Food is an important factor in establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A balanced, nutritious diet improves overall health by
Reducing risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis, and
Improving the body’s ability to stay fit and active.
The right foods can give you the energy you need to power through the day or simply to avoid a mid-afternoon slump.
Calories do count, we know, but MyPyramid.gov makes it easy to keep track of your family’s calorie intake. Just be sure each of them gets
5 to 9 servings of Fruits and Vegetables,
4 to 6 ounces of Meat or other Protein,
3 to 4 servings of Milk and other Dairy Products,
6 to 11 servings of Grains, at least half of them as Whole Grains, and
Only moderate amount of Fats and Sweets, each day.
Carbohydrates supply the body with energy, not only for running and playing, but also for building and rebuilding tissue and many of the other processes that take place in the body, including digestion itself. They are found in breads, pastas, fruits, vegetables, grains and even in milk. At least 55 to 65 percent of the calories in the food we eat each day should be from carbohydrates. Because it takes energy to grow, children may require even more carbohydrates than most adults.
Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains often.
Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners.
The perfect balance of fructose and glucose in California Raisins makes them a good source of Carbohydrates with a moderate Glycemic Index. Combined with nuts, as in a trail mix, research has shown that they provide sustainable energy for activities like soccer, running and workouts.
Along with carbohydrates, it is a very good idea to reduce the incidence of dental caries by practicing good oral hygiene.
Recent research has shown that compounds found in California Raisins actually fight bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. These phytochemicals, like the oleanolic acid found in California Raisins, may actually be beneficial to oral health by suppressing the growth of bacteria that cause the formation of plaque and consequent tooth decay. Just do not forget to brush often, too!
Balancing the foods that are good for you with those rich tempting foods that we love so much and maintaining a healthy body can be daunting, but there is a way to deal with those challenges – It’s Fiber!
The recommended intake is a minimum of 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day for a healthy adult and about 1 gram per year of age plus 5 grams per day for children.
Eating a wide variety of foods insures a variety of food fiber sources and good sources of other essential nutrients, too. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, beans and legumes are good sources of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. California Raisins bring a big helping of inulin to the table to help meet this challenge.
Choosing Foods Low in Fat is a wise choice for maintaining that healthy lifestyle. Gram for gram, fat contains more than twice as many calories as proteins or carbohydrates. Cutting back on high fat foods is one of the easiest ways to start losing weight without reducing the total quantity of food that you eat. Although all fats do contain a similar number of calories, the healthier unsaturated fats, taken in small amounts, add flavor to food, improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Low fat can be delicious and satisfying.Amazing California Raisins contain no fat but they are great fat reducers. Combined into sauces and dressings, they emphasize flavors or, in some baked products, they will actually substitute for some of the fat used in the preparation. See California Raisin-Walnut Muffin and Raisin Walnut Beer Bread for ways to adapt your favorite recipes.
Sodium is a very vital and important nutrient because it 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 per day, but the average American consumes about five times that much.
This contributes to high blood pressure, heart and kidney disease and stroke. Monitoring and reducing sodium intake will help pave the road to a healthier lifestyle.
In food systems, sodium enhances 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 vital player when reducing sodium intake.
Vitamins are found in foods from both plant and animal sources. Our bodies do not synthesize or manufacture vitamins, so it is essential to get these nutrients from our daily diet.
Vitamins are absolutely necessary for our growth and general well being. They help regulate metabolism, assist in forming bone and help convert fat and carbohydrates to energy. Different vitamins have different specific functions so it is important to get your daily requirement of all vitamins in order be healthy.
California Raisins offer different amounts of vitamins A, E, B6, ascorbic acid, biotin, folacin, niacin, panthothenic acid, riboflavin and thiamin. Incorporating them in your daily diet will help meet your vitamin needs and add a blast of flavor to any meal, or provide a light and satisfying snack.
Minerals, unlike vitamins, are inorganic and do not contain the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms found in all organic compounds. However, they also are present in plants and in animal foods when they are imported to plants from the soil, and then, to animals that eat them. Minerals, too, are essential for human life and are classified as major minerals and trace elements.
The major minerals are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, potassium and chloride.
Calcium is important for forming bones and teeth, maintaining the electrolyte balance in your body, controlling high blood pressure, and may even lower the risk of cancer of the colon and rectum.
Trace elements include iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, fluoride, chromium, and molybdenum. One of the most important is iron because it is an essential part of hemoglobin and myoglobin, those parts of blood that store and transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also a part of various enzymes. The best sources of this element are organ meats and red meats, egg yolks, wheat germ and oysters. Whole grains, wheat germ, California Raisins, nuts, seeds, prunes and prune juice, and potato skins contain nonheme iron that is more available when eaten with meat or foods that are rich in vitamin C, like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
The principal chemical component of the human body is water. Comprised of 50 to 75 percent water, the average human has almost 10 to 12 gallons of the cool, clear stuff cruising through its veins, cells, organs, and throughout various systems. Humans can survive several weeks without food, but only a few days without water.
Drinking fluids and consuming foods with high water content are essential for keeping your body hydrated and healthy.
Generally, the recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but will differ according to your body weight, daily activity and exercise, and the prevailing weather conditions be they hot or cold, dry or humid.
Every day, you lose water and it must be replenished. Foods like lettuce, broccoli, watermelon, grapefruit, milk, orange juice, carrots, yogurt and apples contain high amounts of water and will add variety to your diet, while increasing your intake to keep you hydrated and replenished.
Flavored drinks, such as Spider Cider or Citrus Cider, with their spicy kicks and fruity flavors provide plenty of water while keeping calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium intakes low.
“Exercising is a great fat buster, muscle toner and stress reducer – good news for all of us multi-taskers out there – but it doesn’t have to take hours and hours at the gym!” according to Valerie Waters, fitness trainer to the stars. She says, “My philosophy is get in, get out, get a life! Even simple steps like taking the stairs at work, going for a walk with the kids, or some active playtime with them at the park can all make a real difference (for your kids as well as for you).”
Whatever you do – Take control! Balance your food intake with exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family. Plan regular activities that the whole family can do together. Enjoy an afternoon bike ride or walk with the kids. Make it a nature walk to add some educational flair or bring the dog along for extra fun. This summer, take advantage of the nice weather and get outdoors with the kids. Pack a picnic and go to the park for the day.
Balance the number of calories in the foods and drinks you consume with the number of calories your body uses for energy – everyday. Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Don’t forget that California Raisins are a fruit, make the perfect portable snack, and add interest and nutrition to many meals.
Grilling By The Pool and From the Sea
Can’t beat the heat? Then stay out of the kitchen and grill a delicious meal by the pool. Whether it’s charcoal or propane, the flavor you get from grilling is unbeatable. Light up the coals or start up the tank, either way, let’s get grilling!
Nothing says grilling more than a delicious, hot burger. Burgers with Raisin Salsa provide a different approach to burger heaven. With one bite, your tastebuds will notice the flavorful center filled with chopped California Raisins and diced plum tomatoes. So good, you’ll jump out of the pool for another!
The blistering days of summer are here! Why try to beat the heat? Just kick it up a notch with some Latin and Mexican spice. Sweet and Spicy Jerk Chicken hits your palate with a bold punch. The spicy jerk flavors go naturally with California Raisins. Lamb Shanks with Olives and Raisins Cuban-style give you that Latin America feeling! The spicy Latin-flavored tomato sauce adds a unique sparkle to the tender, braised lamb.
Did you know that the third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day? But, why celebrate the sweet, cool goodness only on July 20? We declare the entire month National Ice Cream Month!
For that perfect ice cream treat to commemorate this celebration, give yourself a scoop of the delicious and flavorful Recipe of the Month – Amaretto Raisin Swirl Dessert. Raisins and amaretto combine to swirl their unique flavors throughout this homemade ice cream.
Declare National Ice Cream Day every day all month long and keep cool during the hot days of summer!
More News from California Raisins
Prize Winning Recipes
California Raisins recently made the scene at Celebration, Florida, and today, the California Raisin Marketing Board announced the winners of the newest Raisin Flavor pies at the 2008 American Pie Council® National Pie Championship sponsored by Crisco®. They are:
Pie and Raisin lovers alike can visit www.LoveYourRaisins.com to download the winning pie recipes and other mouth-watering recipes from the California Raisins’ extensive recipe library. And, if you truly love pie, California Raisins will be at the APC National Pie Championships next year with more winning recipes.
America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest
Our 3,500 California Raisin growers seek to recognize and reward the creativity of America’s professional bakers, encourage new product development, and let consumers know of the almost endless varieties of baked products that can be made with the all-natural, best-selling dried fruit in the world.
Applications for the contest will be accepted from June 2 through August 2, 2008, and the preliminary judging will be September 12 to choose 20 finalists. These finalists will bake their formulas for a panel of distinguished judges from both the artisan and commercial baking worlds on October 11 at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas. Five great prizes will be awarded in both the Artisan and Commercial Bread categories.
California produces the world’s best, nutritious and fun-filled fruit. Eat more California Raisins in 2008.