Community Supported Agriculture

Are you interested in eating fresh, seasonal, nutritious food while supporting local farmers? You may want to join a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. When you join a CSA, you purchase farm shares directly from your local farmer. In return, you receive fresh produce throughout the growing season, support the local economy, and develop a relationship with the farmers who grow your food.

There are a variety of CSA options, but you can expect to receive weekly boxes of food that contain produce, fruit, cheese, eggs, meat, flowers or herbs. Many farmers also include newsletters, cooking tips, and recipes. Some farms even provide opportunities for you to visit the farm or participate in farm events and dinners.

A typical CSA season in Wisconsin runs from May through October, and you are usually able to sign up from December or April, or until the farm fills up. There are a variety of share options and payment plans to accommodate different households. A “standard” share usually feeds a family of four, but if this seems like too much food for your family, you may be able to sign up for a “half” share or split a “standard” share with another family.

There are a variety of CSA options in southwestern Wisconsin, and Fair Share Coalition provides free resources to help you to decide which CSA farm is best for your family. The farms that are endorsed by Fair Share Coalition must grow or produce the majority of their products on the farm, be certified organic or transition to organic certification, raise animals in humane conditions, and be able to provide a high level of customer service.

A typical CSA farm share costs anywhere from $300 to $650 for the season, however, some farms offer worker shares, which allows CSA members to pay for their weekly share by working a specified number of hours each week on the farm. In addition, some insurance companies, including Dean Health, GHC-SCW, Physicians Plus, and Unity Health, offer health insurance rebates for making healthy choices. You can earn $100 to $200 cash rebates for purchasing fruit or vegetable CSA shares. Furthermore, you may quality for Fair Share’s Partner Shares Program if you have a limited income. If your current monthly household income is at or below the 185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines, you may receive 50%, up to $300, toward the cost of shares from Fair Share-endorsed CSA farms. You may also use SNAP benefits to pay for your CSA farm membership. To learn more, visit the Fair Share Coalition website (www.csacoalition.org) and go to the “CSA Healthy Rebate Program” and the “Partner Shares” links.

If you would like to learn more about joining a CSA, you are invited to Upland Hills Health to meet local farmers Rink DaVee from Shooting Star Farm and Lois Federman from Farm Connection Meat CSA. Rink and Lois will be near the entrance to the Center Café from 11:00 to 1:00 on March 4th and March 12th to answer your questions and to help you to sign up for a CSA.

Staying Slim on Spring Break

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You’ve almost hit the end of the countdown until spring break. You’ve worked out, eaten healthy, may have lost some weight, and are ready to wear your shorts and tank top. You have put so much effort into making healthy lifestyle changes for vacation, are you going to let them all go to the wayside when on vacation? You don’t want to end up coming home feeling bloated, exhausted and just plain worn out; after all this was a vacation! Don’t worry, we have tips to stay slim and healthy on spring break this year.

1. Stay hydrated. Sip plenty of water or calorie-free beverages throughout the day. This can help control hunger and regulate body temperature. Take a reusable water bottle on vacation to keep on- or near you at all times to remind you to stay hydrated.
2. Pack healthy snacks for the plane or car ride. Examples include granola bars, trail mix, string cheese, fruit leather, nuts, apples, oatmeal, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If for some reason you do end up going a long time without being able to eat, have one of these healthy snacks to avoid overeating at your next meal.
3. Choose healthy options at restaurants. Look for descriptive words such as: baked, broiled, grilled, or steamed. Add fruit or vegetables as a side dish instead of French fries or potato chips. Avoid dishes with cream or cheese sauces and ask for dressing on the side. And most importantly, don’t forget to try something new while on vacation!
4. Watch portion sizes. Chances are you will likely end up eating out but that doesn’t mean it has to sabotage your diet. Split portion sizes with family or friends or take half back to the hotel for later. Have a child-sized portion which is more appropriate to what actual portion sizes should be.
5. Stay at a hotel or rental vacation home that has a fully stocked kitchen available for use. This way you can save money and calories by making a few easy meals for yourself. Once you get to your destination, find a local grocery store that would have some healthy options to purchase or prepare.
6. Find creative ways to fit in exercise. Go for a hike, ride a bike, rent a canoe or kayak, do aqua exercises, play volleyball, go swimming, play tennis. The possibilities are endless!
7. Find alcoholic drinks that are lower in calories. Alcohol is almost as dense as fat at seven calories/gram which means it can add up quickly. Mix drinks with diet soda, water, or a zero-calorie electrolyte drink to help hydrate and cut back on calories.
8. Don’t forget to catch enough ZZZ’s. Sleep helps regulate hormone levels, promotes brain development, and recharges our bodies. Try to get at least eight hours a day but if you can’t, it might not hurt to take a nap on the beach!

There are plenty of ways to stay slim on spring break if you put in a little extra effort. Here is a spring break-friendly recipe you can prepare and pack ahead of time to take with from myrecipes.com.

Sweet Chipotle Snack Mix
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 large egg white
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup unsalted cashews
1 cup unsalted pumpkinseed kernels
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
3. Place egg white in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until foamy. Add the almonds, cashews, and pumpkinseeds; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with spice mixture; toss well to coat. Spread nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes, stirring once. Turn oven off. Remove pan from oven; stir snack mix. Immediately return pan to oven for an additional 15 minutes (leave oven off). Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack; cool completely. Store snack mix in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Nutritional Information: 130 calories, 9.7 g fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 4.5 g protein, 7.3 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g fiber, 175 mg sodium.

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

grapefruit

Ingredients:
2 red or pink grapefruit
8 tsp packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp melted butter
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp non-fat or low-fat plain greek yogurt
1 tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Position the oven rack about 3 inches from the heat source, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
2. Cut each grapefruit in half, then trim a thin slice off the bottom so it sits level. With a paring knife or grapefruit knife, cut around each segment; remove any seeds. Place the grapefruit halves on the prepared baking sheet. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brust each grapefruit half with butter, then sprinkle with about 2 tsp of the sugar mixture.
3. Broil the grapefruit, watching carefully and rotating the pan front to back once halfway through, until the tops are bubbling and golden brown, about 7-12 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, beat cream in a small bowl until stiff. Beat in yogurt, granulated sugar and vanilla just until combined. Serve each grapefruit topped with a tablespoon of vanilla cream.

Makes 4 servings, ½ grapefruit each
Nutrition Information: 138 calories, 5 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber, 8 mg sodium
Recipe Source: http://www.eatingwell.com

Grapefruit

grapefruit2

Did you know that February is National Grapefruit Month? Grapefruit is a citrus fruit that is primarily in season in the winter months but it can be found in grocery stores all year round. Grapefruit originated in South East Asia but today it is grown in southern states such as Texas, Arizona, Florida, and California. The growing season for grapefruit in the US can vary. In Arizona and California, the season goes from January to June; in Texas and Florida the growing season is slightly longer, going from October to June. During times of the year when grapefruit is not in season in the United States it is often imported from other countries.

There are two different types of grapefruit, seeded or seedless. The inside flesh comes in two different colors; white or pink but the skin of the grapefruit is typically yellow for both varieties. When choosing a grapefruit to purchase at the grocery store try to purchase one that is bright in skin color with no noticeable bruising. Try picking one that is more firm and a little on the heavy side, the heavier the grapefruit the more fruit and juice there is on the inside. A grapefruit can be stored on the kitchen counter but it will keep fresh much longer in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks!

Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber; the extra fiber will help keep you full longer which makes grapefruit an excellent snack choice. Grapefruit also contains folic acid and calcium. A pink grapefruit in particular is high in Vitamin A, which is good for protecting eye health and maintaining a healthy immune system. Grapefruit is also full of antioxidants that can protect cells from damage by free radicals and therefore can reduce the risk for cancer and other certain diseases.

It is good to remember that while grapefruit has great nutritional benefits it does interact with certain medications such as cholesterol lowering medications. Be sure to check your medications for possible interactions with grapefruit before eating grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
Try the recipe below for a tasty grapefruit treat!

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit
Makes 4 servings, ½ grapefruit each
Ingredients:
2 red or pink grapefruit
8 tsp packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp melted butter
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp non-fat or low-fat plain greek yogurt
1 tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Position the oven rack about 3 inches from the heat source, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
2. Cut each grapefruit in half, then trim a thin slice off the bottom so it sits level. With a paring knife or grapefruit knife, cut around each segment; remove any seeds. Place the grapefruit halves on the prepared baking sheet. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brust each grapefruit half with butter, then sprinkle with about 2 tsp of the sugar mixture.
3. Broil the grapefruit, watching carefully and rotating the pan front to back once halfway through, until the tops are bubbling and golden brown, about 7-12 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, beat cream in a small bowl until stiff. Beat in yogurt, granulated sugar and vanilla just until combined. Serve each grapefruit topped with a tablespoon of vanilla cream.
Nutrition Information: 138 calories, 5 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber, 8 mg sodium
Recipe Source: http://www.eatingwell.com

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. canola oil
¼ c cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ c white sugar
1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
½ c dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 square baking dish.
2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.
4. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to shape into hearts.

Servings: 16

Strawberry Fruit Dip with Cupid Fruit Kabobs

Kabob Ingredients:http://www.smoothieweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/04/strawberry-blueberries.jpg
Small Skewers
Pineapple
Strawberries
Blueberries
Dip Ingredients:
1 ½ c Frozen Whole Strawberries, Thawed
2 c (16 oz) Plain Yogurt
½ tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. Wash pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries. Cut fresh pineapple into triangles. Remove stems from strawberries. Using the skewers, place the strawberry on the skewer towards the middle, followed by a blueberry and then the pineapple triangle last. Use your creativity and make the other side of the skewer look like the end of an arrow!
2. In a blender, mix plain yogurt, thawed strawberries, and vanilla extract. Blend ingredients until smooth. Dip makes 11 servings.
3. Serve kabobs with chilled strawberry fruit dip.

Heart Shaped Cream Cheese and Strawberry Sandwiches

Ingredients:
1 Slice Whole Wheat Bread
1 Tbsp. Strawberry Cream Cheese
1 Strawberry

Directions:
1. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut bread into heart shapes. Spread strawberry cream cheese onto bread.
2. Clean strawberries and remove stem. Cut strawberries in half (so they look similar to a heart) and place on top of bread with cream cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Servings: 2

 

Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids

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Valentine’s Day often includes classroom celebrations where students bring candy, chocolate, cookies, and other sweet treats to share. These treats often include extra fat and sugar that are calorie dense and low in essential nutrients. It is important to teach kids while they are younger about healthier Valentine’s Day treats that are delicious and nutritious.

If you choose chocolate this year, choose the darkest chocolate possible with a high percentage of cocoa. Cocoa contains antioxidants that have been shown to be beneficial for heart health. Many brands of chocolate contain 50% cocoa, but some offer more than 80%.

It is also important to remember to control your portions when choosing chocolate. Dark chocolate may have health benefits, however still contains calories and fat. Try a dark chocolate treat with less than 150 calories:
• One ounce of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao)
• Three Dove dark chocolate miniatures
• Two mini mint dark chocolate Three Musketeers bars
• Seven dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses
• Nine Dove dark chocolate-covered almonds

This year, send a healthier treat to school with your kids to promote a healthy lifestyle, even on holidays that focus on sweet treats. Try one of the recipes below to send to your child’s classroom Valentine’s Day celebration!

Heart Shaped Cream Cheese and Strawberry Sandwiches


Servings: 2
Ingredients:
1 Slice Whole Wheat Bread
1 Tbsp. Strawberry Cream Cheese
1 Strawberry
Directions:
1. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut bread into heart shapes. Spread strawberry cream cheese onto bread.
2. Clean strawberries and remove stem. Cut strawberries in half (so they look similar to a heart) and place on top of bread with cream cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Strawberry Fruit Dip with Cupid Fruit Kabobs

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Kabob Ingredients:
Small Skewers
Pineapple
Strawberries
Blueberries
Dip Ingredients:
1 ½ c Frozen Whole Strawberries, Thawed
2 c (16 oz) Plain Yogurt
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
Directions:
1. Wash pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries. Cut fresh pineapple into triangles. Remove stems from strawberries. Using the skewers, place the strawberry on the skewer towards the middle, followed by a blueberry and then the pineapple triangle last. Use your creativity and make the other side of the skewer look like the end of an arrow!
2. In a blender, mix plain yogurt, thawed strawberries, and vanilla extract. Blend ingredients until smooth. Dip makes 11 servings.
3. Serve kabobs with chilled strawberry fruit dip.

Black Bean Brownies


Servings: 16
Ingredients:
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. canola oil
¼ c cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ c white sugar
1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
½ c dark chocolate chips (optional)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 square baking dish.
2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.
4. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to shape into hearts.

Skillet Salmon and Parmesan Potatoes

salmon-parmesan-potatoes-400x400
Ingredients:
• 1 (6 ounce) salmon fillet (about 1-inch thick)
• Cooking spray
• 2 medium potatoes
• 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 cups mixed salad greens
• 1 cup chopped tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons low-fat balsamic vinaigrette
• 1 lemon
• Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
1. Heat a nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat fish with cooking spray. Add fish to pan, and cook 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
2. While fish cooks, pierce potatoes with a fork; arrange in a circle on paper towels in a microwave oven. Microwave on HIGH 8 to 10 minutes, rearranging potatoes after 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
3. Cut cooked potatoes in half, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cheese. (Remember to cut down on sodium, limit how much salt is added here).
4. Combine greens, tomatoes, and vinaigrette in a bowl; toss gently.
5. Cut lemon in half, and squeeze lemon juice over fish. Serve with potatoes and salad.

Nutrition Facts: 410 calories, 12 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 800 mg sodium

Makes 2 servings (3 oz. salmon, 2 potato halves, and 1 ½ cups salad)

Source: health.com

Cobb Egg Salad

Ingredients:cobb egg salad
3 Tbsp nonfat plain yogurt
3 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp salt
8 hard-boiled eggs
1 ripe avocado, cubed
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preparation:
1. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Halve eggs and discard 4 of the yolks. Add whites and the remaining 4 yolks to the bolw and mash to desired consistency. Gently stir in avocado, bacon and blue cheese.

Source: EatingWell
Yield: 4 servings
Serving size: 3/4 cup
Nutrition information per serving: 257 calories, 18 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 15 g protein, 3 g fiber, 515 mg sodium