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9 Healthy Fall Snacks | WTOP



Fall is a great time for snacks made with seasonal fruits and vegetables. The beginning of autumn means cooler temperatures …

Fall is a great time for snacks made with seasonal fruits and vegetables.

The beginning of autumn means cooler temperatures and the end of summer products. “That doesn’t mean you have to go without healthy, plant-based snacks,” said Sharon Palmer, a registered nutritionist based in the Los Angeles area. She is the author of the books “The Plant-Powered Diet” and “Plant-Powered for Life” and also writes the blog “The Plant-Powered Dietitian”. “There are many plant-based foods – such as pears, apples, nuts, and persimmons – that are minimally processed and offer seasonal, delicious snacks. You can use them to grab and take with you, pack them in a backpack or sports bag or sew them healthily in the home office. ”

Here are nine healthy fall snacks:

1. Fresh and baked apples

As a classic autumn snack, you can’t go wrong with apples, whether fresh or baked.

Cut an apple in half and dip it in nut butter – like unsweetened almond butter – for a balanced snack that has protein and fiber for satiety, suggests Maggie Michalczyk, a registered dietitian based in Chicago. “Keep the skin on for more fiber per bite,” she says. Apples are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium.

Baked apples are seasonal staples that are easy to prepare. An easy option is to cut the apple in half and then place the halves in a microwave-safe bowl with some apple juice. Cook them on high for about three minutes or until tender, then cover the apples with a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt or cinnamon to complete the snack.

2. Brown rice cake with cinnamon-flavored pears

This is a tasty, healthy, and easy-to-prepare snack, says Maxine Smith, a registered nutritionist with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.

– Slice and core a pear.

– Soak in soda water for 10 minutes to avoid browning.

– Get some thin brown rice cakes coated with almond butter.

– Put a few pears on the rice cake and sprinkle with cinnamon.

“This is a sensual treat with chewy, smooth, and crispy textures,” she says.

In addition to being a great source of vitamin C, which is immune system strength, pears are also high in fiber, fructose, and sorbitol, which are good for your intestines. Research suggests that eating fruit is linked to a lower chance of developing diabetes. For example, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in June 2021 suggests that eating a healthy diet, including fruit, could help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

3. Grapes

These cool, sweet fruits are in season in autumn. “Look for a number of unusual varieties at your local farmers’ markets, or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, which usually refers to a membership where participants get food from a specific farm on a weekly basis) and check your supermarkets for local sources as well. “Says Palmer.

The grape varieties include:

– Red.

– Black.

– Green.

– unity.

Grapes have a high water content, so they are a refreshing way to add moisture. They also contain fiber, potassium, and a number of vitamins. “The great thing about grapes is that they are already portioned into small portions,” she says. “Simply pinch off a bundle and throw it in a bag for easy nibbling in the office, at home, at school or on the way to commute.”

4. Homemade trail mix

For a crispy, healthy, and tasty snack with an array of flavors, try homemade trail mixes, says Michalczyk.

She suggests throwing these ingredients together:

– almonds.

– cashew nuts.

– Dark chocolate.

– Popcorn.

– pumpkin seeds.

This delicious snack provides vegetable protein. The nuts contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation and provide other health benefits. Meanwhile, dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants that help keep body cells healthy.

5. Persimmons

These orange-red fruits are available seasonally in the fall and are reminiscent of the fall colors, says Palmer. Persimmons are somewhat similar to tomatoes, but when they are ripe they are usually much sweeter. There are two popular types of this fruit, the fuyu and the hachiya. The latter is shaped like an acorn and needs to be fully ripe before it turns sweet. The Fuyu kaki can be eaten while it is still firm. This type of persimmon is similar to an apple: crunchy, sweet and crunchy.

Persimmons are rich in phytochemicals and can be used in whole grain salads and baked goods. They’re also high in fiber: a raw piece of the fruit contains about 6 grams of fiber, about 20% of the recommended daily fiber intake.

6. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are delicious, healthy and versatile, says Michalczyk.

You can add them to:

– salads.

– cereal bowls.

– yogurt.

– oatmeal.

These seeds provide vegetable protein, fiber, and magnesium. “The green ones are called pepitas and come from a different type of pumpkin than the one found in a typical jack-o-lantern,” says Michalczyk, author of two pumpkin cookery books. “The ones you cut out still contain good nutrients, so don’t throw them away. Roast them for a seasonal snack. ”

7. Pumpkin-flavored smoothies

The flavors of fall are evident in this delicious and nutritious shake that is easy to make, says Smith.

Smith suggests adding these ingredients to a blender:

– ½ cup of canned pumpkin.

– ½ cup milk, skimmed milk or unsweetened vegetable milk.

– ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

– ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

– ½ frozen banana.

Blend until smooth. Pumpkin contains phytochemicals, phytochemicals that research has shown to help protect the body from cancer, diabetes and inflammation. “In addition to making your smoothie fat, bananas are known for their robust potassium content, a nutrient most Americans miss.”

8. Roasted radishes

Roasted radishes are another tasty and healthy fall snack, says Smith.

She recommends this recipe:

– Wash the radishes, cut off the roots and stems and pat dry.

– Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, salt, smoked paprika, pepper and a dash of onion powder.

– Place the radishes on a baking sheet and toast them in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes, until crispy on the outside and soft in the center.

– Dip them in tahini sauce for an added treat.

Radishes contain isothiocyanates, organic compounds that make them “peppery”. They are also excellent sources of vitamin C and are associated with lower risk of cancer and diabetes.

9. Rosemary-roasted beet chips

For a hearty and healthy snack, you can’t go wrong with rosemary-roasted beet chips. Beets are often referred to as “superfoods” because they are so healthy. They contain antioxidants that protect the cardiovascular system, liver, and kidneys, Smith says.

Smith recommends this recipe:

– Wash and dry a few beets.

– Slice very thinly with a mandolin and toss in olive oil until lightly covered.

– Then add a pinch of salt, pepper and rosemary.

– Let it rest for 15 minutes and drain the liquid.

– Put parchment paper on a baking sheet, then put the beets in a single layer.

– Bake on the bottom rack of a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until light brown or lightly crispy.

To sum it up, here are nine healthy fall snacks:

– Fresh and baked apples.

– Brown rice cakes with cinnamon-flavored pears.

– Grapes.

– Homemade trail mix.

– Persimmons.

– pumpkin seeds.

– Pumpkin-flavored smoothies.

– Roasted radishes.

– Beet chips roasted in rosemary.

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9 Healthy Fall Snacks originally appeared on

Update 9/23/21: This story was published earlier and has been updated with new information.

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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