Saturday, June 22, 2024

National Coconut Day

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years. Unlike their name suggests, coconuts aren’t nuts. They form part of the drupe family, which are fruits consisting of a fleshy external part with a pit and seed inside. Drupes have three layers: the outer layer, a fleshy middle layer, and a hard layer that surrounds the seed.

Recently, coconut has gotten a lot of publicity as being a super-healthy food, but much of the information is not supported by science. There is a variety of coconut-derived products adding flavor to your food - from coconut oil to coconut flour and coconut milk. But can a food so high in calories and rich with saturated fat be healthy?

Coconut Oil and Coconut Butter
Coconut oil is simply the oil extracted from the coconut meat, while coconut butter is made from coconut flesh ground into a spreadable paste

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and solid at room temperature. It is used in some packaged foods and for cooking and baking. Cook with coconut oil in dishes where you'll notice and appreciate the flavor, like curries, soups, and even muffins.

Coconut butter is a rich and creamy product with a peanut butter-like texture. Unlike coconut oil, the butter actually contains the meat of the coconut so it is more solid and white. It is a common ingredient in the Paleo Diet and uses include replacing other nut butters in baking, spreading on toast, melting and drizzling on desserts, or just eating it straight.

It can be used as a vegan, dairy-free butter replacement, nut-free butter, as a base for desserts such as fudge and for frosting. Coconut butter is also known as coconut manna.

Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is made from a brew of coconut meat and water. It is rich and thick and more like a cream than milk. This plant-based milk has a delicious creamy taste and is great in smoothies, curries, soups, stews, desserts, etc. It’s very popular in Asian and Caribbean cuisine.

Coconut milk is a common replacement in recipes that traditionally call for cow’s milk. It’s also very popular among vegans and people who follow a dairy-free diet.

Coconut cream is the thick, creamy part of coconut milk that contains less water than coconut milk. It’s very suitable for desserts and in dishes requiring a rich consistency. You can also use it to make dairy-free whipped cream.

Condensed coconut milk is cooked coconut milk. The evaporation during the cooking process gives it a thick, creamy consistency.

Beyond the more traditional canned coconut milk, there is creamer for coffee, yogurt in various flavors, and coconut milk ice cream. While it may be a good option for vegans and those with lactose intolerance, the low protein content and high amount of fat actually make it a poor nutritional replacement for cow's milk.

Coconut Water
Coconut water is known for being an alternative to sports drinks, the hydrating water has electrolytes, sodium, and magnesium to help post-workout recovery. Some brands have been found to have fewer benefits than listed on the cartons, so be sure to buy from a trusted source.

Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is gluten-free flour made from de-fatted dried and ground coconut meat. The high fiber content is nutritionally beneficial, but it can sometimes make it difficult to bake with. Coconut flour is a great way to add coconut flavor to baked goods. Coconut flour is popular with special diets, like Paleo and Keto

Coconut Meat 
Once the outer green husk of the coconut is removed, what remains is the seed and its rich inner white lining, the coconut meat. It is a creamy and healthy snack with a bite. It can be used in granola, fruit salad, or by itself. Coconut meat is the base for many healthy coconut products such as coconut milk, coconut oil, shredded coconut, coconut ice cream, coconut yogurt, coconut kefir, and coconut flour.

Dried Shredded Coconut / Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
This is dehydrated coconut meat and it’s typically used in desserts, baking, and fruit salads. Coconut flakes are a tasty, healthy snack on their own or combined with nuts, seeds, and other fruit. You can buy them as flakes and chips. Prepackaged dried flaked coconut or dried shredded coconut is the most convenient to cook or bake with. Choose unsweetened dried shredded coconut or coconut flakes over-sweetened dried coconut, which has 2 teaspoons added sugar per ounce.

Coconut Sugar is made from the sap of the coconut flower rather than the coconut itself. In comparison to granulated sugar, it has a darker color, deeper flavor, and some versions come with added flavors. Coconut sugar has a rich taste with a hint of caramel. It’s not to be confused with palm sugar. Nutritionally, it's very similar to granulated and can be substituted 1-for-1 in baking or other cooking.
Vegetable Fritters with Green Chile-Coconut Chutney
recipe from Sara Moulton‘s cookbook Home Cooking 101 


Friday, June 21, 2024

June is National Dairy Month

Every Age Needs the Nutrients Found in Dairy

A Tribute to the Dairy Industry:

From the Cow and the Farmer to Your Kitchen Table.

Milk, cheese, and yogurt play a critical role in the diets of adults and children by providing essential nutrients. Drinking one cup of milk can help you meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommended three servings of daily low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products.

One cup (8-ounce) serving of milk provides the following nutrients: (Information based on one cup of fat-free white milk)

Calcium provides 30% of the Daily Value. It helps build and maintain bones and teeth, and it plays a role in nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.

Vitamin D provides about 25% of the Daily Value. Vitamin D helps promote the absorption of calcium and enhances bone mineralization.

Protein provides about 16% of the Daily Value and essential amino acids. Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and is a source of energy during intense physical activities.

Vitamin B12 provides about 22% of the Daily Value. Vitamin B12 helps build red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), provides about 26% of the Daily Value. Riboflavin helps convert food into energy. It is also involved in exercising muscles.

Phosphorus provides about 25% of the Daily Value. Phosphorus helps strengthen bones.

Easy to Prepare Snacks

National Dairy Council

The National Dairy Council provides user-friendly nutrition education materials. It advocates healthy living and is committed to our communities and health care needs. 

National Dairy Council® (NDC) is the nutrition research, education and communications arm of Dairy Management Inc™. On behalf of U.S. dairy farmers, NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier society, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers, and media.

Established in 1915, NDC is comprised of a staff of nutrition science researchers, registered dietitians and communications experts dedicated to educating the public on the health benefits of consuming milk and milk products throughout a person’s lifespan. In addition, NDC funds independent research to aid in the ongoing discovery of information about dairy foods’ important role in a healthy lifestyle. This research provides insights to the industry for new dairy product innovations.

In partnership with its network of state and regional dairy councils, NDC disseminates nutrition programs, materials and research to support government recommendations for improved nutrition for Americans, including consumption of at least three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products a day.

3-Every-Day™, a Dairy Promotion. Consuming 3-Every-Day™ of Dairy – three daily servings of milk, cheese, or yogurt is an easy way for families to get a powerful punch of nutrients to help build stronger bones and healthy bodies and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, a growing body of research suggests that enjoying three servings of dairy foods a day as part of a nutrient-rich, balanced diet may help maintain a healthy weight.

American Dairy Association of Indiana's
 Every Single Day TV Spot.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Visit the Fuel Up to Play 60 website to learn more.

Lactose Intolerance.
National Dairy Council, Lactose Intolerance 

 Celebrating America's Dairy Industry

Messages from the Dairy Councils and Associations
American Dairy Farmers, 1990’s

Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council

Sponsored by the American Dairy Farmers

Tribute to the Dairy Advertisers.

I’m not sure who gets the credit for the Cow Tap Dancing,
but the Message is Milk gets you swinging again.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

June 20, National Ice Cream Soda Day

The ice cream soda has been around since 1874; when invented by Robert McCay in Philadelphia, PA. The story told is Mr. Green ran out of ice for the flavored soda he was selling and used vanilla ice cream from a nearby vendor, hence inventing the ice cream soda.

Today, the ice cream soda can be found in countries across the globe. The ice cream soda is known as a float, coke float, cooler, snowball, or spider depending on where you are in the world.

An ice cream soda is a beverage containing ice cream with either a soft drink or a combination of flavored syrup and carbonated water.

The ice cream soda has numerous varieties of sodas and ice cream flavors. Some of the most popular are listed below:

Chocolate ice cream soda: Chocolate syrup, chocolate ice cream, unflavored carbonated water and top with whipped cream.
Black and White: Chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, unflavored carbonated water and top with whipped cream.
Root beer float ("black cow" or "brown cow"): Vanilla ice cream and root beer
Coke float: Coca-Cola and vanilla ice-cream.
Boston Cooler: Vernors ginger ale and Stroh's vanilla ice cream.
Snow White: 7 Up or Sprite and vanilla ice cream.
Purple cow: Vanilla ice cream, purple grape soda.
Orange Float (Orange Whip): Vanilla ice cream and orange soda.

Root Beer Float  is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream and root beer. 

We chose a diet root beer soda to avoid the excess sugar and limit the calories. The diet root beer has "zero" calories.

Beverage. Make sure you carefully combine the soda and ice cream. The reaction causes bubbles to form and a rapid rise in foam, which is part of the fun and can get messy.  Use 1/4 cup light vanilla ice cream. Add a straw, spoon, and enjoy.

 Wikipedia: Ice Cream Soda

Nutrient Analysis Services
Ensure accurate nutritional analysis for your recipes utilizing an extensive research database and over 25 years experience. A valuable service for the Recipe Blogger, Media, Cookbook Publishers, Writers, Chefs, and Recipe Websites. Your readers will benefit from the Nutrition information and a Registered Dietitian. Contact:; Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RDN, LN, FAND at

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

International Picnic Day. Your Guide to the Perfect Picnic

June 18 is International Picnic Day, an informal food holiday. On this day, food is brought from home or a market and eaten outdoors. 

The origin of picnic day dates back to medieval times. After a successful hunt, people would gather outside for a picnic. International Picnic Day was possibly developed and promoted to bring families together for outside activities, family reunions, exercise, relaxation, and an appreciation of nature.

Traditional foods served on International Picnic Day include salads, sandwiches, beverages, and desserts. If a grill is available, include cooked meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables. 

Picnic Food Safety

Before setting out your picnic feast, ensure your hands and surfaces are clean.

Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at 40°F or below to prevent bacterial growth. Meat, poultry, and seafood should be packed while frozen to stay colder longer.

Pack beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another. This will prevent the perishable foods from being exposed to warm outdoor temperatures.

Limit the times the cooler is opened to keep the contents cold longer.

Be sure to keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped. This keeps their juices from contaminating prepared and cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.

Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under tap water before packing them in the cooler.

Picnic Recipes.
1. Top Picnic Recipes. Good Foods.
2. Perfectly Portable Picnic Recipes, Food Network.
3. Best Picnic Recipes That Are Easy to Make and Take with You, Country Living.
4. Picnic Recipes, Allrecipes

For more food safety tips, visit 

June 18, International Sushi Day
Sushi Safety

Sushi is rich in omega-3s and healthy fatty acids. There are several different types of sushi: 

Nigiri Sushi. Mounds of sticky rice are wrapped or layered with seafood and other ingredients.

Maki Sushi. Sticky rice and other ingredients are rolled into a cylinder using thin sheets of dried seaweed.

Sashimi. Sliced raw fish, served with a variety of condiments.

Condiments for Sushi
Soy sauce. Many people blend some of the wasabi with soy sauce to make a tasty dipping sauce for their sushi.

Wasabi. Japanese horseradish and it's HOT; comes as a powder that you make into a thick, bright green paste by adding liquid.

Pickled Ginger. Used to help cleanse the palate and offer relief from the hot wasabi.

Sushi Safety

How safe is the raw fish in sushi? 

Commercial freezing for at least 72 hours at 4 degrees Fahrenheit kills the parasitic worms and their larvae. Note home freezers usually cannot reach temperatures this low. 


• Order sushi from reputable restaurants where the restaurant and fish provider follow food safety standards.
• Eating fish cooked completely is always the safest.
• The FDA recommends pregnant or individuals with compromised immune systems (young children, the elderly, and persons with chronic illness) should not risk eating raw fish.
• Never make your own sushi with raw fish unless you can freeze the fish for more than 72 hours at 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, use cooked fish or vegetables.
• Proper handling and preparation are crucial to ensure the safety of sushi made with raw fish.
• After purchasing raw seafood, fish, and sushi rice; refrigerate immediately below 41ºF until ready to serve.
• Preparing rice with vinegar lowers the pH and helps slow the bacterial growth rate.
• Once sushi rolls and sashimi are prepared, refrigerate immediately until serving.
• Cross-contamination is a concern since sushi is made with raw and cooked fish. To prevent cross-contamination, raw and cooked fish must be physically separated during preparation. Use different utensils, cutting boards, and surfaces.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Get Kids to Eat Veggies: Fun and Tasty Ideas

Get Kids to Eat Veggies: Fun and Tasty Ideas
for Eat Your Vegetables Day and 
June, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month

 Eat Your Vegetable Day

Key Consumer Message:

Dietary Recommendations 
for Americans, 2020 - 2025 
Fruits and Vegetables 

There are three reasons to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
1. Most vegetables and fruits contribute a wide variety of nutrients, including folate, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K. 
2. Consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
3. Most fruits and vegetables have no cholesterol and are low in calories and fat. Eating more will help maintain a healthy weight.

What Foods Are in the Fruit and Vegetable Groups?

Fruits. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.

In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the Fruit Group. The following link lists specific fruits and amounts that count as one cup of fruit (or in some cases equivalents
for ½ cup are noted.)

VegetablesAny vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.  Vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups, based on their nutrient content. Dark-green vegetables; Red and orange vegetables; Beans and peas (legumes); Starchy vegetables; and Others. 

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens is considered as 1 cup from the Vegetable Group. The following link lists specific vegetables and amounts that count as 1 cup of vegetables (or in some cases equivalents for ½ cup are noted). 

How many fruits and vegetables 
are needed daily?

Safety with Fruits and Vegetables
* Rinse and wash fruits and vegetables before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub fruits and vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel after rinsing.
* Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood while shopping, preparing, and storing.

Teaching Kids to Eat Their
Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy Kids PSA: Color of Life
Bring color to your life, and your plate,
with nutritious, delicious vegetables.

Fruits and Vegetables Song


Friday, June 14, 2024

June 14, Flag Day History and Snacks

Flag Day is celebrated every June 14 in remembrance of the adoption of the flag of the United States in 1777. The flag is a national symbol of patriotism and freedom. In 1775, the “Grand Union” flag, also known as the Continental Colors, was flown in the colonies.

Flag Recipes

Dessert Pizza with
Brie, Blueberries, and Strawberries

Yield: 3 servings
Serving Size: 1/3 crust

1 Pizza Crust, (7-inches)
1.5 oz Brie6 Strawberries
1/3 cup Blueberries

Nutrition Information

Blueberries, Watermelon, and Part-Skim Mozzarella

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Kitchen Klutzes of America Day
National Safety Month
Create a Safe Kitchen

Kitchen Safety for Kids: Fun & Secure Cooking Tips

Kitchen safety involves avoiding and looking for potential hazards. Focus your attention on four main areas.
  • Fire and Electrical Hazards
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Safety and Cleanliness
  • Create a Child-Friendly Kitchen

Fire and Electrical Hazards
 1. Use a 3-prong grounded connection on all appliances.
 2. Do not use extension cords.
 3. Discard any broken or damaged appliances.
 4. Turn off burners immediately when not in use.
 5. Keep dish towels, pot holders, and paper towels away from the stove or other hot areas where they can catch fire.
 6. Do not leave candles burning unattended. Place in flameproof containers.
 7. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen, but away from the stove or other hot areas.
 8. Keep lighters and matches away from the reach of children.

Kitchen Safety - Fire Hazards

Food Preparation
 1. Turn the handles of cooking pots and pans away from the front of the stove.
 2. Be careful when removing the lid from hot foods. The heat can burn you.
 3. Never leave cooking foods unattended!!
 4. Close cabinet doors and draws when not in use.
 5. Make sure appliances with sharp areas are unplugged before touching them.
 6. Use proper lifting techniques when carrying heavy items.
 7. Knives - Always cut away from the body when using a knife. Cut using a proper cutting surface. Keep knives clean. Do not leave knives soaking in water. When cleaning the blade, keep the sharp edge away from hands.

Kitchen Safety: Knife Safety

Food Safety and Cleanliness
There are ways to avoid food poisoning and accidents by proper handling of foods and keeping yourself and your work area clean.
 1. Clean up spills immediately.
 2. Always wash your hands before working in the kitchen. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
 3. Wash kitchen surfaces often, and wash platters before refilling them with fresh food. 
 4. Keep uncooked and ready-to-eat foods separate. Juices from raw meat may cross-contaminate other food if they contain harmful bacteria. 
 5. Use one cutting board for raw meat and poultry and another one for vegetables. If you use only one cutting board, wash it with hot soapy water after preparing each food item.
 6. Use a food thermometer to be sure foods are cooked safely. Steaks should be cooked to 145 °F, ground beef cooked to 160 °F, and all poultry cooked to 165 °F.
 7. Never hold hot or cold foods for more than two hours at room temperature, or between 40 °F and 140 °F. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly.
 8. When in doubt, throw it out; do not eat it.

Food Safety

Cooking and spending time in the kitchen is fun for kids, and also provides parents with an opportunity to teach children. Here are tips to create a kid-friendly kitchen:

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A Special Father's Day Gift to Show You Care

A Gift from the Heart for the Heart

A Special Father's Day Gift to Show You Care
"Health is the Greatest Gift and Happiness the Greatest Wealth"
1. Print the card and cut along the grey outer border.
2. Fold the card in half. It's about the size of a business card.
3. Place wallet size photos on the blank side of the card.

4. Optional Gifts to place inside:
Lottery Ticket, Dinner at his Favorite Restaurant, a
Day at the Beach,
    Voucher to Wash His Car,
 Family Picnic, Tickets to a Sporting Event,

    Time Together

Your father will carry around photos of loved ones with health reminders.
A perfect gift for a Special Father.
Sample Outside

Checklist to Stay Healthy

Dietitian Blog List