Foods To Ensure a Good Night’s Rest

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We all know how important getting a good night’s sleep is. From repairing your body’s cells from use during the day to energizing us for the next day’s activities, to reducing stress, good sleep does a lot for our bodies. Besides sticking to a regular sleep schedule and getting a full 8 hours of sleep, there are actually certain kinds of food that aid in making sleeping soundly at night much easier.

According to Registered dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick, consuming foods that help to calm the body and increase your serotonin levels. The Mayo Clinic notes that research shows that diets that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates promote more sound sleep. With that being said, there are 6 key food options that can contribute to a better night’s sleep.

  1. Complex carbohydrates
  2. Lean proteins
  3. Healthy fats
  4. High magnesium foods
  5. Soothing beverages, such as herbal teas.
  6. Fresh herbs

Incorporating some of these into your evening meal or pre-bedtime snack can help to promote a more restful night, which in turn promotes overall health.

For more articles about sleep, check out this collection from the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Skipping Breakfast Negatively Impacts Kids’ School Performance

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We’ve all often heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it literally breaks the fast that we endured overnight while sleeping. This meal gives us that boost of energy to make sure our days are off to a great start. This is especially important for children as they head off to school every morning.

Helping children enjoy and create a tradition of always eating breakfast.

Registered dietician Katie Bradley notes that when children skip breakfast, it can negatively impact their performance at school that day. Without food in their system, they will have lower blood sugar, which means less energy, and they will be more likely to get distracted by feelings of hunger.

She suggests some quick and easy breakfast ideas to get your kids started on the right track before school each day!

  • Breakfast burritos with egg and cheese
  • Cereal and fresh fruit
  • Peanut butter and bagel with orange juice
  • Yogurt with toppings such as berries, nuts, or granola

Making sure your kids are well fed is crucial to ensuring that they have a fun, enjoyable, and successful day at school, and even after school!

For breakfast recipe ideas, take a look at the recipe database from Fill Your Plate!

Also, check out these related articles!

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Pumpkin – The Traditional Fall Squash that is Actually Good for You

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Pumpkins have long been a symbol of the fall season. Whether it be pumpkin décor, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin candles, or the traditional pumpkin pie, we all enjoy this bright orange squash in some way or another. Besides just simply looking cute or tasting amazing when made into a pie, pumpkins actually boast some pretty significant health benefits.

According to Registered dietician Julia Zumpano, the health benefits of pumpkin are so great, that she recommends not just limiting our consumption of pumpkin to the fall months. Here are some of the ways in which pumpkin contributes to our health.

  • Good for your eyes
  • Promotes heart health
  • Boosts immune system
  • High in carotenoids which may help fight cancer
  • Increases satiety

While pumpkins may be super nutritious, incorporating them into your diet by only eating pumpkin pie is unfortunately not a good way to increase your consumption of pumpkin. So, here are some other ways to include pumpkin into your foods.

  • Roast it
  • Use puree in soups or sauces
  • Mix it into baked goods
  • Stir it into yogurt or oatmeal
  • Use it in a smoothie
  • Roast the seeds and use as a salad or oatmeal topping

Pumpkin is a very versatile squash, that can be used in both savory recipes or sweet ones! Regardless of how you use it, pumpkin packs a nutritional punch that we should take advantage of!

For pumpkin recipe ideas, check out the recipes page on Fill Your Plate!

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Spicing Up Your Popcorn

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

It’s impossible to have a movie night without one thing (besides the movie of course!) and that one thing would be popcorn.

While regular buttered and salted popcorn is always good, it can get kind of boring after some time. So, here is a list of different sweet and savory ideas for taking your popcorn to a whole new level!

popcorn

(photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

 

Sweet Popcorn Variations

Cookie Butter Popcorn

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn

Cookies and Cream Popcorn

Coconut and Caramel Popcorn

Unicorn Popcorn

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Apple Cinnamon Popcorn

 

Savory Popcorn Variations

Parmesan Dill Popcorn

Everything Bagel Popcorn

Zesty Ranch Popcorn

Pizza Popcorn

Sriracha Popcorn

Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn

Parmesan Rosemary Popcorn

 

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

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How to Reduce Holiday Weight Gain

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

It has long been said that we all gain some weight over the holidays. After all, this is the time when there are big meals at parties, the gifting of baked goods to friends and family, and our own holiday baking at home. So, it seems possible that it would affect our weight. But do we really gain that much weight from enjoying all that the holidays have to offer?

food facts

Yes we gain weight during the holidays, but not as much as you’d think. (photo credit:BigStockPhoto.com)

According to Harvard Health Publishing, we all gain about 1 pound on average over the span of an entire year, most of this single pound comes on around the holiday season. So, yes, we do gain weight around the holidays, but overall, the increase is very small.

But, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering if there are any ways that you can avoid even this little bit of weight gain but still enjoy all the delicious holiday foods. Luckily the answer is yes!

Here are a few tips on how to avoid holiday weight gain as much as possible.

  • Stay on a consistent meal routine.
  • Choose healthier options when possible, such as low-fat, reduced sugar, etc.
  • Go on a walk or exercise in some way to burn off extra calories.
  • Watch your portions. While seconds might be tempting, they aren’t usually necessary.
  • Drink water as much as possible.

To say it in a sentence, the best strategy for keeping holiday weight gain at bay is to stay active and eat moderately. So, feel free to enjoy some of that delicious holiday food without feeling guilty about it!

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

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