Fitness Resources

Author: Mark Mayes

What is MyPlate?

Start Simple with MyPlate

The benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. Small changes matter. Start Simple with MyPlate.

A healthy eating routine is important at every stage of life and can have positive effects that add up over time. It’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy and fortified soy alternatives. When deciding what to eat or drink, choose options that are full of nutrients. Make every bite count.

MyPlate Messages

Click on a message below to learn more about the food groups.

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MyPlate

The benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. Small changes matter. Start Simple with MyPlate.

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Fruits

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: focus on whole fruits

More information

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Vegetables

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: vary your veggies

More information

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Grains

Make half your grains whole grains

More information

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Protein Foods

Vary your protein routine

More information

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Dairy

Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt (or lactose-free dairy or fortified soy versions)

More information

Make every bite count

  • Learn how much you need from each food group. Get a personalized MyPlate Plan that’s right for you, based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level.
  • Take a look at your current eating routine. Pick one or two ways that you can switch to choices today that are rich in nutrition.
  • A healthy eating routine can help boost your health today and in the years to come. Think about how your food choices come together over the course of your day or week to help you create a healthy eating routine.
  • It’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy and fortified soy alternatives. Choose options for meals, beverages, and snacks that have limited added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.

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MyPlate.gov is based on the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

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Start Simple with MyPlate App

Build healthy eating habits one goal at a time! Download the Start Simple with MyPlate app today.

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Pig’s Blood for Protein? Pig’s blood is being turned into protein powder.

By
May 10, 2021

Protein powder from pig's blood

First we had burgers made from cell-cultured meat, and now there’s protein powder gleaned from swine blood. As reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, food scientists have devised a way to produce a flavorless protein powder from pig’s blood, a byproduct of pork meat production, using enzymes from papaya fruit and a soil bacterium. At present, 5,000 metric tonnes of pure protein powder can be extracted from 60,000 tonnes of blood.

The hope is that this could be used in the food supply to help meet the protein needs of a growing global population and could perhaps be an easy way to help seniors take in more protein to stave off frailty. But as we have witnessed with cricket protein, we are probably a long way off from widespread acceptance of cereal spiked with pig’s blood protein, so, for the time being, most pork eaters will likely prefer their protein to come from chops.

See also: The REAL Scoop on Protein Powders

Intermittent Fasting – Discover strategies for incorporating this eating plan into your life.

Intermittent fasting

While it has long been used in ancient traditions and major religions, intermittent fasting (IF) is enjoying new popularity among people trying to lose weight.  Sometimes called “feast and fast,” IF is an eating pattern with periods of little to no energy intake interspersed with periods of normal energy intake, adhered to on a repeating basis.

Though scientific evidence is still forming, the latest studies show that IF shows promising benefits for the body and brain. It’s important to note, though, that the method involves more than just limiting calories on a regular schedule; it must be personally tailored to be maximally effective.

Interested in exploring IF? Teri Mosey, PhD, a holistic nutrition consultant with 25 years in the health and fitness industry, shares insights into the philosophy and implementation of this approach.

Why Intermittent Fasting?

IF has drawn the attention of the weight loss industry because simply restricting calories continues to show a poor success rate, a high incidence of weight regain and negative biological consequences (Ganesan, Habboush & Sultan 2018).

That’s because there’s more to weight than an energy-calorie equation. Research shows that meal selection, metabolic processes, circadian rhythms, emotional state and sleep patterns contribute to long-term weight management (Eichelmann et al. 2016; Wang et al. 2017).

The IF method includes food selection, timing and frequency manipulation and may involve caloric restriction. These variables lead to changes in eating and sleeping patterns, resulting in positive alterations to metabolic rhythms (Aksungar et al. 2017). The altered biorhythms, in turn, shift inflammatory biomarkers, hormone secretions, microbiome health, cognitive function and metabolic pathways—all of which can potentially extend life span and lengthen health span (Carlson et al. 2007; Mattson, Longo & Harvie 2017).

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

If, after consulting with a nutrition professional, you decide to try IF, consider these suggestions:

Choose an IF regimen carefully. Select an approach that you can sustain. Consistency is crucial to reaping benefits.

Change the timing gradually. Rather than shift the timing of your food intake all at once, trim a little time off your eating window, about 30 minutes, each day.

Omit late-night eating. This will help align IF with circadian rhythms.

Time meals to support digestion. Consider going 5 hours between meals or snacks to support the body’s migrating motor complex and to create metabolic flexibility.

Expect some discomfort. There will be a time of imbalance as hunger sensations and hormones adapt. Be prepared to feel hungry, moody and preoccupied with food when first starting.

Be committed. Practice for at least 8 weeks to begin reaping IF’s benefits as part of a preexisting healthy lifestyle.

Is Intermittent Fasting a Good Fit?

Use the following information as a starting point to decide whether intermittent fasting (IF) may work for you. You can also consult with a registered dietitian to get personalized guidance. (See eatright.org to find one.)

Positive indicators. IF may be a good fit for you if you want to

  • improve body awareness and hunger/fullness cues;
  • explore life without strong food attachments;
  • work toward the potential health benefits of the practice; and
  • enhance an existing health-supportive lifestyle.

Contraindications. IF is not meant for those who are

  • younger than 23 or older than 75;
  • pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • diagnosed with advanced type 1 diabetes;
  • struggling with a chronic sleep disorder;
  • challenged with an eating disorder or trying to counteract poor eating habits; or
  • predisposed to taking practices, including healthy ones, to an unhealthy extreme.

References

Aksungar, F.B., et al. 2017. Comparison of intermittent fasting versus caloric restriction in obese subjects: A two year follow-up. The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 21 (6), 681–85.

Carlson, O., et al. 2007. Impact of reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction on glucose regulation in healthy, normal weight middle-aged men and women. Metabolism, 56 (12), 1729–34.

Eichelmann, F., et al. 2016. Effect of plant-based diets on obesity-related inflammatory profiles: A systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention trials. Obesity Reviews, 17 (11), 1067–79.

Ganesan, K., Habboush, Y., & Sultan, S. 2018. Intermittent fasting: The choice for a healthier lifestyle. Cureus, 10 (7), e2947.

Mattson, M.P., Longo, V.D., & Harvie, M. 2017. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Aging Research Reviews, 39, 46–58.

Wang, Y., et al. 2017. The intestinal microbiota regulates body composition through NFIL3 and the circadian clock. Science, 357 (6354), 912–16.

How to Stick to a Diet: 7 Tips That Make Dieting Easier

 by Jonathan Ross
on

Even though the literal meaning of the word diet is “way of eating or lifestyle,” it is now generally associated with something extreme that includes both a starting and a stopping point. Getting back to thinking of a diet as a “way of eating” is not only more accurate but more helpful and sustainable.

The following tips are designed to help you stay positive (not perfect) and make progress (and not regress) in your “way of eating.”

  1. Enhance your desire for healthy food. Too many people believe that you can either enjoy tasty food that’s bad for you or resign yourself to eating unappealing food that is good for you. In reality, healthy food can be both delicious and extremely satisfying. Begin with foods you like that you know are healthy and then start seeking out similar healthy foods to try. Avoid forcing yourself to eat food you intensely dislike just because it is good for you. At the same time, reduce your exposure to oversweetened, oversalted, and overprocessed foods that train your tastebuds to think healthy food is boring.
  2. Make it harder to make unhealthy choices and easier to make healthy ones. Snacks are often appealing, not so much for their taste, but because they are available, and they are easy. And while it’s far easier to eat candy than peel an orange, the point is moot if the candy is not easily available. Keep it out of the house or put it in an inconvenient location in your kitchen, pantry, or some other far away part of your home. Improve your odds of eating healthfully by making healthy choices easier and unhealthy ones harder.
  3. Pick a limited number of your favorite treats and only indulge in those occasionally. While “everything in moderation” is a popular mantra, the concept of moderation is lost when we face countless opportunities to indulge every day. Indulging in moderation leads too many people to eat too many unhealthy foods too often, but only any single one infrequently. Instead, a better approach is to pick two or three treats you really love and enjoy them, on occasion, without guilt.
  4. Exercise is not punishment for the sins of eating. Exercise and healthy eating are not moral choices—they are simply healthful ones. Your eating habits and your exercise behaviors are meant to point you in the same direction rather than work against each other. The power of both physical activity and good nutrition together is greater than either one alone.
  5. Disrupt old habits and replace them with new ones. No, you don’t need more willpower—you need better habits, which can be viewed as behavioral shortcuts for your brain. These shortcuts develop around any behavior you repeat often. If you always have a bowl of ice cream while watching television at night, simply sitting down to watch a show at night can create the craving. Disrupt the habit by replacing it with healthier behavior. For example, you might brush your teeth before you sit down or eat a breath mint. Anything that disrupts and delays the automatic response (eat the ice cream) to the stimulus (sitting on the couch) can trigger your ability to consciously control your behavior rather than letting it be automatic.
  6. Avoid the extremists. Healthy eating is not flashy, trendy or weird. Drinking pickle juice or putting butter in your coffee, eating a lot of a single food or almost nothing at all (i.e., a “cleanse”), can be safely dismissed as folly. Sensible rarely makes headlines and it does not make good clickbait. Stay grounded by centering your eating plan on real food, consisting of plants, nuts, seeds and appropriate animal products that fit your lifestyle and preferences and are healthy for you. Anyone who believes that all humans should be omnivores or that all humans should be vegan is wrong. Like most areas of life, steer clear of extremists and you will find your way to nuance, truth and better health.
  7. Enjoy the meal and the people with whom you eat. A Mediterranean-Style dietary pattern is frequently recommended due to its focus on whole foods, but one part of it that is rarely mentioned is the Mediterranean approach to the experience of eating. It is focused on communing with others and enjoying food through all of the senses—the aromas, tastes, textures and appearance. Regardless of what we eat, there is much to be learned from this long-standing tradition of valuing the experience of eating and doing so with others.
Post Author

Author

Jonathan Ross

Health and Fitness Expert

His “800 Pounds of Parents” directly inspired Jonathan’s prolific fitness career.  He is a multiple Personal Trainer of the Year Award-Winner (ACE, IDEA, and PFP Magazine), creator of Funtensity, brain fitness expert, blogger and master trainer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). His book, Abs Revealed, delivers a modern, intelligent approach to abdominal training.

Spotting the Food Industry’s Influence on Nutrition Research

Man studying fruit outside

 

 

The food industry has an inherent conflict of interest when it funds
nutrition research. After all, food manufacturers’ livelihoods rise and fall on how we decide to consume calories. The industry’s deep pockets translate into influence over dietary experts, scientific studies and nutrition policymakers.

That power became clear in 2016, when the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that the sugar industry funded early research encouraging Harvard scientists to downplay the health risks of sugar and instead blame fat. Fifty years ago, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published these findings without disclosing the sugar industry funding (such disclosures were not common back then).

In an editorial last year, JAMA pointed out that food and agricultural industries spent $12.4 billion on nutrition studies in 2013, eclipsing the $1.5 billion in funding from all agencies of the federal government 4 years earlier. Industry-funded findings are significantly more likely to benefit the industry than research funded by sources like the National Institutes of Health, especially for studies of sugary drinks and artificial sweeteners, JAMA wrote.

The food industry targets key thought leaders and nutrition experts, offering freebies and stipends to pen columns, endorse products or present at meetings. While experts are bound by ethical requirements to disclose funding and do attempt to remain unbiased, studies show that industry funding influences their behavior. Moreover, corporate food giants typically employ registered dietitians on their marketing teams, while the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional organization of registered dietitian nutritionists, has accepted large amounts of food industry funding.

In 2013, RDNs opposed to taking industry money founded Dietitians for Professional Integrity (integrity dietitians.org) to counter corporate influence.

Health and fitness professionals who want to share credible, unbiased nutrition facts with clients need to ask a few critical questions when interpreting dietary information:

  • Are there conflicts of interest? Who is funding the person or the research? Does the funder have a vested interest in the outcome?
  • How credible is the source? Who is providing the nutrition information? Does independent science support the findings? What makes this person or organization credible? Sources such as the Nutrition Action Healthletter, published by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, base recommendations on science and refuse corporate funding.
  • Are red flags flying? Studies or promotions that boast of breakthroughs, cures and miracles
    are likely to be more hype than substance.
  • Do the findings make sense? Do the claims stand up against common sense?

It’s crucial to ask such questions before changing your practice in response to the latest and greatest nutrition pronouncements.

Carbs and Protein for Exercise Recovery – Carbs and protein can tag-team for better exercise recovery.

By
Apr 5, 2021

Protein and carbs for exercise recovery

Restocking spent glycogen stores is a major part of exercise recovery for endurance athletes. Glycogen is a vital source of energy for working muscles, especially at higher intensities. Evidence suggests that co-ingesting carbohydrate and protein after exercise may stimulate greater glycogen synthesis during recovery than carbohydrate alone.

How? The amino acids that make up dietary protein can encourage the pancreas to release more insulin, thereby increasing muscle glucose uptake and, in turn, glycogen production within muscle cells. But there’s a catch: As reported in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, this recovery tag team only works to its full potential if protein does not replace any of the energy coming from carbohydrates.

This means 100 grams of carbohydrate and 30 g of protein could stimulate more glycogen synthesis than 70 g of carbs and 30 g of protein. So prudent sports nutrition advice for athletes is simply to add protein to their lofty post-workout carbohydrate intake instead of removing some carbs to make room for protein calories.

 

Key Takeaways From the New Dietary Guidelines-Science-based recommendations for better health.

American Nutrition Guidelines

 

By Matthew Kadey, MS, RD
Sep 28, 2020

American Nutrition Guidelines

Since 1980, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every 5 years. The goal is to offer a framework on how to eat for better nutrition-related health, and the regular updates allow for adjustments and new recommendations based on changing research and the nutritional thinking among a committee of experts. We know nutrition is an ever-evolving field. The guidelines become the basis of federal nutrition policy and food assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—that’s why they are also subjected to intense lobbying. From the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, there are a few new recommendations worth noting.

1. New Guidelines for Infants and Breastfeeding Moms

Why? The committee has determined that breastfeeding can help set infants up for long-term health and even reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Infants should ideally be breastfed for at least 6 months for proper growth and development and should avoid food and drink with added sugar during the first 2 years of life. It’s also recommended that high-allergen foods like eggs and peanuts be introduced as early as 4–6 months to lessen the risk of food allergies.

2. Men Should Cut Back on Booze

Why? Since men are more likely to drink than women, the new dietary guidelines will recommend a maximum of one drink per day for both sexes (current guidelines allow men two drinks on any given day). Alcohol consumption—including binge-drinking—has increased in the U.S., and so have associated conditions like liver disease. And the most current research suggests that even mild alcohol consumption can have negative health outcomes, like high blood pressure, which supports tightening the limit for males. The committee also brought up the nutrition implication of alcohol consumption, as it can contribute empty calories to the diet.

3. Change Up Your Fats

Why? The recommendation for saturated fat remains at a maximum of 10% of total calories. However, we are now advised to swap saturated fat in our diets mainly with polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease, still the leading cause of death in America.

4. We Should Eat Even Less Added Sugar

Why? The 2015–2020 guidelines push for no more than 10% of total calories from added sugar per day. The committee felt that, based on the latest research, added sugar should be curbed even further, to a maximum of 6% of total calories. This new reduction could help reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

See also: New Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
IDEA Fitness Journal SPRINT – October 2020

 

Hungry All the Time? Blame it on Blood Sugar

A new study shows that people who experience big dips in blood-sugar levels several hours after eating end up feeling hungrier and consuming hundreds more calories during the day than those whose blood-sugar levels are more consistent.

The study, published in Nature Metabolism, is from PREDICT, the largest ongoing nutritional research program in the world that looks at responses to food in real-life settings. The PREDICT studies are led by scientists at Massachusetts General HospitalStanford Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and, for this particularly study, King’s College London.

The research team collected detailed data about blood-sugar responses and other markers of health from 1,070 people after eating standardized breakfasts and freely chosen meals over a two-week period, adding up to more than 8,000 standardized breakfast meals and more than 71,000 ad libitum free-living meals. The standardized breakfasts were based on muffins containing the same number of calories but varying in macronutrient composition (i.e., high carbohydrate, high protein, high fat and high fiber). Participants also observed blood-sugar levels using a fasting blood-sugar response test (oral glucose tolerance test) both before and after meals to measure how well their bodies process sugar.

Participants wore stick-on continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) to measure their blood-sugar levels over the entire duration of the study, as well as a wearable device to monitor activity and sleep. They also recorded levels of hunger and alertness using a phone app, along with exactly when and what they ate over the day.

Previous studies looking at blood sugar after eating have focused on the way that levels rise and fall in the first two hours after a meal, known as a blood sugar peak. However, after analyzing the data, the PREDICT team noticed that some people experienced significant “sugar dips” two to three hours after this initial peak, where their blood-sugar levels fell rapidly below baseline before coming back up.

Big dippers had a 9% increase in reported hunger, and waited about 24 minutes less, on average, before their next meal than little dippers, even though they ate exactly the same standardized meals. Big dippers also ate 75 more calories in the three to four hours after breakfast and around 312 calories more over the whole day than little dippers. This kind of pattern could potentially turn into as much as 30 pounds of weight gain over a year.

Comparing what happens when participants eat the same test meals revealed large variations in blood-sugar responses between people. The researchers also found no correlation between age, body weight or body mass index (BMI) and being a big or little dipper, although males had slightly larger dips than females on average.

What the Research Means to Health and Exercise Professionals

It has long been suspected that blood-sugar levels play an important role in controlling hunger, but the results from previous studies have been inconclusive. The researchers of this study believe their results show that sugar dips are a better predictor of hunger and subsequent calorie intake than the initial blood-sugar peak response after eating. According to Dr. Sarah Berry, a nutrition scientist at King’s College London and one of the study’s researchers, this is changing how we think about the relationship between blood-sugar levels and the food we eat.

“Many people struggle to lose weight and keep it off, and just a few hundred extra calories every day can add up to several pounds of weight gain over a year,” Professor Ana Valdes from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, who led the study team, says. “Our discovery that the size of sugar dips after eating has such a big impact on hunger and appetite has great potential for helping people understand and control their weight and long-term health.”

There was also some variability in the size of the dips experienced by each person in response to eating the same meals on different days, suggesting that whether you’re a dipper or not depends on individual differences in metabolism, as well as the day-to-day effects of meal choices and activity levels.

So, if people can respond differently to the exact same meals, how can you help your clients figure out what works for them? An easy way to start is to encourage your clients to pay attention to the foods they eat and how different foods and meals make them feel. Becoming more aware of hunger and alertness feelings can lead to making healthier choices that keep alertness levels higher for longer and hunger levels lower for longer. Keeping a food diary, even for just a few days, can provide real insight into which foods make a person feel good and which ones leave them ready for a nap. And remind them that following the basics of healthy eating, such as eating fewer refined carbohydrates and processed foods, drinking enough water, choosing more whole foods, and including high-quality proteins and fats at each meal, may help them feel fuller for longer and eat less overall.

Fast and Furious Fat Burning

 

Exercising before breakfast may help some people burn more fat.

By
May 1, 2020

Fat burning before breakfast

Should you save the oatmeal until after you’ve exercised? A small randomized investigation published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that doing so can noticeably ramp up fat-burning.

The British investigators found that, among 30 men who were overweight or obese, those who exercised in the morning before eating breakfast burned twice as many fat calories during a moderately intense cycling workout as men who ate before working out. That’s because exercising after an overnight fast, when carbohydrate stores are depleted, forces the body to rely more on fat to generate the energy needed for muscle contraction.

While the men who exercised before breakfast had improved insulin sensitivity—which could offer health perks like a lower risk for diabetes—it should be noted that the eat-after group did not lose more weight than the eat-before group during the 6 weeks of the study.

What’s the takeaway? Fasted exercise may improve certain health measures like blood sugar control (at least in people who are overweight). The flip side is that performance may suffer if people can’t push the pace because they are running on fumes. And, in fact, new evidence points to improved muscle performance following a breakfast rich in carbohydrates (see “A Case for Carbs Before Morning Training” in the November–December issue of Fitness Journal). As always, personalizing a program based on the individual is paramount.

Food Swaps for Healthy Holidays

Try these healthy alternatives to your favorite holiday recipes.

By IDEA Authors
Oct 16, 2019

From the first Halloween treat to the last glass of New Year’s bubbly, we are bombarded with occasions that tempt us with decadent goodies. This constant parade of rich foods can make the last few months of the year a challenge for even the most disciplined of eaters.

Getting through the holidays should be about enjoying yourself in a healthy way so that you can focus your 2020 resolutions on more important things, like going on that vacation you keep talking about, reading more books or being more in the moment—and not (yet again) cleaning up your diet.

Try using this information and these healthy and tasty recipes, courtesy of Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN, chef, recipe/product/menu developer, teacher/educator and owner of Culinary Nutrition Cuisine LLC, instead of turning to heavier holiday favorites.
Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables for holidays

Something magical happens when you roast a vegetable: Fennel mellows out, carrots sweeten up and beets develop even more earthiness. Use whatever vegetables you like, but here’s the basic recipe. Experiment and have some fun in the kitchen!

1 lb beets, peeled and cut into wedges 1/4-inch thick (mix and match colors for added beauty)

1 lb carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick (again, use a variety: orange, yellow, purple)

1 lb sweet potatoes, unpeeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 lb radishes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

3 T olive oil

1/2 t kosher salt

1/8 t ground black pepper

1/4 t Espelette (or other hot pepper of your choice)

juice of 1 lemon

zest of 1 lemon

2 C microgreens

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss vegetables with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on baking sheets (line sheets with foil or parchment paper). Roast 20 minutes, then turn over and roast an additional 20 minutes. Take out when browned to your liking. In large bowl, mix zest, Espelette and lemon juice. Add roasted vegetables and mix. Mix in microgreens and serve.
Baked Apples

Baked apples for holidays

Baked apples are a wonderful seasonal dessert with little to no added sugar. The fiber, healthy fat and protein from the walnuts, combined with the sweetness of the apple and dried fruit, will satisfy any sweet tooth. Makes 2 servings.

1 T walnuts (or nuts of your choice), chopped

1 T raisins

1 T dried cranberries (or any dried fruit of your choice)

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

2 medium apples, washed and cored (note: Granny Smith and Honeycrisp hold their shape well when cooked)

1/4 C water

1 t raw honey or maple syrup (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. Place apples in small baking dish or loaf pan. Fill the core of each apple with fruit and nut mixture. Pour the water in the dish (optional: drizzle honey/syrup over the apples). Cover with foil (or use oven-proof cover to the dish) and bake for 20–30 minutes or until apples are tender.
Apricot Gelt

Apricot gelt for holidays

A longstanding Hanukkah tradition is to give children chocolate gelt—“coins” made of chocolate wrapped in gold foil. Here’s a fruity twist on Hanukkah gelt: dried apricots dipped in chocolate and garnished with sea salt for a sweet and salty treat. A great ending for all! Makes about 6 dozen (12 servings; 6 pieces per person).

1/2 lb dried apricots

1 lb dark-chocolate chips

1 T sea salt

Using heavy skillet or mallet, flatten apricots to about 1/4-inch thick and set aside. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring and scraping down sides between, until chocolate is just melted. Dip each apricot in chocolate, coating 1/2–3/4 of the apricot. Place on wire racks set over parchment or wax paper, sprinkle with sea salt and let stand until set. Transfer apricots to baking sheets lined with parchment or wax paper and refrigerate until firm. Can be refrigerated in airtight container up to 3 days.
Make the Switch!

Try these easy (and tasty) holiday makeovers.

INSTEAD OF

scalloped potatoes gratin
fruit-based pie
chocolate gelt

TRY

roasted vegetables
baked apples
apricot gelt