Farm-to-Table Meal from Our Family to Yours

Have you ever dreamed of having a professional chef take over your kitchen and serve you and your family? Do you fawn over the wonderful recipes that come from the creative minds of the Chow Locally chefs?

Well, now is your chance! Chow Locally will send one of our professionally trained chefs to cook you and your family a wonderful meal for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home, at no cost to you. We’ll even clean up afterwards!

All you have to do is send us an email message that convinces us why you should be one of the lucky Chow Share members to have a professional chef cook you and yours a meal. Make sure to title the email “Send me my chef!” and send to info@chowlocally.com.

Chow Healthily,

Francesca Hinojosa and the Chow Locally Team

Fiber is Filling (and Has Lots of Other Benefits, Too)

By: Jamie Balesteri

As children, many of us experienced those nights at dinner when we weren’t allowed to leave the table until we finished our broccoli; or worse, we were threatened by the promise of “no dessert” until all of our peas were gone.  Why on earth would the adult figures in our lives subject us (in our minds) to such cruel acts of coercion and deprivation? Well, they understood the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption that we as children were not capable of comprehending just yet, and they just wanted the best for us and our health.  Simply put, they showed tough love because they cared about us with every “fiber” of their being.

On that note, here are some reminders about one of the oft-overlooked nutritional contributions of fruits and vegetables to our daily diets: Fiber.

What is dietary fiber and where does it come from?

Fiber is stuff found in the cell walls of plant foods that ‘resists’ breakdown in our digestive tract.  It’s found in a wide array of fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains, and it can also be consumed in the form of a supplement.  It can do a lot to improve our health, but sometimes people don’t really know how to make sure to get enough in their diet.  Read on to learn how to do just that.

What are the health benefits of high fiber consumption?

A diet high in fiber has loads of health benefits.  For example, it improves…ahem…regularity.  It can also help us feel fuller longer, and that is really useful for weight management.  But the major benefits have to do with the most important chronic diseases from which Americans suffer: heart disease and diabetes.  As it turns out, fiber can actually decrease blood cholesterol levels, which is important for heart health, and it can help normalize blood sugar levels, which is a major issue in decreasing risk for diabetes or helping to manage it for people with diabetes (1).

How much fiber should we eat?

Unfortunately, American don’t eat enough fiber.  According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the daily recommendation for fiber intake is on average 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men (and frankly, the more the better!).  But, the current daily fiber intake in the United States only reaches about half of the recommended amount, since the average person only consumes about 15 grams per day (2).

Luckily, you Chow Share members out there are already doing good for your body through your Chow Share.  Since your share is filled with fruits and vegetables, it’s also filled with healthy fiber!

Tips and tricks to get more fiber in your diet from produce:

  • Be creative and add variety.
    Many vegetables can be given new life by using them in unique ways, which can also prevent the monotony of eating the same produce prepared the same way every day.  Add chopped or shredded veggies to sautés, frittatas, sauces, smoothies, muffins, and other baked goods. These are also great methods for using up excess produce before it spoils.
  •  Don’t throw away the pulp or the peels!
    Peels from fruits and vegetables contain the highest concentration of fiber, so opt out of removing the peels as long as they are edible!  If you are a fan of juicing, the pulp that gets left behind contains nearly all of the fiber from the fruits and vegetables being juiced. Instead of throwing it out, use it the same way as mentioned above for chopped and shredded vegetables.  It can even be frozen in ice cube trays for convenient use later on!
  •  Eat a large salad every day.
    Leafy greens contain a lot of fiber and very few calories because of the large surface area of their leaves.  Also, don’t underestimate the green tops that are often discarded from root vegetables.  Beet, radish, and turnip greens can be chopped and added to salads or even sautéed.
  •  One final note:
    Fiber supplements can add to one’s daily intake, but they do not contain the other valuable nutrients present in whole fruits and vegetables, which arguably offer more “bang” for your bite.

One of the best ways to eat lots of fiber is to give in to that voice from your childhood telling you to “eat your vegetables.”  Thankfully, your Chow Share makes doing so fun!  So grab that share and dig in!

 

Sources:

  1. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/fiber/ART-20043983. Published November 17, 2012. Accessed February 12, 2014.
  2. Slavin JL. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:1716-1731.

 

Technique of the Week: Chopping Parsley

In this week’s share, you’ll be receiving delicious Italian parsley.  While most people are very familiar with parsley (we’ve seen it so often as a garnish in many restaurant dishes), when faced with a bunch of parsley sitting on our kitchen counter top, we often don’t know how best to prep it for use in cooking.  As a result, many people (this author included) resort to pulling single leaves off at a time, then piling them up and chopping away.

That takes time…quite a bit of time. Thankfully, Chow Locally has a team of knowledgeable culinary experts on staff to help us save time and effort with great, simple cooking and food prep techniques. This week, Chef Chad shares with us a simple technique to prepare parsley the way a chef would in a restaurant. Check out the great video below.

Children Can Love Vegetables, too!

Small utensils for small hands.

Small utensils for small hands.

One of the secrets to getting your child to eat all their vegetables, is getting them involved in cooking! When they can take ownership of a project, they have a tendency to be very proud of the results. Here are some tips to getting your child more involved with consuming your Chow Locally share.

1) Let them choose the ingredients:

When you bring home your share, sort through the produce with them. Tell them the name of each item and ask them what they like about each one. They may like that it is green, multicolored, or that Lacinato kale (also named Dino kale) looks like the scales of a dinosaur! Once they pick something they like, help them come up with a dish to make with it.

2) Get an Apron or Utensils:

One way to get them into vegetables is to start teaching them to cook, and making them feel a true part of the process is giving them equipment. Not only is it a valuable life skill, but they will have a lot of fun in the cooking process.

There are special utensils made just for the hands of babes, so they can help! Just do all the chopping and let them add ingredients, as you instruct them. Even something as simple as letting them toss the salad is a big deal, in their eyes! This will require some patience on your part, but they will appreciate all the extra time spent with you!

3) You’re a role model — not a short-order cook:

Let them eat what you eat, from as early of an age as possible. Just make sure you’re eating what you want them to eat, of course… You must be the role model! If you must, mix vegetables with rice, or another grain your child likes. Simply sauté the vegetables in a little bitter or olive oil with spices, and toss with the grains.

4) Let them dip vegetables!

We all know most vegetables are good with ranch dressing, but most kids also love hummus. Lace hummus with pureed edamame, roasted red peppers, or artichokes for an extra punch of nutrition.

5) Roasting vegetables:

One of my daughter’s favorite ways to eat vegetables is roasted. Toss big chunks of your favorite vegetable (I like broccoli!) with olive oil and add salt and pepper — maybe ass a few extra of your favorite seasonings. Be creative! Roast most veggies in a 350 degree F oven. The veggies become nutty in a way that steaming or raw simply cannot duplicate.

6) Do not force them to eat veggies:

This could bring about a negative association with the vegetable, or an indignant attitude towards the family table. Whatever you do, try your best to keep a positive attitude about vegetables and eating. You never know when they may decide to follow suit.

These are just a few fun ways to incorporate more veggies into your child’s diet. Some things appeal more to some, but there are always new things to try. Because vegetables carry an array of nutrients and varieties, realize that you do not have to eat every type of vegetable to be a happy and healthy family.

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