Vitamin C

Cottage-Berry-CrunchVitamin C is required by the body for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body.  It is essential for the healing of wounds and the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth.  Vitamin C is also known to boost our immune systems and keep illness away.  Vitamin C is also one of the antioxidants that our body uses to fight off cancer, heart disease and arthritis.  Antioxidants, like vitamin C, are very important at helping reduce the damage to our bodies caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants like cigarette smoke.

Vitamin C can be found in all fruits and vegetables.  Some of the best sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, kiwi), strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe.  Other excellent sources of vitamin C are papaya, mango, watermelon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, raspberries, red peppers, blueberries, cranberries and pineapples. 

Deficiency (not enough) of vitamin C can occur since the body does not store it.  A serious deficiency of vitamin C is called scurvy.  Other symptoms of vitamin C deficiency are; dry and splitting hair, gingivitis and bleeding gums, rough and dry skin, decreased wound healing, bruising, nosebleeds, swollen and painful joints, anemia, and frequent colds.

Toxicity (too much) of vitamin C is very rare.  Taking a supplement of vitamin C greater than 2,000 mg/day is not recommended and can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.

Vitamin C must be consumed daily since the body does not make it or store it.  Be sure to include a vitamin C source from the above list every day.


Recommended daily amounts of vitamin C are as follows:

Infants – 35 mg/day

Children 1-3 years – 40 mg/day

Children 4-10 years – 45 mg/day

Men over 18 – 90 mg/day

Women over 18 – 75 mg/day


As a point of reference, one orange has 70 mg, one kiwi has 74 mg, and one tomato has 23 mg of vitamin C.

**Because smoking depletes vitamin C, people who smoke generally need an additional 35 mg/day.


Cottage Berry Crunch



½ cup low fat cottage cheese

2 Tbsp. low fat granola

½ of a medium banana, sliced

½ cup assorted fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)



 Spoon cottage cheese into a small serving bowl.  Sprinkle granola over cottage cheese.  Top with bananas and berries.

Prep Time: 5 min.  Total Time: 5 min

Makes: 1 serving

From kraftfoods.com


Green Foods

Spinach-Artichoke-DipGreen fruits & vegetables are PACKED with important nutrients and phytochemicals.  Cruciferous vegetables (members of the cabbage family) have several amazing cancer-fighting phytochemicals. These phytochemicals can act as antioxidants or they may actually keep cancer-causing substances out of your body. Green fruits, like kiwi, have some of these compounds too. Some of the phytochemicals in green vegetables can also help in digestion and keep bad bacteria out of your stomach. Broccoli is a great example. 

Leafy greens and some green fruits also contain a phytochemical which keeps your eyes healthy and may keep you from going blind when you get older. Spinach, kale and collard greens are the best sources.

Of course, some green vegetables are also high in beta-carotene, another important antioxidant. Remember, beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A in your body which helps your vision, immunity and your skin look healthy. Several of the leafy green vegetables are also a good source of potassium for your heart to beat correctly and your muscles to contract. They are also rich in calcium for strong bones.

Try these green fruits & vegetables:  Broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce, bok choy, zucchini, collard greens, brussel sprouts, turnip greens, spinach, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, okra, artichoke, kiwi, honeydew melon, lime, green bell peppers, peas, kale, avocado, and many more!

Taken from: http://vickids.tamu.edu/nutrition/green.html


Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip



2 cups  (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 cup  fat-free sour cream

1/4 cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 teaspoon  black pepper

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened

1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

1 (13.5-ounce) package baked tortilla chips (about 16 cups)



Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

Yield: 5 1/2 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup dip and about 6 chips)

Nutritional Information

Calories: 148 (30% from fat), Fat: 5g (sat 2.9g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.5g), Protein: 7.7g, Carbohydrate: 18.3g, Fiber: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Iron: 0.6mg, Sodium: 318mg, Calcium: 164mg


Recipe from: Cooking Light, September 2007

Left alone, an unpicked artichoke will blossom into a striking purple flower. But its real beauty lies in what it can do for you. The globe artichoke frequently shows up on lists of top 10 detox foods — and it’s no wonder. An elegant member of the aster family, it’s low in calories, a good source of vitamins and minerals, and replete with nutrients that ease digestion and lower cholesterol, among other wellness rewards.

Health Benefits
Leaves and heart combined, one medium artichoke has just 60 calories, more than six grams of fiber, and four grams of protein. Artichokes also provide a good source of magnesium, potassium, and folate, nutrients that help improve muscle function and heart health.

The real draw for artichokes, though, is their ability to promote liver health and soothe digestive issues such as nausea, pain, and bloating. For this we have the flavonoid silymarin to thank. A powerful antioxidant, silymarin boosts liver function by stimulating cell regeneration and scavenging for free radicals. In addition, it helps the liver cope with big toxic loads.

Artichokes help the liver in another way — with cynarin, a caffeoylquinic acid found primarily in the leaves. Cynarin promotes the liver’s bile production, which in turn helps break down fatty foods. According to some studies, cynarin also helps lower cholesterol.

How to Buy
Look for firm, heavy, medium-sized artichokes. To test for freshness, squeeze the artichoke and listen for a squeaky sound. Refrigerated in a plastic bag, artichokes will keep for up to five days.  You can also buy the hearts already prepared in a can or marinated in a jar.

Article taken from Body and Soul Magazine – May 2007 www.bodyandsoulmag.com

This recipe is a great easy salad to prepare and eat for dinner with plenty left over to take to work for lunch!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 8 ounces)

2 cups bagged prewashed baby spinach, chopped

½ cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves

3 tablespoons chopped red onion

3 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

1 (6 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained

¾ cup (3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled and divided

Cook the orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain, rinse with cold water.  Combine orzo, spinach and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. 

Drain artichokes, reserving marinade.  Coarsely chop artichokes, and add artichokes, reserved marinade, and ½ cup feta cheese to orzo mixture, tossing gently to coat.  Sprinkle each serving with remaining feta cheese.

Yield:  4 servings

Recipe from: Cooking Light Magazine


The time is here for all your favorite fruits to ripen and hit your local farmer’s market fresh and full of flavor.  Don’t always eat a whole basket of berries before they start to get slimy?  Freeze them and use them later!  Here is how:

  • Wash fruit thoroughly.  Peel, slice, cube and cut stems off fruit as needed.
  • Lay out on counter to dry
  • Place fruit on a cookie sheet making sure that they are not touching one another.
  • Put in freezer until each piece is frozen
  • Pull from freezer and put in a zip lock bag, mark the type of fruit and date on the bag, and put it back into the freezer for later use.

This freezing technique guarantees that when you pull the bag from the freezer, you won’t have a large frozen clump of fruit.  You can pull out as many or as few individual pieces as you need.  Use this technique on most any fruit.  Keep frozen fruit for up to one year.

What do you do with frozen fruit?  Make a fruit smoothie!  This is a great way to get a variety of fruit and all the fiber and other nutrients into your child. Make it with yogurt for a calcium kick or without.  Here is a basic smoothie recipe:

Fruit Smoothie – Makes around 2 – 8 ounce glasses

1 banana, peeled

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup orange juice

1 cup ice cubes

1/2 cup plain or fruit yogurt (optional) 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add frozen blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango chunks or any other frozen fruit you like.  Substitute any other citrus juice or 100 % juice combinations.  Add any other fresh fruit you like, such as pineapple, pear, apple, nectarine, and/or peaches. This is a good way to use up fresh fruit that is ready to go to the compost pile.

Spring and summer are great times of the year to have a cookout!  Cookouts do not have to consist of your typical high-fat “tail-gating” foods.  Grilling is actually a low-fat way to cook and can make healthy food even tastier.  Here are some healthy tips and suggestions to make your next cookout a healthier one.

  • Grill more than just burgers and hotdogs.  Try grilling fish such as salmon or grilling chicken.
  • Use whole wheat buns.
  • Always have water.  Don’t drink all your calories!
  • Bring or provide a vegetable platter, a fruit salad, or mixed nuts.

Want to add more flavor without adding all the fat and salt?

  • Marinate the vegetables as well as the meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Brush on light oil-based sauces early in grilling.  For less charring baste sauces containing sugars (fruit puree, honey preserves) toward the end of cooking.
  • Grill vegetables.  Brush them lightly with oil and herbs beforehand.
  • Brush on a little liquid smoke.  It adds more outdoor taste and is safe to eat.
  • Toward the ending of grilling, sprinkle flavorful fresh herbs, citrus or apple peels, even whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on your coals.

Supermarket shelves carry many premixed rubs for meat, seafood and poultry. Or you can make your own at home.

Combine flavors that taste good together. Apply the rub by pressing the mixture onto the surface of the meat, seafood or poultry before cooking. The food usually becomes more flavorful the longer the seasoning mixture is on.


Citrus-ZestTry these rubs, or make one based on your favorite flavors:

  • Citrus rub: Combine grated lemon, orange or lime peel (or all three) with minced garlic and cracked black pepper.
  • Pepper-garlic rub: Mix together garlic powder, cracked black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Italian rub: Combine fresh or dried oregano, basil and rosemary with minced Italian parsley and garlic.
  • Herb rub: Use fresh or dried marjoram, thyme and basil.

Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, seafood and poultry.

Adapted from: http://www.eatright.org

Extend the summer growing season by freezing fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, and oregano.  Then use them to liven up recipes for months to come. Herbs and spices add a healthy flavor to many dishes which can help you cut down on the amount of fat and salt in your family’s diet.

How to:Basil

Remove the leaves from the stems, chop finely, and place into a bowl.  Add just enough vegetable or olive oil to cover, and then pour the mixture into an ice-cube tray and freeze.  Once solid, place the cubes in a resealable plastic bag.  Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to use in a recipe, just drop a cube or two into soups, sauces or stews.  You can also defrost the cubes first, strain out the herbs and use the seasoned oil in your home made salad dressings or drizzle over steamed vegetables.  1 cube equals about 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.


Basil Pesto

1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 large garlic clove
1 cup fresh basil leaves or 16 frozen basil cubes in olive oil, thawed
1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoons lemon juice
1 ½  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (omit if using frozen basil cubes with olive oil)


Drop pine nuts and garlic through food chute with food processor on, and process until minced. Add basil, cheese, and lemon juice; process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well-blended. Spoon into a zip-top heavy-duty plastic bag; store in refrigerator.

Yield: 1 cup (serving size: 1 tablespoon)


Garden Tomato and Basil Pesto Pizza

1 (12-ounce) prebaked pizza crust (such as Boboli)
 Cooking spray
2 tablespoons pesto
1 cup (4 ounces) thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
2 cups chopped tomato (about 2 large)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil


Preheat oven to 450°.

Spray crust with cooking spray.

Place crust on a baking sheet; bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Spread pesto evenly over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with mozzarella cheese slices and tomato; sprinkle with pepper. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden. Sprinkle with basil.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/4 pizza)


Source:  Everyday Food Magazine; July/August 2007

Recipes: www.cookinglight.com

In the U.S we have the luxury of enjoying different kinds of foods all year round.  Spring is the time of year to enjoy foods that are fresh and locally grown.  Farmers Markets are so readily available all over the city! 

Fresh produce has better flavor, higher nutritional value, and less environmental burden due to less fuel used in transport.  Farmers Markets also provide you with a chance to try a fruit or vegetable you have never had before.  So stock up on these locally grown foods and create meals based on what is in season.

Here are a list of some spring fruits and vegetables in season in Ohio:








Herbs such as parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc.


Try this recipe for a healthy, delicious snack that kids are sure to love!


Strawberry Nilla Nibbles

 Prep Time: 5 minutes    Makes: 1 serving



4 Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers

2 Tbsp. thawed Cool Whip Lite Whipped Topping

2 medium strawberries, halved



Place wafers on small dessert plate.

Top each with 1-1/2 tsp. of the whipped topping and 1 strawberry half.

Serve immediately.

 Nutritional Information: Calories 90, Total fat 2 g, Saturated fat  1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 60 mg, Carbohydrate 17 g, Dietary fiber 1 g, Sugars 9 g, Protein 1 g, Vitamin A 0 %DV, Vitamin C 25 %DV, Calcium 0 %DV, Iron  2 %DV

 From Kraftfoods.com