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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Secretary of Agriculture announces grants to help schools buy local

This past Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the recipients of the USDA Farm to School Grants. Two of the 82 projects will be lead by Minnesota communities. The descriptions below are from the complete list of FY2015 Farm to School grant recipients. The demand for these grants is about five times higher than the funds available each year, so they are highly competitive. We will look forward to following the work of the two Minnesota grant recipients over the coming year. Congratulations to the Community Health Board in northeast Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nine Tips for a Healthier Holiday

This blog post was written by Sara Torrence, dietetic intern — University of Minnesota – The Emily Program.

The holidays are often filled with time-honored traditions that include some of our favorite foods and desserts. Unfortunately, these traditions can challenge your commitment to healthful eating. By choosing and preparing healthier meals and staying active, you can prevent overeating and weight gain. Take a few simple steps to prevent unnecessary weight gain throughout the holiday season.

9 tips for a healthier holiday
  1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  2. Move your socializing away from the appetizers and snacks. This will cut down on mindless overeating.
  3. Share healthier options during your holiday meals. Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer or use low-fat milk instead of heavy whipping cream in your dishes.
  4. Choose proteins that are lean. When serving meats, trim away any fat before cooking.
  5. Offer to make a dessert with less fat and total calories. Here are three options: make a No Crust Pumpkin Pie, top a cake with fruit instead of frosting, or make Microwaved Baked Apples.
  6. Drink low-calorie beverages, like water with lemon slices.
  7. When baking, replace some of the butter or oil with unsweetened applesauce or bananas. Try cutting the sugar listed in recipes in half.
  8. Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Plan non-food gatherings like ice skating or building a snowman.
  9. Give gifts that promote an active lifestyle. Here are three ideas: workout DVDs, yoga mats, or reusable water bottles.
Bundle up and get moving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Four Salads We'd Rather Eat

While the New York Times seems to think grape salad evokes Minnesota at Thanksgiving, we — and many other folks — beg to differ. Here are four salads that speak more directly to our heritage, our wallets, and our taste buds:
  1. Apple Spinach Salad (321 K PDF) — Use the sweet and tart, made-in-Minnesota Zestar!® apple with a hint of brown sugar flavoring for this zingy salad.
  2. Apple Waldorf Salad (318 K PDF) — A classic. Use Honeycrisp or SweeTango® apples.
  3. Broccoli Mandarin Orange-Salad (295 K PDF) — 'Tis the season for citrus fruits, and you can get a can of mandarin oranges even cheaper!
  4. Sunshine Salad (302 K PDF) — Let's be honest, we need all the sunshine we can get this time of year.
What's your favorite fall salad?
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