RUTH FOOD BLOG – By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD
According to a report by the American Psychological Society, stress levels are at an all time high, with financial concerns at the top of the list. As stress escalates, eating habits tend to go awry – with an increase in convenience foods that can be high in calories and fat.
An apple a day: How about crunching on apples for stress management? We’ve heard the adage about apples, but how many of us abide by it? The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we eat more fruits and veggies than any other food group — for adults, that’s 3½ to 6½ cups per day (7 to 13 servings). Sadly, most Americans fall short of this goal, with an average intake of 3 fruits/vegetables per day.
Apples are one tasty way to boost daily fruit intake and they’re easy to incorporate into a healthy eating pattern. Apples provide cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber (pectin) and a variety of nutrients. Studies have connected apples with the prevention of disease, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, type II diabetes and asthma.
Apple on the go: Use an apple slicer/corer and toss into a zippered bag with a couple teaspoons of lemon juice to maintain color and freshness. Another idea is to bake an apple with cinnamon and a sweetener.
Pair tart green apples with butternut squash available at the year-round farmers markets. Enjoy this recipe for the holidays:
Butternut Squash & Green Apple Bake – Delicious as a side dish with chicken, pork or pasta.
5 c. squash, peeled and sliced (butternut)
4 c. apples, tart (granny smith) – thinly sliced
¼ c. butter, melted
½ c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 t. salt
½ t. ground mace
¼ c. slivered almonds
Method: Peel and slice squash and apples. In a 2 qt. casserole dish, melt butter and brown sugar; stir in flour, salt and mace. Add squash and apples to mixture. Bake at 350 for approx. 1 hour or until soft. Stir halfway through cooking process to distribute ingredients. Sprinkle slivered almond on top at end of baking process.
Read More: Stress Management
Log On is a wonderful book written by colleague Dr. Amit Sood, of Mayo Clinic. It explores tangible methods to re-train your brain and combat stress. Read more about it here.