July is National Blueberry Month

By Joanne DeMarchi, MS, RD, IBCLC, clinical dietitian at CHOC Children’s

Summer is the height of berry season, and no berry says summer more than the blueberry. Blueberries contain dietary fiber, vitamins A and C and are one of the most antioxidant rich foods in the world.  Here is the scoop on blueberries.

Fiber
High fiber foods benefit digestive and heart health. 1 cup of blueberries provides 3.6 grams of fiber.  Add that to a cup of oatmeal or other whole grain cereal and your meal will provide almost 20% of your fiber goal for the day.

Vitamin C
One serving of blueberries (about 1 cup) provides 25% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the most common antioxidants and contributes to healthy gums, absorption of iron and healthy capillaries, formation of collagen and a healthy immune system.

Antioxidant activity
Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals — unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically the anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, are the major contributors to antioxidant activity.

If you are traveling this summer, why not find a farm to go blueberry picking.  Six states account for more than 90 percent of the crop: Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, North Carolina, Georgia and Washington.  Use this website to find blueberry farms in these and other US states where you can pick your own. http://www.nabcblues.org/index.html

Once you’ve picked your berries pour them over cereal or yogurt, add them to fruit or green salads for a delicious, healthful taste of summer.  Keep blueberries in your diet during the rest of the year by trying this frozen blueberry smoothie recipe.  It makes a great grab and go breakfast treat.

Frozen Blueberry Smoothie recipe
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  •  2-3 ice cubes (optional)

Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth or to desired consistency then serve.

Nutrition:

  • Calories: 243
  • Total Fat: 2.9g
  •  Total Carbohydrates: 43.8g
  • Fiber: 1.8g
  •  Sugars: 40.7g
  • Protein: 11.8g

To learn more about Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services at CHOC, please visit http://www.choc.org/services/index.cfm?id=P00321.

March Is National Nutrition Month

Are you frustrated because your kids aren’t eating more fruits and vegetables? “Just keep trying,” recommends Sue Freck, R.D., a CHOC registered dietitian. You may have to serve a new food as often as 10 times before your child will show any interest in it!

Freck says pleasurable associations with shopping, food preparation and family meals help children develop healthy dietary habits for life.

National Nutrition Month in March, is a great time for reinforcing healthy eating habits. To help get your kids started, here are a few yummy, healthy snacks recommended by the American Dietetic Association.

  • Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.
  • Top low-fat vanilla yogurt with crunchy granola and sprinkle with blueberries.
  • Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana for thirty seconds for a delicious smoothie.
  • Make a mini-sandwich with tuna or egg salad on a dinner roll.
  • Toss dried cranberries and chopped walnuts in instant oatmeal.
  • Sandwich cut-outs: Make a sandwich on a whole grain bread. Cut out your favorite shape using a big cookie cutter.
  • Toast a whole grain waffle and top with low-fat yogurt and sliced peaches.
  • Stuff a whole grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon.
  • Spread peanut butter on apple slices.

For more nutrition tips from our CHOC expert, click here:
http://www.choc.org/publications/articles.cfm?id=P00303&aid=195