June Nutrition Tip

Posted on: June 1st, 2017 by manna

June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! Start improving your diet this month by adding fruits and vegetables to your meals. They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that can help reduce your risk of developing cancer and chronic illnesses as well as a long list of other benefits including a stronger immune system, strong bones, healthy skin and hair, and increased energy. Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber, which is an indigestible carbohydrate that promotes gut health and regularity that helps you feel fuller longer. An added benefit of increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is weight control not only because the fiber will keep you fuller in between meals to reduce snacking, but they can replace portions of calorie dense foods such as grains and meats in your meals to provide the same volume and satisfaction for fewer calories.

To get the most out of your fresh fruits and vegetables, pay attention to buying and storage guidelines to make sure you are consuming them at their peak freshness to get the full potential of their vitamin and mineral content. It is important to know which fruits continue to ripen after being picked and which do not as unripe fruit does not offer the same taste or nutritional benefits. After picking your fruit, make sure to store it properly as some are best kept refrigerated while others should be stored at room temperature; you can go to Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Best Flavor for a list to hang on your refrigerator. If being stored in a refrigerator, keep produce in a perforated plastic bag to reduce the growth of mold and bacteria and separate fruits from vegetables utilizing the crisper drawers. Fruits produce ethylene gas and can shorten the life of vegetables, and vegetables produce odors that can be absorbed by fruits and affect their quality.

A great source for delicious and fresh fruits and vegetables is your local farmer’s market where you will be able to find locally grown produce. If you participate in SNAP, every $5 of food stamps spent at a participating farmer’s market will result in $2 of Philly Food Bucks to use towards more fresh fruits and vegetables. Philly Food Bucks can be redeemed at The Food Trust’s farmer’s markets and other sites that sell local fruits and vegetables across Philadelphia as well as some participating markets in Pittsburgh, Reading, and Norristown. There are 22 markets in Philadelphia to help neighborhoods that typically lack access to healthy foods. To find your local market and the day and time of operation, visit The Food Trust’s Farmers Markets.

 

Spinach, Strawberry, & Pecan Salad Recipe:

Add grilled chicken to this salad for a protein and flavor boost!

Click to enlarge

 

Ask a Dietitian

Posted on: May 30th, 2017 by manna

Q: How does the nutritional value of frozen, canned, and fresh vegetables compare to each other?

A: Vegetables are primarily available in 3 ways of purchasing. The nutritional value of frozen, canned, and fresh vegetables are very similar yet mildly different, yet there are pros and cons to each type of vegetable for purchasing. Ultimately it depends on your lifestyle when it comes to storing, preparing, and cooking meals. It is recommend to eat 2-3 cups of vegetables a day.

Vegetables Pros Cons
Fresh -Full of vitamin & minerals 

-Versatile in cooking & preparing

-Perishable & short shelf life

-Seasonal

-Expensive

Frozen -Harvested fresh & flash frozen to preserve nutrients

-Easy to cook and prepare

-Store up to 6 mo. in freezer

-Less waste compared to fresh

 

-Vegetables with a high water content do not freeze well & are not available for purchase

-Some frozen varieties are packed with a seasoning mix or sauce that  contains extra calories & sodium

-Texture change

Canned  

-Pasteurized for a longer shelf life

-Easy to cook & prepare

-Cheaper in price

-Allows the availability to consume veggies all year long

-Contains added Salt & Sodium for preserving

-Heat from pasteurization may decrease vitamin & mineral content

– Texture & flavor change

 

If you have been told by a Doctor or Registered Dietitian that you need to watch your salt or sodium intake, then frozen or fresh vegetables may be a better option for you.

*Tip: To reduce the sodium content of canned vegetables, drain the liquid from the inside of the can and rinse the vegetables with water. Or look for ‘low-sodium’ versions.

Frozen vegetables are becoming more popular because of their freezer shelf life and ease of cooking by steaming in the microwave.

*Tip: Add fresh or frozen vegetables such as broccoli florets into a microwave safe bowl with lid and cook for 3 minutes for perfectly steamed veggies for you next meal.

Purchase fresh vegetables in season or in bulk quantities. When vegetables are in season, they are cost efficient and last longer. If you purchase vegetables in bulk you can always freeze or can fresh veggies at home using the food safe techniques for them to last longer.

Vegetables come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ways to purchase them. And if you are feeling up to it, you can always grow your own! Overall, it does not matter how you have them, it is best to always eat your veggies!

May Nutrition Tip

Posted on: May 4th, 2017 by manna

National Herb Week is celebrated during the first week of May. This week reminds us that herbs and spices are an easy way to add delicious flavor to foods without adding sugars or sodium. Even better? Many herbs are easy to grow at home. All you need is a container with drainage for excess water and a window ledge that gets at least 4 hours of sunlight per day.  

Herbs are an excellent choice for cooking because they create great flavors and add antioxidants and vitamins to foods. Both fresh and dried herbs can impart nutrients to homemade meals.  If you’re interested in creating your own indoor herb garden, consider starting with some of these herbs that are known for being easier to grow.

Mint: Peppermint is a great choice because it can be made into tea and added to beverages for a refreshing touch. Mint is known for growing wildly, so make sure to plant it in its own pot or its sprawling roots will steel nutrients from the soil form other plants.

Parsley: Parsley can do well with only 4 hours of full sunlight and is a staple herb in many cuisines.

Lemongrass: Lemongrass can easily be grown from a stalk you buy at the grocery store. Place it in a glass with 2 inches of water; once the herbs are two inches long, transfer to a pot with moist potting soil.

Oregano: Fresh oregano is delicious, and you can dry your home-grown oregano and chop it for the even stronger oregano taste we often associate with Italian food. Oregano needs plenty of sunlight and should be kept in potting soil that should stay moist but not soaking wet. 

Meet Dito van Reiserberg – also known as – Martha Graham Cracker

Posted on: April 21st, 2017 by manna

We are so excited to have Martha Graham Cracker returning to the Forrest Theatre stage as host for Shut Up & Dance for the second year in a row. Dito van Reiserberg, the genius behind Martha, sat down to share some of his memories and insights of the evening. 

 

 

Favorite Memory

One year we did “Cold Hearted Snake” by Paula Abdul. If you haven’t seen the music video, you should. We had either a ladder or an actual scaffolding. And there are all these dancers, taking their shirt off and writhing on this enormous scaffolding. It’s very funny. And sexy.

Another year I did “Tiny Dancer” with Abby Mentzer.  And I’m tall – you know, especially in my heels I’m about 6’7. And she’s not a very tall dancer. There’s a part in Tiny Dancer that goes “tiny dancer in my hand,” and so I put out my hand and she put her little toe shoe into my hand. It was very fun.

 

How did you get involved?

My boyfriend is Matthew Neenan, Choreographer in Residence, who was part of Pennsylvania Ballet. And so I know the Pennsylvania Ballet crowd through him. He was part of some of the very early Shut Up & Dances. And that gave him his very first choreographic opportunity. Now that’s what he does for a living! In terms of something that creates an unintended result, a lot of dancers test the waters choreographers. And Matthew he did it several years in a row. We were like – you actually know how to choreograph! You should do it! And then he did it. I don’t know that he would be where is he is right now without Shut Up & Dance.

Nic Stuccio, who founded Fringe Arts, he was one of the co-founders. I want to say that Shut Up & Dance was a thing that allowed him to begin to cut his teeth organizationally as well. That created an impact allowing him to go off and make the Fringe Festival. So Shut Up & Dance has created a lot of opportunities, and has had an enormous impact.

When Michaela Majoun wanted to pass on the [Shut Up & Dance Host] torch, they were like – you like to talk and be ridiculous in front of people. Why don’t you do it? And so I said “okay!” You really can’t argue with the worthiness of the cause.

 

Could you describe Shut Up & Dance for those who have never been?

The evening has funny dances – the opening number is usually really ridiculous, and might have something to do with current events. But then there are pieces that are quite serious, or comedic, or uncategorizable. But they’re all new pieces of dance.

The tradition is the last dance before the ending is the Dying Swan. Which is a tribute to those we’ve lost, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch a ballerina do. It says ‘this is the heart of the ballet community giving itself to this worthy cause.’ So I feel that no matter how fun or ridiculous or goofy the evening is, there’s always an underlying thread of ‘let’s remember why we’re all here.’ It’s really moving.

Ask a Dietitian: Cooking Oils

Posted on: April 18th, 2017 by manna

Q: What’s the healthiest oil to use for high heat cooking, like for pan frying, wok cooking or under a broiler?

 

MANNA Registered Dietitian: What a great question! But before I give you the actual answer… I will break it down as to why certain oils are the healthiest and best to use for occasions of high heat cooking. This is because different types of oils, which are also called ‘fats’ have different heating and cooking temperatures.

There are generally 4 different types of fats/oils:

Types of Fats Sources of Oils Health Effects
Trans

(TFA)

Shortening

Hydrogenated Vegetable oil

Margarine

 

 

Raises laboratory values, such as LDL (bad cholesterol)

Lowers HDL (good cholesterol)

-Increases risk of heart disease & stroke

 

Saturated

(SFA)

 

 

Animal sources:

Butter

Lard

Animal fats & bi-products

Plant based sources:

Coconut oil

Palm & Palm kernel oil

 

 

 

Raises Total Cholesterol & LDL (bad cholesterol)

 

-Primarily from animal sources

-Solid at room temperature

 

Mono-Unsaturated

(MUFA)

 

 

Olive oil

Canola oil

Peanut oil

Avocado oil

Walnut oil

 

 

-Plant based source

Lowers lab values such as Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and LDL

-Liquid at room temperature, solid when chilled

Poly-Unsaturated

(PUFA)

 

 

Soybean oil

Corn oil

Canola oil

Sunflower oil

Safflower oil

Flaxseed oil

 

Lowers LDL (bad cholesterol)

Raises HDL (good cholesterol)

 

The healthiest oils are those that are high in MUFA and PUFA, such as olive oil and safflower oil. These types of fats can help lower your risk of heart disease when used in place of SFA and TFA. Replacing your cooking oils that are high in SFA with MUFA or PUFA oils can help lower blood cholesterol levels and improve lipid profiles.

In regards to cooking with oils/fats, not all are the same, just as they are different structurally. When cooking with oil there is something called a “Smoke Point.” A smoke point is when the oil reaches a heated temperature and it will start to produce smoke and even combust. The nutrients in the oil break down from the high heat, creating a rancid smell and darker color.

 

 

 

 

To answer the question- healthiest oil for HIGH heat cooking is ….

Heat Range Temperature Range Oils
Low Heat 200° – 300° Flaxseed oil

Walnut oil

Extra Virgin Olive oil

 

Medium Heat 300° – 400°  

Olive oil

Canola oil

Corn oil

 

High Heat 400° – 500°  

 

Sunflower oil

Safflower oil

Soybean oil

Peanut oil

Sesame oil

Avocado
oil

 

 

 

BUT, remember- Fat is Fat! All fats are 9 calories per gram. So, 1 tablespoon is a serving size of oil, (which looks like a half-dollar or poker chip size in a pan) is equivalent to 14.3 grams.

14.3g x 9 kcals/g = 128 calories per 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Though, fat is necessary and needed in a healthy diet, all fats/oil should be used in moderation.

– Brittany McCauley, RD, LDN

Meet Harrison Monaco

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by manna

 

Harrison Monaco

Dancer & Choreographer

5th year performing in Shut Up & Dance 

Photograph © Vikki Sloviter

Favorite Memory 

 

“I really love the moment when we’re doing dress rehearsals, and all the tech prep, and we’re on stage for the first time doing all this new choreography. Then afterwards we all get a lovely lunch served by MANNA. Which is the best food ever. We all sit around underneath the stage and it’s a bonding moment. And then we all go and get our makeup done by MAC, and that preparation makes us feel special and is bonding time as well.”

Recipe of the Month: Bruschetta

Posted on: April 4th, 2017 by manna

Fresh Tomato Day is April 6th!

Enjoy fresh and flavorful tomatoes with this quick and easy bruschetta recipe:

Ingredients

• 4 ripe tomatoes

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• ¼ onion, chopped

• 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

• 1 tbsp. Olive oil

• Salt and pepper to taste

• ½ loaf of French bread (or bread of choice) Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all of the ingredients (except the bread) in a bowl. Slice bread and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove bread from oven, let it cool, and serve tomato mixture on bread.

 

Ask a Dietitian: Frozen v. Fresh Vegetables

Posted on: April 4th, 2017 by manna

 

Q: How does the nutritional value of frozen, canned, and fresh vegetables compare to each other?

MANNA Registered Dietitian: Vegetables are primarily available in 3 ways of purchasing. The nutritional value of frozen, canned, and fresh vegetables are very similar yet mildly different, yet there are pros and cons to each type of vegetable for purchasing. Ultimately it depends on your lifestyle when it comes to storing, preparing, and cooking meals. It is recommend to eat 2-3 cups of vegetables a day.

Vegetables Pros Cons
Fresh -Full of vitamin & minerals 

-Versatile in cooking & preparing

-Perishable & short shelf life

-Seasonal

-Expensive

Frozen  

 

-Harvested fresh & flash frozen to preserve nutrients

-Easy to cook and prepare

-Store up to 6 mo. in freezer

-Less waste compared to fresh

 

 

-Vegetables with a high water content do not freeze well & are not available for purchase

-Some frozen varieties are packed with a seasoning mix or sauce that  contains extra calories & sodium

-Texture change

Canned  

 

-Pasteurized for a longer shelf life

-Easy to cook & prepare

-Cheaper in price

-Allows the availability to consume veggies all year long

 

-Contains added Salt & Sodium for preserving

-Heat from pasteurization may decrease vitamin & mineral content

– Texture & flavor change

 

If you have been told by a Doctor or Registered Dietitian that you need to watch your salt or sodium intake, then frozen or fresh vegetables may be a better option for you.

*Tip: To reduce the sodium content of canned vegetables, drain the liquid from the inside of the can and rinse the vegetables with water. Or look for ‘low-sodium’ versions.

Frozen vegetables are becoming more popular because of their freezer shelf life and ease of cooking by steaming in the microwave.

*Tip: Add fresh or frozen vegetables such as broccoli florets into a microwave safe bowl with lid and cook for 3 minutes for perfectly steamed veggies for you next meal.

Purchase fresh vegetables in season or in bulk quantities. When vegetables are in season, they are cost efficient and last longer. If you purchase vegetables in bulk you can always freeze or can fresh veggies at home using the food safe techniques for them to last longer.

Vegetables come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ways to purchase them. And if you are feeling up to it, you can always grow your own! Overall, it does not matter how you have them, it is best to always eat your veggies!

 

Want your nutrition question answered on the MANNA blog? E-mail mharmon@mannapa.org to receive personalized nutrition advice while also sharing that information with others! If you have the question, someone else is probably wondering too. 

Ask a Dietitian: Proteins

Posted on: April 4th, 2017 by manna

Question: Are there health differences between plant-based proteins and animal-based proteins?

 
MANNA RD: Before I go into detail about the differences between animal and plant proteins, it is important to understand the role of protein in the body.
 
Most of our muscles, organs, and cells in the body are made up of protein. One of the many important roles of protein is to support, build, and repair body tissues. They also provide the body with energy and build up our immune system.
 
There are some individuals that argue that a protein is a protein no matter what the source, while others beg to differ. Animal proteins are similar to those that are found in the human body, and also considered complete proteins.
 
This means that they contain all the essential amino acids our body needs to function. Even though they contain all the essential amino acids, animal proteins can also contain higher amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat, which are contributing factors to heart disease when consumed in high amounts over a long period of time.
 
Plant-based proteins such as nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains contain protein as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Even though they are good sources of protein, they do not contain as much as their animal counterparts.
 
For example, 3oz of chicken breast contains 21g of protein and 3oz of tofu contains only 7g. Since they also offer less g of protein per serving, not all plant based proteins offer all the essential amino acids that animal proteins do.
 
Balance is key in the equation of plant vs animal based proteins. If you consume animal proteins, choose seafood and lean cuts of meat as your protein source and try to balance your weekly intake with some plant-based sources. If you consume mostly plant based proteins, make sure to combine with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat bread to make sure you are getting all the essential amino acids your body needs. 
 
 
 
If you want to submit a question for our dietitians, please email Maris at Mharmon@mannapa.org or send us a message on Facebook! 
 

Meet James Ihde

Posted on: March 31st, 2017 by manna

 
James Ihde

Dancer

23rd year performing in Shut Up & Dance 

25th year attending Shut Up & Dance

 

Photograph © Vikki Sloviter

 

Funny Memory 

We did a piece, maybe six or seven years ago, that Brian Sanders choreographed and Tara Keating performed. She was in this big, plastic blow up ball, and I was on stage behind her holding the ball so it wouldn’t move. She was supposed to do a solo in it, cut her way out of it, and then dance again.

She was in there, and it came time to get out, and she couldn’t get out! She was cutting the ball spastically and fighting her way out… and at the last second made it!  After she got out she did her thing, and everything was okay. But I’d say that’s something that doesn’t happen everywhere!

Needless to say, they performed that idea that night and never did it again.”

 

Motivation

“Motivation [for the dancers] comes from wanting to help out and contribute, as well as people who really want an opportunity to choreograph on their friends and dancers they really admire. Maybe they get the opportunity to do a solo or something they might not have done otherwise.

People do humorous pieces as well, things that are really far off the beaten path that they might not get a chance to do any other time!”

 

Evolution

“Shut Up & Dance was very small the first couple years, not raising much money. A very small, homegrown event. Then, for years it was strictly dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet, choreographing on each other, maybe bringing back old pieces. And then over the years it developed into bringing on other local dancers, other choreographers, special guests, and bands.

So that side of the crew has evolved and the sheer size of the show has quintupled.

After the show you see how much money you raised and what a great cause it is and how much that money actually helps real, every day people in such a practical way. It’s a great thing for us to be involved in.”

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Nutrition Center

420 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
T: 215.496.2662
E: info@mannapa.org

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