Breakfast can Provide You with Fuel for Your Day!

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

What is the first thing that you do when you get out of bed in the morning? Is it a cup of coffee? A morning walk? Do you begin your day by making yourself a nice, hearty breakfast? Or, maybe you’re like me and rarely have time for any of those things and so you just head out the door on your way to work. Whatever the case may be, making sure that you get a good breakfast may be beneficial to your health.

Breakfast

Find out why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

According to registered dietician Supriya Lal, eating breakfast helps your body to keep your blood sugar levels stable, provides you with energy for the rest of the day, and regulates your hunger. This is especially important for those with diabetes or other health issues. But not just any breakfast will do in the morning. She notes that balanced breakfasts that are comprised of fats, carbohydrates, and protein are the best to ensure that you are fueled for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, that means that sugary, carb-loaded breakfasts like doughnuts, muffins, or sugary cereals are out of the question.

Some suggestions for balanced breakfast foods include eggs, whole grain bread, sausage, bacon, oatmeal, nuts and nut butter, Greek yogurt, fruits, and even some veggies! Try combining these foods to give yourself some diversity in the mornings. My personal favorite is making omelets with different combinations of veggies inside, such as mushrooms, and spinach, and then topping them with sliced avocado!

So, try making breakfast a priority and see if it helps you to feel more fueled for your day! A cool little tip is that here in Arizona, we have access to so many locally grown and raised breakfast foods! Some of the food items that you can get locally are eggs, dairy products, meats, and a wide variety of fruits and veggies! Check out the Fill Your Plate website for more information on where and how to find locally-grown products!

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Nutritious, Low-Carb Food Options

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Low-carb diets have been incredibly popular lately, especially for those looking to manage their blood sugar or lose weight. But, as registered dietician Jaclyn London said, carbs are still essential for proper body function, and eliminating them from our diets completely would mean that we’d be missing out on some of their great health benefits. Here are some suggestions of foods from each food group that are both nutrient dense and each serving contains a percentage of carbohydrates that falls into the low-carb category.

  • Vegetables: Leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
  • Fruits: Tomatoes, strawberries, melons, apples, and cherries.
  • Meats and seafood: Beef, lamb, chicken, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and anchovies.
  • Dairy and eggs: Plain Greek yogurt, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs.
  • Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, peanuts, chia seeds, and hazelnuts.
  • Oils and sauces: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, pesto, and coconut aminos.

This list just goes to show that eating a low-carb diet doesn’t have to be bland, nor does it mean that you have to eliminate healthy carbs completely. Also, many of the items listed above are ones that we grow and produce right here in Arizona! Whether it be veggies or melons from all of the many produce farms down in Yuma, dairy from Shamrock dairy in Maricopa, or eggs from Hickman’s, it’s easy to get fresh, local foods!

For more information on where to find local products, check out all the resources on Fill Your Plate!

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Cabbage Provides a Punch of Health Benefits

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Kimchi, coleslaw, sauerkraut, stir-fry. What does each of these foods have in common? They’re all made with cabbage! While it’s not the most attractive vegetable, cabbage is a super versatile veggie that can be used in so many different dishes, and to make it even better, it has a surprisingly high number of health benefits. It is also a veggie that we produce a bunch of right here in Arizona! Here are some of the specific nutritional benefits of cabbage.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a one-cup serving of cabbage provides you with 54% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, 85% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, more than 2 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein, along with other various vitamins and minerals.

Registered dietician Julia Zumpano says that due to the nutrient content of cabbage, this vegetable can have any of the following health benefits.

  • Maintains your strength
  • Improves your digestion
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Protects heart health
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Promotes healthy bones and blood clotting
  • Reduces cancer risk

With all those great health benefits and its versatility, cabbage is definitely a veggie to incorporate into your meals. For some recipe ideas, consider these recipes that use cabbage from Fill Your Plate!

Looking to find locally grown cabbage? Check out this farmer’s market locator from the Fill Your Plate website!

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Quinoa – The Tiny Grain with Big Nutrition

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Quinoa, the teeny tiny little grain that packs a huge punch of nutritional benefits. It has also become super trendy in recent years, and it’s easy to find so many different recipes that use it. Here, we break down just how nutrient-filled this little grain is, as well as how it can actually help to prevent type 2 diabetes.

According to Dr. Nicole Avena, quinoa is one of the few whole grains that is also a complete protein as well. Being a complete protein basically means that it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids. Because of its high fiber and high protein content, quinoa is great for building and repairing muscles, increasing satiety, and slowing your digestion, which in turn slows your blood sugar release.

But those nutritional benefits of quinoa aren’t all that it boasts. According to a new study, regularly consuming quinoa has been shown to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Researchers compared the blood sugar levels of those who ate regular carbohydrates with those who ate quinoa instead. Those who ate quinoa reported having fewer blood sugar spikes than those who ate regular carbohydrates. This can be attributed to the high fiber content, which blocks the rise of blood sugar. Also, quinoa is high in protein, which helps to combat the blood sugar spike that results from eating carbohydrates as well.

Who knew that there could be so much nutrition contained in such a small little grain? Consider incorporating more quinoa into your diet, not only because it can provide you with so many nutritional benefits, but it is also super delicious in my opinion!

For more nutrition articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Teen’s Eating Habits Impact Them in Adulthood

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We all know that a lot of development occurs during the teen years of life. It is then that kids start to become the men and women that they were created to be. Besides growth spurts, voice changes, and everything else that occurs during this time, teens also start creating habits that they will often carry with them for the rest of adulthood. One of those habits that they will form is their eating habits, which will play a major role in their health later on.

The first habit that teens might develop is how they go about emotional eating. Often when feeling stressed or otherwise emotional, we resort to food to cope, but this can lead to unhealthy weight gain if junk food is our go-to, or if we eat it every time something is slightly stressful. A study shows that teens learn this behavior from their parents, so as a parent, it is important to set a good example for your kids by not reaching for that bag of chips when life gets tough. If they see you turning to food to cope with stress, then they’ll follow suit.

Another habit that teens develop is the kinds of food that they choose to consume. A second study shows that if teens get into the habit of eating highly processed foods during their teen years, they will be much more inclined to continue that eating pattern as they go into adulthood. We all know the negatives of eating junk foods on a regular basis, so helping teens to make smart food choices while young is a great way to keep them from some health consequences later in life, such as weight problems, heart disease, and more.

So, monitor what your teens are eating, and also watch what you eat around them to help them build good eating habits that will benefit them, not harm them as they continue to grow into adults.

For more health-related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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