Features) Discovering a better version of yourself is all about striking balance. That’s especially true when it comes to making smarter food choices that you can maintain over time.
A sustainable, long-term healthy eating approach, such as the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, emphasizes variety and balance. Start planning a low-carb menu filled with high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats with these tips from Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education for Atkins.
Fill up with fiber-rich foods. Foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-glycemic fruit (like berries) and whole unrefined grains are considered carbohydrates, but they don’t raise your blood sugar the way processed carbs do. Fiber slows the entry of glucose into your bloodstream so you don’t experience insulin spikes that encourage your body to produce and store body fat. Try to eat between 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
Reduce inflammation. A low-carb approach eliminates refined and processed foods and sugars that can cause inflammation. Focus on foods that decrease inflammation, such as colorful low-glycemic vegetables, low-sugar fruits, protein and healthy fats such as olive oil. The ground turmeric in this Golden Milk recipe offers an easy way to fight inflammation without sacrificing flavor.
Kickstart your morning. Start your day with a protein-packed choice such as these Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats. You’ll get the omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants from the chia seeds along with protein and healthy fats to keep you energized while avoiding high-sugar breakfast alternatives.
Satisfying, Low-Sugar Swaps
Eating on the go can easily cause you to grab a high-sugar option, but there are simple swaps to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Satisfy your hunger with an option like the Atkins Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar. Made with sweet chocolate and rich, creamy peanut butter, this bar offers 16 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and only 2 grams of sugar to satisfy your hunger without the guilt.
Find more recipes like these for Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan or Spicy Crispy Chickpeas and ideas for a balanced, low-carb approach to eating well at Atkins.com.
Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 4.41
- 1 bunch thin spear asparagus
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1/4 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 salmon fillets (4 ounces each), no more than 3/4-inch thick
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil-based mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Wash asparagus and remove woody ends. Place on rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Arrange in single layer, leaving space for salmon. Place salmon skin-side down on sheet. Brush with remaining olive oil and season with remaining salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake 12 minutes.
- In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and garlic.
- Remove sheet pan from oven, sprinkle asparagus spears with cheese and cook 3 minutes, or until fish reaches 145° F and asparagus spears are tender and beginning to brown on tips.
- Plate one fillet and half the asparagus, drizzle each plate with about 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce and serve.
Spicy Crispy Chickpeas
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 8.3
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon ghee (or clarified butter), melted
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Heat air fryer to 390° F 3 minutes.
- Using fine mesh sieve, drain and rinse chickpeas. Use towel to gently pat chickpeas dry, removing skins. In small bowl, toss chickpeas with ghee and salt.
- Cook in single layer in air fryer 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 3 minutes.
- In separate small bowl, sprinkle chickpeas with spices and toss to evenly coat. Chickpeas can be stored in open container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Net carbs: 3
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 10 drops liquid stevia extract
- In small pan, whisk coconut milk, almond milk, water, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Warm over medium heat until hot but not simmering, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in sweetener and serve.
Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Net carbs: 6.84
- 1 Atkins Chocolate Banana Shake
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut shreds
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- fruit, such as sliced bananas or berries (optional)
- In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine shake, rolled oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut and almonds. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Top with fruit, if desired.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan, Spicy Crispy Chickpeas, Golden Milk, Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats)
(Family Features) With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.
Smart fueling includes keeping nourishing snacks such as heart-healthy grapes on-hand – whether at home, in the car or coming off the field. Fresh California grapes – simple, convenient and nutritious – can make for a delicious snack on their own.
Available in three appealing colors – red, green and black – crisp, juicy grapes can add a tasty touch when hunger calls for an afternoon energy boost. Grapes also pair well with crackers, cheese and nuts for other snack combos.
Yet another way to enjoy fresh grapes is to blend them with other fruits and vegetables to create smoothie bowls, a nutritious option to help ensure that a variety of healthy ingredients are part of a balanced day.
Smoothie bowls work well as a snack or even a quick breakfast, and also provide a way for parents to introduce their kids to new, healthier bites.
This Grape Smoothie Bowl is fresh, flavorful and full of sweet grape taste for a quick fix that can leave bodies fueled and ready to take on the rest of the day.
Find more information and snack ideas at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Grape Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 2 cups green California grapes, divided
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 piece fresh ginger (1-inch length), peeled and sliced (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted coconut chips
- In blender, combine avocado, bananas, spinach, 1 cup grapes, almond milk, ginger and salt; blend until smooth. Pour into two bowls. Halve remaining grapes and place on top of smoothie bowls along with chia seeds and coconut chips.
Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 5 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 13 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 200 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.