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Healthy Eating

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Fuel for the Future

March is National Nutrition Month. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created the annual campaign in 1973 (50 years ago), and it includes a new theme each year. This year’s theme is “Fuel for the Future.” But what exactly does that mean? Food is the fuel that our bodies need to keep our system...
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Image of a bowl with tomatoes, red onions, and white beans, next a fork and napkin on a wooden tabletop

Explore the richness and health benefits of white beans

I recently tried a new white chicken chili recipe and it called for both cannellini beans and Great Northern beans. I have always used one or the other, but never at the same time. The two beans in the same bowl of soup allowed me to see and taste their similarities and differences, though honestly...
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Image of a bowl with oatmeal, blueberries, almonds, and cinnamon on a table with a poon and jar of honey

Take your oatmeal to the next level

Waking up to a warm bowl of oatmeal in the cold winter months is a good start to the day. Oatmeal has it’s perks; it’s quick and easy to prepare with a hundred different variations to keep it from getting boring, and it’s fiber content makes it both hearty and healthy, filling up your tummy while...
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Know what to look for in milk alternatives

Cow’s milk has traditionally dominated the dairy aisle, but recently alternative milks, such as almond, soy and oat milk, have been battling cow’s milk for more space. There’s a number of factors determining the increased popularity of non-dairy milk options, including veganism, lactose-intolerance...
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Say "I love you" this Valentine's Day with dark chocolate

Nothing says “I love you” like a decadent bar of rich chocolate for your Valentine. There are many types of chocolate, but dark chocolate is the one that has received all the hype for its health benefits. However, can such a treat be good for you? Like milk chocolate, dark chocolate is made with...
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Image of person chopping broccoli on a cutting board in a kitchen

Eating your broccoli doesn't have to feel like a burden

Broccoli is the dependable vegetable that can serve as the star of the meal or a trusty side dish. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, like cauliflower or cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables have both pros and cons. The con is the fact that they contain glucosinolates, sulfur compounds that give an...
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Make healthy snacking more attainable

It’s not always easy to snack on healthy foods during the holiday season. There’s generally an abundance of homemade cookies and candies to tempt our taste buds. But being more in tune with our body can help us make smart snacking decisions. Snacking can be very beneficial, as it offers an...
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Three halves of winter squash, one face down on the table, two face up with seeds showing. Contains an orange I block and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Holiday foods from the garden

No matter what holidays you celebrate, there is bound to be food around the table. Some of that food may have even come from your garden or local farmer. What cool season crops can you locally source for your holiday gathering? Think...
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A pile of white flour on a wooden table with two pieces of grain laying over it. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

For a good gravy, you need a thickening agent

To make a good cheese sauce or gravy, you need a thickening agent. Cornstarch and flour are two common thickening agents in the home kitchen. Both are cereal starches and when they’re mixed with a liquid and then heated, they gelatinize. While cornstarch and all-purpose flour can often be...
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An array of whole fruits and vegetables around a circular wooden cutting board, including carrots, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, oranges, and strawberries. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension workmark.

The fuel to fight cancer

Most of us know at least one person who has been affected by cancer. As we age, the risk of getting cancer increases. In fact, eighty percent of those diagnosed with cancer are 55 years of age or older. While we may not be able to prevent every cancer, we can help lower our risk. Our diet and food...
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Six tips to lower your sodium intake

Do you typically lean for salty or sweet? Salt cravers might get their salty kick from potato chips, fries, or popcorn. These savory snacks are an obvious source of sodium. However, even sweet lovers get more sodium than they think when considering their meals. According to the Centers for Disease...
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An overhead view of a white rectangular casserole dish with melted cheese over spiraled pasta noodles and pepperoni. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Healthier ways to enjoy the comforts of casserole

Casseroles are the essence of comfort food. They’re warmth on a cold autumn day, solace in time of mourning or sickness, and simplicity when needing to feed the family. Loosely defined, a casserole can be any food prepared in a casserole dish. A casserole dish is a deep, oven-safe dish, such as a...
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Three whole butternut squash with stems on a gray tablecloth. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

How to prepare butternut squash

Butternut squash is a favorite fall food of mine. However, I must admit that it’s odd shape and hard surface can sometimes make it frustrating to deal with. Here’s how I handle this rock-hard squash. First, decide how you are using the squash: mashed or cubed? If it doesn’t have to be cubed,...
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Three small slices of bread with bruschetta topping on a wooden cutting board. Contains an orange I logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

How to make bruschetta

Bruschetta (pronounced ‘broo skeh tuh’) is a classic appetizer that will impress the guests with it’s beautiful color and fresh taste. Originating in Italy, this popular starter dish is straight out of the garden. Fresh tomato, basil and garlic are the stars, served on a toasty baguette. As many...
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A grain bowl containing quinoa, roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, avocado slices, and a creamy white dressing. Contains Illinois Extension wordmark and orange I block logo.

Easy hacks for quick, healthy meals

With school in full swing and the kids’ activities encroaching on mealtime, it can be hard to find the time to prepare a healthy family dinner. Sometimes made-from-scratch meals just aren’t happening. However, a little bit of time to cook is better than no time, and using pre-packaged and...
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Cooking with heart-healthy sesame oil

Back when I was living on my own with my first big job, my confidence in the kitchen grew and my food repertoire became bigger. It was then that I realized my love for Asian cuisine revolves around one main ingredient: sesame oil. If you’ve cooked with sesame oil, you know of its distinct aroma and...
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A sprig of rosemary set on a round dark wood slice on top of a wooden table. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Rosemary adds a strong, assertive flavor to your plate

Rosemary is an herb I always have growing in my herb garden. Native to the Mediterranean region, it makes a beautiful addition to the landscape. It’s green needle-like leaves have a hint of evergreen taste. Its strong assertive flavor may not work well with other strong flavored herbs, such as mint...
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A white bowl of plain yogurt with a strawberry in the middle of the yogurt. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Yogurt offers many health benefits with probiotics

Yogurt is a cold, creamy treat that’s delicious anytime of the day. It’s a fermented food made by heating milk, combining it with a culture of bacteria, specifically Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and letting it sit at a warm temperature for several hours. As the cultures...
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Raspberries add a pop of color and nutrients to your plate

Red raspberries give most any dish a pop of color, generally causing my mouth to water. Buy raspberries all summer long, but don’t let them sit in your fridge for long! Freshly picked raspberries should be consumed soon after harvest and stored in the refrigerator for only 1-2 days. These highly...
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A cutting board with three different bowls of dip next to a glass of water. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Making homemade barbecue sauce

Barbecue sauce is a classic condiment for summertime grilling. If you’re asking others for the best barbecue sauce recipe, the answers will likely differ depending on what part of the U.S. they’re from. There are different styles of barbecue sauce, often associated with different regions, but most...
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A bowl containing refried beans, topped with melted cheese, chopped tomatoes, and guacamole. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Burrito bowls are fresh, nutritious, and easily customizable

Burrito bowls are fresh, nutritious, and easily customizable for all who partake. In fact, it’s probably my favorite thing to serve when having company over for dinner because with a little prep work, it’s easy to lay everything out for the guests to assemble themselves. Burrito bowls are the...
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Produce wall at a grocery store containing sections of lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cauliflower. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Lowering your costs at the grocery store

By this time, I’m sure you already know that food prices have gone up, yet it can still be a shock to the system as the grocery store clerk tells you what you owe. How can we lower our food bill without sacrificing good nutrition? While it may be tempting to simply go out to eat or order take-in...
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Four hamburger patties on a grate grill, with one being flipped with a metal spatula. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Grilling brings a whole new flavor to food

Firing up the grill is one of my favorite ways to enjoy delicious meals in the summer. Grilling allows you to experience the outdoors, and it pairs well with summer activities, such as swimming, camping, and picnics with friends. Outdoor grilling can use gas or charcoal, both of which has pros and...
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Clear bowl with pineapple and strawberry salsa surrounded by tortilla chips on a white plate. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Savory or sweet summertime salsa

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Kelsey Smith. Whether you are a savory or sweet person, make fresh salsa your go-to snack this summer! Salsa is a versatile and nutritious condiment that offers many health benefits and hydration...
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A dark pink smoothie with a straw in a glass mason jar next to bananas and strawberries. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Pack your smoothies with vital nutrients instead of sugar

During a long bike ride with my son on a warm sunny day, we used smoothies as the motivating factor to pedal home even though our legs were tired. Smoothies are the perfect summer snack to cool you off but can also be a good on-the-go breakfast for the busy adult. However, not every smoothie is a...
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Add rhubarb to your meals for a splash of color

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Hope Rasmussen.  Spring is here, which means that the fresh produce from the garden is ready or on the way. Growing up, my mom would send us kids outside to pick the produce before mealtime. My...
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Two glass bottles with a tan colored tea and black tapioca pearls at the bottom on a table. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

How to make bubble tea

Bubble tea cafes have popped up in many cities across America. If you’re not familiar with this fun drink, you may be wondering why there are black looking marbles in the bottom of people’s drinks!  Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, originated in Taiwan in the 1980’s. Those black beads at the...
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Tortillas stacked o a plate on top of a table with flour and a rolling pin. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Wrap up your dinner with tortillas

I recently noticed while looking through my recipe apps that I tend to save a lot of recipes involving tortillas. I credit that toward the versatility of tortillas and the fact that the kid in me still loves hand-held foods. Most tortillas are made with either flour or corn. Corn tortillas...
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Avocados are ripe with health benefits

I can’t say that I ever tasted an avocado as a child, nor did I even know what it was. However, a lot has changed over the last forty years! The demand for avocados has certainly increased, and in fact, avocados are now frequently a babies first food! This unique fruit is often consumed more like a...
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A wooden spoon with prunes along with prunes spilled on the table. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Prunes are good for more than digestion

Are you a prune lover like me but feel you must eat them in secret for fear of people assuming you have digestive issues going on? Prunes are so good at what they do (preventing constipation) that they get a bad rap for it, because let’s face it, no one wants to talk about that. They are often...
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A cutting board with stacks of carrots, sugar snap peas, and a bowl of cucumbers. Contains blue I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Enjoy the sweet crunch of sugar snap peas

Sugar snap peas hold true to their name; they are both sweet and crunchy. Sugar snap peas are members of the legume family. While all beans, including peas, grow in pods, sugar snap peas do not naturally split open when ripe. They are harvested when their pods reach full length, and their peas are...
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Stack of feta cheese blocks on a plate beside a bowl of sugar. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Jump into Mediterranean cooking with feta cheese

As part of Mediterranean cuisine, feta cheese is used in a wide variety of dishes. Originally from Greece, feta cheese is made with sheep’s milk, but may also contain up to 30% goat’s milk. However, most of the feta cheese made and sold here in the United States is made from cow’s milk, certainly...
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Bowl of tan-colored bulgur with a spoon, with some of the bulgur spilled on the table. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Bulgur is a convenient whole grain source

Bulgur wheat may not be the most common grain in the grocery store, but it’s about time we gave this whole grain a try. Bulgur starts with wheat berries, the raw, simplest form of wheat. These kernels are then hulled, partially cooked, and dried before packaging. Unlike wheat berries, which may...
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When eating the rainbow, don't forget white and brown foods

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, we often tell people to “eat the rainbow.” There is good reason for this as it’s a reminder to include a variety of foods in our diet, especially produce that is deep and dark in color. It is true that many darkly colored foods, offer a large amount of...
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Three cinnamon sticks stacked over a pile of ground cinnamon on a dark table. Contains an Illinois Extension wordmark and orange I logo.

Enjoy the delectable taste of cinnamon

Cinnamon is my absolute favorite spice; it’s my go-to candle scent, my favorite flavor of gum, and it’s generally the largest spice container in my spice cabinet. Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of various species of Cinnamomum trees. Ceylon cinnamon is known as “true cinnamon” but the cinnamon...
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Woman cutting into a whole chicken on a platter. Measuring cups behind the platter. Contains an orange I logo and Illinois Extension wordmark

Benefits of buying a whole chicken

Buying a whole chicken, rather than its individual parts, offers many potential benefits. However, to some people, even the mere thought of reaching into a dead bird’s carcass to pull out the liver, heart and gizzards is enough to put the brakes on and reach for the more convenient, less “icky”...
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Catch pomegranates at their peak

By now, you’ve likely heard of the somewhat peculiar fruit, the pomegranate. It’s beautiful red color, round shape and distinctive crown make an attractive display in the grocery store. Pomegranates are only in season during the early winter months, which means you’d better grab them now before...
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Pomegranates, oranges, and grapefruits cut in half

Fueling the immune system

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Kristi Brougher.  Have you ever heard the saying, “you are what you eat”? Well, this can be true. What you eat can play a role in the health of your body. Now more than ever, we are all...
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Overhead view of a cup of tea

How to brew homemade chai

What’s a non-coffee drinker to drink from the local café? Chai has become a popular beverage for those looking for an alternative to coffee. While our western culture refers to it as “chai tea,” in India we are drinking masala chai. “Chai” is the Hindi word for tea, while “masala” refers to spice....
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A sliced orange in front of a whole orange

Find oranges at their peak during winter months

While oranges are a citrus fruit that can be found all year long, they peak over the winter months. This is a time where you can usually find more variety of oranges and at a lower cost than in off season months. Navel oranges are the most popular, likely due to their sweetness and their being...
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Roasted carrots and potatoes on a baking sheet

Maillard reactions change the tastes of your food

You may remember learning about the Maillard reaction in science class at school. You probably didn’t know it then, but the Maillard reaction is something you see or use every day. It’s what makes food so delicious, turning bread into toast, giving broccoli a sweeter flavor when roasted, producing...
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Array of fruits, meats, nuts, and cheese on a charcuterie board

Eight food ideas for your holiday charcuterie board

It’s all the rage right now. Charcuterie (pronounced shar-koo-tuh-ree) boards are the latest conversational piece at the holiday party. In the simplest terms, it’s a tray loaded with all sorts of finger foods, commonly eaten as an appetizer. Think cured meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, veggies,...
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Bowl of red-colored soup with a spoon and green garnishes set on a black table.

Enjoy your holiday chili with a few healthy alternatives

At the first hint of cooler weather, there will be those (me included) running to the kitchen to make a pot of chili. It can be made a thousand different ways, each person claiming they have the secret ingredient that makes their chili win the beloved chili cookoff. There’s no right or wrong way to...
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Oatmeal in a white bowl with two spoons

Crack open black walnuts for a nutritious treat

When I was growing up, we had an old black walnut tree next to our driveway that would drop walnuts causing me to trip over them while chasing my brother. I loathed this tree, especially when it was my turn to mow the grass, as I had to first rake the walnuts, wasting more of my precious time....
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A spread of different vegetables including brussel sprouts, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, and garlic on a white table.

Shop farmers markets for your Thanksgiving meal

Locally grown foods aren’t shipped thousands of miles, which reduces the carbon footprint, supports our local growers, and offers tastier, more nutritious food. When food doesn’t have to travel far, it can be picked ripe, and eaten soon after harvest, retaining more nutrients and flavor than food...
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A wooden spoon full of wheat germ with text

Add valuable nutrients to the diet with wheat germ

If you’ve ever heard of adding wheat germ to your foods, you may have wondered what it is and why you would add it. Wheat germ is simply a component of the whole grain wheat kernel. In fact, all whole grains are composed of the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Each component contains valuable...
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Sliced zucchini on a cutting board with text

Squash the rumors about zucchini!

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic student, Shelby Holt. With the rising trends surrounding ‘zoodles, this famous squash is growing more popular every day! Zucchini is a low-calorie summer squash, free of sodium, cholesterol, and fat. It...
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A wicker basket with an assortment of green and black grapes. Text says, 'the great benefits of grapes'.

The great benefits of grapes

Grapes are a popular fruit in my household, as they’re easy for my kids to snack on. Thanks to many seedless varieties, they don’t require any peeling or slicing, they’re not messy, and they’re deliciously sweet. Illinois grapes are available July through October. Unlike many other fruits, grapes...
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A row of tacos with text that says, 'taco time'.

Tacos are an easy meal for the whole family

Americans have a love for tacos. Whether they’re served at the family dinner table, a business meeting, or as a late-night snack at a local bar, tacos have made their way as being one of America’s most adored food. Afterall, any time of the day is the right time of the day to eat tacos! There are...
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A beach with a surfboard propped up in the sand

Packing food for the beach

Many people are longing to get away this year, and what better way to pursue happiness than a trip to the beach? The silky sand and gorgeous water views are perfect for relaxing in the sun. But a day on the beach requires some planning to keep yourself nourished and hydrated. For a long day at the...
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A side view of a BLT sandwich with bread, mayonnaise, bacon, tomato, and lettuce. Text says 'crafting the perfect BLT'

Crafting the perfect BLT

If you had to name one summer sandwich, chances are you’d name the ever-famous BLT. Not a summer goes by without me making this super simple sandwich. If you don’t already know, BLT stands for bacon, lettuce, and tomato, which are the key ingredients to this lunch icon. Of course, one could say...
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A funnel cake with powdered sugar on a white paper plate. Text says, "How to enjoy fair food without going overboard."

How to enjoy fair food without going overboard

Many of the fairs and festivals we missed last year are back and ready to entertain. Deep fried candy bars, onion blossoms, and fried cheese curds are a “must-have” for some, but nutritional nightmares for cardiologists. The question is can we enjoy our favorite fair foods while still maintaining a...
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A tray of green beans set in front of an air fryer.

Reintroducing green beans

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Joo Yee Lim. Green beans don’t usually get much attention other than their once-a-year debut in Thanksgiving casseroles. However, their unassuming profile hides some pretty interesting facts!...
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A person's hand is shown pouring balsamic vinegar into a white bowl.

Flavor up with balsamic vinegar

Once I discovered how to put balsamic vinegar to good use, this vinegar fought it’s way from the depths of rarely used ingredients in my kitchen pantry, to the easy-to-reach shelf, directly in front and right next to the olive oil. It flavors most all my vegetables from Brussel sprouts to carrots...
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A slice of a watermelon on a paper towel with a pink background

Keep hydrated with melon this summer

Melon is one the most sought-after fruit of the summer. Watermelon, muskmelon and honeydew all contain about 90 percent water, making them a popular sweet, juicy fruit for summer barbecues. If you’ve ever been confused about the difference between a muskmelon or a cantaloupe, you’re not alone. The...
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A bunch of daikon radishes with green stems attached

Ask your local growers about daikon radishes

Most people are familiar with radishes, those red-skinned, white-flesh, peppery vegetables often found on a salad bar. However, there are many other radishes, such as the daikon radish, that look completely different and yield a slightly altered taste. The daikon radish looks more like a white...
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A spoon scooping ghee out of a glass jar. Flowers on the table around the jar.

Is ghee healthier than other fats?

You may have heard about a type of fat, often used in Indian and Asian cuisine, called ghee. It’s been touted as having many health benefits, including decreased inflammation and improved digestion. However, is there any evidence to support these claims? Ghee is clarified butter made by slowly...
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Two cups of coffee on platers with a leaf design in the foam.

How much caffeine is too much?

Do you start your day with a cup of joe? My children now ask me if I’ve remembered my coffee as we pile into the car to drive to school and work. They know how important this cup of goodness is and how it can send me into a frenzy when I don’t have it. But is this everyday caffeine intake good for...
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A white plate with gold silverware and text that says "are you tired of cooking, too?"

Are you tired of cooking, too?

I recently had a few conversations with friends and coworkers that all talked about how they are tired of cooking. I, myself, joined in or even started the discussion of feeling burned out. More time at home over the past year has evolved into more meals being prepared at home, but the enthusiasm...
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Text says "sources of vitamin D" with image of sun shining in a field

Where to get your vitamin D sources

Spring has arrived, and the sun is starting to stay out longer. This may not only make us happier, but it may also make us healthier. Our bodies make vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin”, when the natural light hits our skin. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and...
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Overhead view of a bowl of oatmeal with fruit, a cup of coffee, and avocado on a cutting board.

Debunking five nutrition myths

Like in most subject areas, there will always be myths, particularly when it comes to food and health. Here are five nutrition myths I am happy to debunk. 1. Carbs are bad for you. Carbohydrates serve as your body’s preferred source of energy for daily tasks and it provides fuel...
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A maroon bowl with refried beans

Save on sodium with homemade refried beans

Refried beans may not have the most appealing look, but their creamy delicious taste makes up for it. They are traditionally made from pinto beans, but black beans may be prepared this way as well. Contrary to their name, refried beans are not fried twice. They are boiled, mashed and then either...
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Five different scoops of different colored protein powders.

Do you need to bulk up on protein powder?

Protein powders can be spotted on the shelves of supplement stores, pharmacies, fitness centers and big box stores. Perhaps you’ve wondered if you should be bulking up on protein powder, too. Protein is a macronutrient important for building muscle mass, repairing tissue and powering the immune...
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A stack of granola bars on a white plate.

Homemade granola bars

This blog post was written by Nutrition & Wellness intern, Kelley Herman.  Most people are used to going to the grocery store, cruising down the cracker and snack aisle, and picking up some granola bars or crackers for quick snacks in the future. These prepackaged options are helpful...
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Bowl of couscous with slices of red bell peppers and basil

Does couscous belong in the grain or pasta family?

Couscous (pronounced kūs kūs) has made a notable mark in North American cooking. While many believe that it is a type of grain, such as rice or barley, it is actually a type of pasta. (Hint: some grocery stores may stock couscous in the pasta section, but most will often stock it in the grain...
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A white bowl full of poppy seeds.

Savor the versatility of poppy seeds

If you’ve never seen poppy seeds, you may wonder what these tiny dark specks are doing all over your bagel. Poppy seeds are often used in baked goods, giving the product a slight nutty, sweet/spicy taste, a crunchy texture, and a unique decoration. There are many different types of poppy seeds,...
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Casserole and green beans on a white plate

One skillet casserole for a easy weeknight meal

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Emily Kearney.  Fiesta casserole is a quick and easy weeknight meal that is ready in 30 minutes. It can be made in one pot or a skillet, so the cleanup is minimal. Fiesta casserole makes for a...
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Stack of pancakes with blueberries and raspberries

Are flapjacks a family favorite?

When “flapjacks” somehow came into our family dinner conversation, I asked my six-year-old son if he knew what they were. He promptly said, “Yeah, it’s square, and it’s sweet.” Confused, I went straight to Google, and lo and behold, pictures of square oat bars popped up. While it’s true that in the...
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Mashed sweet potatoes in a bowl

For the love of mashed foods

Squish it. Smash it. Smoosh it. Our very first taste of solid food most likely came in a mashed or pureed form. However, as we have aged into adults, we must not forget that we can still enjoy our inner-baby’s love of mush. Here are four mashed foods that shouldn’t be stopped when the high chair...
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Grapes, tomato, lettuce, bread, cheese, meat, and red pepper.

All life stages accounted for in the new dietary guidelines

Years of scientific research tells us that there is a connection between food and health. Evidence shows that a healthy diet as part of an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of chronic disease. However, with nutritional advice constantly circulating the internet, how do we know what is sound...
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One sliced apple and two whole apples beside a pitcher of glass pitcher of apple cider vinegar

Are there health benefits to apple cider vinegar?

If you type in “apple cider vinegar” into any search engine, thousands of results touting its alleged health benefits will pop up. There are claims that it promotes weight loss, improves digestion, aids in heartburn, improves heart health, lowers blood sugar levels, and much, much more. However,...
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Fish tacos next to limes and a bowl of guacamole

Recognize hunger cues with intuitive eating

Most people couldn’t be happier to start this new year; a fresh start and a step away from a year that dared to isolate and defy our self-contentment. The most common New Years’ resolutions include exercising, eating healthy and losing weight, and after such a challenging year, likely even more...
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Cutting board with avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms, and various other vegetables

Meatless meals

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Kayla Kaspari.  Many cultures (Mediterranean, Latin, Asian) and diets (vegetarian) are rooted in meatless, plant-based meals. Some individuals never consume meat, while others limit meat for...
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Tomato basil salad on a blue plate

Time to eat your tomatoes

This blog post was written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Kayla Kaspari.  Whether a tomato is considered a fruit or vegetable is one of the most highly debated questions in the food world. No matter what they are, tomatoes find their way to our mouths...
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Assortment of green herbs laid out on a wooden cutting board.

Use herbs to flavor up your favorite drink

One of my favorite ways to use fresh herbs is to add them to different drinks. It brings a completely new dimension to what may already be a familiar drink. It can be as simple as adding mint to your iced tea, basil to your lemonade or rosemary to your orange juice. There are many ways to impart...
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Various pieces of food creating a bunny face (pretzel sticks for whiskers, kiwi slices for ears) on a white plate.

Sweeten up with kiwifruit

Originally discovered in China, kiwifruit found it’s way to producers in New Zealand, Italy, Chile and in the United States, California. While today’s generation is growing up with kiwi available at the grocery stores all year round, many generations had never heard of this funny looking fruit. It...
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Pass the chili sauce

Which condiment do you grab? Sriracha, classic chili sauce or maybe a sweet red chili sauce? These are all examples of different kinds of chili sauce, some of which are excellent for dipping our favorite finger foods. Chili sauce is a blend of puréed or chopped chili peppers, vinegar, sugar and...
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Chicken salad sandwich with lettuce and bread, set on a napkin on top of a table.

Lighten up your summer salads

Summer is a good time to enjoy a meat salad or egg salad sandwich. A cold sandwich that differs from the standard deli meat or pb&j, is a welcomed item on the lunch menu. Of course, the classic diner favorite can be a high calorie offender, depending on the ingredients used. Tuna, chicken and...
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Yellow weight on a barbell.

Pump up the iron with iron-rich foods

While you may be pumping iron at your gym, your body is pumping iron every day. Most of the iron that our bodies absorb is used to make hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that transport oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. Since our bodies cannot make this essential nutrient, we need...
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Blue background, glass in the middle of picture with water being poured into it.

Why water?

This blog post is written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Jesi Thome.   Have you ever wondered why people say water is so important? We grow up hearing “make sure to drink plenty of water” for everything! If it’s hot outside, drink water. If it’s cold...
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Basil leaves on a wooden table.

Perk up your dinner with pesto

Pesto isn’t just for the fine dining of the rich and famous. Rather, it can be a part of the regular ol' American family dinner. While it may seem like a fancy and unnecessary addition to an otherwise tasty meal, its bold taste can elevate a food to a whole new level. Take a simple grilled chicken...
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