Tips and Recipes

En Español

Seafood Tips

fish filet

Seafood is an important part of a healthy diet. Try to include seafood at least twice a week with a goal to eat 8 ounces per week. Use these tips when buying fresh fish:


Whole Fish

  • Choose fish that smells like the ocean. Fresh fish should not have a strong odor.
  • Look for bright, clear eyes. Dull eyes indicate that the fish is old.
  • Look for a fish with shiny, tightly connected scales.
  • Choose fish with firm flesh. It should spring back when touched.
  • Look for bright red gills.

Frozen Fish

Frozen fish is often a good buy. If you live inland, frozen fish will likely be less expensive than fresh fish. Today, much of the frozen fish is flash-frozen within just a few minutes of being caught. Here are a few tips for choosing frozen fish:

  • Check the packaging. Avoid loose, damaged, or torn packages.
  • Look for moisture-proof packaging. Vacuum-sealed packages offer the most protection to preserve the quality of the fish.
  • Choose only fish without ice crystals. Frost or ice crystals on the fish could mean that the fish was thawed and re-frozen or has been stored for a very long time.
  • Avoid any fish with signs of freezer burn.


Makes 4 servings | Serving size: 1 fish filet packet


  • 4 frozen tilapia filets (or other mild flavored fish)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 (15-ounce) can low-sodium whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 (15-ounce) can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Tear off 4 pieces of aluminum foil big enough to wrap 1 fish filet each.
  3. Spray foil with cooking spray.
  4. Lay 1 filet on each piece of aluminum foil and sprinkle each filet with desired amount of black pepper.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine corn, black beans, tomato, and green pepper. Top each filet with 1/4 of the vegetable mixture.
  6. In another bowl, combine onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Add 1/4 of this mixture to each filet.
  7. To make each packet, bring two sides of foil to meet in the middle and fold together to seal. Fold remaining open sides together to seal packet.
  8. Place each packet on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  9. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 190 Calories, Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 26g, Total Carbohydrate 19g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Sodium 150 mg. Excellent source of vitamin C.

Experiment with different seasonings and vegetables.Packets can be cooked on a grill if desired.


How Sleep Can Influence Your Eating Habits

Person sleeping


It is important to be aware that your sleep quality can affect your daily food choices.

  • Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Lead to Cravings: Poor sleep is linked to wanting more sugary and processed foods. People who are sleep deprived tend to be more drawn to high-calorie foods.
  • Sleep Problems Can Cause Overeating: A lack of sleep can make you snack more frequently. People who do not get enough sleep tend to increase their food consumption.
  • Lack of Sleep Could Mean Less Produce Intake: Sleep deprivation often leads to selecting foods that offer less nutritional benefit. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is one step you could take to improve your overall sleep quality. Not only do fruits and vegetables promote overall health, they can also lead to longer sleep duration.

Tips for Better Sleep:

  1. Have a Nighttime Routine: Routines help guide the body. A nighttime routine will signal your body to start unwinding before you get into bed. 
  2. Make Your Bedroom Relaxing: If you are having trouble falling asleep every night, try making your bedroom more relaxing for sleep. Dim the lights. Turn off the TV and your phone at least an hour before bed. 
  3. Do Not Eat Too Late: Try to eat an earlier dinner to allow your body time to digest the meal.
  4. Avoid Caffeine: Be mindful of coffee, energy drinks, soda, or other caffeinated beverages. If you drink these, try to limit them to earlier in the day. 
  5. Move Your Body: Schedule regular movement throughout the day to improve your sleep. Avoid exercising too close to bedtime to allow your body to wind down before bed.

Sources: Sleep Foundation

Written by: Lauren Hinze, EFNEP Student Intern

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Try this Buffalo Chicken Wrap for an easy dinner for the family. This wrap will give you restaurant vibes but is healthier and cheaper than eating out!

Makes 6 servings | Serving size: 1/2 cup


  • 1 whole wheat wrap
  • 1-2 handfuls of vegetables (lettuce, tomato, and avocado)
  • 1 handful shredded chicken
  • 1 small handful of shredded cheese
  • Drizzle of hot sauce


  1. On a plate or cutting board, lay out the wrap.
  2. In the center of the wrap, layer on the vegetables.
  3. Add the chicken and cheese.
  4. Top with hot sauce.
  5. Fold the wrap over the filling, pressing gently so that filling moves down into the fold.
  6. Fold both sides in and roll to close.

National Almond Day

plato de almendras  

Almonds are good for your overall health. These tree nuts have been suggested to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. In addition to improving cholesterol levels, almonds contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber.

  • Almonds are heart healthy and can contribute to lower blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. Including this tree nut in your diet may not only lower cholesterol but may reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event.
  • Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. One serving of almonds contains half of the daily requirement for vitamin E.
  • Almonds have a decent amount of fiber. Eating almonds can help control your cravings and prevent overeating, as they make you feel full faster than other foods.
  • Despite being calorie-dense, almonds are not linked to weight gain. In fact, eating almonds is associated with less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity because the fiber content helps to improve feelings of satisfaction and fullness.

Tips on How to Add Almonds to Your Daily Diet:

  1. Chopped or sliced unsalted almonds can be added as a topping to cereals, salads, and baked goods.
  2. Spread almond butter on apples or whole grain toast.
  3. Add a tablespoon of almond butter to oatmeal for a richer taste.
  4. Try almonds in place of less healthy snacks like chips and pretzels.
  5. Try almond flour instead of all-purpose flour in baked goods.
Written by: Lauren Hinze, EFNEP Student Intern

Veggie Tuna Mac


Celebrate National Cheese Lovers Day with this cheesy Veggie Tuna Mac Recipe.

Makes 6 servings | Serving size: 1/2 cup


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 ½  cups whole-wheat macaroni or penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups nonfat milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
  • 2 (4.5-ounce) cans low-sodium light tuna, packed in water, drained       


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place cooked macaroni in casserole dish.
  4. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and green pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
  5. Add flour and continue stirring for 2 minutes.
  6. Slowly stir in milk. Bring mixture to a boil.
  7. Boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Reduce heat and add cheese, Italian seasoning and pepper. Stir until cheese melts.
  8. Combine macaroni, cheese mixture, frozen peas and tuna in casserole dish.
  9. Cook for 30 minutes or until center temperature of casserole reaches 165°F.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 320 Calories, Total Fat 10g, Saturated Fat 2g, Protein 26g, Total Carbohydrate 34g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Sodium 200mg. Excellent source of vitamins A and C. Good source of calcium and iron.

© 2023 North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)