Let's Eat for Health Easy, Family-Friendly Nutrition Tips for Any Budget Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/rss.xml Enjoy Strawberries with a Breakfast Parfait http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12516/ Tue, 30 May 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12516/ Seeing pints of strawberries is a welcome sight at farmers' markets! When they are in season, strawberries tend to be easier to find, taste sweeter, and cost less than what we pay during the winter.

Eating strawberries fresh as a snack is a great way to enjoy this sweet fruit. They also work great in easy recipes, like our Breakfast Parfait.

Strawberries Nutrition: Strawberries are high in vitamin C, boasting more than citrus fruits when comparing ounce to ounce. Strawberries are also a high in folate, an important nutrient for your body's cell and tissue growth.

Strawberries Selection: Look for berries that are bright red, firm, and without bruises, soft spots, or mold. Make sure that the green caps on top are attached. If the caps are removed, an enzyme called ascorbic acid oxidase is released, which destroys vitamin C.

Strawberries Storage: You can store strawberries in the refrigerator for 1-3 days after purchase. Do not wash them until right before use!

Strawberries Preparation: Rinse strawberries using a colander under clean, cool running water. Trim off green tops before eating.


Recipe: Breakfast Parfait

Servings: 6


- 2 cups canned or fresh fruit, diced (if canned, choose light syrup or juice pack)

- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced into discs

- 1 cup strawberries

- 1 ½ cups plain or vanilla yogurt

- ½ cup granola


  1. If using canned fruit, drain liquid from fruit.
  2. In glasses or small dishes, layer diced fruit, sliced bananas, and berries.
  3. Spread yogurt over layered fruit.
  4. Sprinkle granola on top and serve immediately or store in refrigerator, covered.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 180 calories, 3 g fat, 50 mg sodium, 36 g total carbohydrate, 4 g fiber

What's In Season for May? http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12513/ Tue, 16 May 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12513/
What's in Season for May?
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Strawberries

Which one of these is your favorite? Visit us on Facebook and join the conversation!

5 Ingredients or Less: Black-Eyed Peas Salad http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12512/ Tue, 09 May 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12512/
Black-Eyed Peas Salad

Servings per recipe: 8

- 2 cans (15 ounces each) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed, or 1 pound dry black-eyed peas, cooked
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup nonfat Italian dressing

1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Cover bowl and chill salad before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 90 calories, 0.5 g fat, 390 mg sodium, 16 g total carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein

- For the dry black-eyed peas, soak overnight with enough water to cover the peas. Drain and rinse. Cook in 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until tender.]]>
Celebrate National Garden Month in April! http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12487/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12487/
Here are our top four ways to celebrate:

1. Get started on your own garden! Whether you are new to growing your own foods or have several years under your belt, a great place to start is by visiting Extension's A Taste of Gardening. This website has loads of information on planning, composting, planting, dealing with insects, and more!

2. Try a container garden! If you are short on space for a larger garden, another website may meet your needs instead - Successful Container Gardening! Learn all about making herb and vegetable container gardens to fit into your smaller space.

3. Use fresh herbs in the kitchen! Try one of our new recipes, Cucumber Dill Yogurt Dip with Vegetables. It calls for fresh dill and is the perfect snack for spring. If you have a recipe at home that calls for dried herbs and you want to try it with fresh herbs instead, the change is simple! 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals about 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs. Give it a try and let us know how it went on our Facebook page or by sending us an email.

4. Learn more about using SNAP benefits to grow a garden. Did you know? If you receive SNAP benefits, you can use them to purchase seeds and plants to grow food for your household to eat! A helpful toolkit can be found here, and you can find stores that accept SNAP benefits here. To learn about how to apply for SNAP benefits in Illinois, visit here.

If you have questions about gardening, contact your local Extension office for more information.
Five Ingredients or Less: Animal Crackers on a Log http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12444/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 10:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12444/
We all have fun memories of food as a child. This recipe, Animal Crackers on a Log, takes two popular kid-friendly snacks (animal crackers and ants on a log) and puts them together in one tasty mash-up.

If you're needing to make this peanut-free, you can use another type of chopped nuts, raisins, or coconut flakes in the place of the unsalted peanuts.

Enjoy and tell us about your favorite childhood treats on our Facebook page!

Animal Crackers on a Log
Servings: 3

- 2 stalks (about 9 inches each) celery
- 2 Tablespoons low-fat cream cheese
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 12 animal crackers

1. Wash celery and trim off leafy top and white stalk base.
2. Fill center of each stalk with 1 Tablespoon cream cheese. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
3. Place filled celery stalks on cutting board and cut each into 3 equal pieces.
4. Push 1-2 animal crackers (depending on size) into the cream cheese filling on each piece of celery.
5. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days.]]>
Zucchini: A Great Addition to Your March Table! http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12363/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12363/ Though zucchini is officially classified as a summer squash, it is easy to find at the store all year long. Zucchini is a versatile vegetable and tastes great sautéed, baked into a casserole, added to soups, dipped raw into dip or added to top of a salad. And the extra bonus: zucchini's flowers (aka squash blossoms) are also edible! Our recipe below is a fun way to feature this vegetable and is a great one to get the kids involved in the kitchen.

Zucchini Nutrition: Zucchini is fat and sodium (salt) free, low in calories, and high in vitamin C.

Zucchini Selection: Choose zucchini squash that is green and shiny without cuts, holes, or bruising.

Zucchini Storage: Store fresh zucchini in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to three days. Wait to wash zucchini until right before using, as washing it can lead to the squash deteriorating more rapidly.

Zucchini Preparation: Wash zucchini under cool water, scrubbing gently with a towel or fingers to remove any dirt. Trim off ends of the squash before cutting to eat or use in a recipe.

Easy Veggie Pizza

Serves 4


- 4 English muffins, split into halves

- ½ cup pizza sauce

- 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced

- 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced

- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

- 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

- ½ tsp. dried oregano

- ½ tsp. dried basil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place split English muffins, face up, onto a baking sheet.
  3. Spread 1 Tbsp. pizza sauce in the center of each English muffin half.
  4. Arrange vegetables (mushrooms, zucchini, and pepper) over sauce on English muffins.
  5. Combine mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and dried herbs in a small bowl.
  6. Sprinkle cheese and herb mixture over English muffin halves.
  7. Bake 15 minutes, until cheese has melted and muffins are crisp.
  8. Let cool for 1-2 minutes before serving.

Link to Recipe Online: http://go.illinois.edu/easy_veggie_pizza

5 Ingredients or Less: Salmon Melts http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12333/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/inc/eb376/entry_12333/
Salmon Melts
Servings: 4

- 1 can (6 ounces) pink salmon, drained
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup low-fat or light mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
- 1 cup low-fat shredded cheese

1. Combine salmon, celery, mayonnaise, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well with a fork.
2. Preheat broiler in oven on low. Place buns, sliced sides facing down, on a broiler pan and broil until lightly browned and crispy. Remove pan from oven.
3. Turn buns over and spread 2-3 tablespoons of salmon mixture onto each half.
4. Top each bun with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese.
5. Return pan to oven and broil until cheese melts on top, about 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving/2 halves topped with salmon mixture and cheese): 280 calories, 10 g fat, 650 mg sodium, 24 g total carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 22 g protein

*Note: This version was created for our 2017 calendar. To see the version that contains more ingredients, visit our website here.]]>