Food & Nutrition

8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening

Little Girl Gardening

According to the World Health Organization, good health means more than just the absence of bad health symptoms. It means the presence of positive emotions, quality of life, sense of community and happiness.  (WHO 1948)

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Moroccan Carrot Salad

Menu Images-8

See that beautiful orange creation in the middle of the plate above? That’s the cool and delicious Moroccan Carrot Salad we serve at Kardia Cafe, located in our brand new, state-of-the-art NC Heart and Vascular Hospital.

It’s bright and tangy and takes you on a flavor journey with twists and turns. And now you can make it at home! Go ahead! Impress your loved ones with this winning side dish.

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The Return of the Downtown Raleigh Farmer’s Market

man at raleigh farmer's market flipping grilled sandwiches

Ten years ago, the pulse of downtown Raleigh was sluggish. Now it’s vital. Concerts, festivals, movies, food trucks and even ice skaters congregate in City Plaza, surrounded by boutiques and restaurants.

But spring and summer belong to the innovative Downtown Raleigh Farmers Market. At least on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

What’s so innovative about the Downtown Raleigh Farmer’s Market?

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Make This Delectable Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad and Become Everyone’s Favorite Human

Bright and tangy, cool and protein-rich, this healthy and delicious dish occupies the magical territory between salty and sweet. You may never have had a dish that combined golden raisins, dried cranberries, and capers, but–trust us–this is worth trying.

This dish is also heroically healthy, which is why it’s featured on the menu at Kardia Café, the Mediterranean restaurant on the first floor of our brand new, state-of-the-art North Carolina Heart and Vascular Hospital.

healthy greek yogurt chicken salad

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Grilled Chili-Rubbed Pork Kabobs with Peach Salsa

Grilled Chili-Rubbed Pork Kabobs with Peach Salsa

Pork kabobs with peach salsa

Savory pork skewers with a fresh peach salsa are a great way to liven up dinner. You can bring a bit of summer to your plate by using frozen peaches when they’re not in season.

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Turkey Sausage and Herb Stuffing: Healthy Holiday Recipe

A healthy alternative to traditional stuffing, this dish will have you asking for more–and not feeling bad about it!

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Citrus Walnut Vinaigrette: Healthy Holiday Recipe (Video)

Last week’s UNC REX Health Talk focused on “Healthy Holiday Eating.” UNC REX Executive Chef Ryan Conklin and registered dietitians Shelly Wegman and Mary Gray Hutchison joined host Sharon Delaney to take questions from the online audience and showcase a delicious and healthy holiday dish.

Check out the step-by-step video and recipe below!

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REX Bariatric Specialists Quick Recipes

Spice up your meal variety with these healthy, quick recipes recommended by REX Bariatric Specialists!

Ham, Egg, and Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 16oz low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups 2% Italian cheese blend
  • 2 cups low sodium chopped sliced ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 10oz chopped frozen broccoli
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Beat eggs in a large bowl until blended
  • Add remaining ingredients into bowl and mix until combined well
  • Spray 13×9 inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray
  • Pour mix into baking dish
  • Bake at 350°F for 50- 60 minutes


Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup rolled oats, dry
  • 2 tsp Stevia (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • fruit (raspberries, blueberries)

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients into a bowl and blend
  • Spray skillet with olive oil cooking spray
  • Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto medium-low heat skillet
  • Flip batter when it begins to bubble
  • Repeat with rest of batter
  • Top finished pancakes with fruit

Serving size: 4 pancakes


Moroccan Chicken Thighs (slow cooker meal)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  •  1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of excess fat)
  • pinch of pepper
  • Greek yogurt (for garnish)

Directions:

  • Blend cilantro through lemon juice in a food processor or blender
  • Add chicken thighs to bottom of slow cooker pot
  • Season with pepper and cover chicken with paste from food processor
  • Cook on low for 3-4 hours
  • Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt


Hummus and Crackers

Ingredients:

  • Crackers:
    • 1/2 cup chia seeds
    •  1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds (unsalted)
    • 1/2 cup pepitas
    • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
    • 1 clove of grated garlic
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1 cup water
  • Hummus:
    • 15oz canned chick peas (drained)
    • 15oz canned chick peas (with liquid)
    • 1/4 cup tahini sauce
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 medium garlic cloves (peeled)
    • 1/4 tsp cumin
    • dash of cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 cup kalamata olives (rinsed, pitted and chopped)

Directions:

  • Combine all cracker ingredients in a bowl and stir mixture until combined
  • Let sit for 2 minutes so water absorbs
  • Spread mixture onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake at 300°F for 35 minutes
  • Remove from oven and cut sheet into squares with pizza cutter
  • Flip squares and bake again at 300°F for 25- 35 minutes
  • While crackers are baking, combine all hummus ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth
  • Pour into a bowl and refrigerate while crackers finish baking (optional)
  • Garnish with additional olives (optional)

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Pumpkin is the New Black


Jayne VecchioJayne is a graduate of Virginia Tech and is currently a Dietetic Intern through Meredith College, working with REX Nutrition Services and REX Diabetes Education Center.

Pumpkins are nutrition-packed vegetables that seem to be underrated for the majority of the year- until fall rolls around. As you may have noticed, pumpkin is currently taking over grocery stores and coffee shops and the smell of pumpkin spice lingers in the air.  It is high in fiber, low in sugar and fat, and contains many micro-nutrients the body requires to function.

Here are some of the main nutrients pumpkin provides:

  • pile of pumpkinsVitamin A – aids in vision (1 cup mashed pumpkin contains more than 200% RDI)
  • Vitamin C – can help boost immune system
  • Beta carotene – a powerful antioxidant that helps fight disease
  • Fiber – keeps you fuller longer and can aid in weight loss
  • Phytosterols – Can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • Tryptophan – an amino acid that helps calm and relax body

One of my favorite ways to get in the fall spirit is incorporating pumpkin into baking.  Simply adding of a cup of pumpkin puree to recipes is as a more nutritious way to enjoy a sweet treat (in moderation)! Pick up a can of pumpkin (or a pie pumpkin to steam if you prefer the old-fashioned way) at your local grocery store and try this recipe this weekend:

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

pumpkin banana muffinsIngredients:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425° and line a muffin tray with liners.
  • In large bowl microwave butter until melted, about 15-20 seconds, then add the bananas and mash. Add the sugar and pumpkin. Stir well.
  • Stir in the egg and vanilla.
  • Mix in pumpkin spice, cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  • Spoon evenly into a muffin tin

Bake for 5 minutes at 425°, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for 15-16 more minutes. Baking them at the higher temperature at first helps them rise and gives a nice rounded top.  Remove from tin and allow to cool then enjoy!

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Strawberry S’mores

Go fruity with this twist on a summertime favorite! Try this sweet three-ingredient treat without going overboard on the calories. You can also add in raspberries, blueberries or bananas for an extra burst of fruity flavor!

strawberry_smores

Prep time: 5 minutes
Number of servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 2 strawberries
  • 1 graham cracker (broken in half)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt

Directions

  1. Rinse the strawberries in water.
  2. Slice the strawberries.
  3. Add the yogurt and strawberries to half of graham cracker.
  4. Top with the other half of graham cracker.

Nutritional information per serving: 57 total calories; 1 g fat; 2 g protein; 9 g carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 64 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

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