(Family Features) Helping members of your community can be easy when you donate plasma, which is the fluid component of human blood that supports essential bodily functions like red blood cells and white blood cells.
Since plasma is replaced in the body within about 24 hours, it can be donated twice per week. With a donation that takes 1-3 hours, you can make a lasting impact by providing lifesaving medicine for people affected by a variety of conditions.
Iron-rich foods can be helpful to eat before and after donating plasma, which is why chef Nate Appleman created recipes like Pistachio Crisps with Sumac and Black Pepper. After his son Oliver’s diagnosis with Kawasaki Disease – an inflammation of the blood vessels that causes large vessels to form on coronary arteries – Appleman made it his mission to create awareness of Kawasaki Disease and for the critical need for plasma donations that many people with the disease rely on for treatment.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a serious shortage of plasma donors, which is why Appleman partnered with Abbott to bring awareness to the need for plasma.
Find more information about donating plasma at bethe1donor.abbott.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Pistachio Crisps with Sumac and Black Pepper
Recipe courtesy of chef Nate Appleman on behalf of Abbott
Yield: 60 crisps
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar, plus additional for pressing crisps, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- 1 egg, separated
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup pistachios, finely chopped
- black pepper
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Sift flour, sugar and salt into bowl. Using fork, thoroughly mix in butter, egg yolk, milk and vanilla.
- Form into walnut-sized balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
- Using bottom of greased glass dipped in sugar, press balls to 1/16-inch thick. Brush with slightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle with pistachios, sumac and black pepper.
- Bake 8-10 minutes.
(Family Features) Whether you’re a runner, a workout warrior or simply looking for a quick pick-me-up before heading to the office, grab-and-go foods can supply the energy you need for an active day.
Skipping salty snacks and opting for nutritious options can put you ahead of the game. Due to their high carbohydrate content, sweetpotatoes provide a sustaining option both before and after exercise sessions. Plus, with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and aid in the muscle repair process, they help both your endurance and recovery.
According to the American Diabetes Association, sweetpotatoes are a “diabetes superfood”
because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, all of which are good for overall health and may help prevent disease. Additionally, they offer a “sweet” flavor without the added sugar.
Another fun fact: the one-word spelling of “sweetpotato” was adopted by the National Sweetpotato Collaborators in 1989 in an effort to avoid confusion with the potato and yam among shippers, distributors, warehouse workers and consumers.
As a versatile veggie that’s easy to add to a multitude of recipes for flavor enhancement and nutritional content, they are a key ingredient in these No-Bake Sweetpotato Coconut Ginger Energy Bites from the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission. It takes just 45 minutes to turn cooked sweetpotatoes into tasty treats for much-needed fuel for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Find more nutritious recipe ideas at ncsweetpotatoes.com.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
No-Bake Sweetpotato Coconut Ginger Energy Bites
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, on behalf of the North Carolina
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 14 bites (1 bite per serving)
- 1 cup cooked sweetpotato
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (or desired nut butter)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- In large bowl, combine sweetpotato, oats, peanut butter, honey, ginger and cinnamon; stir until well combined.
- Refrigerate bowl about 20 minutes to firm.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove dough and portion into snack-sized bites. Gently roll bites in shredded coconut and refrigerate 15-20 minutes or freeze 10 minutes.
- Remove from refrigerator or freezer and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 115 calories; 7 g fat (11% daily value); 3 g saturated fat (19% daily value); 1 g polysaturated fat; 2 g monosaturated fat; 49 mg sodium (2% daily value); 129 mg potassium (4% daily value); 11 g carbohydrates (4% daily value); 2 g fiber (8% daily value); 5 g sugar (6% daily value); 3 g protein (6% daily value); 1,348 IU vitamin A (27% daily value); 1 mg vitamin C (1% daily value); 11 mg calcium (1% daily value); 1 mg iron (6% daily value); 9 g net carbohydrates.
(Family Features) No matter the occasion, nearly every gathering of loved ones is better with snacks.
One opportunity to celebrate this winter, National Popcorn Day on Jan. 19, honors one of America’s oldest and most beloved snack foods. Perfect served by itself or as an ingredient in whole-grain creations like Poppy Chow, a twist on a classic kid’s favorite made with peanut butter, chocolate and popcorn.
With no artificial additives or preservatives, light and airy popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free, making it a sensible option to satisfy cravings for something savory, sweet and just about every flavor in-between. Plus, whole-grain popcorn has energy-producing carbohydrates and fiber, which can help keep you satisfied longer.
Visit Popcorn.org for more tasty snack recipes worth celebrating.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Yield: 2 quarts
- 2 quarts popped popcorn
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
- In microwave safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips.
- Microwave 2 minutes; stir until smooth.
- Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir until well coated.
- Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over popcorn and stir until coated.
- Cool to room temperature before serving.
- Store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 24 hours.
(Family Features) Whether it’s a home-cooked meal, a tasty snack or a delicious dessert, sometimes the best recipes are the easiest. Take your sweets to the next level by adding an option to your cookbook that’s as simple as it is tempting and satisfying.
These Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies require only three everyday ingredients that can be prepped and baked in less than half an hour. Just preheat the oven; mix the peanut butter, sugar and one egg; roll into individual balls then flatten on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes.
The key ingredient is the flavorful peanut butter that packs a protein punch while delivering the taste that’ll bring loved ones back for seconds.
Find more ways to incorporate peanuts and peanut butter into your desserts at gapeanuts.com.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar and egg.
- Using small cookie scoop, place dough balls on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Flatten with fork to make traditional peanut butter cookie crisscross pattern.
- Bake 8-10 minutes until done. Cool thoroughly before removing from cookie sheet. Store in air-tight container.
Source: Georgia Peanut Commission
(Family Features) When looking to guide your family toward healthier snacks, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.
Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make dishes that are satisfying and delicious like these Sweet and Spicy Nachos. Grapes of all colors - red, green and black - are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.
Find more better-for-you snack ideas at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Sweet and Spicy Nachos
Recipe courtesy of the California Table Grape Commission
Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 ounces baked tortilla chips (about 28 chips)
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded, stemmed and finely minced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
- 4 ounces grilled chicken, diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup queso Cotija Mexican cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
- 1 cup halved California grapes
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Heat oven to broil.
- In food processor or blender, puree chipotle pepper, barbecue sauce, lime juice and honey until smooth.
- Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange tortilla chips in single layer.
- Sprinkle chips with jalapeno, if desired; onion; chicken; and Monterey Jack cheese. Drizzle with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.
- Place tray in oven about 6 inches below element; broil 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, sprinkle with Cotija Mexican cheese, avocado, grapes and cilantro.
Source: California Grapes
(Family Features) Hosting a crowd can be exciting and rewarding, but it can also come with plenty of challenges. One of the simplest ways to make mealtime stress-free when entertaining is to focus on ingredients that can be incorporated into a variety of different dishes.
From quick appetizers to grab-and-go snacks, you can crowd-please with ease by using Eckrich Smoked Sausage and Deli meats. Whether you're celebrating an occasion, hosting a family gathering or watching a game, using a convenient option like deli meat means all you have to do is add it to your favorite recipes for an extra boost of flavor. This season, whip up some delicious Quiche Cups in Muffin Tins for a combo of deli ham, eggs and other simple ingredients for a speedy dish that can ward off your group's hunger and allow for more quality time together.
Find more recipes for entertaining with ease at Eckrich.com.
Quiche Cups in Muffin Tins
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- nonstick cooking spray
- 18 thin slices Eckrich Deli Ham
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In bowl, whisk eggs. Add milk, cheese, onion, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to combine.
- Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place one slice ham in each chamber.
- Spoon about 3 tablespoons egg mixture into each chamber so each is three-fourths full.
- Bake about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and tops begin to brown.
- Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes.
(Family Features) The to-do list for holiday hosts seems to be a never-ending one, starting with planning, guest lists and preparation then ending with goodbyes and cleanup. The hours of work that go into a festive get-together are almost always worth it in the end, and family members surely appreciate the hospitality – especially when it comes to food.
When hosting for the holidays, it can be a challenge to accommodate all of your guests’ favorite tastes while factoring in dietary preferences and restrictions. Building out a balanced menu, like other parts of hosting, starts with devising a thought-out plan.
To help accomplish this task without cooking up personal dishes for everybody in the house, consider these simple tips:
- Request that guests RSVP. Assuming you have a basic understanding of which friends and family members adhere to special diets, knowing exactly who is coming can be a major help before heading to the store.
- Think back to past festivities. Try to remember which dishes were hits at last year’s party, and which ones were hardly touched. Maybe the appetizers that disappeared in a flash will be good ideas to repeat this year.
- Create dishes that fit (almost) everyone. While you can’t control guests’ flavor preferences, it is possible to whip up snack trays, main courses, desserts and more that fit a multitude of dietary restrictions. For example, these Bacon, Baked Brie and Cranberry Holiday Melts feature Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers for a gluten-free, non-GMO, low-sugar, tasty crunch. Because they’re made with wholesome ingredients, these simple snacks are crafted to fit nearly every healthy lifestyle. Plus, if multiple family members adhere to vegetarian lifestyles, you can simply omit the bacon.
- Add “warning” labels. Despite your best efforts, it can be nearly impossible to create foods every single person can enjoy. If you make a dish containing a common allergen, such as peanuts, simply place a card next to the bowl, tray, plate or pan that informs guests of the ingredients included.
For other recipes, coupons, tips and nutritional information, visit crunchmaster.com.
Bacon, Baked Brie and Cranberry Holiday Melts
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 24 Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers, Sea Salt flavor
- 24 small slices Brie cheese
- 1/4 cup prepared cranberry sauce
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Heat broiler to high and position rack in center of oven. Arrange crackers in single layer on foil-lined baking sheet.
- Top each cracker with slice of Brie, 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce and sprinkle of bacon. Broil 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Tip: For vegetarian option, substitute chopped hickory-smoked almonds or pecans for bacon.
Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 13 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 350 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 10 g protein.
(Family Features) The ultimate kid-friendly snack comes as a package deal – simple, delicious, nutritious and fun. One option that readily meets those demands are apples, pears and oranges perfectly sized for small hands, mouths and appetites.
While Lil Snappers’ smaller sizes allow fresh fruits to easily fit into bento boxes and brown bags for a wholesome lunchbox companion that leaves little waste, a dash of creativity also transforms these fruits into a favorite snacktime star – from crunchy critters to sweet treats.
Available in three-pound pouches and found in the fresh produce aisle, Lil Snappers come seasonally in a wide array of fruit varieties, including organics, grown by a sixth-generation family farming operation, Stemilt Growers. Options range from popular apples such as Gala, Pink Lady and Granny Smith, to delicious Bartlett pears, Bosc pears and more.
Try out these recipes for pint-sized snackers, and find quick and easy recipe ideas at lilsnappers.com.
- 1 Lil Snappers apple
- 1 mini marshmallow
- Cut apple in half lengthwise and remove stem. Remove core from one apple half.
- Slice apple half without core into 8 wedges to serve as critter’s legs.
- Set aside second apple half, which will serve as critter’s body.
- Take two legs and make simple zig-zag cuts into flesh to create “claw-like” shape.
- On a plate, arrange critter’s legs, fanning them out, then place claws in front of legs and reserved apple half on top for the head.
- Cut mini marshmallow in half. Gooey side of each will easily stick to critter’s head to serve as eyes.
- 1 Lil Snappers pear
- 1 slice orange rind
- 1 marshmallow
- 1 grape
- 2 toothpicks
- Cut pear in half lengthwise. On plate, lay pear cut-side down. Using peeler, slice 3 inches of rind from orange. Trim sides to result in long, thin rectangle. Coil length of rind around finger and hold to set shape.
- Cut one slice from end of marshmallow then cut that round in half to create two half-moon shapes. Gooey edge of each half-moon will stick to top of pear half to serve as critter’s ears.
- Break toothpick in half and place picks in location for critter’s eyes, leaving about 1/4 inch sticking out from fruit.
- Slice ends off of one grape and place domes over toothpicks to serve as eyes.
- Using toothpick, make hole in back end of critter to place tail. Stick end of coiled orange rind into hole using toothpick to wedge rind into fruit. Reshape coil, as needed.
Note: Remember to remove toothpicks before nibbling.
Source: Stemilt Growers
Study finds drinking more milk growing up is associated with increased height at 17
(Family Features) Drinking real dairy milk is especially important for growing kids, and new research suggests regularly drinking more milk throughout childhood is associated with an increase in teenage height, according to a new study in “The Journal of Nutrition.”1
Researchers followed more than 700 kids from the time they were born, analyzing their height and diet from ages 2-17, and found each additional glass of milk kids drank per day throughout childhood increased their height at age 17 by around 0.39 centimeters. That means the more milk kids drank regularly growing up, the taller they were. Water and other beverages, including 100 percent juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, didn’t have the same effect.
These findings add to a growing body of research that suggests regularly drinking milk during the growing years is associated with greater height in the teen years, while regularly skipping milk or drinking non-dairy milk alternatives, like almond or soy milk, is linked to shorter height.2, 3, 4
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend two cups of milk and milk products each day for kids ages 2-3, two and a half cups each day for kids 4-8 and three cups each day for kids 9-18. While it’s hard for kids to get nutrients they need to grow strong without milk in their diets, eighty-five percent of Americans fall short of these daily recommendations, which includes most children over 3 years old.5, 6
Serving an eight-ounce glass of milk alongside meals or snacks is an easy way to give kids nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, and get them closer to these recommendations. Try pairing these homemade cereal bars from Jamielyn Nye, author of iheartnaptime.net, with a cold glass of milk for an easy after-school snack, and find more kid-approved recipes at pourmoremilk.com.
Homemade Cereal Bars
Recipe courtesy of Jamielyn Nye, author of iheartnaptime.net, on behalf of Milk Life
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 1/2 cups dry cereal
- Line 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium size sauce pan, combine peanut butter and honey and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Add in dry cereal and stir until completely coated then press into lined pan. Use piece of parchment paper to press firmly down on bars.
- Refrigerate bars 1 hour, or until ready to serve.
- Serve with eight-ounce glass of milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories; 4 1/2 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 10 g protein; 26 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 160 mg sodium; 306 mg calcium (30% of daily value). Nutrition figures include an eight-ounce glass of fat free milk.
1Marshall TA, Curtis AM, Cavanaugh JE, Warren JJ, Levy SM. Higher longitudinal milk intakes are associated with increased height in a birth cohort followed for 17 years. The Journal of Nutrition. 2018;148(7):1144-1149.
2Wiley AS. Does milk make children grow? Releationships between milk consumption and height in NHANES 1999-2002. American Journal of Human Biology. 2005;17(4):425-441.
3Rockell JEP, Williams SM, Taylor RW, Grant AM, Jones IE, Goulding A. Two-year changes in bone and body composition in young children with a history of prolonged milk avoidance. Osteoporosis International. 2005;16(9):1016-1023.
4 Morency M, Birken CS, Lebovic G, Chen Y, L’Abbé M, Lee GJ, Maguire JL and the TARGet Kids! Collaboration. Association between noncow milk beverage consumption and childhood height. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;106(2):597-602.
5 Krebs-Smith SM, Guenther PM, Subar AF, Kirkpatrick SI, Dodd KW. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. The Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140:1832-1838.
6 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015. 8th Edition, 2015.
(Family Features) If you’re trying to boost the nutrition of your meals and snacks, look no further than your refrigerator. Dairy products provide a powerful nutrition package that can help you meet your nutrient needs and achieve better health.
The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans affirm dairy’s important place in the diet with a recommendation that people ages 9 and older consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods every day. With nine essential nutrients, milk, cheese and yogurt deliver a unique nutrition package superior to milk alternatives, such as almond or rice beverages, which are often fortified or fall short on these important nutrients.
During the hot summer months, when you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen, dairy products offer ease and convenience, as many are ready to use in recipes or round out a meal or snack. For a quick, easy and healthy snack this summer, put a fresh take on traditional pizza with this recipe that uses crescent rolls topped with cheeses and fresh seasonal veggies. Or turn up the heat on a classic beef burrito by adding warm pepper jack cheese and black beans.
Visit MidwestDairy.com to pledge Dairy 3 for Me, find additional recipes and learn more about how to unleash the power of dairy nutrition.
Summer Pizza Snack
Recipe courtesy of Cindy Heins, Heins Family Farms
Total time: 22 minutes
- 1 tube (8 ounces) crescent rolls
- 1 tub (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- Heat oven to 375° F. In 9-by-13-inch baking pan, spread out crescent roll dough. Seal seams together to form one large rectangle across bottom of pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on rack.
- In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Spread evenly over entire cooled crust. Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, olives, broccoli and cucumber. Cut into 12 squares and serve.
Beef Burrito with Pepper Jack Cheese and Black Beans
Total time: 9 minutes
- 1/2 pound ground beef sirloin
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup chunky salsa, divided
- 2 cups cooked brown or white rice
- 6 whole-wheat tortillas (9 inches each)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (11 ounces) corn kernels, drained
- 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- sliced green onion, including green tops
- In medium, nonstick skillet, brown ground beef and garlic over medium heat (break beef mixture up into smaller chunks with spatula). Drain fat and stir in 1/2 cup salsa; set aside.
- Spread 1/3 cup rice on center of tortilla, leaving 1/2-inch border. Scatter about 2 tablespoons beans and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn over rice. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture and 1/4 cup cheese over corn. Top with 2 teaspoons salsa and a few slices green onion. Fold in two opposite edges of tortilla 1 inch each and roll up. Place seam-side down on microwave-safe dish.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place burritos in microwave oven and heat 1 minute, or until heated through. Serve with remaining salsa.
Source: Midwest Dairy Association