Monday, May 30, 2016

In The News: Educational Video Games Can Help Boost Fruit and Veggie Intake!

Fruit and vegetable consumption patterns in U.S.  children, namely ways to increase intake, is a 
popular subject of study due to the fact that many U.S. children fall short of consuming the recommended daily amounts. Researchers from the USDA/Agricultural Research Service Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital conducted a interesting (and in my opinion, ingenious!) study that aimed to use a nutrition themed video game to help improve fruit and vegetable intake among 4th and 5th graders.  The video game, called Squires Quest!: II Saving the Kingdom of Fivealot, encouraged fruit and vegetable consumption though goal setting at specific meals and parent involvement/support via email and website resources.  

The effect of the video game intervention on fruit and vegetable intake was measured via 24 hour dietary recalls three times at baseline and 6 months later to assess the actual average fruit and veggie intake at meals and snacks. "By using a serious video game, we saw increases in meal-specific vegetable intake at dinner for the children in the Action and Coping groups and fruit intake at breakfast, lunch, and snacks for all intervention groups," said lead author Karen Cullen, DrPH, RD, USDA/ARS, Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine. The researchers attributed the beneficial effects to the game play and well as engaging the parents to help during the process. Check out more info on the study HERE!


Friday, May 20, 2016

Recipe Redux Post # 46 Date Cream Cheese Walnut Bites

May’s Recipe ReDux theme is “Small Bites For Sunny Days” and the goal is to create a bite-sized recipe that is great for picnics, parties etc.  I just happened to have a huge tub of pitted dates in my fridge that were screaming to be used (we’ll, they were not really screaming, because dates don’t yell, but they were taking up A LOT of room!!) so I wanted to make something to help use them up.  I decided to try making  dessert/ snack bites incorporating cream cheese and walnuts and the result was quite yummy.  These are very simple to make and require very few ingredients and you can have fun and be creative with what topping you roll them in. I found that coconut and chopped chocolate was really delicious. I hope you will try them out and also take a look at all the other awesome bite-size recipes created by the talented Recipe ReDux bloggers.


12-14 pitted dates
¼ cup whipped cream cheese
¾ cup chopped walnuts
(a dash of salt, optional)
toppings to roll in- chopped chocolate/raisins/cranberries/nuts, finely shredded coconut


Combine the dates, cream cheese, walnuts and salt in a food processor and blend for 5-10 minutes until mostly smooth,  Form into 12 balls and roll in desired toppings.

Makes 12 bites, 12 servings

Serving size: 1 bite (not including toppings) Calories 110  Protein 2 g  Carb  17 g  Fiber  2 g Sugars  14 g Fat  6 g Saturated fat  1 g Sodium  15  mg


Saturday, May 14, 2016

In The News: Eating Beans and Chickpeas May Help With Weight Loss

New research shows that eating a 3/4 cup serving of beans or chickpeas daily may help with weight loss!  A meta-analysis looked at 21 clinical trials (a total of 940 adults) and those who added a serving of beans in their diet lost about an average of 0.75 pounds in 6 weeks, without making an effort to reduce any other foods in the diet. The lead author of the study, Dr. Russell de Souza, noted "Though the weight loss was small, our findings suggest that simply including pulses in your diet may help you lose weight, and we think more importantly, prevent you from gaining it back after you lose it." Previous research has shown that eating beans can increase the feeling of satiety (fullness) by 31 percent, likely due to their low glycemic index and high fiber content.  Also, beans are cheap and can be used to replace higher fat, higher calorie sources of animal protein.  Check out a summary of the research HERE.

And....Try beans in my Power Salad, Quinoa White Bean and Kale Saute with Bacon, Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Skillet and Indian Chili Recipes


Monday, May 9, 2016

Cinnamon Honey Cream Cheese

This cream cheese is great on bagels, toast, your favorite muffin, even fruit!


1 cup whipped cream cheese
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon


Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix well.

Make 16 servings

Serving size: 1 tablespoon Calories 40 Protein 2 g Carb 2 g Fiber 0 g Sugars 2 g Fat 2.5 g Saturated fat 1.5 g Sodium 50 mg


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