All posts filed under: Food & Nutrition

What’s in Season in September in Tennessee

September is a sweet spot for produce in Tennessee. Both summer and fall flavors are in play, which means a chance to take advantage of some things for the last time (cantaloupe, raspberries, snap peas) and to sneak a first taste of others (arugula, carrots, collard greens). For Laura Lea Goldberg, certified holistic chef and cookbook author in Nashville, September is the ideal time to get creative with local flavors. And she knows just where to start. “For me, the first step for shopping and cooking local is to find your closest local farmers market,” Goldberg says. “Get to know your neighborhood one, whether that’s by looking on Instagram or just driving around your neighborhood. If you don’t have a market close by, a lot of grocery stores like Kroger and Publix will have a local food section. It may be small, but it’s there; You just have to ask.” Once you’re there, see what looks good, and cross-reference that with what’s in season. A good place to do that: the Tennessee seasonality calendar on …

meal plan infographic

Meal Planning for Beginners

It’s sometimes difficult to feed our families healthy, nourishing foods when it seems like the calendar is filled with late meetings, baseball practices, gymnastics classes and more. Planning ahead is one of the easiest ways to curb the fast-food habit and make sure your family is eating well. Meal planning may seem overwhelming at first. But I’ve found that spending a little time preparing for the week ahead saves me a lot of time and stress in the end (and we’re eating fewer chicken nuggets). Research backs up my experiences, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends meal planning as one of the best ways to help families improve their food choices. Get Started with a Weekly Calendar If your life is anything like mine, no two weeks look the same. So the first thing I do each week is open my calendar and figure out where we have to be and when – and how that will affect our mealtime. Do I need foods we can take with us? Should I prepare …

person squeezing lime

Tips for Cooking Catfish and a Tomatillo Twist

If you know how to cook catfish, it may be one of your favorite dishes to have on a regular basis. In fact, catfish is one of the most popular types of fish in the United States. Although its taste and low price make it a popular option, some may not think of catfish as being especially healthy. Why Catfish is Healthy You’ve probably heard of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat is known as the “good fat” for reducing inflammation and blood pressure. Catfish contains omega-3 fats, but they’re high in omega-6 fatty acids as well. Like omega-3s, these are unsaturated fats and help to lower your cholesterol. Omega-6 fats also play a role in blood clotting, an important part of the healing process during an injury. Other nutrients found in catfish are complete proteins, which your body needs to build lean muscle mass. One three-ounce serving of catfish contains 15.7 grams of protein. Catfish also contains vitamin B-12, which helps to regulate your metabolism and energy throughout the day. Another …

berries on wooden table

How to Keep Produce Fresh: From Bananas to Blueberries and Beyond

Between farmers markets and grocery stores, there are plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to help you eat healthy the rest of summer. Here are some tips on how to keep produce fresh longer. Bananas Keep your bananas on your counter, preferably out of direct sunlight. Wrap the stem of your bunch in plastic wrap. As you eat them, re-wrap the remaining stem. This will help keep your bananas fresh longer by containing the gas produced naturally while they ripen from spreading to other parts of the fruit. If you wind up buying too many, peel any extras, cut them up into small slices and freeze them. They’re a great addition to smoothies. Lettuce Wash your lettuce really well and then dry the leaves. Make sure it’s completely dry before storing it. Put your lettuce in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible (almost as though you are vacuum sealing it) and put it in your produce drawer. Apples Apples stored on your counter can last for a …

coconut with coconut water

10 Benefits of Coconut Water

What looks like water but tastes mildly sweet? What seems like a treat but is packed with nutrients? Answer: Coconut water. If you’ve never tried it before, you can make this drink from whole coconuts or find it pre-packaged at the grocery store. Keep reading to discover 10 of the top benefits of drinking coconut water. Hydration When you want something with more flavor than water that quenches your thirst and boosts hydration, coconut water is a good choice. It’s healthier and more hydrating than sugar-laden sports drinks and sodas. Potassium Coconut water is a great source of potassium; one cup provides 600 milligrams (mg), according to the United States Department of Agriculture . The recommended daily value of potassium is 3,500 mg, per the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA), and can help to lower blood pressure. It also assists with fluid regulation and muscle contraction. 1 cup = 60 mg of 3,500 recommended daily (approximately 2%) Calcium Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth and helps muscles function properly. One cup of coconut water …

cornbread in cast iron

Tennessee Cornbread Recipe: A Healthier Spin on a Southern Staple

Cornbread is a southern favorite and also the state bread of Tennessee. While it’s not unusual for a cornbread recipe to taste more like cake than bread, it doesn’t have to be high in calories, sugar or fat. Try lightening up your next baking adventure with this healthier take on a southern classic — we think you and your guests will approve. The Southern Cornbread Tradition “Cornbread is the heart, soul and community bread for breaking in the South,” notes Kristina McLean, author of the Tennessee Locavore blog. “We’re as passionate about it as we are about religion and football.” While McLean goes on to say that family cornbread recipes are often guarded like heirlooms, she does enjoy experimenting. A New Cornbread McLean has lightened up her cornbread recipe with some tangy buttermilk, vegetable oil and stone ground yellow cornmeal (augmented by white flour to give it a fluffier texture). Buttermilk is a great source of calcium, protein and riboflavin — which is used to activate enzymes in your cells, helping to drive energy production. …

sliced tomato

Healthy Tomato Recipes for the True Tennessean

Any state that designates the tomato as its official state fruit must have some serious love for these summer beauties. Tennessee is one of those states, with many of its residents happy to vouch for some of their favorite tomato recipes, given half a chance. Apart from being versatile and delicious, tomatoes are packed with vitamins A and C, as well as lycopene, which may serve to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. It’s all the more reason to try some of these delicious Tennessee-inspired tomato recipes. Ham It Up We’ve all been to Italian restaurants that start the meal with a few pieces of bruschetta-topped baguette. Taking inspiration from Italy, this recipe uses shaved country ham to boost the flavor without additional salt. This clever twist has an additional benefit in that it doesn’t draw out all of the tomato liquid, keeping your baguette rounds just as crispy as you like them. Starting with a couple of freshly diced tomatoes (make sure you have a sharp knife to avoid excessive pressure), add some classic …

omega-3 healthy food

A Lupus Diet That Can Ease Your Symptoms and Improve Your Health

I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 11 years old and have been coping with it for the past 29 years. As a teen, I believed that my health depended solely on my prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the foods I put in my body could also have a significant effect. It also didn’t dawn on me that my daily consumption of junk food was terrible — and I had no idea there was such a thing as a “lupus diet.” I first learned about this diet in college. I had been feeling terrible, so my best friend suggested I eat less pizza, tacos and Chinese food, and instead consume more fruits, veggies and lean meats. I took her advice and adopted a lupus diet. With practice, I learned which foods triggered a “lupus flare,” and which ones made me feel 100 times better. Lupus and Lupus Diets Lupus is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin, tissues, joints and organs. When you have lupus, your immune system can’t tell the difference between harmful …

honey in a jar

Health Benefits of Local Honey

Honey has been used as a natural sweetener for thousands of years. Today, local honey is still used to improve food and drinks, and many people also use it as a way to maintain good health. Raw, local honey contains many enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body needs — and it may even help prevent seasonal allergies. What Is Raw Honey? Honey is considered raw if it has not been heated during a pasteurization process. Commercial honey is often heated to kill bacteria and other contaminants. However, the heating process also destroys enzymes and other healthy components. While pasteurized honey looks clear and smooth, raw honey usually has a cloudier appearance and may contain pieces of the beeswax called cappings. Raw honey is in its pure, right-out-of-the-hive form. It’s harvested from the honeycomb using a centrifuge, and then strained through cheesecloth to remove large pieces of beeswax. Raw honey and organic honey are not necessarily the same. Organic honey is made by bees that pollinate organic flowers. It may also be unpasteurized, and …