White Chili

Happy New Year from the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team!

Spot the Sneaky Sodium

With the start of a new year many people set goals for the year ahead. And often the goals are related to health. One goal that would benefit many of us is to reduce our sodium intake. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. Diets higher in sodium are linked to an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, which is a major cause of stroke and heart disease.

Pass the Toppings – It’s Chili Time!

Last week Jody showed us how packaged foods are a big source of sodium for most of us and how we can use the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium a food has in it. Another way to stay on top of how much sodium we eat is to cook more at home from fresh ingredients. Canned soup is a staple for many of us. The canned varieties are convenient, but are often high in sodium. As it turns out, homemade soup is usually very easy to make and you can cook it once and eat it for several meals. This week I have done a recipe round-up of my favorite chili recipes on our website. I have to be honest and share that I do not like chili that has a whole bunch of tomato in it. I prefer a little bit of tomato or even none at all, so you will see that reflected in my choices!

Enjoying Cooking for One

As a single person cooking for one, my goals are straightforward: eat healthy, maintain weight, take minimal time, and create little waste. Also, enjoy my food as I do love to eat! I travel frequently for work so planning is important. Each weekend I look at my calendar and determine which days I will be home for meals. Then I make a quick trip to the grocery store for fresh food items and any staples I need to replace in the pantry. I keep the menu simple with a rotation of fish, poultry, beef, pork, and soups. Seasonings are used instead of sauces; baking and roasting instead of frying; simple preparation instead of complex recipes. I always prepare enough for two meals – one to eat immediately and one for the fridge or freezer. I grew up knowing you never waste food so I keep an eye on the refrigerator contents to easily see what needs used up before it goes bad. Or, if I’m going to be gone for several days I spend five minutes transferring items to freezer containers or making a mishmash meal. A small bowl of fruit sprinkled with cinnamon or a vegetable omelet are easy solutions. Lastly, I set the table even if it is just for myself.

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Our February recipe of the month is Cranberry Oatmeal Bars. I have this recipe on my favorites list because of its usefulness. Is this recipe a snack? Yes. Is this recipe a breakfast? Yes. Is this recipe a dessert? Yes! I could probably end this blog here, but since I have found so many uses for this recipe, I have also picked up a few tips along the way. Read on for my tips on making a great batch of Cranberry Oatmeal Bars for any meal or snack.