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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Recipe of the Month

16 Jul DSC_0243


Turkey Tarragon Pitas

Turkey Tarragon Pitas are a great summer dish. They are light but you feel full after eating one serving. The recipe is easy, just mix everything together. You can make the recipe ahead and serve it a few days later even. Great nutrition for you and your family as well, one serving offers all 5 recommended food groups: fruit, grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy! The ONIE Test Kitchen prepared this recipe for a cooking demonstration this week. Lucky me, I got some of the left overs.


DSC_01391 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp tarragon, dried
3 cups cooked turkey, shredded
1 cup green grapes, halved
4 (6-inch) whole grain pitas
8 oz fresh spinach


Servings:     8                                                                    7 ingredients


Turkey Tarragon Pitas Blog Food Label

  • In a medium bowl, add yogurt, mayonnaise, and tarragon, mix well.
  • Add in turkey and grapes.
  • Cut the pitas in half; Place spinach inside of pitas.
  • Fill pitas with turkey mixture just before serving.
  • Refrigerate left overs within 2-3 hours.

Printable version

ONIE Test Kitchen Tip: covering and refrigerating the turkey mixture for an hour before serving will enhance the flavor. It allows time for the flavors to meld toghether.

Happy Hump Day!  I am loving the rain!

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Karla and the ONIE Project Team

Bell Peppers are in Season: Pasta recipe, fun facts, & more!

9 Jul Pasta close up

bell pepper on burlap Come see us this Saturday, July 12, 2014 from 8:00 to 12:00 at the Norman Farm Market for their watermelon festival. We will be there with our hula hoops and new recipes for you to take home.  Watermelons are in season and the market will have juicy slices for you and your family to taste. We also want you to see all the other tasty fruits and vegetables in season. We are extra excited for you to see the bell peppers, they are growing faster than the farmers can pick them! Bell peppers are great for many reasons. They come in different colors.  Their mild flavors go well with many foods from salads, pizza, and main dishes. Bell peppers have lots of health benefits too.  The are low in calories and loaded with Vitamin A and C, even more vitamin C than an orange!

Fun Facts about Bell Peppers!

OK Grown: In Oklahoma, peppers are in season from July to October.

Shopping Tip: Look for peppers with firm, shiny, and wrinkle-free skin.

Storage Tip: Refrigerate peppers unwashed in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.

Heidi Steenbergn, an intern working with us this week, created a new recipe using bell peppers for us to try; it is pasta, pea, and bell pepper salad. This pasta dish is something the whole family will love and its a budget saver! It cost a $1.70 per serving to prepare and we had lots of Italian dressing left over. So really, it cost even less! It is quick as well. The total prep time is less than half an hour including the time to prepare the pasta. The recipe serves 6 people.

Heart Shape bowl with pasta


  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas, rinsedIngredients for pepper salad
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • ⅔ cup Italian salad dressing
  • 8 ozs whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1½ cups red, green and yellow bell peppers, cubed
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Ground black pepper, to taste


Pasta Pea and Bell Pepper Salad Nutrition Label1. In a medium saucepan, bring peas and water to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes, or until peas are cooked. Drain and transfer peas to a large bowl.
2. Stir salad dressing into peas and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions or until tender. Drain.
4. Cut bell peppers into cubes and chop green onions then add to peas.
5. Toss pasta with peas, peppers, and green onions.
6. Add salt and black pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

Happy Hump Day!  I hope we see you Saturday at the Norman Farm Market. To see a list of all the Farmers’ Markets in Oklahoma visit 

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The ONIE Project Team


Summer Fresh Salsa!

2 Jul IMG_4274


ONIE has got you covered! Whether you are planning a family reunion, a backyard barbeque, or just hanging out with the family for the 4th of July.  We have a delicious salsa recipe for you to share with your family!  It can be served as a dip,  side dish,  salad topper, or many other ways.  To prepare this recipe for you, we went shopping this morning and spent $5.48 excluding tax.

Easy on the budget, just 69 cents per serving


Summer Fresh Salsa FINAL Cropped1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans (reduced sodium and drain/rinse)
2 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 bell peppers (any color)
½ red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic crushed, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder

*Check out the nutrition label! You can feel good about what you are serving your family. No fat, 6 grams of protein, lots of vitamin C, plus Vitamin A and dietary fiber.


It is this easy!



1. Rinse and drain the black beans.
2. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl.
3. Refrigerate covered for 3 to 4 hours to allow flavors to blend together.
4. Serve with celery sticks, baked chips, or as a side dish.


IMG_4208ONIE Test Kitchen Tip

Peeling garlic: Lay the knife blade flat over a piece of garlic, form a fist with your hand, and give the blade a quick pop with your hand. The skin will crack to make peeling easy!


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Meredith, Stephanie, Karla, Jade & Veronica

Special ONIE Nutrition Tip: 

Cut back on the sugary drinks and serve fresh water flavored with sliced lemons, limes, watermelon, or even herbs like mint.




See you in the fall MWC!

25 Jun Dance


We were so happy to see 600 families enjoying themselves this past Sunday at the Splash Dash family fun run. Playing together is great bonding time, and families at the Splash Dash created memories to last a life time. Almost 1500 people participated in the Let’s Get Midwest City Moving Free, Family Fun Runs over the three runs.We can’t wait to see you all again, and are already thinking about the next free, family event, scheduled for October 19, 2014.

In the meantime, ONIE has a few tips to stay active with your family. You and your family will reap the benefit of any physical activity that you enjoy and that fits into your life.

  • Keep walking with your family- Walking finish mother daughter

You have a great park, Midwest City Joe B. Barnes Regional Park. We hope you keep enjoying it. In fact, most of our cities and towns in Oklahoma have wonderful parks.


  • Jumping rope is a family favorite-

It is easy and can be done anywhere. Jumping rope will really get your heart rate up and build muscle tone.

  • My pet is my walking buddy-

He is learning how to catch a Frisbee now. These games get us both moving.

Hula hoop

The kids can give us plenty of tips on hooping!

  • Hula hooping is way cool right now-

Anyone up for a game of twister?

Anyone up for a game of twister?

It is not just for kids, even adults are picking up hooping. It strengthens core muscle and tone your body. It works as many as 30 different muscles. Some people say it even helps with lower-back pain

  • Some of the benefits of regular physical activity-

Well of course it will reduce your risks of chronic disease like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. But did you know it can improve your mental health and mood.


Children benefit as well. Regular physical activity helps build healthy bones and muscles but it also improves school performance.

  • A little bit goes a long way-

For us adults (18 to 64 years of age) 30 minutes of moderate physical activity is recommended five days a week. Even ten minutes at a time is fine.  Children and adolescents (6 to 17 years of age) need more; 60 minutes of moderate physical activity is recommended every day.

Plan and schedule a time to be active together and keep moving Midwest City!

Be well from the ONIE Project Team!

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