Autumn is right around the corner

As we are preparing for the cold winter months ahead it can be a little daunting to work on our meal prepping this time of year.  We want to hold on to Summer but we may be looking forward to the comfort foods of Fall.

I was recently looking for a new comfort food recipe to try out at home and came across a great article on Taste of Home by Alexa Erickson. The article is “31 Healthy Comfort Foods for People Who Love to Eat”, that sounds right up my alley.

Let us know what recipes you try out.  The Pumpkin Lasagna has peeked my interest.

Acknowledgements: article written by Alexa Erickson

Full Article can be found at www.tasteofhome.com with links to each recipe.

Autumn @ NIHCA Means Office Soup Days

We have all been avoiding the dreaded word, “Autumn”. We enjoy summer and we love the changing colors that come with the new season but it is always hard to hear that summer is over. Here at NIHCA we like to embrace the Minnesota cooler temperatures with what is becoming a tradition known as Office Soup Day. We all take turns making a delicious soup and we share it with everyone. Our bowls are starting to line up. Bring your own bowl but bring your appetite if you are ever in the area on one of our soup days.
We found an article on foodnetwork.com that is right up our alley, “8 Healthy Soups You Need to Make This Fall” by Leah Scalzadonna. Click on the article to find the links to these fabulous soups that just may be in our office one day soon.

8 Healthy Soups You Need to Make This Fall

All of the comfort with none of the guilt.

By: Leah Scalzadonna

It’s fall, y’all. With the changing of the seasons often comes the changing of your cravings – fresh watermelon was great in the summer, but colder weather is meant for comfort food. If you’re looking for an ultra-satisfying meal that won’t leave you in a food coma, curl up with a big bowl of these good-for-you soups. They’re cozy, healthy and guaranteed to warm you from the inside-out.

Butternut Squash Soup When you’re craving those cozy fall flavors, look to Food Network Kitchen’s butternut squash soup. This low-cal delight requires just six ingredients – and you probably have most of them in the pantry already. The key to the soup is the squash (obvi): it’s simmered in chicken broth, then puréed for a rich, creamy texture.

Simple Chicken Soup

Chicken soup that’s ready in less than an hour? Yes, please! Store-bought chicken broth and water create the base of this protein-packed soup, which gets its warm flavor from hearty veggies and leftover roast chicken. Stir in rice for the last 10 minutes of cooking and you’ll have a filling, low-fat soup that’s just as soothing as Grandma’s.

Italian Wedding Soup

Ever wonder how Italian Wedding Soup got its name? According to Giada, it’s because the flavors of the tender meatballs, light chicken broth and spicy endive marry together so well. Her sugar-free recipe lives up to its name while being friendly to your waistline.
Read more “Autumn @ NIHCA Means Office Soup Days”

Brown Bag Lunches for All

Brown Bag lunches aren’t just for the kids.  We can all benefit from bringing our lunch to work.  We found this article on WebMD.com with ideas to help your pocket book and feed your lunch cravings. 

Cheap and Healthy Brown-Bag Lunch Ideas (for Grownups)

10 workday lunches that will save you time, money, and calories

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

From the WebMD Archives

Taking a healthy lunch to work is one of the simplest ways to trim your budget. Most people think nothing of spending $10 or so for a restaurant lunch, but over the course of a month — or a year — the expense can really add up.

Beyond the cost savings, most meals packed at home are healthier than foods at restaurants. When we eat out, we’re often faced with whopper portions and fattening extras — like the french fries that routinely come with sandwiches. But when you pack lunch at home, you can control your portions and choose healthier ingredients.

Still, unless you’re willing to eat the same peanut butter sandwich day in and day out, it’s easy to run out of ideas and fall back into the restaurant rut. So WebMD asked the experts to recommend healthy, creative lunch ideas that are not only cheap, but easy to prepare.

What Makes Up a Healthy Lunch?

First of all, make sure your lunch is balanced, experts recommend. Lunches that include some lean or low-fat protein along with carbohydrates will keep your body fueled for the afternoon, says Connie Diekman, RD, president of the American Dietetic Association.

“The combination of protein and fiber from whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables and/or fruit will give you the most satisfying and nutritious combination of foods that will keep you feeling full until dinner,” she says

If you love sandwiches, use a variety of whole-grain breads, pitas, and wraps. Choose lean fillings like sliced eggs, tuna fish, cheese or lean meats. Then jazz up your sandwiches with assorted greens, fresh basil, sprouts, sliced cucumbers, onions, and/or tomatoes.

But sandwiches are far from your only option when you’re brown-bagging it. Last night’s dinner, hard boiled eggs, vegetarian wraps, cereal — anything you enjoy at home can be packed up and eaten for lunch.

In fact, you might want to make extra food for dinner so you’ll have leftovers to bring for lunch, experts suggest.

“Leftovers are the perfect food to pack and take for lunch because you can control the portions and calories in the meal to ensure it will be nutritious, filling and delicious,” says Diekman.

For example, she suggests packing the leftovers of a black bean, brown rice and salsa dinner casserole, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, into a reusable container that can be microwaved at the office. Add some carrot, celery, and pepper strips for a hearty and satisfying lunch.

To take this idea a bit further, try cooking in bulk. On the weekend, make a big pot of chili, soup, or rice and beans and freeze into individual portions that are ready to take to work in a flash.

Convenience foods can also make quick and easy lunches. Canned soups and frozen meals can be inexpensive, especially if you stock up when they’re on sale, and all you have to do is grab one when you’re running out the door. Pair these portion-controlled items with a side salad or piece of fruit to provide enough calories to keep you feeling full.

10 Easy Lunch Ideas

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Now is the time to eat those healthy summer foods we love

Summertime is filled with activities, late nights and picnics.  Let’s fret a little less this week about what we shouldn’t be eating and focus on some of the great foods we can add to our diets this summer.  Take a look at this great article from eatingwell.com 

8 Healthy Summer Foods to Add to Your Diet

Find out why the summer foods you love so much are so good for you.

It’s summer—that amazing time of year when fresh produce abounds. I love that there’s an abundance of fresh, delicious and healthy choices. Better yet: many of summer’s fruits and vegetables are brimming with secret health benefits. Here are some of my favorites and why they’re a particularly good choice in the summer.

  1. Watermelon

Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp and your mood stable. It also helps keep your body cool (by sweating) during hot summer months. The good news is that you don’t just have to drink water. You can eat it, too: in addition to delivering skin-protecting lycopene, watermelon is 92 percent water (hence the name). Another boon? Research shows that eating foods that are full of water helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories. (Interestingly enough, drinking water alongside foods doesn’t have the same effect.)

  1. Corn

Nothing says summer like fresh sweet corn. And did you know that two antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—in corn may act like natural sunglasses, helping to form macular pigment that filters out some of the sun’s damaging rays? It’s true. The same antioxidants may also help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60 (though much of the damage occurs decades earlier).

  1. Tomatoes

There’s no question that sunscreen should be your first line of defense against the blazing summer sun. But eating tomatoes could give you a little extra protection: consuming more lycopene—the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red—may protect your skin from sunburn. In one study, participants who were exposed to UV light had almost 50 percent less skin reddening after they ate 2 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste (or drank about 1 2/3 cups of carrot juice daily), in addition to their regular diet, for 10 to 12 weeks. Supplements, however, weren’t as effective: in the same study, those who received a lycopene supplement or synthetic lycopene weren’t significantly protected against sunburn.
Read more “Now is the time to eat those healthy summer foods we love”

5 Healthy Thanksgiving Sides To Round Out Your Table

 

Thanksgiving side dishes never get enough credit.

 

Sure, a whole roast turkey looks impressive, but sides are what turn Thanksgiving from “that one day a year when everyone eats turkey” into a full-fledged, bountiful feast. And while we’re pretty sure most of our family members would straight-up revolt if we skipped serving a traditional turkey, sides are an opportunity to introduce something new. From tossing green beans in an umami-packed mushroom XO sauce to skipping the usual canned cranberry sauce for a bracing, uncooked cranberry walnut relish, here are the ways we’re expressing a little Thanksgiving creativity.

To take a look at more side dishes: Click Here!

Acknowledgements by:  ALIZA ABARBANEL and others.

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