WIC is an Equal Opportunity Program. If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to race, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap, write immediately to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Apple A Day

Kelli George

Your ‘apple a day’ made fun


We have all heard that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, right?  But who really feels like eating a plain apple EVERY SINGLE DAY?  Apples are delicious, but sometimes we get tired of eating the same foods all the time.  I am always looking for new ways to switch up the way I fix my healthy fruits and vegetables to make them even more appealing. 




One of my favorite healthy snacks is a play on the typical apple and peanut butter combination.  Instead of just an apple with peanut butter spread on it, you also top the apple slices with some granola and dark chocolate chips!  (Because who doesn’t love an excuse to eat more chocolate?)  Eating the whole apple with the peanut butter, granola, and chocolate chips provides nearly ½ of the recommended daily protein intake for most adults (0.8-1 gram per kilogram of body weight).  That’s almost half of your protein needs in one snack!  I personally use dry oatmeal as my granola choice, but you can always have fun with it and add some flavored granola, mixed nuts, or any other topping that appeals to you.


Not only is this snack packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, but as an added bonus it is so much more filling than simply eating a plain apple.  When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, sometimes it can be easy to sacrifice taste for nutrition.  This snack is definitely an exception to that fact because it just tastes so good!


I think the most common theme here is finding snacks that are healthy yet tasty!  Here are some other great ways to switch up your apple snacking:


·         Pair an apple with your favorite cheese

·         Sprinkle some cinnamon on thin slices of apple, and bake at 225° for 45-60 minutes to make crunchy apple chips

·         Dice  your apple and mix with your other favorite fruits to make a refreshing fruit salad


Remember to experiment with different apple varieties! Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples are delightful, but have you every tried a Gala, Pink Lady, or Fuji apple? Many grocery stores stock many other varieties that change year round, so take a step outside of your apple comfort zone and try variety that is new to you!





1- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Protein. Retrieved from website:


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Refreshing Water

Stay Cool This Summer with Infused Water
Post written by Abi Mitch, VCUHS Dietetic Intern
This summer, stay hydrated and choose healthier beverages to help you stay cool. While a glass of ice cold lemonade, sweet tea, juice, or soda is refreshing on a hot day, these drinks are full of sugar and packed with calories. Put some of your WIC cash value benefits to good use by making infused water with a portion of the fruits and vegetables that you purchase. You can even eat the fruits and vegetables after the water has finished infusing! By choosing infused water over sweetened beverages, you can decrease the amount of sugar and calories you consume during the day to improve your health while still having a thirst quenching beverage.
Make infused water by soaking a combination of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and tea in water using glass jars, large pitchers, or personal sized water bottles. Make sure to remove the paper tag and string from tea bags before soaking them in water. Cut off the rind of lemons, limes, and grapefruit to reduce bitterness of the water.
Here are several flavor combinations for 32 ounces (4 cups) of infused water, feel free to mix and match fruits and other flavors as you prefer.
Mandarin, Basil, and Black Tea Infused Water
2 mandarin oranges, sliced with rind removed
4 basil leaves, torn
1 bag of black tea
Combine ingredients with water, infuse for 2-3 hours at room temperature and then remove the tea bags. Refrigerate after infusing.
Green Tea Citrus Infused Water
½ of a grapefruit, sliced with rind removed
½ of a lemon, sliced with rind removed
1 bag of green tea
Combine ingredients with water, infuse for 2-3 hours at room temperature and then remove the tea bags. Refrigerate after infusing.
Mango Mint Infused Water
2 sprigs of fresh mint (or about 8 small leaves)
½ of a mango, with the skin cut off and divided into pieces (about 6)
Combine the mint and mango with water and let the infusion sit for 3-4 hours at room temperature. Refrigerate after infusing.
Watermelon Cilantro Infused Water
4 cubes fresh watermelon
5-6 leaves cilantro
Tear the cilantro leaves in half to get the most flavor. Add purified water and chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
Cucumber Jalapeño Mint Infused Water
3″ of cucumber (English or regular), sliced
½ of a jalapeño pepper, de-seeded
1 sprig of mint leaves
To de-seed a jalapeño, cut off the pepper’s top and then cut the pepper in half. Wear a latex glove or cover your thumb with plastic wrap, and run your thumb down the length of the pepper, removing all seeds and the pith. Combine the ingredients in a container and cover with cold water. Infuse for 4-24 hours in the refrigerator. Longer infusion times will result in stronger flavors.
There are many other great fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices that can be used to infuse water:

Chamomile Tea
Hibiscus Tea


If you are short on time, add a squeeze of citrus juice or other fruit to a glass of sparkling water. You get the same flavor with none of the waiting time!


Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad

It’s going to be a long, hot summer. Looking for a nice refreshing side dish, or meal in itself? Pasta salad is the answer! Incorporate whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies, and a light vinaigrette for a yummy, nutritious dish.

Kale White Bean Pasta Salad

1 Pound Cooked Pasta

1 Bunch of Kale, rinsed and cut into bite sized pieces

10.5 Ounce Package of Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 Can White Beans, drained and rinsed

¼ Cup Lemon Juice

½ Cup Olive Oil

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

Whisk the last four ingredients together separately.

Then, toss with pasta and kale, tomatoes, and beans.

Cover, and refrigerate until it’s time to enjoy!

Or, Create your own!

Tips for the Perfect Pasta Salad:

* Whole wheat pasta has more fiber that will aid in bowel regularity and help you feel full longer!

* Beans add protein for a balanced meal.

* Add a rainbow of veggies for a variety of vitamins and minerals.

* Using olive oil instead of a mayonnaise based dressing provides heart healthy benefits.

* Use store bought fat-free Italian dressing for a quick and easy alternative to making your own vinaigrette. 

Written By: Amanda Bianco, VCUHS Dietetic Intern

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Snacking Smart


Does your stomach start rumbling between meals? Snacking is a great way to quiet your stomach and satisfy your hunger. It can also help you not overeat at your next meal. I know that when I’m starving at a mealtime, I will eat everything in sight and make less healthy choices. That’s why I eat a small snack between meals to hold me over until my next meal. While snacking can help improve your nutrition, it can also add a lot of empty calories if you aren’t careful. Try following these tips and some of my favorite snack ideas to start snacking smart!


Tips for Snacking Smart:

·        Only snack if you’re physically hungry- not out of habit!

·        Don’t eat out the food bag or package- put your food into a small bowl or on a small plate so that you know how much you’re eating.

·        Pay attention to what you’re eating by turning off the TV or computer and eating at the table- focus on your food.

·        Aim for 100-200 calories- look at the nutrition label to figure out how many calories you’re eating.

·        Eat a fruit or vegetable as part of every snack.

·        Plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks in advance so that they are ready to grab and go.

·        Incorporate foods high in protein such as 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, a slice of cheese, ¼ cup of beans, a hard-boiled egg, or Greek yogurt to help keep you full for longer.


Easy Snack Ideas:

·        Celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

·        1 container of Greek yogurt with a banana or ½ cup of fresh fruit

·        1 slice of wheat bread or 6 crackers with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

·        Cheese stick with an apple

·        1 cup of lightly salted popcorn and a handful of nuts

·        ¼ cup of homemade trail mix with nuts, raisins, and dry cereal

·        Pack of oatmeal made with nonfat milk

·        1 cup of vegetables with 1 slice of cheese



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

National Nutrition Month®

The month of March celebrates National Nutrition Month® with this year’s theme of “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”.

Food is the fuel for our body. Much like a car needs gasoline to run properly, the body needs food to work in the ways it’s meant to. Biting into a healthy lifestyle can mean a lot of things. For me, I like to focus on what foods can I "bite into" more often that will help me to do the things I love, like playing soccer. So whether it’s me chasing a ball around the field or you chasing your kids around the family room, we all should give our body what it needs in order for us to do the things we love.


A food group that we all can usually afford to eat more of is vegetables. Vegetables provide many of the essential nutrients the body needs and should be regularly included in a well-balanced, healthy diet. Eating enough vegetables throughout the day is a great place to start for biting into a healthy lifestyle! For women (19-50 years old) the recommendation is for at least 2 ½ cups of veggies per day. If you’re already meeting this recommendation, then maybe your focus can be on eating a variety of different vegetables. Aim for trying vegetables that are all sorts of different colors. Frozen vegetables are a great option since they stay good for long periods of time and don’t depend on what season it is. Vegetables make a great snack, side, or can be a part of the main dish- try throwing some more veggies into your casserole, sandwich, stir fry or soup.


So take this month to focus on eating a few more vegetables or trying some new ones to bite into a healthy lifestyle!


Written by Kristen Herceg, VCUHS dietetic intern

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Curb That Craving: Fast Food Has Met Its Match

By Natalie Donvito, VCUHS Dietetic Intern

We all have been there-craving a juicy cheeseburger with a side of fresh French fries; maybe even some onion rings or a chocolate ice cream treat to top it off. But what about all of the additional calories, fat, sugar, and salt that make these delicious foods less desirable?

Well, worry no more—here are some of your favorite fast food items with a healthier spin, so you can satisfy your cravings and fuel your body with a nutritious meal!

Bacon Cheeseburger, meet the California Turkey Burger

·         Replace a ground beef patty with a ground turkey patty. Turkey is a leaner meat, and is still great at holding flavor and moisture!

·         Switch the white bun for a whole wheat bun. Whole wheat provides is nutrient-rich and provides additional fiber.

·         Trade out bacon slices for avocado slices. Unlike bacon, avocados contain healthier fats that, when eaten in moderation, can help lower your cholesterol.

·         Replace high fat American or Cheddar cheese, with a slice of low fat Swiss cheese. Low fat Swiss cheese packs a similarly strong flavor with a fraction of the calories, fat, and salt.

Deep Fried French Fries, meet the Golden Baked French Fries

·         Trade out French fries cooked in oil with French fries cooked in the oven.  When potatoes are deep fried, they lose moisture and soak up the oil that they are being cooked in. Avoid all of that extra fat and calories by baking French fries in the oven. Cut down on the sodium by using a sodium-free seasoning, such as dried herbs.

·         Golden Baked French Fries (1 serving):

o   Materials: Oven, knife, cutting board, mixing bowl, cookie sheet, tin foil, cooking spray, 1 large potato, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning.

o   1) Set oven to 375°F.  2) Line cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.  3) Slice potato into French fries using the knife and cutting board. 4) Place French fries in mixing bowl. Add oil and Italian seasoning and toss until well mixed. 5) Spread in even, single layer onto lined cookie sheet.  6) Bake in oven for 20 minutes.  7) Flip fries and return to oven.  8) Continue to bake ~20 minutes or until golden brown.  9) Remove from oven & allow to cool slightly before serving.

Beer Battered Onion Rings, meet the Sautéed Onion & Green Pepper Medley

·         Similar to the French fries, deep fried onion rings are filled with excess oil, and with even more calories coming from breading. Replace this high calorie, high fat snack with a healthier side of fresh sautéed onions and green peppers. You could even add them to your California Turkey Burger!

·         Sautéed Onion & Green Pepper Medley (1 serving):

o   Materials: Stove top, skillet, knife, cutting board, ½ medium onion, ½ green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil.

o   1) Slice onion and bell pepper lengthwise into strips using knife and cutting board.  2) Warm olive oil in skillet on medium-low heat on stove top.  3) Add sliced onion and bell pepper to skillet.  4) Increase to medium-high heat and stir frequently until onions begin to turn translucent in color.  5) Take off heat & allow to cool slightly before serving.

Chocolate Ice Cream Treat, meet the Ultra Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Yogurt

·         All of the fast food chains have them—soft serve ice cream or milkshake combinations that are delicious, but not entirely nutritious.  Instead, enjoy a homemade, creamy chocolate yogurt with a peanut butter twist that is sure to entice your taste buds without the added sugar, fat, and calories.  You can enjoy the treat by itself or try it as a dip with sliced apples!

·         Ultra Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake (1 serving):

o   Materials: Mixing bowl, whisk, 1 single serving container vanilla Greek yogurt (~5 ½ oz), ½ tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter.

o   1) Empty yogurt into mixing bowl.  2) Add cocoa powder and peanut butter and whisk together until well blended.  3) Serve immediately or cover and return to refrigerator.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Healthy Twist to Apple Crisp
By Kendra Quick, VCUHS Dietetic Intern
The second best thing to the all American classic apple pie. Surprise your guests this 4th of July with an apple crisp with a healthy edge. I have given my grandma’s homemade recipe a nutrition make over, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday weekend!

Original Apple Crisp


4 cups sliced apples (Granny Smith)

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

½ cup butter

1 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice apples in a 9”x9” baking dish. Make crumbs by cutting butter into flour and sugar. Cover apples with crumb mixture. Bake 45 minutes.


Makes 9 servings


Nutrition Facts:

Calories (kcal): 214
Total Fat (g): 10
     Saturated Fat (g): 7
     Monounsaturated fat (g): 3
Carbohydrate (g): 31
     Fiber (g): 1
Protein (g): 0
Sodium (mg): 83


New Apple Crisp


4 cups sliced apples (Granny Smith)

½ cup of Splenda brown sugar (packed)

¼ cup Natural applesauce (no sugar added)

1 cup whole-wheat flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice apples in a 9”x9” baking dish. Mix apple sauce with flour and sugar to make the topping. Cover apples with mixture. Bake 45 minutes.


Makes 9 servings


Nutrition Facts:

Calories (kcal): 120
Total Fat (g): 0
     Saturated Fat (g):  0
     Monounsaturated fat (g):  0
Carbohydrate (g): 18
Fiber (g): 3
Protein (g): 2
Sodium (mg): 1