April 2022

Food Bank Bites

Let's Get Moving

Happy Spring!  Let’s Get Moving

By Will Fullerton- LIU Dietetic Intern

It’s April which means it’s Move More MonthThe American Heart Association designated Move More Month to get everyone out of their chairs and moving!  Just 30 minutes of physical activity each day can help improve your health, it’s that easy!

Getting daily exercise is very important when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Making physical activity part of your daily routine can lead to health benefits like improved heart health, burn excess fat, and can even help with mental health!  Sometimes the mental health benefit can get overlooked but there are many aspects to it: you can build a small community if you are exercising with peers, if you get outside you will be getting Vitamin D from the Sun which many Americans are deficient in, and in general you will just feel better about yourself!

Movement is very beneficial to heart health: it will improve your cholesterol, reduce inflammation in your body, and can help maintain healthy blood sugar and triglyceride levels.  All of these will decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, which is the disease that leads to built up plaque in arteries which can cause a heart attack.  The connection between movement and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease is very strong and very clear, which is why it’s so important!

For children, it’s just as important to make physical activity part of their everyday routine!  Since they are growing, it is recommended that they get closer to 60 minutes of activity a day.  Getting children moving is so important because it can stimulate appetite and growth, so with a good diet they will grow to be strong and healthy.  It also gets them outside and playing, which is what children need!

We have some strategies to make physical activity part of your daily routine.  One key thing to remember is that any activity is better than no activity at all, of course a vigorous workout is very beneficial, but simply adding more steps to your day can improve your health!

  • Grab your colleagues and go for a walk during your lunch break. You may find you will have more energy in the afternoon, and it will help you get through the workday!
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Go for a hike or nature walk on a weekend morning.
  • Take your dog for a little bit of a longer walk than usual.
  • Park your car farther away in the parking lot to get a few extra steps.
  • Challenge your friends to see who can get the most steps each day, a little competition can go a long way!

Getting daily exercise should be a fun way to unwind and relax a bit, so just remember to enjoy it and to get it in whenever possible.  With April being Move More Month, it is a great time to consciously add movement into your routine.  By the end of the month, you won’t even have to think about it, and it will become a habit.  With Spring already here and Summer right around the corner there is no better time to try to move more.  Get out there and get moving!

Enjoying foods from different cultures is a great way to add variety to your eating pattern and explore new flavors from around the world. Foods you are already familiar with can be seasoned or prepared in a new way and you may even come across a flavor you’ve never had before. Read on for some tips on including cuisines from around the world into your next meal.

Frozen Yogurt Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups 2 percent low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped mango
  • 1/4 cup blackberries or raspberries, chopped if large
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, add yogurt and honey. Mix together to combine.Line a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Use a spatula or knife to spread the yogurt as thin as possible over the entire bottom of the dish.
  2. Add the chopped nuts over the top of the yogurt. Use your fingers to slightly press them into the yogurt. Peel the mango, cutting the slices around the pit. Finely chop the mango, along with the berries, if they are larger than bite-sized and need chopping. Top the yogurt with the fruit—add as much fruit as will fit over the top. Again, slightly press fruit into the yogurt.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and place in the freezer overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, lift the parchment paper from the baking dish onto a cutting board. Use your hands to break bark apart into pieces (even by slightly banging the bark onto the cutting board). Serve.
  5. Keep remaining pieces wrapped in parchment paper and sealed in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Recipe courtesy of American Heart Association 

Southwestern Avocado Bell Pepper Quiche Cups

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium taco seasoning (or lowest sodium available)
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat Cheddar Jack cheese
  • 1 4-ounce can diced or chopped mild green chiles, drained
  • 4 medium bell peppers (any color), halved, seeds and ribs discarded

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, egg whites, and taco seasoning until smooth.
  3. Gently stir in the avocado, Cheddar Jack cheese, and green chiles.
  4. Place the bell pepper halves with the skin side down on the baking sheet.
  5. Spoon the egg mixture into the bell pepper halves, filling them to just below the edges (the egg mixture will expand while baking).
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the egg mixture is just set. Remove from the oven. Let cool slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes, before serving.

Recipe courtesy of American Heart Association 

Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. fresh spinach
  • 2 medium Italian plum (Roma) tomatoes (sliced crosswise)
  • 1 oz. crumbled soft goat cheese(1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. imitation bacon bits
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds (dry-roasted)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 2 medium green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

  1. In a large serving bowl, make one layer each, in order, of the spinach, tomatoes, goat cheese, bacon bits and almonds.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the green onions for 1 to 2 minutes, or until almost soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining dressing ingredients. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture is heated through, stirring occasionally. Pour over the salad.

Recipe courtesy of American Heart Association 

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Food Bank Bites | April 2022