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Veronica

The Luxury Peanut Butter

As food costs have risen over the past few months the one item known as a staple in many households is quickly becoming a luxury. Peanut Butter, the kid friendly food that is such a great source of protein, has risen nearly 60% for the purchasing manager at the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano.

“Peanut butter prices have gone up 30 percent or more because hot weather in states like Texas and Georgia hurt this year’s peanut crop and because some farmers switched to more profitable crops, such as corn and cotton.”  –Washington Post

Just this past summer the Food Bank was able to buy a 12/18oz case of peanut butter for about $15.50/ case and now prices have risen to nearly $24.50/ case.

To provide a child with this healthy source of protein, you can donate online or bring in a jar of peanut butter today!

The Hunger Challenge Begins Next Week!

Attention All you Hunger Challengers: Set your $23.60 aside and go shopping this weekend! It might help to pre-plan and write out your menu for the week using the Shopping Log that way you get an idea of how far your weekly allowance will last. Planning ahead will help you to focus on buying foods that you can see yourself eating for a five day challenge and that can also be pared together to make a balanced meal.

The biggest mistake that I made last year was thinking that I would eat carrots every day for a snack. I didn’t care how inexpensive and good for you they were; by the end of the second day I had no desire to eat them again every day for the rest of the week. In preparing my shopping list I can see that it’s going to be the same ol’ things day after day, not a whole lot of excitement for my menu unfortunately.

The Hunger Challenge will take place Monday, September 12th – Friday, September 16th and will give you a feel for how a person receiving CalFresh Benefits (formerly the Food Stamp Program) would deal with daily eating on a budget of about $4 a day. Share your stories and challenges on our Hunger Challenge Facebook Group.

Health and Wellness at the Food Bank

If the key to successfully helping others is to take care of yourself then the Food Bank staff has a bit of work cut out for them.

When we are not busy making sure that the food we order from our distributors is low in sodium, fat and sugar, the Nutrition and Wellness committees have stepped up their efforts to make some positive health changes for the staff.

The first task at hand for the Nutrition committee was to improve the nutrition content of the snack items found in our vending machines. The goal of attaining a 50/50 mix of healthier snack options versus non healthy was an easy  task to accomplish with our current vending machine operator who was more than happy to supply us with an array of healthier alternatives that meet the Fit Pick criteria. Fit Pick™ nutritional criteria are based on the recommendations of the: American Heart Association, 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Thanks to the nutrition committee, we now have super yummy snacks that are baked instead of fried, lower in sugar, fat and salt.

Fit Pick™ products are lower in fat and sugar with criteria for adults of 35-10-35 which means no more than:

35% of total calories from fat

10% of calories from saturated fat

35% of total product weight from sugar

Generally speaking, our health is a mirror of our daily habits and with that in mind the Wellness committee will encourage sedentary staff to move just a little bit more every day. Whether it’s standing up at their desks , taking  15 minute walks in the morning and afternoon,  taking the stairs faster or two at a time there is always something more that can be done to burn a few extra calories that don’t require a gym membership or special equipment.

To help us with our healthy ambitions please keep us in mind if you know someone who would like to donate an unused or under-used Elliptical machine that Food Bank staff will use during breaks. Maybe it’s currently serving as a clothes rack instead of its intended purpose as exercise equipment.

So if anyone out there has or knows of someone who has an Elliptical that they would like to donate to the food bank staff to help encourage a healthier lifestyle or “Healthstyle” please feel free to contact Veronica Wimer at vwimer@foodbankccs.org or 925-677-7012.

Pizza for breakfast? Of course you can, if you healthify it!

Whether you have little time to spare (Pepperoni Pita Pizza) or have a few extra minutes to make the dough from scratch (Healthified Homemade Pizza) we’ve got two great pizza recipes for you to make at home.

Pepperoni Pita Pizza    

Recipe from The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser Season 7’s Sione Fa says of this delicious mini-pizza, “We are a pizza family, and my kids can’t even tell the difference with this healthier version. The kids make their own pizzas. Not only do they love doing it, but my wife and I love it that we now eat healthy as a family and still enjoy our favorite foods.”

Recipe:
1/8 cup low-fat marinara or tomato-basil sauce
1 medium whole grain pita (about 5″ diameter)
1/8 cup shredded fat-free or low-fat mozzarella cheese (see note)
8 slices (1/2 ounce total) lean turkey pepperoni
Fresh basil

Spread the sauce on top of the pita. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce. Distribute the pepperoni slices on top of the pizza. Bake in a toaster oven until the cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh basil. Note: Using low-fat mozzarella cheese will increase the calories to 200 and the grams of fat to 6.

Makes 1 (5¨) pizza
Per serving: 190 calories, 14 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates (1 g sugars), 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 650 mg sodium

Healthified Homemade Pizza   

Recipe from Eat Better America

Nutritional Information
1 slice: Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 410mg; Total Carbohydrate 21g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 3g); Protein 10g % Daily Value Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 20%; Calcium 25%; Iron 10% Exchanges 1 1/2 Starch, 0 Other Carbohydrate, 1/2 Lean Meat, 0 Medium-Fat Meat, 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices 1 1/2
Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:45 min
makes:8 servings

Crust
1 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
2 tablespoons olive oil

Topping
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup yellow or green bell pepper strips
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and oil until soft dough forms. (If dough is dry, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons additional milk.) On lightly floured surface, knead dough 10 times. Shape dough into ball. Cover with bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
2. Place dough on ungreased cookie sheet; flatten slightly. Roll out to 12-inch round. Bake 8 minutes.
3. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over crust; top with remaining topping ingredients. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is light golden brown and cheese begins to brown. Cut into wedges to serve.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

If you try these, or any of the challenge recipes, let us know!

Weekly Challenge Recipe

Love chocolate chip cookies but tired of feeling guilty about eating them? Well here is a healthier guilt free option.

“Healthified” Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Eat Better America

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1  Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat sugars, butter, oil, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
2  On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
3  Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until very light golden brown (centers will be soft). Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
Substitutions:
•    If you are gluten sensitive try quinoa flour instead of whole wheat.
•    Increase fiber and decrease fat by substituting ¼ C canola oil and 4 TBS ground Flaxseed for the  ½ C oil.
•    Healthify this recipe even further by using dark chocolate chips or carob chips instead of the semisweet. If you use carob chips you can cut back on one of the sugars by ¼ C.
Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 110 (Calories from Fat 50); Total Fat 6g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 65mg; Total Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 9g); Protein 1g % Daily Value Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 0%; Iron 2% Exchanges 1/2 Starch, 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1 Fat.Carbohydrate Choices 1

Looking to reduce your carb intake? Try this new spin on spaghetti and meatballs.

Healthified Italian Bulgur Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

From Eat Better America

73% less sat fat • 36% less cholesterol than the original recipe—see the comparison. After cooking the squash, use a fork to gently rake the stringy pulp from the shell, separating it into strands that resemble spaghetti.

Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:25 min
makes:4 servings
1    medium spaghetti squash (2 1/4 pounds)
2/3    cup water
1/4    cup bulgur
1/4    cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1    teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/4    teaspoon salt
1/8    teaspoon black pepper
1    pound ground turkey breast or extra-lean ground beef (93% lean or higher)
1    can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen® diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
2    tablespoons small fresh basil or cilantro leaves or thinly sliced green onion
1.    Halve squash crosswise; remove seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, in a microwave-safe 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Add 1/3 cup of the water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 13 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork. (If your microwave does not have a turntable, turn squash once for even cooking.) Drain squash. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
2.    Meanwhile, in a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup water and the bulgur. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 1 minute; do not drain. Cool slightly.
3.    Stir egg product, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into bulgur mixture. Add ground turkey or beef; mix well. Shape mixture into 24 meatballs. Place in a microwave-safe 2-quart square baking dish. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 4 minutes, rearranging once; drain off liquid.
4.    Pour tomatoes over meatballs. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 1 to 3 minutes more or until meatballs are no longer pink in centers (165°F).*
5.    Rake the squash pulp out of the shell and separate the squash pulp into strands. Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with basil, cilantro, or green onion.
*Low-wattage microwave ovens may require more cooking time, while high-wattage microwave ovens may require less time.

If you try these, or any of the challenge recipes, let us know!

Weekly Challenge Recipes

Cookies for breakfast?  Of course! We promise not to tell your inner-child that it’s actually a nutritious way to jump-start your day.

Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

source: http://www.eatbetteramerica.com/recipes/healthified/healthified-oatmeal-peanut-butter-breakfast-cookies.aspx

86% less sat fat • 71% less sodium than the original recipe—see the comparison. Finally, give into your cravings and enjoy a peanut butter and oatmeal dessert for breakfast.
Prep Time:20 min
Start to Finish:50 min
Makes:12 Servings

Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2    cup mashed banana (about 1 large)
1/2    cup chunky natural peanut butter (unsalted and unsweetened)
1/2    cup honey
1    teaspoon vanilla
1    cup rolled oats
1/2    cup Gold Medal® whole wheat flour
1/4    cup nonfat dry milk powder
2    teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4    teaspoon baking soda
1    cup dried cranberries or raisins

Preparation

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat two cookie sheets with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together banana, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, milk powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined. Stir in dried cranberries.
2.    Using a ¼-cup measure, drop mounds of dough 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. With a thin metal or small plastic spatula dipped in water, flatten and spread each mound of dough to a 2¾-inch round, about ½ inch thick.
3.    Bake, one sheet at a time, for 14 to 16 minutes or until browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months; thaw before serving.
Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 220 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 35mg; Total Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 22g); Protein 6g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 4%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 2 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Rotini with Lentils

Rotini with Lentils
Rotini with Lentils

Ingredients

1/2 cup lentils,
1 1/2 teaspoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or a pinch dried
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 14-15oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 cups (1/2 bunch) coarsely chopped dark green leafy vegetable like kale leaves, spinach or swiss chard
Salt & ground pepper to taste
8 oz whole-wheat rotini
1/4 cup grated cheese

Preparation

1.    Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2.    Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic and sauté until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth, lentils, rosemary and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and dark green leafy vegetable, return to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and vegetable are tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
3.    Meanwhile, cook rotini in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender,10 to 12 minutes. Drain and place in a large, shallow bowl. Add the lentil sauce and toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve immediately with cheese.

Weekly Pound For Pound Challenge Recipes

After a short hiatus, we are back with your weekly Pound For Pound Challenge recipes. Try these yummy, healthy comfort foods and let us know what you think.

Toasted Barley with Mixed Vegetables

https://www.eatbetteramerica.com/recipes/whole-grains/toasted-barley-with-mixed-vegetables.aspx

Healthified Tuscan White Bean Soup

http://www.eatbetteramerica.com/search.aspx?criteria=tuscan%20white%20bean%20soup

Triple-Berry Granola Crisp

https://www.eatbetteramerica.com/recipes/desserts/triple-berry-granola-crisp.aspx

Words of healthy advice from our Challenge Champion Patti Anderson: Here are 4 things I try to remember so I can continue to succeed: 1) Eat breakfast; 2) Don’t drink calories; 3) Eat dinner 3 hours before bed; and 4) Get at least 8 hours sleep. In between breakfast and bed I make sure to move & sweat! Hope you have a plan and a great day!

To read more about the Challenge, visit the Pound For Pound section of our blog.

Weekly Recipes

Are you taking the Pound For Pound Challenge? Tell us about it in the comments below. Here are this week’s recipes to help you through the challenge (or just to try for fun).

Since mushrooms are in season I found this recipe.

Stir-Fried Broccoli and Mushrooms with Tofu

http://www.eatbetteramerica.com/Recipes/RecipePrint.aspx?id=41680&revs=&text=Smalltext

Then of course we can’t skip the dessert!

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

https://www.eatbetteramerica.com/recipes/desserts/whole-grain-chocolate-chip-cookies.aspx

We would also like to thank everyone who participated on Sunday at Heather Farms Park in our very first Pound For Pound walk. It was a perfect combination of warm sunshine and crisp cool air that made our hour together for the 3.8 mile walk fly by. For those who were unable to make it, we hope to see you next Sunday 3/6, more details to come, stay tuned. Don’t forget to wear YELLOW & BLUE (great job Mario and Patti!).

Patti, Carl, Emily, Mario, Jim, Leo, Savanna and Nicole (taking the picture)

Please email me at vwimer@foodbankccs.org if you are interested in future walks.

Who knew that onions are so beneficial for your health!

Did you know that onions are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and might inhibit tumor growth? Or that onions may be useful for the prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as protecting against certain infections? Onion can also improve lung function, especially in asthmatics and the more pungent varieties appear to possess the greatest concentration of health-promoting phytochemicals.*

Try some recipes featuring the onion this week! Here are a couple of onion recipes to try:

Onion and Mushroom Quinoa

Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Skillet

Look at all these onions getting ready for distribution.

You can find more recipes and sign up for the Pound For Pound Challenge at www.pfpchallenge.com. What is your favorite recipe that includes onions?

*Information from http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/onions.php and http://home.howstuffworks.com/onions4.htm.

Walk to Give & Get Healthy

Join us weekly as we “Walk to Give & Get Healthy”. The walks will take place every Sunday from 2pm to 3:30pm. Each walk will start off with a 15 minute warm up, followed by an hour walk then a 15 minute cool down. Our first walk will take place at Heather Farms Park Sunday 2/27 at 2pm.

Please email Veronica Wimer  at vwimer@foodbankccs.org if you can make it and I will give you detailed directions of where we will meet up. Feel free to extend the invite out to friends/pets/family and encourage them to pledge (non-monetary) to lose or maintain a healthy weight at www.pfpchallenge.com.

Don’t forget your water!