If you have missed our blog posts on WordPress, we have now been hosting our blog posts on our new website. www.onieproject.org/blog . Please check it out and let us know what you think!
ONIE has put together a list of easy, small changes that you can make to for a healthier and active Christmas. You got this!
#1 TIP: Indulge, just a little. Give yourself permission to indulge! At ONIE, our rule is if you don’t really love it, don’t eat it. We plan to eat some of our favorites but pass on other goodies that don’t quite make that list.
#2 TIP: It is a myth to save your calories for that big meal or Christmas Party! Usually it just leads to overeating because you are sooooo hungry! Go ahead and eat a healthy breakfast.
#3 TIP: Stay active in the holiday spirit. We know how busy the holidays can be and for many the kids are out of school. Here are few easy, doable things to stay active:
- Dance to your favorite Christmas music and invite the entire family to join you.
- Walk through the twinkling Christmas lights. Here is a list of trails.
- Walk quickly from your car to the mall or the grocery store (every little bit helps).
- Take the stairs not the escalator!
- Play with the kids!
- Have hula-hoop contests.
- Play “keep the ball up” using a balloon.
- A game of hide and seek is always fun.
- Start a new Christmas tradition with a Christmas-themed indoor scavenger hunt. Kids will use their brains and be active.
- Go for a walk together after a big meal.
- If the recipe calls for mayonnaise, use the same amount of plain yogurt instead. The benefits include fewer calories and less saturated-fat, and as an extra special bonus the yogurt counts toward a serving of dairy and protein.
- Replace half of the flour called for in the recipe with whole wheat flour. This small change with increase the nutrients and add fiber.
- When baking, replace the butter and oil with applesauce. The cake or cookie will be moist and will have only a fraction of the fat.
- Try our ONIE Test Kitchen favorite hot chocolate recipes instead of the packets of mixed ingredients which often contain a lot of sugar.
- Reduce sodium by buying frozen vegetables instead of canned. If you choose canned vegetables, purchase lower-sodium option. You can also reduce up to 41% of the sodium by draining and rinsing before serving.
- Watch out for water-downed turkeys! Many turkeys (and chickens) have been injected with a sodium-solution. You are paying for salt water. Read our blog on picking a bird.
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
- After the meal, put away platters of food to reduce the temptation to go back for more. Instead, keep fresh fruit and vegetables out for nibbling.
- Let kids serve themselves. We tend to add more food than kids can eat. Most kids have a good sense of the right amount of food.
… and last but not least put the emphasis on socializing not eating. It is the fun that we have with friends and family that make our Holidays special, the tasty treats are just part of the experience.
From the ONIE Project
It’s the holiday season, there’s the smell of hot cocoa in the air, with lights sparkling everywhere!
One of our favorite traditions is enjoying twinkly holiday lights. We love to walk through the lights with our family and friends while sipping a cup of hot cocoa. There are many beautiful holiday light displays all around our great state of Oklahoma! Click Here for a list of displays around the state with pictures and descriptions that you won’t want to miss. We also have a quick reference pocket guide! These displays offer an opportunity to get out of the car and walk! Of course, we have healthier and homemade hot cocoa recipes for you to sip as you stroll through a twinkling wonderland.
We tested several recipes, looking for healthier versions of everyone’s favorite holiday treat, hot chocolate. We had a few failed recipes, but in the end we found these two met our standard of tasty, healthier, and chocolaty goodness.
# 1: ONIE Test-Kitchen Favorite
- In a large saucepan, heat milk over medium-low.
- Add in sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and vanilla; mix well.
- Heat until chocolate chips melt. Don’t let the milk boil.
# 2: ONIE Test-Kitchen Favorite
- Heat milk over medium in a small sauce pan for 8 minutes. Don’t let it boil.
- Add in sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Pour into a mug and enjoy!
Bundle up and head out with your family and friends for a nice wintery stroll through the beautiful lights. We hope you enjoy warming up with some homemade hot cocoa!
Season Greetings from the ONIE Project
For those of you who follow our blog, we usually feature a recipe from our annual Hearty, Healthy & Homemade calendar on the first Wednesday of the month. Our 2015 calendar will be released soon and we have many new recipes for you. We also have an exciting new feature. The ONIE Staff Nutritionist, Stephanie DeBerry, and Meredith Scott have videoed preparation of the six top-rated recipes for you. Stay tuned for details of the release of the calendar!
Now for the featured Recipe of the Month for December. After eating way too much on Thanksgiving, we have a light and easy recipe for you to try- Baked Fish with Creole Sauce. Packed with flavor, it is low in calories and saturated fat but has 43 grams of protein, which is 93.5% of the daily recommended amount for women and 76.8% of the amount recommended for men. With 40% of the daily recommend amount of vitamin C, you get an immune boost as well. Even better, this recipe is ONE-for-ONE Certified. (Learn more about ONE-for-ONE Certified and how to keep your sodium intake to the recommended 2300 mg of sodium per day on).
Baked Fish w/ Creole Sauce
Non-stick cooking spray
4 white fish fillets, frozen
½ onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
*Preparation time is 45 minutes including 30 minutes baking time. Makes 4 servings.
- Defrost fish fillets in refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
- Arrange fillets in baking dish; top fish with onions and green peppers.
- In a bowl, mix tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
- Pour sauce mixture over fish and vegetables.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes or until fish flakes at touch.
- Refrigerate left overs within 2-3 hours.
Over the next few weeks, we will have tips on having a healthy & happy holiday season including walking holiday light trails, healthy kid-friendly treats, and more.
From the ONIE Project Team.
Thanksgiving is finally here! We hope you have enjoyed our recipes and tips on how to make your family’s Thanksgiving meal healthier while still following traditions. The grand finale to our thanksgiving blog series is of course everyone’s favorite: dessert!
Two desserts you can always find at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner are pumpkin treats and ambrosia fruit salad. We tried something different using everyone’s favorite fall ingredient, pumpkin. We tried a few recipes and found the best pumpkin cupcake recipe that not only tastes great is super simple with only 4 steps. These cupcakes are low in calories and high in vitamin A. We also created a lighter version of the traditional ambrosia salad that is full of taste and fiber. Enjoy!
Simply Amazing Pumpkin Cupcakes
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole grain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup apple sauce (in place of vegetable oil)
- 1/3 cup 1% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.Place 15 cupcake liners in cupcake tin.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spices together.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together. Next whisk in the pumpkin, apple sauce, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour dry mixture into bowl and mix.
4. Spoon the batter evenly into 15 cups, do not fill over 3/4 full, the cupcakes will rise. Bake for 17-18 minutes.
* If you would like to add some crunch add pecans on top. We also tried a few with raisins and lightly pour honey on the top of some to add a sweet topping.
Heavenly Ambrosia Salad
Estimated time: 5 minutes
- 2 cans fruit cocktail in 100% fruit juice, drained
- 1.5 cups fat free vanilla yogurt
- 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Combine ingredients in large bowl. Mix well. Top mixture with chopped pecans and shredded coconut if desired. Refrigerate immediately.
We hope you have a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving!!!
The ONIE Team
We here at the ONIE Project put a healthy twist on two of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes: mashed potatoes and broccoli casserole.
We took traditional mashed potatoes and added some cauliflower to sneak in an extra vegetable that is mild enough to not even notice. We also replaced the traditional butter with healthier alternatives such as low-fat sour cream, non-fat Greek yogurt, and a buttermilk alternative (see simple instruction below). Our taste testers overwhelmingly agreed that using non-fat Greek yogurt was the creamiest. This was a great surprise as you can see in the nutrition label comparison below, replacing the butter with Greek yogurt cuts all the fat, lowers the calories and cholesterol, and pumps up the protein!
Here is the recipe for the winning mash!
Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Estimated time: 40 minutes
- 3 medium Russet potatoes
- 2 cups cauliflower
- 3 Tbsp. non-fat Greek Yogurt
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
- Pepper (to taste)
- Fill a large pot with water and heat on high until boiling.
- Meanwhile, wash potatoes thoroughly and cut into 1” pieces.
- Once water is boiling, add potatoes and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 30 minutes.
- About 8 minutes until potatoes are done add cauliflower.
- Once potatoes and cauliflower are done, remove from heat and drain the pot. Return cauliflower and potatoes to pot and add Greek yogurt and milk.
- Begin mashing until ideal consistency is reached.
Try our other healthy butter alternatives:
- 3 Tbps light sour cream
- 3 Tbsp non-fat plain Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup buttermilk substitute (1 cup 1% low fat milk and 1 Tbsp white vinegar (let stand 5-10 minutes or until milk consistency changes)
Cheesy Broccoli Casserole
Traditional cheesy broccoli casseroles use a highly processed quick melting cheese such as Velveeta, that is high in sodium and saturated fat. Here at the ONIE Project we used reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese, low-fat milk, and reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup to cut down on the amount of sodium and fat.Estimated time: 1 hour
- 2 (10 oz) packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
- 1 (10 3/4 oz ) can condensed reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup uncooked instant rice
- 8 oz shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
- Cook rice according to box directions.
- Once rice is cooked, combine broccoli, soup, rice, onion, milk, and half of cheese in large bowl. Mix well.
- Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Cheesy Broccoli Casserole Nutrition Label
We hope you have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!!
Your ONIE Project Team
Thanksgiving, our special day of giving thanks, is just three weeks away. The ONIE Project Team has lots of ideas to help you have a healthy and hearty Thanksgiving dinner! Over the next few weeks, we will post recipes and tips on healthy meal preparation. But first, we have a word on the Thanksgiving Turkey.
ONIE went on an undercover shopping trip to get the facts about Thanksgiving turkeys. Our advice is buyer beware, many turkeys are “moisture enhanced” which means they are injected with a salt-water solution. For frozen turkeys, 8% to 20% of the bird’s weight could be sodium-water solution. This means you’re paying for salt water; a 20 lb “moisture enhanced” turkey equals only 16 lbs of meat (4 lbs is nothing but water). It also means that a 4-oz serving from that same turkey could add as much as 540mg or 23% of the daily recommended amount of sodium to your diet (2300 mg). None of us need this much sodium, especially your favorite uncle with high-blood pressure joining you for dinner. ONIE has some tips to help you make your way through the maze of options.
Step One: Read the Front (Small Font) of the Packaging
The first step is to read the packaging. The amount of “moisture injection” must be disclosed on the front of the turkey. However, we found the description confusing. Sometimes the description of the moisture injected includes the words salt or sodium, or it may just be described as solution without mentioning from what the solution is made. Moreover, the word “natural” can be used on the labels of these injected birds. USDA doesn’t regulate the labeling of “100% natural” or “all natural.” A turkey can be labeled “natural” and still be injected with ingredients that do not naturally occur in a turkey.
Step Two: Flip the Bird Over
The only ways to evaluate the amount of sodium injected is turn the bird over and read the food label.
Step Three: Reading the label
You have “healthy options” to choose. The first label is from a fresh turkey (not frozen) with no “moisture injection”. As you can see on the label, a 4-oz serving of turkey with no salt water added contains about 65mg or 3% of the daily recommended amount of sodium. This is because all turkeys contain some sodium naturally. If this is your choice, these fresh no salt water “moisture injected” turkeys will be in stores starting on November 20th. Our friendly grocery manager, warned us that they will sell out quickly!
If you really prefer to have the “moisture injected” turkeys, go with one that doesn’t add as much salt. The second label is from a turkey that has been injected with 8% sugar and salt solution; a 4-oz serving contains 190 mg of sodium which is about equal to the amount of calories (170). Both of these options, come close to meeting the one-for-one rule, that is watch your sodium intake by matching the amount of sodium to the amount of calories in each serving.
We at ONIE would not choose the turkey products labeled below, with so much salt water added you really aren’t getting a lot of turkey for your dollar. Also, as you can see, the first turkey has 540mg of sodium per 4 oz serving, that is almost 25% of the daily recommended amount per just one serving. It has been injected with approximately 20% of a “moisture solution” so you are paying for a lot of water as well as sodium. The second product contains 230mg of sodium per a4 oz serving, a much better choice than 540mg of sodium but there are better options. This label is from a turkey injected with a 8% solution, which means that 1.6 lbs of your 20 lb turkey is just water.
If you do buy a fresh, no salt water added Turkey do not be concerned that your turkey will be dry because it has not been bathed in salt water or pre-brined. You can retain the moisture by stuffing the turkey with orange and/or lemon slices, rosemary, thyme, and a few cloves of garlic. Our ONIE test kitchen, we soaked our turkey with apple cider and water. We also basted the chicken while cooking with apple cider. It was juicy! The best part of buying a turkey that has not been “moisture injected” is that you taste the wonderful flavor of turkey meat. You may even save money by buying more meat and no water.
From the ONIE Project Team!
This meatball recipe adds a fun southwestern twist, packing in flavors you will love. It is hearty dish that takes just 20 minutes to prepare. The bonus is that it sneaks in veggies and is low in sodium!!!
1 lb ground turkey
2 egg whites
2 slices whole wheat bread, torn up
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup frozen corn
½ cup 50% less sodium beef broth
1 (15 oz) can no-salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp ground cumin
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- In a large bowl, combine turkey, egg whites, bread, & pepper. Mix well.
- Shape into 16 meatballs, each about the size of a golf ball.
- In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add meatballs & cook slowly. Turn until browned on all sides (about 15 minutes).
- Add corn, beans, tomatoes, broth, lime juice and cumin into skillet, mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium, partially cover & cook an additional 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked thoroughly. Stir in cilantro and serve.
From the ONIE Test Kitchen! Hearty, Healthy, and Homemade.
Hi! My name is Amie Mencer and I am a dietetic intern from the University of Oklahoma currently working with ONIE! First, something important to know about me is that I love learning about nutrition, but I also have a major sweet tooth. Chocolate is my weakness but any sweet or sugary item will do. I always get excited when Halloween rolls around because the shops are stocked with extra candy and treats and I’m pretty much in candy land heaven.
However, being the sweets fanatic and dietetic intern I am, I know that too much candy doesn’t fit into a healthy and nutritious diet. In fact, 4% of the entire United States yearly consumption of candy is consumed on Halloween alone. Therefore, I like to stock my house with lots of festive treats that don’t overload my diet on sugar and fat but still let me celebrate the holiday. One way to do this is to start dressing up your daily fruit. Of course I cannot take credit for all of these ideas but from a ‘hope to be dietitian’ standpoint I think these hit the “A” list for Halloween treats. Also remember that when you are enjoying some candy this season, a little bit is okay in moderation.
Here are some simple tips to not over do the candy crazy2:
- Buy what you need.
- Eat carbohydrates and proteins together to keep you full before going out trick or treating
- Get creative with fruit
- Watch out for trans fats in cookies or crackers
- Buy in bite sized pieces
Try these easy, healthy and cheap treats to help you start the holiday off right!
Frozen Ghost Bananas!
Ingredients: Bananas, non-fat greek yogurt (any flavor), chocolate chips, cheerios, raisins, popsicle sticks, baking sheet, wax paper
How To: Place wax paper on baking sheet for easy clean up. Take banana out of peel and cut banana straight down the middle so that you have two even sides. Cut each side across the middle so you are left with four even slices. Stick one popsicle stick in the bottom of each banana slice. Next, dip banana in yogurt and cover well. A spoon might be helpful for this step. Place banana on baking sheet and add chocolate chips or raisins for eyes and cheerios for mouths. Place yogurt covered banana on wax paper and baking sheet in freezer for a few hours until frozen.
Tip: Use firm bananas so they can be covered with yogurt easily.
Mini Clementine Pumpkins!
Ingredients: Clementine’s, celery sticks
How To: Peel clementine’s completely and throw away skins. Take one washed celery stalk and cut in half length wise. Cut stalk into ¼ to ½ inch pieces and push into middle of clementine.
Tip: Cut the bottom of the celery piece into a point to stick celery more easily into the clementine.
Ingredients: Grapes (red or green), raisins, chocolate chips, peanut butter, shish kabob skewers
How To: Wash grapes well and let try. Take skewer and slowly load individual grapes onto skewer either horizontally or vertically. When skewer is full take two raisins or chocolate chips and attach with a teeny bit of peanut butter for eyes on the last grape.
Gross Goblin Teeth!
Ingredients: Apples (any kind), peanut butter, raisins, knife
How To: Wash apple, cut into fourths and slice out core. Slice each fourth apple into three small slices. Using two slices, spread peanut butter onto one side of each apple slice. Stick one row of raisins upright in the peanut butter across the apple slice to look like teeth. Complete smile by adding the remaining apple slice, peanut butter facing down to the top of raisins.
Tip: Use large apples for easier preparation, this one is messy!
Dirty Band Aids!
Ingredients: whole grain graham crackers, cream cheese, red jelly (any flavor)
How To: Break graham cracker on cracker indents into fourths. Spread cream cheese in a square shape in just the center of the cracker piece until smooth. Add a small drop of jelly for fake blood.
Tip: Non fat yogurt can substitute for cream cheese or whole grain cracker can substitute for graham cracker.
Other healthy and easy ideas for Halloween can be drawing pumpkin faces onto peel away fruit skins such as bananas and oranges, wrapping fruit or fruit juice boxes in paper towels as dressed up mummies, cutting sandwiches into tombstones or ghosts, make a veggie skeleton with left over vegetables around the house or add eyeballs onto almost anything for a touch of Halloween!
Have a Happy and Healthy Halloween!
Let’s Get Midwest City Moving’s 2014 Harvest Hustle 5K walk/run event on Sunday, October 19, 2014 was spectacular. The complete not compete 5K is hosted by the Let’s Get Midwest City Moving initiative under the leadership of the ONIE Project and MIDWEST CITY YMCA with the support of 24 sponsors and 85 volunteers. Midwest City was moving as 780 racers completed a 5K course at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park in Midwest City and attended a Wellness Expo. The weather was perfect and the smiling faces seemed endless. The park was awash in orange as racers sported t-shirts sponsored by Variety Care Community Health Center. There were new faces and familiar faces, 33% of the racers were returning races from the 2013 Let’s Get Midwest City Moving initiative.
Before the race began, a wide range of vendors led an interactive wellness expo. The expo featured games and activities, helpful health information, and wellness screenings. Those attending the Wellness Expo won a “blackout bingo” prize if their bingo card was signed by twelve of the vendors. The prize was a first aid kit donated by Midwest City’s Walgreens. Many children and families jump roped with volunteers from the Midwest City and Del City Metropolitan Library, and others played with colorful hula hoops with Midwest City Jazzercise. Variety Care Community Health Center hosted potato sack races and the American Lung Association helped people exercise their lungs with wind powered boat races. Walgreens provided BMI wellness screenings and flu shots at no out of pocket cost. Midwest Regional Medical Center offered blood pressure checks. Also, there were many wonderfully painted mustaches and other designs worn by those who stopped at the ONIE Project‘s face painting table. All 17 vendors had a unique activity they created to show how being active and healthy is doable and fun!
Everyone had a great time, especially when Midwest City’s Jazzercise gave a demonstration, with many participants testing their moves. Next the Let’s Get Midwest City Moving Team handed out awards! The award for the first to register went to Kim Pearse, who started registration within 4 seconds of it opening. The largest group award went to Sister’s on A Serious Mission 4 Life. These women were serious with 26 members in their group! The largest group of volunteers was University of Central Oklahoma. The most life experienced racer was Elmer Grove. The youngest racer went to Shiloh Jamerson. Most festive awards went to Patterson Family Team who were dressed as zombies. Three racers dressed as black-eye peas won 2nd place most festive award. Third place most festive award went to a mother and daughter team dressed as skeletons in the tradition of the Day of the Dead, Dia de Muertos, holiday. Right before the line up began, the group warm-up was led by the Midwest City YMCA’s Zumba instructor.
On the course racers encountered optional obstacles and games including potato sack races, musical limbo, spider web crawl, pumpkin balance, and hula-hoop hop. Racers celebrated completing the course with granola snacks, fruit, and water that was provided by Buddy’s Produce, Ozarka, and ONIE. It was one fun-filled day! Stay-tuned for all of the photos from the day to be uploaded on the ONIE Facebook page.
We want to acknowledge our sponsors and vendors who make this event possible.
- Variety Care Community Health Center
- Buddy’s Produce
- City of Midwest City
- FNB Bank
- Crest Fresh Market
- Del City & Midwest City Library – Metropolitan Library System
- Hibbett Sports
- Icehouse Oklahoma
- Jersey Mikes
- McAlister’s Deli
- Metro Family Magazine
- Midwest City Jazzercise
- Midwest Regional Medical Center
- Oklahoma City 7-11Stores
- Oklahoma State Health Department
- ONIE Project
- Ozarka – Eureka Water Company
- Starbucks – Midwest City
- Wal Mart – Del City
- YMCA – Midwest City YMCA
List Wellness Expo Vendors:
- American Lung Association
- CASA of Oklahoma County, Inc.
- Family Expectations
- Harold Hamm Diabetes Center
- North Care
- Metropolitan Library
- Midwest City Fire Department
- Midwest City Jazzercise
- Midwest Regional Medical Center
- Midwest City YMCA
- The ONIE Project
- Spencer Family Dentistry
- Variety Care Community Health Center
- Vision Source
- Walgreens Pharmacy
Let’s Get Midwest City Moving is looking forward to seeing you on March 29, 2015! Like the ONIE Facebook page to be alerted of race updates including when registration opens for the 2015 Spring Race.