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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Enjoy Full Fall Flavors

It's harvest time—discover how to take advantage of fall flavors!

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Fall Flavors - grapes on vine.The air is getting crisp and the leaves are turning—it can only mean one thing:  Fall is in the air!  It’s harvest time for many fruits and vegetables in the fall, so take advantage of some of those fall flavors!

I was on The Daily Buzz national morning show recently talking about some of my favorites for the fall. Check out the clip!

Concord Grape Juice

The fall harvest season is a great time to incorporate seasonal produce to boost the color, flavor, and heart-healthfulness of meals. Welch’s has partnered with Zagat to create the first-ever guide on how and where to eat local and seasonal. They have profiles of restaurants from across the United States known for cooking local produce, along with details on farmer’s markets and what’s in season in your region.

Every 4-oz glass of Welch’s grape juice is made with more than 20 concord grapes (pressed into juice within 8 hours of harvest) and that counts as one serving of fruit.  Research shows that thanks to the Concord grape, Welch’s 100% Grape Juice helps to support a healthy heart.

For more info visit:  www.grapescience.com or www.welchs.com

Pecans

Georgia pecans are the highest among the tree nuts in antioxidants.  That’s why they are known as the “AntioxiNUT.”  They are excellent raw or toasted, on their own or in recipes.  Research shows that eating just a handful of antioxidant-rich nuts, like pecans, every day may help to prevent the oxidation of fats in the blood, a process that can lead to clogged arteries.

And if all you can think of is Pecan Pie in the fall, get creative!  Check this recipe for Roasted Vegetable & Georgia Pecan Salad.  It’s divine!  Sprinkle pecans on oatmeal or cooked quinoa, into casseroles, on salads, into cookies, brownies, or pumpkin bread!

For more info and recipes, visit www.georgiapecansfit.org

Avocados

Avocados are a delicious ingredient to add to many dishes!  They are so versatile and can be used in recipes from sandwich toppings to soups.  Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and only 50 calories per 1 oz serving.

In the fall, I love soups like Black Bean or Tomato Soup.  One of my favorite toppings?  Chopped Avocados!

For excellent recipes and more info, go to www.theamazingavocado.com

RECIPES

Poached Pears in Purple Grape Juice

  • 1 1/2 cups Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord Grapes
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Rind of orange, 2 strips
  • 4 pears (Bosc or Bartlett), peeled

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, bring grape juice, cinnamon, and orange rind to a boil.

2.  Peel the pears, leaving the stem.

3.  Place pears standing in saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

4.  Turn or spoon juice over pears as they simmer.

5.  Remove pears and let cool.

6.  Reduce sauce by boiling down to about 1/3 cup.

7.  Spoon sauce over pears and keep chilled.

8.  Serve pears by themselves or with whipped cream or vanilla pudding.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition per serving:  150 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 39 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 6 g fiber

Toasted Georgia Pecan-Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Serves: 4

Prep: 15 min.           

Cook: 20 min.

  • 2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped Georgia pecans, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Toppings:  Chopped Georgia pecans, toasted; milk, honey or brown sugar

Directions:

1.      Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.

2.      Stir in quinoa, cranberries and butter. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. 

3.      Remove from heat. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped toasted GEORGIA PECANS and the next three ingredients. 

4.      Spoon quinoa mixture evenly into four bowls. 

5.      Top each serving with additional chopped toasted Georgia pecans, milk, honey or brown sugar, as desired.

Nutrition Profile (without toppings):  350 calories, 14 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 12 g protein.

Avocado and Tomato Basil Soup 

  • 1 Avocado from Mexico
  • 7 ripe plum tomatoes – large dice
  • 1 qt vegetable/chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream (substitute fat free half and half to make it a bit healthier!)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp light sour cream
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Serves 4

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Directions:

1.      Heat a 3 quart soup pot to medium high heat 3 minutes.  When hot, add oil, sauté tomatoes and garlic for 3-5 minutes, add pinch of salt and pepper, oregano and basil, cook another 5 minutes.

2.      Add stock and cook for 12-15 minutes until all ingredients are soft and well blended.

3.      *(Optional) Remove soup from stove top, add heavy cream, stir and blend using a stick blender or counter top blender (be very careful to allow soup to cool for 10 minutes before the puree process).

4.      Peel, pit, and dice avocado.

5.      Top soup with avocado pieces and a swirl of light sour cream.

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Tags: Cooking Healthy , Healthy Eating , Nutrition , Recipes

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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