Grapes are a Healthy Fruit to Snack On!

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Whenever I visit my grandparents, there is always a bowl of grapes on the counter or in the fridge. And, at every family gathering at their house, the fruit trays that my grandma makes always have a huge pile of grapes on them, and rightfully so. Grapes are a delicious, sweet, and crunchy fruit that is perfect for snacking on, and as it turns out, are actually very healthy for you. Let’s take a look at the specific nutritional benefits of grapes!

Eat grapes. They’re good for you!

In terms of nutrition, grapes are quite healthy, whether they be green, red, black, or pink in color. According to registered dietician Catherine Perez, grapes are a very rich source of vitamin K, B vitamins, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. And there are only about 69 calories in three-quarters of a cup of grapes!

Thanks to all of these nutrients that grapes contain, they provide the following health benefits.

  • Promote healthy weight and blood sugar
  • Promote heart health
  • Contain anti-cancerous properties
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Promote gut health
  • Can protect your eyes

Grapes are a perfect snack, not only because they are healthy, but their small size and small clusters make them convenient and easy to grab and munch on! Besides being great for snacking all by themselves, some other unique ways to use grapes is to freeze them, char them, roast them, or pickle them!

Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a bag or two of grapes and enjoy their health benefits and delicious, sweet and crisp taste!

Interested in some recipes that use grapes? Below are some tasty recipes from the Fill Your Plate blog:

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Fill Up Your Plate with Veggies!

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Growing up, my mom always had to fight my brothers and me about eating our vegetables. The three that we all absolutely hated with a passion were brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. But, despite our objections, we were always made to eat and finish what was put on our plate, veggies included. Now that we are all much older, we like our vegetables, and understand just how important they are to our health. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans states advises that we be eating 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day. So, how can we ensure that we are getting that many in our diets? Fresh Organic Vegetables In Wicker Basket In The Garden

According to registered dietitian nutritionist Kari Gans, eating lots of vegetables is a great way to get a lot of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while filling up a healthy plate and not adding too many extra calories. The following are some nutritionist-recommended veggies that are both highly nutritious and low in carbohydrates, making them perfect for filling you up and nourishing your body.

  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Cabbage
  • Avocado
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beets
  • Radishes

Each of these veggies is super easy to cook with, as they are very versatile. Also, many of these veggies are locally grown right here in Arizona! Next time you’re at the grocery store or at your local farmers market, keep an eye out for leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and more!

Looking for some delicious ways to use these veggies in the meals that you cook? The Fill Your Plate recipes page has a wide variety of recipes that use them! Check them out here!

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5 Nutrients You May Not be Getting Enough of

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Take a moment to assess your diet on a typical day. What is it usually comprised of? Is it eggs and toast for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and maybe a steak and some veggies for dinner? Or is it more like a muffin for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and pizza for dinner? While all these foods are similar in that they are delicious, they differ significantly in how nutritious they are. It is vital that we be getting good nutrition at each meal and not just consuming empty calories.

According to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, there are 5 nutrients that are lacking from most Americans’ diets. These 5 nutrients include calcium, vitamin D, potassium, fiber, and iron. Registered dietician Emma Willingham says that each of these plays an important role in our health. Calcium and vitamin D are essential for building and maintaining strong bones, potassium is important for regulating the fluid levels in our cells, fiber is important for good gut health, and iron maintains blood health.


The reason that many don’t get enough of these nutrients is that when we eat lower quality meals that are highly processed, such as fast food, prepackaged food, or foods comprised of refined grains and sugar, we don’t get much nutrition because it has all been stripped out of these foods. So how can we make sure that we are getting enough of these nutrients in our diets? Simply eating lots of fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, and whole grains is a great way to ensure that you are getting enough of all these nutrients.

We all need to make sure we’re all avoiding empty calories and instead eating foods that help us to meet our daily nutrient needs! Next time you’re at the grocery store or local farmers market, stock up on some fresh produce, meats, and dairy so that you can prepare meals for yourself and your family that are full of nutrition! Make sure that you look for products that are produced right here in Arizona!

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Whip Up a Brain-Boosting Breakfast!

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

What is your breakfast of choice? Cereal? Toast? Oatmeal? A muffin? Eggs and bacon? Breakfast burritos? Yogurt? Whatever food you choose to break your fast with, we can all agree that eating a healthy, balanced breakfast in the morning is pretty important. It gives you both nutrients and that little boost of energy to get your day started.


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

But, besides eating a balanced breakfast, it’s also important to eat for your brain health too. This helps to ensure that your brain is energized and able to focus on the day that is ahead. According to Dr. Austin Purlmutter, there are some key things to look for when making a brain-boosting breakfast.

Go For the Complex Carbs

First, it is important to eat complex carbohydrates as opposed to refined carbohydrates. The reason is twofold. Not only are complex carbs filled with nutrients and minerals that refined carbs don’t have, but complex carbs don’t produce that “energy crash” later in the morning. Some examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, veggies, yogurt, and legumes.

Increase the Fiber

Second, when making a brain-healthy breakfast, it is important to increase fiber and decrease added sugars. Dr. Purlmutter notes that approximately 70 percent of foods we find in the grocery store contain added sugars, with a significant amount of those foods being breakfast foods. This is easy to see, considering how many of the cereals in the cereal aisle are either chocolate or fruit flavored, and many breakfast pastries are basically just desserts disguised as breakfast.

Fiber, Protein and Fat

Finally, Dr. Purlmutter suggests incorporating three essential brain-healthy nutrients into each breakfast meal. These three are fiber, protein, and fat. He notes that these are a surefire way to ensure that you are full, fueled, and feeling great all day long.

Ready to make breakfast yet? Thanks to Arizona agriculture, we have access to a wide variety of locally grown and raised breakfast foods. Our local dairies provide us with milk, cheese, yogurts, and other dairy products, while Hickman’s gives us eggs! Not to mention all the ranchers who raise livestock for breakfast meats like sausage, bacon, and more! So, get yourself some locally grown ingredients, and whip up a brain-boosting breakfast for you and your family!

For more information on locally grown products, or for more health-related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog! Also, you can source for local agricultural products on Fill Your Plate’s “Find a Farm Product.”

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Study: Poor Sleep Linked to Increase in Inflammation

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We all know what it feels like to have not gotten enough sleep the night prior. Often, we wake up groggy, grumpy, and lacking the energy to get through the day, and in my case, relying on caffeine to make myself somewhat functional. But did you know that not getting enough sleep also has some internal consequences too? A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that chronic sleep deprivation causes there to be an increase in the number of immune cells in your body.

Researchers studied a group of healthy individuals who were getting the ideal amount of 7-8 hours of sleep every night. They then slowly began reducing the amount of sleep that they got each night and compared blood samples to see the count of inflammatory cells present. They found that as sleep time was reduced, inflammation increased.

This goes to show that there really is a benefit to ensuring that we are getting a full, night’s rest every night. Not only will it help us feel refreshed and energized to tackle the next day, but it also keeps us healthier on the inside!

Fill Your Plate has a lot of other sleep-related articles! Check them out here!

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