March 2007

In This Edition
Wise Choices – Making Them Last
March Is Nutrition Month
Wise Choices Recipe Contest – March 9
Recipe Of the Month
Health and Nutrition
Step 1. Take Stock
Step 2.
Keep a Journal
Step 3. Learn the Basics
Step 4. Learn to Read Labels
Step 5.

Healthful Snacks
Step 6.
Plan Ahead

Enter The Wise Choices Recipe Contest

Wise Choices – Making Them Last

Step 6. Plan Ahead – Wise Plans = Wise Choices

Everything has its beauty. Some will see it; others will taste it.

  • Plan your meals and shop for a week in advance.

Things tend to go to pot when you don’t take time to plan. Planning menus for the week and making a grocery list will take the stress out of everyday cooking. There will be less temptation to run out for fast food or making less healthful food choices.

  • Make healthy decisions and plan for good nutrition for the whole family.

Include a variety of foods for better nutrition in your meals. Contrasting colors and textures and a variety of shapes will make them even more appealing.

  • Plan smaller, more frequent meals.

The magic number of meals seems to be five. Rather than consuming three large meals, spread out your family’s food intake over the course of the day. Include Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and schedule snacks at mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and/or in the evening, at least two each day.

  • Eat Breakfast Every Day

Plan to get the day started right with one of these nutritious raisin recipes. Just a quick reheat gets a Quick Raisin-filled Pastry on the table in a hurry, while Fluffy Polka Dot Pancakes can be mixed the night before or even fully prepared and frozen for a quick heat and go. Creamy Raisin Oatmeal gets those cold and windy March days started fast, too.

  • Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products.

Fruit Salsa Salad, California Raisin and Orange Salad, Toasted Couscous with Almonds and Raisins, Creamy Cabbage Slaw are good ways to up intakes of these.

  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.

Tasty dishes like Sweet and Spicy Chili, Chicken Breasts with California Raisins and Oranges, Trout Stuffed with Raisins, Tempting Tuna Pita Pockets, Pork Tenderloin with Hoisin-Raisin Sauce, or New Orleans-style Meat Loaf with California Raisins will fill this bill of fare.

  • Select foods low in fat, saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

Beef and California Raisin Picadillo, California Raisin, Rice and Carrot Salad, and Asian Turkey Salad are just a few of the low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium recipes that fit this category.

  • Stay flexible.

If schedules change and there just isn’t time to prepare the meal that was planned for Tuesday, do it on Wednesday and choose one of the quicker, faster menus, tonight.

  • With just a small investment of time in menu planning, you can create an organized kitchen.

While weekly meal planning with a categorized shopping list helps you prepare home-cooked meals easily and quickly.
Abandoning unhealthy habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle including eating right and some physical activity everyday can improve the mood and self-esteem for every family member.

March Is Nutrition Month

If you have come to believe that antioxidants are the only reason for eating, anymore, this is a good time for a quick review of some really important nutrients. For menu planning, the number of servings needed each day and typical serving sizes for a 1,800-calorie meal plan are included.

Nutritional needs change as we grow. Kids and adults, too, thrive on a well balanced diet containing literally dozens of nutrients.

One the most important is Calcium. One of the most abundant minerals in the body, it maximizes bone growth and strengthens the skeleton during childhood and way beyond. It is also necessary for normal heartbeat, blood clotting, and muscle function. We all need 1,000 milligrams of Calcium a day from at least 3 servings, which might include 1 cup lowfat yogurt, 1 cup skim milk and 1/3 cup, shredded lowfat cheese.

Carbohydrates and Fats provide energy for growing boys and girls and for physically activity adults. It takes at least 5 servings of Carbohydrate-rich foods in portions of 1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables, small pieces or 1/2 cup of sliced fruits plus 6 servings of fats. Be careful of those fats! One serving is 45 calories and consists of just 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons light mayonnaise or 1 tablespoon nuts.

Protein is a part of every single body tissue and is found in both animal and plant foods including dairy products, eggs, meats, and beans. We never out-grow our need for it. Have 3/4 cup beans for lunch and 3 ounces of chicken for dinner and you will have hit your goal of 5 servings. Count 1/4 cup beans or tofu or 1 ounce of meat as a serving and mix off nonmeat choices with animal based options, e.g., 1 tablespoon peanut butter with an egg or a 4-ounce slice of turkey.

Fiber — Kids need it for good nutrition and healthy growth while it maintains digestive health in adults. It’s back to those fruits and vegetables, again for a total of 35 grams of fiber for adults and somewhat less for kids every day. Remember that a serving of California Raisins has about 9% of the RDI for fiber.

Iron is crucial to children, adults, and the elderly, alike. It is an important part of red blood cells and ferries oxygen to every cell in the body. It also has a role in brain development and function. Here, again, 1/4 cup of California Raisins can weigh in with about 9% of the RDI while red meat and whole grains will fill the need.

As children grow into adulthood and beyond, Antioxidant nutrients, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and the mineral selenium, battle the effects of free radicals and help to head off chronic conditions, including cancer and heart disease. California Raisins rate right up there with some of the top antioxidant contributors but you will need citrus fruits and vegetables of all kinds to fill this bill completely.

Lest we forget, vitamin D is absolutely essential to absorbing that Calcium and  vitamin A is so important to good eyesight while the B vitamins maintain a number of functions such as helping to make red blood cells. Now, we have gone full circle back to dairy products and whole grains where these nutrients abound.

A variety of foods and good amounts of Water ensure an adequate intake of all these essential nutrients. Refer to the Food Guide Pyramid at for help in planning your family’s meals.

Wise Choices Recipe Contest – March 9

What could you do with $10,000? Submit your favorite recipe using California Raisins and see what happens. In addition to the $10,000 Grand Prize there are eleven other valuable prizes and your favorite raisin recipe just might be featured in the 2008 California Raisin Calendar! Get all the details, rules and regulations here.

St. Patrick’s Day – March 17

If wearin’ o’ the green and eating Irish food is on the agenda for this day, you will want to start with California Raisin Scone or Mary Kay’s Pistachio and Currant Biscotti. Lima Beans with California Raisins. and Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Brown Butter and Raisins might add a touch of green later in the day.

Chocolate-covered Raisin Day – March 24

This is a good day to chomp on some of those movietime Raisinettes, get a super chocolate fix with some Raisin Crouton Gorp, or serve California Raisin-Orange Crostini with Chocolate Drizzle for a special dessert, tonight.

First Day of Spring – March 21

Planning Ahead for Spring Break — and Easter, April 8

Celebrate the Holidays this Spring with a family get-together and the luscious California Raisin recipes you will find at’s Seasonal Showcase.

Recipe Of the Month

Braised Moroccan Lamb

Looking forward to Easter, April 8, this leg of lamb braised in wine and sprinkled with raisins and almonds from our Chef of the Month simmers in the oven while the family gathers for this special meal.

Chef of the Month – Chef Wolfgang Puck

Austrian-American restaurateur and businessman based in Los Angeles, California, Wolfgang Puck’s motto, “Live, love, eat!”, finds expression in everything he does. With a long list of restaurants and television credits galore, he never ceases to find the very best — including California Raisins — as he continues his outstanding culinary achievements.

Wolfgang Puck’s Featured Recipes

Braised Moroccan Lamb
Leg of lamb braised in wine with carrot, onion, celery and tomato sauced with raisins and almonds.

Apple Strudel with California Raisins
Apples and raisins rolled in thin sheets of dough.

A sweet seduction of sugared pancakes and strawberry sauce.

Moroccan Lamb Tangine
A Moroccan slow cooker or tangine cooks raisin seasoned lamb to perfection.

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