February 2008

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In This Edition

Choose Wisely – Eat Right and Limit Sodium Intake
Valentine’s Day and Your Heart
Presidents’ Day – Favorite Foods of US Presidents Past
Valerie Waters’ Tip of the Month

Health & Nutrition

Valerie Waters’ Tip of the Month

More Raisin News

Recipe of the Month
Rich Chocolate Brownies with Raisin-Chocolate Sauce

The balance of mind and body starts with the balance of diet.

Choose Wisely – Eat Right and Limit Sodium Intake

Food is an important factor in establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A balanced, nutritious diet improves overall health by:

  • Providing energy
  • Reducing risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis
  • Improving the body’s ability to stay fit and active

Sodium is one of those very vital and important nutrients, but often is over consumed. Sodium regulates fluid balance, blood pressure and blood volume in our bodies. The part it plays in the electrolyte balance is also critical to muscle and nerve function.

  • The recommended intake for the average adult is 500 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams each day.
  • The average American consumes about five times that much.
  • Too much sodium contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.
  • Monitoring and reducing sodium intake will help pave the road to a healthier lifestyle.

In food systems, salt and sodium enhance other flavors and a common complaint about low sodium foods is that they are flat and tasteless. However, California Raisins are bursting with flavor and are known to enhance flavors in many dishes making them a likely player when reducing sodium intake.

California Raisin Tapenade and Crispy Raisin Tuile are great low sodium snacks, flavorful and good anytime. For reduced sodium on-the-go, Chocolate Covered Raisin Clusters or Brown Sugar Bars are sweet and satisfying. Fruit Salsa Salad, a refreshing and simple snack, is rich in fiber and naturally low in sodium.

Crisp, fresh and filling salads are a good way to reduce your sodium intake. Curried Shrimp Salad with Raisins and Asian Pear, Spinach and Golden Raisin Salad with Pomegranate Dressing and Herb Crusted Chicken Breast, packed with the natural sweetness of California Raisins, will elevate salad flavor to the next level.

Consider a delicious low sodium entrée like California Raisin-Almond Chicken Curry, Chicken Breast with California Raisins and Oranges, Moroccan Lamb Tangine, or Pork Tenderloin Mole as a great choice to explore the flavors of the world right in your own home.

Pan Roasted Sea Scallops with Wilted Spinach, California Raisins and Pine Nuts or Saffron- infused Sea Bass with California Raisins, Butter Beans and Garlic are excellent ways to reduce sodium intake with tasty seafood preparations. Side dishes such as Lima Beans with California Raisins or Sweet Potatoes with Raisin-Orange Sauce add flavor, texture and excitement to these and many other meals without adding more sodium.

Mango Risotto Pudding and California Raisin, Cranberry and Apple Compote are scrumptious desserts while other low sodium options include Cinnamon Raisin Rolls, Fruit Scone Fingers, and Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Dessert or breakfast options – Who knew eating right while reducing sodium intake could be so delicious!

Valentine’s Day and Your Heart

Valentine chocolates and California Raisins, both filled with antioxidants, are good for your heart! Traditionally, cards, flowers and/or candy are the ways people choose to express their love on Valentine’s Day.

California Raisins are “nature’s candy” – the original candy. Known as one of the most nutritious dried fruits, they contain essential vitamins and minerals, are a fat and cholesterol free food and are low in sodium. They are also a good source of antioxidants, making them good for your heart, too. Furthermore, the natural goodness of the raisin combines with chocolate to make a luscious Valentine treat for all your loved ones. It’s the perfect marriage!

Show your love with California Raisins in Chocolate Raisin Knackerly and Chocolate-covered Raisin Clusters or kick it up a notch with No-Bake Raisin Chocolate Cherry Liqueur Balls. They’re almost effortless but nobody will ever know.

For an extra special treat for the family or your Valentine’s Day party, serve decadent Chocolate Pots de Crème, so rich and smooth yet low in sodium, or indulge your guests with Sinful Chocolate Tarts – the name says it all. For just plain good eating, there is no way to beat the Recipe of the Month, Rich Chocolate Brownies with Raisin-Chocolate Sauce. So good, so rich, and gluten free, too, they are special enough for the most elegant party or family meals at home, too.

Presidents’ Day – Favorite Foods of US Presidents Past

When Presidents’ Day arrives on the third Monday, February 18, this year, here’s a way to honor our Presidents past and learn a bit more about America’s history. See if you can guess which of the Presidents would call these their favorite food.

  1. Heavenly Chocolate Dutch Cake and Double Glazed Rum Raisin Chocolate Cake
  2. Biscotti with Raisins and Dried Cherries or Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with California Golden Raisin-Dried Cherry Marmalade
  3. New Orleans-style Meatloaf with California Raisins and Creole Mustard
  4. Summer Fruit Bowl
  5. Carrot Spice Cake with California Raisins
  6. Fruit Flambé with Ice Cream
  7. Chess Pie
  8. Sunshine Cheeseburgers
  9. Grilled Pork Chops with Pickled Red Onions and Raisin-Fig-Balsamic Sauce
  10. Citrus-Raisin Sauced Salmon Steak

History tells us that presidents were partial to foods of all kinds. Did your guesses match these?

  1. George Washington and Ronald Reagan were chocolate cake lovers.
  2. History links George Washington with cherries. Perhaps he had had enough of them when he chopped down his father’s tree.
  3. Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan favored meatloaf.
  4. Lincoln, being a very intelligent man, knew the importance of fresh fruit and counted fruit salads as one of his favorite foods.
  5. Carrot cake was also a favorite of Ronald Reagan.
  6. Thomas Jefferson loved ice cream.
  7. Chess pie is one of Bill Clinton’s favorite desserts.
  8. An American classic is grilled hamburgers and Ronald Reagan would agree.
  9. One of Clinton’s favorite meals is grilled pork chops.
  10. Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington were fans of fish and seafoods.

Valerie Waters’ Tip of the Month

And all of the Presidents – past and present would agree with Valerie Waters’ Tip of the Month: Be consistent.

Being healthy means consistently making wise choices over time. Nobody gets fit in one workout, nor do they change their eating habits in one week. It is important to be consistent in the messages you deliver to your kids. You will make a greater impact explaining the importance of exercise and good eating habits to your children, if you are committed to your exercise and watch what you eat, too.

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