Tips and Recipes

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Vitamin C

oranges


Vitamin C is a nutrient that can help our bodies to make collagen, protect our cells, and support our immune system. It also helps to keep our brain and nervous system healthy. Another benefit of this antioxidant is that it supports our body’s healing process. 

Because our bodies cannot make Vitamin C, we need to get it from our food. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources for this vitamin. If you do not eat enough fruits and vegetables it could put you at risk for a vitamin C deficiency. Eating a variety of servings of fruits and vegetables each day can help you get enough vitamin C. 

Food Sources of Vitamin C

  • Fruit Sources: Citrus fruits (kiwi, lemon, oranges, grapefruit), strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe
  • Vegetable Sources: White potatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, brussel sprouts

Importance of Vitamin C 

  • Vitamin C can help prevent or treat health conditions like heart disease. 
  • Evidence suggests that eating more fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of most types of cancer because of their high vitamin C content. 
  • When you have enough vitamin C in your diet it could decrease the length and reduce the symptoms of the common cold.
  • Vitamin C also helps your body to process other nutrients like iron from plant-based foods.

 

Written by: Lauren Hinze, EFNEP Student Intern
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/


Chicken Quesadilla

If you ever run out of dinner ideas for you and your family, try out this simple quesadilla recipe!


Makes 4 servings | Serving size: 1 quesadilla

Ingredients

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 1/4 cup low-fat shredded cheese
  • 4 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Directions

  1. Spray skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté onions until tender.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix chicken, salsa, and onions.
  4. Place 1/4 of chicken mixture on one side of tortilla and top with 1/4 of cheese. Fold over mixture and seal edges. (Use a small amount of water for a perfect seal.)
  5. Spray skillet. Brown one side of quesadilla over medium heat for about 3–4 minutes. Turn and brown the other side. (Chicken temp should be 165°F.)
  6. Cut each folded tortilla into 3 wedges for easy handling. Serve with extra salsa and hot sauce if desired

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:


Tips

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.

Recipe

Makes 4 servings | Serving size: 1 fish filet packet

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

© 2024 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)