No Myth, 1% Is The Healthy Choice!

19 Sep ONIE-DigitalAds-English-300x250-S2

Choose 1%

This week we launched our campaign to promote 1% Low-fat milk use in your home. There are many myths about 1% low-fat milk.  The ONIE Project team has gathered FACTS to bust the myths listed below.

Myth: 1% low-fat milk has less vitamins and minerals than 2% or whole milk.

Fact: Milk is rich in nutrients including Vitamin D, Vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and potassium as well as protein and Vitamin B-12[1-4]. 1% low-fat milk has the same nutrients as whole or 2% milk.

Myth: The thick texture of whole and 2% milk is a sign of quality. The essential vitamins and minerals in milk are in the fat.

Fact: The fat in milk is well just fat.  Adding the fat to milk does not improve the nutritional value of milk. It is a cosmetic change to make milk look thicker.  Milk is homogenized to create the thick look and texture. This is a process which mixes the fat into the milk at very high pressures. Almost all milk sold in grocery stores is homogenized. The 8 grams of protein and nine essential vitamins that we love about milk are in the milk, not the fat.

Myth: 1% low-fat milk has more sugar.

Fact: Lactose is the sugar that occurs naturally in milk. The amount of lactose does not vary by the type of milk. Therefore, 1% milk has the same amount of sugar as whole and 2% milk. The American Diabetes Association recommends use of 1% low-fat or non-fat milk. We recommend that you ask your personal physician if you have questions about the type of milk to use because of an illness or chronic disease (link).

Not Low-FatMyth:  Just drink less 2% milk to avoid the fat. It is all about moderation.

Fact: The saturated fat and excess calories contained in whole and 2% milk is a problem. Whole and 2% milk are among the top 20 sources of saturated fat in the American diet.  Also, milk is one of the top ten sources of calories in the American diet[5, 6]. However, it also is a major source of nutrients. A study of dietary patterns revealed that the milk we drink contributes 49.5% of Vitamin D, 25.3% of calcium, 17.1% of Vitamin B12, and 11.6% of potassium we intake, as well as many other nutrients[5]. This is great because milk is one of the most affordable, nutrient-dense foods[2]. Don’t miss out on the important vitamins and minerals in milk; make the change to 1% low-fat milk, all the vitamins and minerals with half of the fat and calories of 2% milk.

Myth: Kids need whole milk to grow.mealtime_vertical2

Fact: While dietary fats are needed for children’s growth and development, children 2 years old and older generally consume enough fats in their diet without consuming fat from milk. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines (USDA)[6] and the American Academy of Pediatricians[7] recommend that after a child’s 2nd birthday, they should start drinking 1% low-fat or non-fat milk.  1% low-fat milk is served in schools. Make the healthy choice at home as well.

Myth: The fat in whole and 2% milk is good for us.

Fact: The large majority of studies show that low-fat 1% milk is a better choice than high fat 2% and whole milk. We follow the current 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for America[6] to guide our nutrition education. These guidelines are also backed by the Institute of Medicine and other respectable and credible sources.

Myth: 1% low-fat milk is watered-down.

Fact: 1% low-fat milk is not watered down. As you might know, fat floats on top of milk. The difference in the types of milk is how much fat the milk processor adds back in and mixes up (homogenizes) after all of the fat is skimmed off the top of the milk. 1% milk is 100% milk, all the vitamins and minerals and half the fat of 2% milk.

Myth: I can manage lactose intolerance by drinking whole or 2% milk.

Fact: Lactose intolerance/maldigestion is caused by the incomplete digestion of lactose (milk sugar). All types of milk have the same amount of sugar. Changing the type of milk is not recommended to manage lactose intolerance[8]. Recommendations to manage symptoms of lactose intolerance include the following:

  • Consuming smaller portions of milk in a serving;
  • Consuming milk with a meal;
  • Choosing lactose-free 1% low-fat milk.

Vitamin DMyth: Only whole milk has Vitamin D.

Fact: The front of the whole milk carton is often labeled “Vitamin D milk”. But don’t let this labeling fool you: 1% low-fat milk has all the Vitamin D of whole milk, just with much less fat and calories. They could label all types of milk “Vitamin D milk” because   they all have the same amount of Vitamin D.

From the ONIE Project Team


  1. Aggarwal, A., P. Monsivals, and A. Drewnowski, Nutrient intakes linked to better health outcomes are associated with higher diet costs in the US. Plos ONE, 2012. 7(5): p. 1-10.
  2. Drewnowski, A., The nutrient rich foods index helps to identify healthy, affordable foods. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010. 91S: p. 1095S-1101S.
  3. Drewnowski, A. and S.E. Specter, Poverty and obesity: The role of engery density and energy costs. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004. 79: p. 6-16.
  4. Sebastian, R.S., et al., Fluid milk consumption in the United States: What we eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006, in Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief 2010.
  5. Huth, P.J., et al., Major food sources of calories, added sugars, and saturated fat and their contribution to essential nutrient intakes in the U.S. diet: data from the national health and nutrition examination survey (2003–2006). Nutrition Journal, 2013. 12(116): p. 1-10.
  6. Gidding, S.S., et al., Dietary recommendations for children and adolescents: A guide for practitioners. Pediatrics, 2006. 117(2): p. 544-559.
  7. Bailey, R.K., et al., Lactose intolerance and health disparities among African Americans and Hispanic Americans: An updated consensus statement. Journal of the National Medical Association, 2013. 105(2): p. 112-127.

Sodium is all the Buzz!

16 Sep macaroni-cheese (1)

Too much sodium is all the buzz at ONIE.  Salt is an important part of our diet but most Americans are consuming 3436 mg of sodium/salt every day, which is much more than the 2300 mg recommended daily amount.  Canned soups, boxed rice mixes, and macaroni and cheese all contain large amounts of sodium/salt. For example, some boxed rice mixes have almost half your daily value for sodium in 1 cup. Spanish rice mixes are a good example. Many of these mixes contain 1000 mg of sodium in 1 cup!  Similarly, frozen or refrigerated chicken nuggets average 500 mg of sodium in 3-4 nuggets.  Flavored nuggets or strips, such as BBQ or buffalo style, add an extra 80 mg of sodium.  Canned soups typically have 870 mg of sodium per ½ cup. There are reduced sodium varieties containing 470 mg per ½ cup but that is still a lot of salt. Another favorite, boxed macaroni and cheese, averages 800 mg of sodium per 1 cup.

At ONIE we promote healthier choices while not giving up the foods you love. By making your own version of  food that you love, you can reduce the sodium. For example, make your own Spanish rice by cooking brown rice and adding flavorings that you like. Chicken nuggets can be replaced with chicken fingers. ONIE has a chicken finger recipe that is certified to meet the 1 for 1 test, that is there is  no more than 1 mg of salt/sodium or less for each calorie. Today, we have two new recipes that are quick and easy and can replace the unhealthier versions purchased from the grocery store: tomato soup and macaroni and cheese.


Tomato Soup

Portions: 4          Serving size: 1 cuptomato soup


½ cup onion, chopped
½ tsp minced garlic
½ cup celery, chopped
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups no-salt-added tomatoes
½ cup water


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add the onion, garlic, celery and pepper flakes and sauté until softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes and water to the saucepan; bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
  3. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.

macaroni-cheese (1)

Stovetop Mac N Cheese

Portions: 4          Serving size: ½ cupmac n cheese label


½ lb elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 eggs
¾ cup 1% low-fat milk
¼ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp dry mustard
1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese


  1. In a large pot, cook pasta according to box instructions (do not add salt).
  2. Drain and rinse cooked pasta. Return pasta to pot.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper and dry mustard. Stir into the pasta and add cheese.
  4. Over low heat, stir ingredients continuously for 3 minutes or until creamy.
  5. Serve.

From the ONIE Project

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The Salty Facts

10 Sep 006-Cheese-Pizza-Slice-Oct-


The CDC Finds Kids Are Consuming Too Much Salt!

As adults we are consuming too much sodium/salt but it appears that our children are too! The Center for Disease Control and Prevention just released findings that 90% of school-aged children are consuming 3,279 mg of sodium/salt every day. It is hard to believe that 9 out of 10 ten kids are consuming almost 70% more mg of sodium than calories and it is affecting their health (1,681 mg of sodium for every 1,000 calories consumed) . Children are increasingly being diagnosed with high blood pressure, which can lead to serious health problems when they are adults.

Just like we talked about last week, salt is being poured on for us by food manufacturers.  It is probably not you adding too much salt. Many of the foods that we eat like breads, lunch meat, pizza, chicken nuggets and boxed macaroni and cheese contain large amounts of hidden sodium.  It adds up and it is not healthy for us or our children.  Our kids needs us to be the salt checkers and make sure that the food served meets the 1 for 1 test  (Match sodium to calories by choosing foods with no more than 1 mg of sodium/salt for each calorie). The ONIE Project has some tips on how to choose the same foods we eat often but with less sodium.

Tip One: Choose whole wheat breadbread

The amount of sodium in loaf bread varies by brand and type.  However, one slice of white bread can have around 250 mg of sodium. This may not seem like much, but two slices of bread for a sandwich adds up to 500 mg of sodium or 21% of your daily value of sodium!  Instead of white bread, choose 100% whole wheat bread with around 150 mg of sodium or less per slice.  When choosing bread check for this label.

whole wheat labelwithcheckmark

Tip Two: Choose corn tortillascorn tootrillas labeled for resue

Just as bread, flour tortillas can have 250 mg of sodium per tortilla. Some wheat tortillas have slightly less sodium, but certain brands can have 500 mg of sodium in just one tortilla!  Try corn tortillas instead, which have around 10 mg of sodium per tortilla. Check the label for corn tortillas.

corn tortilla label with checkmark

Tip Three: Choose lean meatslunch meat

Lunch meats usually have too much sodium.Two thinly cut slices of lunch meat can have almost 600 mg of sodium! This is a tricky one. Some brands advertise lower sodium or natural but they may still be loaded with sodium. Until you find the brand and style that fits your needs, reading the nutrition label is a MUST (check out how to read a nutrition label). There are lean meats with around 200 mg of sodium in 2 slices.

Tip 4: Make your own pizzapizza

Frozen pizza  is a “go to” food for many busy families. However, most meat and vegetable varieties of frozen pizzas contain about 700 mg of sodium per slice, or 1/8 of the pizza. Cheese pizzas may seem like the better option, but they can have anywhere from 400-900 mg of sodium per slice. Pizza sold in restaurants is high in sodium as well, and original crust pizza with pepperoni or sausage often has 1000 mg of sodium or more per slice.

Making your own homemade pizza is healthier and fun!

It is easier than you would think.


matchHomemade Cheese Pizza

1 for 1 certified (Check the label, each slice has less than 1 mg of sodium/salt for each calorie)  

 Portions: 12        Serving Size: 1 slice



Non-stick cooking spraypizza label
1¼ tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour


3 ounces low-sodium tomato paste
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup water


6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp crushed red pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Add yeast to 1 cup warm water in small bowl. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Lightly spray a medium sized bowl with cooking spray.
  4. Add olive oil, sugar and flour to bowl and gradually stir in the yeast mixture until well mixed.
  5. Cover and set aside.
  6. In a small saucepan, combine tomato paste, ½ cup water, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and olive oil. Stir until well blended.
  7. Heat on medium heat until sauce mixture comes to a boil.
  8. Turn heat down to simmer. Cook 5 minutes.
  9. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  10. Place dough mixture on baking sheet and press down with fingers, spreading the dough into the desired shape (you choose how thick or thin you would like the crust).
  11. Spread sauce over dough evenly.
  12. Sprinkle cheese and red pepper over top.
  13. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until dough and cheese are golden brown).
  14. Serve.

From the ONIE Project Team

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References: CDC. Vital signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children – 2009-2010. MMWR 2014: 63, 1-9.

Chicken Fingers

3 Sep DSC_0110-Cropped_match



The featured recipe of the week is chicken fingers.  A family favorite but with a special twist. As indicated on the picture, it is 1 to 1 certified, which tells me that the salt/sodium in a single serving does not exceed the amount of calories per serving.   This is an easy rule of thumb to help me limit my salt/sodium intake to 2300 mg per day, the daily recommend amount.  One serving of these chicken fingers has only 292 mg of salt/sodium for each 322 calories. My family loves to eat chicken fingers and I have the benefit of knowing what this recipe is healthy. For the dipping sauce, I mixed together 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, 1 garlic clove (minced), and 2 tsp of Louisiana hot sauce. YUM!  


Non-stick cooking spray
1 lb chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, sliced ½-inch thick
6 oz baked multigrain tortilla chips, crushed
¼ cup sunflower seed kernels, unsalted
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
¼ cup 1% low-fat milk
1 tsp hot sauce
½ tsp of pepper

*Serves 6
Preparation:Chicken Fingers

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Cover a large baking sheet with foil & lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, milk, hot sauce & pepper. Add chicken to bowl, stir to coat.
  3. In a large plastic bag crush tortilla chips, sunflower seeds & coriander.
  4. Place sauce-coated chicken in crumb mixture. Close bag and shake to coat chicken with crumbs.
  5. Arrange chicken on baking sheet & mist tops with cooking spray. Bake 6 minutes, turn & bake for an additional 6 minutes. Chicken is done when it is crisp & no longer pink inside.

Printable version: Chicken Fingers

From the ONIE Project Team

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They are pouring the salt on for us!

27 Aug Match one for one for homeland

Match one for one for homeland

Salt Check

Salt, we all need some. Yet, we eat too much because they are pouring it on for us in much of the food that we buy!  Most ofHigh-salt-low-activity-bad-for-the-brain-MIALQBR-x-large us get too much sodium/salt.  The daily recommended amount is 2300 mg or less, but most Americans consume about 3436 mg each day. However, it isn’t us adding it on at the table or in the kitchen. That’s right, the food companies have added it for us. A lot of unneeded salt has been added to the foods that we often eat. Here are some perfect examples. A half of a cup of regular canned green beans at 40 calories a serving has 380 mg of sodium a serving, which is 16% of the daily recommended amount. Yet, a serving of no-salt-added canned green beans has the same amount of calories and only 10 mg of sodium. A half of cup of tomato pasta sauce has 780 mg of sodium, most of which is just added salt.  Frozen pizza can be a quick and inexpensive meal but 1 slice or 1/8 of pizza has 720 mg of sodium, 30% of the daily recommended amount. Plus, who eats just one slice of pizza?

Match one for one for homeland outline v1goodSo what can you do? The ONIE project developed a handy rule of thumb for us to use when grocery shopping called The Salt Check. This Salt check is simple and easy to use. First check the calories and then find the milligrams (mg) of sodium. Good items will have 1mg of sodium or less for 1 calorie. The item on the right is good because the label shows that each serving has 90 calories or 90 mgs of sodium, or 1 for 1! When selecting grocery items choose food items that meet the 1 for 1 salt check. Avoid food items that are bad or have more than 1 mg of sodium for 1 calorie. The label below is bad Match one for one for homeland v1 badbecause it has 270 mgs of sodium but only 90 calories.

If you spot a food item with too much salt, there are options for you to  lower your salt intake.  Often, you don’t have to give up anything. ONIE tips on reducing your sodium:

  1. Look for a low-sodium or no-salt-added options.
  2. Choose fresh or fresh frozen items without sauce.
  3. Drain and rinse canned items (reduces the salt by up to 41%).
  4. Eat less of foods that are high in added sodium like frozen pizza, instead make your own pizza.

To help you get started checking your salt, this week we are featuring a 1 for 1 certified recipe that you can try at home.


1 for 1 Fresh Summer Salsa

Servings: 1 cup – approximately 6 servings


½ cup reduced sodium black beans, drained & rinsed
½ cup no-salt-added sweet corn
1 (15 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 cup diced avocado
1 cup diced mango
1 jalapeno, diced
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice


Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl and enjoy with your favorite summer veggies or baked tortilla chips.

* Recipe provided courtesy of Alyson Dykstra, Homeland Grocery.

The ONIE Team

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Experience a Bit of France!

20 Aug French pastry


MangerbougerHello ONIE Bloggers !! I am Charlène a graduate student from France and I am doing an internship in Oklahoma City with the Department of Nutritional Sciences. It is my Bikefruitfacepleasure and a great opportunity to work with the ONIE project during this summer. Today, I wish to share with you what I know about nutrition and eating habits in France. It may be interesting to compare what we do in France to the USA. We have a National Nutrition and Health Program in France called  Manger-Bouger  or  Eat and Move. It means eat 5 fruits and veggies per day and do  a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day. There are different French nutrition prevention campaigns. People of all ages and ethnicities are targeted. The program provides 8 booklets with nutrition advice adapted according to profile (babies, children, teenagers, pregnant, adult..)Table

Daily Recommended Food Groups






For breakfast, we usually enjoy a  croissant or chocolate croissant with a slice of bread with butter or jam. The meal is served coffee or fruit juice. We do have a brunch a France.



In France this meal is more important than in the USA and it takes more time. For example we eat a salad, Nicoise, with gratin. Gratin is like chicory with ham enrolled and béchamel sauce. The meal is served with cheese and bread. The cheese is camembert or blue, and is famous in France. Dessert may be fruit yogurt a baked desert such as choux, Religieuse.



Sometimes we have a snack in the afternoon. This is important for children. An afternoon snack is called, Le goûter or Le Quatre heures.  Snacks are usually fruit, madeline, shall-shaped cookie and fruit juice.

Dinner hour


Dinner is a less important meal in France than in the USA. We eat dinner usually between 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.  We often eat a vegetable mix called Ratatouille with cheese and a slice of bread.

In France, we have little food weaknesses too. Some of the French food weaknesses are foie gras, escargots, frog legs, and French toast that we call pain perdu.



A favorite Christmas Dessert is a Yule Log called Bûche de Noel. It is filled with a pastry cream that can be different flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, coffee, or  red berry. The outside is covered with chocolate frosting and decorations.

A French holiday, Epiphany, is celebrated on January 6th with a King Cake or  galette des rois. It is made with marzipan and puff pastry.KingCake

Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd. Crepes are often served on this holiday.  Crepes are like an American pancake but are thinner. crepes2


French pastry

I suggest that you try a typical French dessert recipe, the Tarte Tatin. It is an upside-down tart with apples. It is easy to cook and does not take long to prepare.


7 to 9 Gala apples (peel, core, and cut into quarters)
1 frozen puff pastry sheet
2 oz unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cover a pie plate with baking paper. Melt butter in the microwave and pour into pie plate. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and mix.
3. Arrange apples on pie plate, arranging them into a circle.
4. Bake for 10 minutes.
5. While apples are baking, roll pastry sheet on floured work surface until it is round.
6. Remove apple mixture from oven and then cover mixture with round pastry.
7. Return to oven and bake 20 to 25 more minutes or until pastry is browned.
8. Remove from oven and cool for ten minutes.
9. Turn pan upside down on platter. Remove baking paper.

It’s ready ! Serve immediately with thick cream or whipped cream. This will typically serve 4-6 people. Enjoy!



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ABCS of Kids’ Food Games

13 Aug Banana Bugs


The first week of a new school year is a very exciting time for children. With all this excitement kids are bound to be hungry when they come home. It is important to have healthy and easy snack choices ready for kids. The ONIE Project has two great afterschool snacks that parents and children can make together: apple race cars and banana bugs. These snacks are really cool because they are foods that kids can play with! Making and playing with their own food is a great way to introduce kids to healthier choices in a fun way. Kids are more likely to eat food they make themselves, even if it is something they haven’t tried before. Creating these snacks also gives a chance for families to spend time together and helps to build creativity and self-confidence in kids. We hope you and your family enjoy these snacks as much as we do!

Apple Race Cars



Apples of any kind or color (1 apple makes 6 cars)
1 Bag Pretzel Sticks (2 sticks per apple slice)
1 Bag Red or Green Grapes (2 grapes per car)


  1. Cut apples into 6 slices removing seeds and core
  2. Cut grapes in half width wise (short)
  3. Insert pretzel sticks into apple for wheel spokes
  4. Place grapes on the ends of the pretzel sticks to create car wheels
  5. Use extra ingredients to decorate car if desired
  6. Apple cars are ready to be played with and eaten!

ONIE Test Kitchen Tip: Other ingredients such as cut string cheese can also be used as wheels!

Banana Bugs



2 Bananas (add more if needed)
Red Grapes
1 Bag Sliced Almonds
1 Package of Pretzel Sticks
Cheerios (optional)
Raisins (optional)
Whole Wheat Tortillas


  1. Peel and cut bananas in half width ways
  2. Decorate banana bug anyway you want!
  3. Example: Use pretzel sticks for legs, cheerios or grapes for eyes, tortillas for wings, almonds slices for spikes (the combinations are endless!)

Have a great and healthy school year! Jade and the ONIE Team

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Watermelon, the State Vegetable

6 Aug Watermelon Salad


Nothing says summer for me like watermelon and ONIE was offering tastings of watermelon last weekend.  For us Oklahomans, watermelon is the official state vegetable. If you like factoids, here is another one. A watermelon is one of the few foods that is both a fruit and vegetable. Yes, the watermelon is a superfood. One slice has almost a fifth of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A and C. It is also packed with water.  A great way to hydrate without drinking sugar-sweetened beverages such as many sodas, sports drinks, iced teas, juice drinks, vitamin waters and energy drinks.

I always enjoy a cold slice of watermelon but there are many other ways to enjoy our official state vegetable, the watermelon.  ONIE has three simple and quick recipes for you to try!

Watermelon Salsa

Recipe: Watermelon Salsa                         Servings: 4


2 cups watermelon
1⁄4 cup green onions
1⁄4 cup red onion
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp cilantro
1⁄4 tsp ground cumin


  1. Chop green onion, red onion, and cilantro.
  2. Cut watermelon in to cubes (Do not use the rind).
  3. In a bowl, mix onions, cumin & cilantro along with watermelon.
  4. Add lime juice. Stir.
  5. Serve salsa with chips.

Printable view

ONIE Test Kitchen Tip: Add corn, chili peppers, or avocado to change it up.

Watermelon Aqua Fresca

Recipe: Watermelon Agua Fresca         Servings: 4


2 cups watermelon
1 cup water
3 limes, juiced
Fresh mint (optional)


  1. Cut watermelon into cubes.
  2. Add watermelon to a blender and blend until a thick liquid.
  3. Pour blended watermelon into a large pitcher.
  4. Add water and lime juice.
  5. Chill and serve!

Printable view

Watermelon Salad

Recipe: Minted Watermelon Salad          Servings: 4


4 cups watermelon
½ cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, shredded
Tbsp lime juice
Tbsp  canola oil
Pepper to taste (optional)


  1. Cut watermelon into cubes
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add watermelon, cucumber, and mint leaves. Mix.
  3. Stir in lime juice.

Printable View

ONIE Test Kitchen Tip: This salad goes well with hamburgers or grilled meat.

From Karla and the ONIE Project Team

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OKRA-homa – inside look into one of Oklahoma’s top crops (with recipe)

30 Jul IMG_9013


Okra is in season. It is available at most farmers’ markets that accept SNAP and the price fits my budget.  I was raised on a farm and just mentioning okra brings back great memories with my family. Yet, I never knew there were so many benefits of okra. It is low in calories and saturated fat (always a good thing) and is loaded with dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.  It has lots of Vitamin C and is one of the vegetables with the most anti-oxidants.  The Vitamin C reduces risks of heart disease and cancer and the anti-oxidants are good for vision. The nutritional benefits can go on and on… One very useful fact, Okra contains potassium. Potassium builds muscle and gives us energy.  With all these great benefits the best part is the taste!!! The ONIE Test Kitchen put together a new recipe that uses okra as a main ingredient, Southern Chicken and Okra. This recipe is featured in the ONIE Hearty, Healthy & Homemade 2014 Nutrition Calendar for the month of August. The preparation time is 35 minutes.


Southern Chicken & Okra


1 lb. red potatoes, largely diced
2 (6-oz) chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, largely diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ white onion, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup fresh or frozen cut okra, chopped (thawed, if frozen)
½ tsp dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
*Serves 4

  1. Place potatoes in a pot & cover with water Bring to boil & cook 15-20 minutes. Southern Chicken and Okra Blog Label
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of oil on medium-high. Add chicken & sear for 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
  3. Return skillet to medium-high and heat 1 Tbsp of oil. Add onion & bell pepper. Sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic & sauté for 15-30 seconds.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add ½ cup water, tomatoes, okra, thyme and bay leaves. Cover & simmer for 10 minutes or until okra is tender.
  5. Remove from heat. A remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add chicken & potatoes to skillet. Cover & let stand for 5 minutes to absorb flavors.
*Printable version

I think this little recipe will be perfect for dinner on such a rainy day!  Happy Wednesday.

From the ONIE Project Team.

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ONIE’s List of Back To School Resources

23 Jul back to school chalk board with ONIE

back to school chalk board with ONIE


ONIE is here to help get you ready to go back to school. We have put together a list from across Oklahoma of the “who, what, where and when” to find school supplies, uniforms, haircuts, and more. If you do not find a location near you, your school counselor may know of other resources. Just click and follow the link to find 2014 school supply resources:

Oklahoma City Area

Tulsa Area

Rural Oklahoma by County

Oklahoma Tribal Resources


In addition, the ONIE project is also going to be out and about the next two weekends at back to school fairs. You can find us this Saturday, July 26, 2014, at the Ashley Parham Foundation Annual Backpack Giveaway, 4502 NE 23rd, Oklahoma City, from 8:00 a.m. or until backpacks are gone. This is going to be a  fun event with free schools supplies, hot dogs, and watermelon. ONIE is bringing our famous hula hoops. We had lots of fun last year!


Ashley Parham Back Pack Give Away

Next Saturday, August 2, 2014, ONIE will be joining other community-based organizations at the Back to School Bash hosted by the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City. The Bash begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. This is a huge free, family-friendly event that provides backpacks and school supplies, health screenings, haircuts. There will also be a community vendor resource fair and children’s activities. Immunizations are available if shot records are provided.

Wishing you a happy healthy school year!

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