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Healthy Table Articles

Join the Slow Cooker Movement!
By Jennifer Mitchell
A Growing up, my family was always on the go. Whether it was school, sports or volunteer activities it was difficult to prepare dinner. We valued sitting down as a family around the dinner table and this was possible with the use of the slow cooker. Believe it or not, the terms slow cooker and short on time actually go together! A great attribute about using a slow cooker is the flexibility it offers. You can toss the ingredients into the slow cooker that morning, cook it all afternoon, and serve it the same evening. More...
Grab Your Basket...
By Taylor Satterly
W hen you think of an egg, the first animal that comes to mind might be a chicken. The chicken egg is eaten scrambled, fried, poached, boiled and raw! In the kitchen, the egg is used to bind ingredients, leaven souffles, thicken custards, emulsify dressings, clarify soups and as a garnish. This isn’t surprising considering the egg’s natural versatility and the fact that it is a nutrition powerhouse full of protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals. More...
Salt, Find Your Flavor
By Lindsay MacNab
W hile salt may be an original ingredient and common kitchen staple, it is anything but basic. This mighty crystal has the ability to add a superb burst of flavor to any dish or balance sweetness in a delicious dessert recipe. Salt is also used for creating firm texture, enhancing vibrant colors and aiding in food preservation. More...
Got Garlic?
By Emily McGovern
A Garlic has more purposes than warding off vampires: It was one of the earliest known foods that humans used to treat and manage diseases; it was found in Egyptian pyramids and mentioned in ancient texts; and WWI and WWII soldiers ate garlic to prevent gangrene and rubbed garlic on wounds as an antiseptic to prevent bacterial infections.. More...
I like to find any reason to celebrate. Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, a half-birthday, a half-anniversary, or a national day of you name it - I’m celebrating it. When the United Nations declared last year (2016) as the International Year of Pulses I put on my party hat! More...
Spaghetti Squash
By Nancy Childers
O ne of my favorite childhood memories are family dinners. Both of my parents worked, so dinnertime was truly a team effort. My younger brother and I would pitch in to help my mom cook and set the table, and when my dad got home from work, we would all sit down together and enjoy good food, rich conversation, and plenty of laughter. One of our favorite go-to recipes was spaghetti; because it was so easy and very kid-friendly. I was much more motivated to help in the kitchen when I knew spaghetti was on the way! More...
Cranberries, Cranberries!
By Maggie Reinhold
C ranberry bogs and New Jersey just go together. I grew up in South Jersey with a cranberry bog in my back yard! These bogs of “red berries” provided a year-round food source and/or entertainment for my family. During the spring and summer we’d explore the bogs, and then we’d harvest the cranberries in the fall. Finally, the freezing temps of winter turned our “food bogs” into a giant, frozen ice hockey rink. More...
Collard Greens
By Kelsey Cain
C ollard greens, a staple of Southern cuisine, are often part of the classic “meat and three.” “What’s a meat and three?” you ask. You can find this combo at most traditional southern restaurants: a meat with three vegetables on the side. Collard greens are often a requested side item! More...
I Can Cook Bruschetta!
By Anastasiia Smyrnova
I t is very rare that I get excited about cooking, but when it comes to bruschetta - the heavenly and nutritious meal on toast - sign me up! The word bruschetta (pronounced “brusketta,” not “bruschetta”) originated in central Italy and simply means a “slice of toasted bread.” Centuries ago, bruschetta was baked in community ovens on the outskirts of Italian villages and small towns. After baking, the warm and crisp bread was rubbed with garlic and dipped into oil. Today’s version of bruschetta doesn't require a set recipe; it can be modified and transformed in many different ways - as appetizers, snacks, or even entrées. Although bruschetta was created as poor villagers’ food, nowadays the popularity of this traditional antipasto comes from amazing taste, simplicity of preparation, and versatility. More...
T he weather is getting warmer and fresh produce is being pulled from trees, bushes, plants and from the ground. Around this time many of us join CSAs. If you’re anything like me, this can be an exciting yet scary time. You’re making a choice to get healthier, to support the community, or maybe to give yourself a culinary challenge. For those who might not know, CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” It is basically an agreement with a farmer where you purchase a “share” in a farm, and in return, as a “shareholder,” you receive a basket or box of whatever produce is harvested from the farm for an agreed-upon number of weeks. The money you pay for your share goes to help with the expenses of the farm, including labor and the purchase of seeds and supplies. More...
F arm fresh popcorn, like all six types of corn, is a whole grain and originates from a wild grass. The scientific name is zea mays everta, and it is the only type of corn to actually pop! Most of our nation's popcorn is grown in the corn belt states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio, but it can be grown all over the United States. More...
A s a life-long Southerner and native Tennessean, buttermilk runs in my veins. Truthfully, I can speak for myself and possibly many others when I say that a full day’s menu could feature this beloved beverage in just about every way, shape, and form. Buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and buttermilk pie, all of which beckons to be washed down with none other than a tall glass of…you guessed it…buttermilk. While some may turn their noses to the tanginess, it is this very component that makes buttermilk so functional. The acid aids in both tenderization and leavening, resulting in the moistest fried chicken and fluffiest biscuits this side of the Mason-Dixon. In addition, the intense flavor that buttermilk exhibits serves as a beautiful contrast to sweeter flavors, such as mixed berries and honey. More...
Ripe for the FIG-ing
By Hope Anderson
{I t’s a phone call I anticipate all summer, one that usually occurs sometime in August when the Louisiana heat is inescapable. Being from the Bayou State, the only reprieve from the extreme summer heat comes in the form of a thermostat set to 68 degrees. Comfortable in the air conditioning, I answer and Meme eagerly says, “They’re ripe—come on down.” I am willing to sacrifice one pleasure for another: indoor cooling for the promise of fresh, succulent figs! More...
Pizza Across the Seasons
By Taylor Kingston
T here is a wide gap between Perugia, Italy, and Nashville, Tennessee, made up of oceans, miles and time zones, but the gap narrows when the conversation turns toward food, specifically pizza! Pizza is a dish for all seasons, and the secret to pizza “made right” is locally grown ingredients. More...
W hen you hear the words “man cave,” do images of men gnawing on junk food, chugging beer and giving each other high fives come to mind? I, and any other man reading this post, won’t deny that one or all of those things may occur during a game, but oftentimes our species is a little more refined outside those few hours. One of those times might even be at breakfast. More...
Gain Health Benefits by Growing Your Own Nutrition Powerhouse! More...
Sweet on the Vine
By Katelyn Snow
G rowing up in rural Alabama, I enjoyed the Southern harvest each season produced. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It brings relief from the stifling summer heat, but more importantly, it yields fresh muscadine grapes from Meemaw and Pawpaw’s backyard. The dark purple fruit grows along a woven vine next to their tattered red barn. More...
I n Tennessee, from June to October, local farms produce tomatoes at their best. It is the aroma of fresh, ripe tomatoes that transports me back to my childhood. I grew up in Scotland and spent summers helping my grandfather in the garden. He was an expert at growing tomatoes, and my grandmother would encourage me to eat them by sprinkling sugar on top. But why sugar? Did she think a tomato was a fruit, dessert worthy?—or is it a vegetable? More...
Gain Health Benefits by Growing Your Own Nutrition Powerhouse! More...
E ver wonder what small changes you could make to raise a healthier family? After becoming a parent, I found it more important than ever to find new and interesting ways to keep my family healthy. One easy step toward health was to grow my own fresh herbs. Nearly every kitchen window holds the power to grow an abundance of sweet, savory, and aromatic herbs to complement any meal and help your family kick the salt shaker to the curb. More...
Apples to Apples
By Jamie Fisher
"U p at the crack of dawn with my apple-picking basket in hand, I vividly remember running out to meet my grandfather under the old apple tree in his backyard. After filling my basket to the rim, I would proudly deliver my morning pickings to my grandmother who was always waiting by the door with her applesauce press in hand?" More...
Super Easy: Super Foods
By Regine Leger and Augusta Hasse
I f you are confused by the unending stream of news about the latest fad nutrition product or cure-all exotic supplement, you are not alone. Americans spent nearly $27 billion on supplements in 2009, according to Consumer Reports Magazine. More...
A s pointed out in a recent article written by Stephen Ornes (“What the Cow Eats”), local grass-fed beef has many economic and environmental benefits for everyone from local farmers and consumers to local ecosystems and communities. It is important also note that grass-fed beef is actually different from grain-fed beef on a nutritional level. These differences have been examined by many evidence-based research studies and the findings are consistent. Here’s what you need to know: More...
Plant Up Your Plate: Go Meatless Once A Week
By Spencer Anderson and Jenna McClean
M eat tends to be a center staple at mealtimes, and with the growing availability of different sources and varieties of meat, a carnivorous mentality can be hard to break. There are current misconceptions about vegetarian dishes because people view meatless meals as having insufficient protein. But it is possible to have hearty, protein-filled meals that are meatless. Recent studies have demonstrated that lessening meat consumption in favor of more vegetarian fare can have many benefits. You can improve your health, the environment, and even your wallet by swapping meat for plant-based foods at least once a week. More...
An Ode to Roasting
By Sarah Kraynak and Courtney Smith
F all. The crispness of the air, the anticipation of the leaves turning, the aroma of root vegetables in the oven. Signifying change and a turn of pace, fall is the perfect season to try something new. Fall has more to offer than just apples and pumpkins. Root vegetables are the jewels of fall. Tossed gently with olive oil and simply seasoned, these vegetables are best enjoyed in their most natural state. No need to add more than a touch of salt, as roasting intensifies flavor like no other preparation method. For this, the act of roasting holds a special place in our hearts. More...
W e all have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what does this mean to you? Does this mean that grabbing a honey bun will suffice for breakfast? Building a well-rounded breakfast is like putting together a puzzle, and the foods you choose are the puzzle pieces. Individual foods are clustered into food groups: dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein. The combination and kinds of food you choose to eat for breakfast have an impact on weight control, how quickly you feel hungry, and energy levels. More...
Two Takes On MyPlate
By Rachel Wall and Noelia Rivera-Gonzalez
H ave you heard of the great new way to estimate your nutritional needs? No, it's not a crazy diet plan or magic pill. All it involves is using a simple dinner plate. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which includes using your plate to estimate serving sizes. More...
In Defense of the Egg
By Lindsay Smith and Sarah Lewis
O ver the years, eggs and cholesterol have become intertwined. For this reason, many people think that eggs and health can't mix. Actually, eggs are so much more than just a shell full of cholesterol and should be incorporated into a healthy diet. More...
Summer Thyme & Feelin' Light: Healthy Cool-Off Treats
By Kristen Lazaroff and Lily Taylor
I t's true - there's nothing more satisfying during the summer months than a frozen, healthy treat. Yes, we said healthy. Summer indulgences don't have to ruin a beach body! They taste great also. If it doesn't satisfy your sweet tooth, then what's the point of eating it? More...
Welcome to the Season of Colorful Eats!
By Dianne Killebrew, MEd, RD, LDN
S pringtime at the local farmers' markets-the colorful variety of fruits and vegetables creates a feast for the eyes and a love affair with your heart. Over the past 30 years or so, researchers have developed a solid base of science to back up what generations of mothers preached-eat your fruits and vegetables. Early on, fruits and vegetables were acclaimed as cancer-fighting foods. There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables not only lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke, but also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. More...
B ursting with vitamins and minerals, winter squash and pumpkins are good for more than just Halloween jack-o'-lanterns and Thanksgiving pies. More...
B erries are the summer staple that signal those "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer." Fortunately for lovers of these colorful gems, berries aren't just about flavor. They are bursting with healthy nutrients, too. More...
A s warm weather approaches, many Tennesseans eagerly await the time when the farmers' markets will be brimming with what is perhaps America's favorite berry, the strawberry. Sadly, the growing season for strawberries in Middle Tennessee is short, lasting only from May to June. The strawberry's short availability period coincides with the season for fresh, local greens, from April through June. Combining these two nutrition stars may seem a little strange at first, but it is well worth the venture. More...
Managing Food and Mood
By Kristen Pardue - The Dietetic Internship Program at Vanderbilt
H ow do you respond to a bad mood or a stressful situation? If you responded "grab something to eat," then we have something in common! My name is Kristen and I'm a twenty something health professional who is newly married and starting a career as a dietitian. Staying healthy means taking care of myself every day: being active and making smart food choices. I look for ways to respond to stress that won't make me feel guilty the next day! Enjoy these tips for managing food and mood! More...
I 'm Kristina - a twenty-something health professional - who likes to eat healthy on a budget. I love shopping at my local farmers' market and eating fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. Eating fresh in the winter months gets expensive. It makes sense to follow my grandmothers' good examples and can my favorite local fruits and veggies this fall for the cold winter months ahead. More...
N ew Years' Eve is not the only time for an "out with the old and in with the new" concept. Summer is here! Warm weather means more family picnics, cookouts, and ball games. It's time to throw out the old high calorie dishes, introduce new ways to spice up the old favorites with fewer calories, and get in shape with fresh fruits and vegetables. More...
The Inside Scoop On Antioxidants
By Dianne Killebrew, MEd, RD, LDN
A n antioxidant is a nutrient that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. To function properly, our bodies need a daily supply of antioxidants. These disease fighting nutrients are like having an insurance policy for your body; providing protection for tissues and when needed, repairing damage that has been done. Some examples include: vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and lycopene. More...
Hold the Salt
By Kristin Pardue, Dietetic Intern, Vanderbilt University
H ave you heard the phrase, "hold the salt," but never really understood why salt is so bad for you? I wondered the same thing when I was growing up. My name is Kristen and I'm a twenty something health professional who is newly married and starting a career as a dietitian. Keeping my heart healthy means being physically active everyday and making smart food choices. I try to consume low sodium foods and cut the salt when preparing foods by adding more fresh herbs and spices. More...
D o you know of a vitamin that helps your body create new cells? This is a job so important, especially during pregnancy when our bodies are making lots of new cells, that low levels of this vitamin can cause birth defects. Since 1996, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has required all enriched grain products in the USA to be fortified with this vitamin. This has helped to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs), a type of severe birth defects. More...
E ating foods that are full of fiber plays an important role in your health. So what is fiber? Fiber is a part of plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grain products. Your body cannot digest fiber - it can only be broken down by the friendly bacteria living in your gut. Eating foods high in fiber will greatly benefit your health, and your body will thank you for it! More...
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