Tag Archives: meat

Go Red for Heart Health

Long View: You Can’t Beat a Healthy Heart or 6 More Weeks of Winter

Just when you think the holidays are over and the thrill of the new year has finally tapered down, here comes February — Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Mardis Gras, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents Day. February is a multi-themed, food-filled month of celebration.

We anticipate the shadow reveal of Punxsutawney Phil, we break out the football-shaped cheese ball to root for our team, we plan our menu of anything and everything on Fat Tuesday, and if that isn’t enough, we love to eat chocolates on the day of love. Then when it’s all over (and after a slight weight gain), we hit the mall for some comfy stretch wear with Presidents Day sale bargains!

But wait, how about doing something this month to celebrate our health and focus on our heart? If we can take advice from a small woodchuck about the weather, we surely can take advice from the American Heart Association about our health!

February is American Heart Month, and part of that is National Wear Red Day. For those of you who know me, my wardrobe pretty much consists of drab colors and neutrals, but this year, I broke out my red floral scarf for a splash of color as a symbol of support!

The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute encourage all of us to take action against this killer disease. Studies show that 80% of cardiac and stroke events may be preventable with education and action.

Find time to talk to your family and get everyone on board with heart health. Encourage healthy eating habits by making healthier versions of your favorite food. Choose foods and recipes low in sodium and with no added sugar or trans fats. When you shop, buy colorful fruits and vegetables, which are all powerhouses when it comes to nutrition, and stay away from dairy and meat products that are high in fat.

Fiber is important in your diet, and you can find fiber not only in fruits and vegetables, but also in beans, nuts, and whole grain. Take the time to read the nutrition labels on items, and check out the sodium content. (A general rule is, if anything has more than 250 mg of sodium, you may want to search for something with less.)

Physical activity can also help you stay heart healthy. It’s not only what you put into your body, it’s also what you put out. Exercise helps to improve heart health, and it can even help reverse certain heart disease risk factors. Our heart becomes stronger from exercise, which helps it pump more blood through the body and work at maximum level without strain.

Aerobic activities at least 3 to 4 times a week are the best. Choose walking, swimming, or biking, and allow for a good 5 minutes of stretching beforehand to warm up your muscles and a cool down period after you’re through. And of course, always check with your doctor before starting any new physical routine.

So this February, maybe forego indulging in lavish holiday food choices (remember that New Year’s resolution?) and celebrate in a new way. Go out and buy something red to wear to celebrate heart health AND 6 more weeks of winter, or will it be an early spring? Better check with Punxsutawney Phil before you go!

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

Holiday Food Safety Tips

Holiday Food Safety Tips

Are you cooking for a crowd this holiday season? In honor of Food Service Safety Month, we can help you protect your guests with these helpful holiday food safety tips.

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold while serving guests with things like slow cookers and ice trays.

Put leftovers away after eating. Toss perishable foods that are left out for more than 2 hours.

Putting Away Leftovers


Make sure you’re cleaning produce properly before you start cooking.

Cleaning Before Cooking in the Holiday Season

Cleaning Before Eating


Do you know how to cook safely, like avoiding cross-contamination? Brush up for holiday meals.

Safe Holiday Food Prep

Preparing Your Food Safely


Cooking meats to the right internal temperature could be the difference between a happy holiday and a disaster.

Cooking Thoroughly During the Holiday Season

Hot Enough


Fight food waste in your leftovers this holiday season by storing food properly, using your freezer, and more.

Making the Most of Holiday Leftovers

Fight Food Waste


How long are all those leftovers and special ingredients good for? We can help.

When to Eat and When to Toss Holiday Leftovers

Decoding Expiration Dates

Healthy Summer Party Tips

Healthy Summer Party Tips

4th of July get-togethers and summer parties are in full swing, so we have healthy summer party tips to make your party a success.

First up, brush up on outdoor food safety.

Safe Summer Infographic


Know the 4 steps to food safety for your 4th of July party.

4 Steps to Food Safety


Transport food in coolers whenever possible, and never leave any food with mayo, dairy, meat, or eggs out for longer than 2 hours.

Food Sitting Out


When grilling, cook beef and pork to 145 degrees, ground meat to 160 degrees, and chicken or turkey to 165 degrees.

Temperature Guide


Avoid cross-contamination by keeping dishes and utensils that touched raw meat away from other ingredients and cooked meat.

Tick season is supposed to be bad this year, so set up a bug spray station and use torches or candles to repel bugs.

18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level


Sunscreen is an important part of all outdoor get-togethers. Have it on hand and help prevent skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Awareness Month


And check out our healthy summer party recipes that are perfect for your next party or get-together and, without mayo or dairy, will keep longer outside.


National Soy Foods Month

National Soy Foods Month

It’s National Soy Foods Month, and even if you aren’t a vegetarian or don’t have food allergies, soy can be a great source of protein in your diet.

Make the long-time staple (especially for those with dairy allergies), Homemade Soy Milk.

Homemade Soy Milk
Image and Recipe via Light Orange Bean


This Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans is hearty, tasty, and easy.

Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans
Image and Recipe via The Kitchn


Skip the meat in one dish on your grill with Vegan Sweet Potato Tofu Burgers.

Appetizing Vegan Sweet Potato Tofu Burger {Gluten-Free}


This Vanilla Soy Ice Cream is perfect for warm days when you’re avoiding dairy.

Vanilla Soy Ice Cream
Image and Recipe via Food


Your perfect summer side dish awaits with High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad.

High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad

High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad


No one will know this Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie uses tofu to get its silky texture.

The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie


Eat with your eyes and skip the fish or pork with this beautiful Sesame-Crusted Tofu.

Sesame Crusted Tofu


Camping Meals & Campfire Delights

Healthy Camping Meals

To go along with our National Camping Month safety tips, we also featured some healthy camping meals you can make on the campfire.

First up were easy Breakfast Burritos that you can just throw in the fire.

Breakfast Burritos – Campfire Style


Lumberjack Breakfast combines your favorite breakfast fixings in one packet.

Lumberjack Breakfast In Foil Packet


These Campfire Tex Mex White Bean and Chicken Foil Packets are a breeze to make.

Campfire Tex Mex White Bean Chicken Foil Packets


This BBQ Party Pack is the perfect side dish or vegetarian meal while camping.

BBQ Party Pack


Hobo Dinners are foil packets of meat, potatoes, and veggies perfect for camping.

Hobo Dinners


Foil Wrapped Salmon with Herbs and Lemon is great made with fresh fish.

Foil Wrapped Salmon with Herbs and Lemon
Image via Roadtrippers


Reheat this Whole Wheat Pasta with Goat Cheese & Tomatoes in Foil over the fire.

Whole Wheat Pasta in Foil Recipe with Goat Cheese & Tomatoes…For Camping!


Grocery Shopping Fresh

Grocery Shopping Like a Pro

Even after you’ve gotten ready to head to the store, grocery shopping on a budget for healthy meals can be hard. But there are some things you can do to make it easier.

Stock Your Pantry

Keeping your kitchen stocked with certain key things can make cooking easy. This list has some items that are perfect for this. And this article has some healthy foods perfect for your pantry that only cost about $2.

Add one item that won’t go bad, like a spice, grain, beans, or frozen veggies to your cart each shopping trip to help you build your pantry without dropping a lot of money at once. (These are also good things to buy in bulk when they’re on sale if you have space to store them.)

Having this stocked pantry will help you throw together meals fast, help you save on packaged or premade meals you might’ve grabbed in a hurry, and make shopping easier.

Choosing Your Store

Choosing where you shop can also help you save. Besides the grocery store, some great places to find good deals are:

  • Ethnic markets
  • Dollar stores
  • Retail supercenters
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Farmers markets

At the Store

Once you’re at the store, you should try to shop the outer edge of it as much as possible. The outer edge usually has the fresh produce, like fruits and veggies, meat, dairy, bread, and frozen food. It’s typically the inner aisles that are full of boxed and processed foods.

Fruits & Veggies

It’s recommended that you eat 5 servings of veggies a day, so it’s important to really use that part of the store. With that in mind, fruits and veggies, fresh or frozen, should take up about a third of your cart on each shopping trip.

  • Shop in season 

At the farmers market, you have to buy what’s in season, but at the grocery store, there are lots of choices. But when you buy what’s in season, you can save a lot, and your food will be the tastiest and freshest it can be. This list can help you find what’s in season when.

  • Buy bags at the right time

With certain go-to things your family will always use, like apples, oranges, potatoes, and onions, buying them in the big bags when they’re in season can help you save even more.

  • Stock up on canned and frozen fruits and veggies

Canned and frozen fruits and veggies are picked while they’re in season and tasting best, and they’re good for you, too. So instead of buying fresh peas when they’re not in season, stock up on frozen ones to save and get the best flavor. Plus, they last much longer.

Look for frozen veggies without added sauces or butter. Choose canned fruit in 100% fruit juice and veggies with “low-sodium” or “no salt added.”

Canned veggies and broths are perfect for easy soups and stews, and canned fruit makes great fruit salad and snacks for the kids.

Packaged Goods

Avoid a lot of the packaged and processed foods in the center of the store. Cookies, candy, chips, crackers, and soda are all high in things you don’t want, like sugar, salt, and bad fats, and low in things like protein and nutrients. They’re also expensive.

  • Look for whole grains

Be careful you don’t get fooled by things that just call out wheat. Instead, look for whole grains and whole-grain breads.

  • Find high-protein foods besides meat

Yogurt and cheeses are great sources of protein, as are beans and other legumes, which you can find dried or canned.

  • Be smart about cereal

Cereals are one of the top foods for hidden sugar. Look for ones with little or no sugar. You can always add honey to flavor it in the bowl. Also look for cereals high in fiber to start your day right.

  • Try new things in the bulk aisle

If you want to try a new grain, nut, or dried fruit, the bulk aisle with bins is a great way to taste test. Scoop out a small bag for your family to taste before buying bigger servings.

Shopping Tips

Make the most of your trip by paying attention to how your store organizes things, their price tags, and food labels.

  • Don’t shop at eye level

Stores oftentimes stock the most expensive things right where they’ll catch your eye. Looking at the upper and lower shelves can help you find the best deal.

  • Grab from the back

Stores also stock from the back, putting newer things behind the older ones. Grabbing from the back gets you fresher food with better expiration dates, so your food will be good for longer.

  • Look for store brands

Many stores have their own brands of items, and in most cases, you’ll get the exact same or very similar thing at a much better price.

  • Read the label

Reading the nutrition label can tell you a lot about what’s in a food, if it’s good for you, and help you choose between brands.

  • Pay attention to serving sizes

Some things might seem good for you until you check the serving size. Sometimes the serving size is much smaller than what you’d actually eat in a sitting, which makes the numbers on the label look better.

  • Learn how to read unit price on the price tag

Unit price tells you how much something costs per pound, ounce, quart, or other unit of measure. It can tell you which brands are the most affordable. This guide can help you read or calculate unit price.

  • Have a calculator handy

Whether it’s on your phone or you bring a small calculator along to the store, having one on hand can make it easy to compare labels and costs.

Up Next:

Learn how to read and make sense of nutrition labels to get the most out of your food.

Hearty Vegetarian Meals

Healthy Vegetarian Meals

This week, we took Meatless Monday to a whole new level with hearty vegetarian meals that will even satisfy meat lovers.

First up is an Artichoke Flatbread that makes the perfect lunch:

Artichoke Flatbread


Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Arugula and Poached Eggs are perfect for brunch or breakfast-for-dinner.

 Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Arugula and Poached Eggs
Image and Recipe via How Sweet Eats


This Grilled Tofu Teriyaki with Spicy Spinach Udon will help you fall in love with tofu.

Grilled Tofu Teriyaki with Spicy Spinach Udon


This Grilled Hummus & Caramelized Onion Sandwich packs a salty and sweet bite.

Grilled Hummus & Caramelized Onion Sandwich

Grilled Hummus & Caramelized Onion Sandwich


Vegetarian Lentil Chili is so hearty that it’s a perfect recipe to save for football season.

Vegetarian Lentil Chili


Orange Cauliflower is a sweet and fresh take on your takeout favorite.



Make this Grilled Polenta with Mushrooms for a hearty meal that’s ideal for summer or fall.

Grilled Polenta with Mushrooms