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National Almond Day

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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.

Sweet Potato and Apples


Our normal eating habits might be a little off this time of year. Try making this sweet potato and apple recipe to make sure you are still eating your fruits and vegetables! 

Makes 6 servings | Serving size: 1/2 cup


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 (16-ounce) can sweet potatoes (may use 3 fresh sweet potatoes)
  • 2 large apples
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup pineapple or orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Wash, peel, and slice apples (and fresh sweet potatoes if using).
  4. Drain canned sweet potatoes.
  5. Layer sweet potatoes and apples in the sprayed baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle sweet potatoes and apples with raisins.
  7. In a separate cup, mix juice and sugar.
  8. Pour juice mixture over sweet potatoes, apples, and raisins.
  9. Cut butter into small bits and distribute evenly across the top of the casserole.
  10. Sprinkle cinnamon over fruit.
  11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes longer. Potatoes should be tender and cooked through.


Nutrition Information Per Serving: 190 Calories, Total Fat 4g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Protein 2g, Total Carbohydrate 41g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Sodium 95mg. Excellent source of vitamin A. Good source of vitamin C.

Cinnamon Apple Crisp

Looking for a sweet treat without loads of added sugar? Try out this tasty cinnamon apple crisp!

Makes 6 servings | Serving size: 1/2 cup

Ingredients for Filling

  • 4 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples (3-4 medium)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Ingredients for Topping

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray 8-inch square glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. For filling, combine fruit and water in large bowl.
  4. Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon; add to fruit; stir until fruit is evenly coated.
  5. Spoon into baking dish.
  6. For topping, combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix well until oats are moistened.
  7. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.
  8. Bake 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 70 Calories, Total Fat 3.5g, Saturated Fat 3.5g, Protein 0g, Total Carbohydrate 18g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sodium 0mg

Caramel Apple Dip

Makes 4 servings | Serving size: 1/2 cup


  • 2 cups plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon  


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 
  2. Serve cold with sliced apples.

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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)