Smart Breakfast Tips to Kick-Start Your New Year

Family Features  |  2016-01-28

(Family Features) As you look to the new year with plans for healthier habits, there’s no better place to start than the beginning – the beginning of each day, that is. Countless studies have shown the benefits of a nutritious breakfast as part of a healthy eating plan, and there are plenty of options to make a good-for-you breakfast that tastes great, too.

Experts agree that there are numerous health benefits to breakfast. For example, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics credits breakfast with helping brain function and memory as well as preventing tiredness and overeating as the day wears on. Mayo Clinic staff adds that adults who eat breakfast are likely to consume more vitamins and minerals, and less fats and cholesterol.

Wake up your morning routine with these tips for a healthier start to each day:

Plan a well-rounded meal. Incorporate whole grains, like sorghum, lean protein, low-fat dairy and fruits and vegetables, for a nutrient-rich meal that will keep you fueled and feeling full until lunch time.

Experiment with new flavors. Avoid burnout and boredom by trying new foods. For example, substitute your typical grain with sorghum, an American-grown cereal grain. In addition to its delicious flavor, sorghum is a highly versatile ingredient that is naturally high in fiber, iron and protein and can be used in a wide range of preparations.

Eliminate obstacles. If hectic mornings are preventing you from getting a healthy breakfast, find solutions that work for you and your family. Prepare make-ahead foods that you can heat in minutes or look for options that are easy to eat on the go, such as this Triple Sorghum Granola, which can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container to maintain its crunchy texture.

Find more ideas for incorporating sorghum into your healthy new year at To find whole grain sorghum for this recipe and other great tasting sorghum products, visit Nu Life Market or Wonder Grain.

Triple Sorghum Granola
Recipe developed by Pam Correll, Brockport, Pennsylvania

1          cup cooked sorghum (cooked according to package directions)
1/2       cup dry whole oats
1/2       cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1          cup slivered almonds
2          tablespoons sorghum syrup
2          tablespoons coconut oil
1/2       cup dried cranberries
1/2       cup unsweetened coconut chips
1/2       cup popped sorghum (popped according to whole grain package directions)

Heat oven to 200 F. Spread sorghum on jelly roll pan. Place in oven 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to large mixing bowl. Stir in oats, pepitas and almonds.

Raise oven temperature to 300 F.

In 1-quart sauce pan, heat sorghum syrup and coconut oil until oil melts. Blend well. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients; stir to blend well. Spread evenly on jelly roll pan. Bake 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir in cranberries, coconut chips and popped sorghum. Allow to cool. Break apart. Store in airtight container.

Source: United Sorghum Checkoff Program

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Power into a New Year with Protein

Family Features  |  2016-01-28

(Family Features) If the idea of diving into a new year has you feeling more exhausted than invigorated, it may be time to introduce some new strategies to help keep busy days from feeling overwhelming. Proper exercise, balanced nutrition and quality rest can make it easier to adapt when life demands you give a little bit more.

Everyone’s life demands are different. Some may be looking to push through a late night workout or make it to the office for an early meeting, while others are looking to enjoy an outing to the park with their kids at the end of the day. These tips will help fuel, inspire and accomplish whatever your personal “one more” is.

Begin with a bang. With a busy day ahead, it can be tempting to rush out the door and skip breakfast. However, countless studies have shown this first meal of the day is extremely important. Skipping out on a balanced breakfast can drag you down all day, both mentally and physically. Being hungry later in the day may also make you more likely to overeat or nibble on high-calorie snacks. For those mornings when you’re crunched for time, grab a protein-rich ready-to-drink shake or sandwich with egg, cheese and lean meat to give yourself sustained energy for the rest of the day.

Work in a workout. In addition to helping ward off disease and manage your weight, regular exercise helps lift your mood by stimulating feel-good chemicals in the brain and boosts energy by helping your body work more efficiently. A combination of aerobic or cardio activity (walking, jogging or running) and muscle-strengthening activity (lifting weights, resistance training or yoga) is the winning formula, according to the most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. After your workout, refuel with a rich and creamy Premier Protein Shake, available in Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberries and Cream, with 30 grams of protein, only 160 calories and just 1 gram of sugar.

Power with protein. Your body gets energy from three main sources: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Protein plays a major role in repairing damaged cells, tissues and muscle. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and vegetables, but the best sources deliver lots of protein without a lot of fat, carbs and sugar. A protein-based snack is a good way to recharge during the day. Premier Protein 30-gram bars and Fiber Bars are smart, easy and gluten-free options that are available in an array of flavors to provide sustained energy with fiber, calcium and protein to help curb hunger.

Keep up on sleep. Quality sleep – and an adequate amount of it – is critical to your overall wellbeing. While you’re sleeping, your body is hard at work healing and repairing from the day, as well as regulating your hormonal balance and protecting your immune system. At the same time, your brain is also recharging to help your mental function, including learning aptitude, problem solving and emotional health. Most adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal performance.

Visit to learn how you can get the sustained energy to help you accomplish “one more” thing each day.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Premier Protein

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Serve Your Flock Safe Eggs

Family Features  |  2016-01-28

(Family Features) Purchasing a dozen eggs offers nearly unlimited preparation possibilities. Enjoying any egg dish, however, starts with these four tips for purchasing safe eggs:

  1. Always purchase eggs from a refrigerated case.
  2. Open the carton and make sure there are no visible cracks or leaking eggs.
  3. Check the short end of the carton for the date the eggs were packed as well as an expiration or sell by date to make sure the eggs are fresh.
  4. Look for the United States Department of Agriculture grade shield or mark.

Safety Tips to Protect Your Flock
Once purchased, it’s also important to follow these safe food handling practices to ensure egg safety and quality.

  • Keep eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not the door. Storing them in the refrigerator door could result in temperature fluctuations that can lead to bacteria growth.
  • Eggs may be refrigerated three to five weeks at home. The sell-by date will usually expire during that time, but the eggs are safe to use for four to five weeks beyond the expiration date as long are they are kept in a refrigerator set at 40 F.
  • Wash hands and utensils after coming into contact with eggs to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly. For scrambled eggs and similar dishes, cook until no visible liquid remains. Fried eggs should be cooked until the whites are completely set and the yolk is thickened but not hard.
  • Serve eggs and dishes containing eggs promptly after cooking.

Does Hen Housing Affect Food Safety?
To better understand how different hen housing systems may affect food safety and other sustainability factors, the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply recently completed a three-year research study.

The study compared flocks of egg-laying hens in three different types of housing systems: conventional cage, enriched colony and cage-free systems. As consumers are becoming more interested in the type of environment in which animals are raised, the coalition elected to conduct research in order to develop science-based information to use in supporting informed decision-making.

The research found that with proper management, eggs produced in any of the three different housing systems are safe and of comparable quality, but also accompany a variety of positive and negative aspects across other elements of sustainability.

Check out for more information about sustainable egg production, videos, interactive infographics and the CSES research results.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply

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A Leg Up

Family Features  |  2016-01-27

Put a Twist on Springtime Celebrations

(Family Features) Spring celebrations wouldn’t be the same without one classic centerpiece: leg of lamb. Whether roasted or grilled, a leg of lamb is a tried and true addition to the Easter or Passover table. As elegant as it is, it’s also quite simple to prepare.

For a new take on tradition, swap conventional mint jelly with a vibrant salsa verde or mint-pistachio pesto for a fresh, but familiar, flavor that complements the rich taste of American lamb. Find more springtime celebration-worthy American lamb recipe ideas at

Boneless Leg of American Lamb
Follow these easy guidelines for preparing the perfect roast:

  • For generous portions, figure on one half pound of American lamb per serving.
  • Use a good meat thermometer to determine doneness. Medium Rare: 145 F; Medium: 160 F.
  • Remove the roast from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 10 degrees less than your desired temperature; it will reach desired doneness while it rests, allowing the meat’s juices to settle.
  • Carve the roast across the grain so the meat will be tender.

Roasted Boneless Leg of American Lamb with Fingerling Potatoes, Leeks and Mint Salsa Verde
Serves: 6-8
Mint Salsa Verde
3          garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2          cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1          cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
3          anchovy fillets
1          tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2          tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3-3 1/2 pounds boneless leg of American lamb, butterflied
2 1/2    teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3          large leeks
2          pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Position rack in lower third of oven (so roast will be in the middle) and heat to 325 F.
With food processor running, add garlic cloves. When finely minced, stop motor, remove top and scrape down bowl. Add parsley, mint, anchovies, capers, salt and pepper. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped. Pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and pulse to combine. Transfer about two-thirds of paste to small bowl and cover with remaining olive oil. Cover tightly and refrigerate until serving time, or up to 2 days.

Lay lamb flat on cutting board with fat side up. Trim fat to no more than 1/8 inch. Turn meat over and trim away any large chunks of fat from interior, but leave the rest intact. Be careful not to trim away connective tissue that holds meat together. Season lamb on both sides with 2 teaspoons salt.

Spread salsa verde paste over interior of meat to edges, rubbing into crevices. Reserve remaining salsa verde. Roll lamb up lengthwise into cylinder. Use kitchen twine to tie cylinder at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Tie another piece of twine lengthwise to secure ends. Allow lamb to sit at room temperature 1-2 hours before roasting. (If you plan to wait more than 2 hours before roasting, loosely cover and refrigerate roast, but bring to room temperature before cooking.) Pat outside of roast dry using paper towels before roasting.

Trim dark green tops from leeks. Halve leeks lengthwise and rinse well. Pat dry and cut into 2-inch pieces. Put leeks and halved potatoes in large roasting pan. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, season with remaining salt and toss to coat. Spread vegetables around roasting pan in even layer. Place lamb roast on top, seam-side down and transfer to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat reaches 135 F for medium-rare, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

Transfer lamb to cutting board and allow meat to rest for 20-30 minutes, loosely covered with foil. (The internal temperature will increase to 145 F.) Bring reserved salsa verde to room temperature. Toss vegetables in roasting pan to coat in pan drippings. If they are tender and browned, set aside in a warm spot while meat rests. If not, return to oven to finish cooking.

Trim away kitchen twine and cut roast into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices over vegetables. Stir salsa verde to incorporate oil, spoon it over meat and serve.

Grilled Butterflied American Lamb Leg with Mint-Pistachio Pesto
Serves: 6-8
3          pounds boneless leg of American lamb, butterflied
salt and pepper (to taste)
Mint-Pistachio Pesto
1          cup shelled pistachios
1          cup fresh mint (leaves only)
1/2       cup fresh Italian parsley
1/4       cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2          tablespoons red wine vinegar
1          tablespoon lemon juice (to taste)
1          teaspoon lemon zest
1/2       teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
pinch red chili pepper flakes

Heat oven to 350 F.

Lay lamb leg open on a cutting board. Trim off visible fat. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper; allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to grilling.
Toast pistachios by placing in single layer in shallow dish or pan and baking 8 to 10 minutes.

In food processor, add pistachios, mint, parsley, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and chili flakes; blend until somewhat chunky.

Heat grill to medium-high. Grill lamb leg to medium-rare (remove from heat when thermometer reads between 130 F and 135 F), or to desired doneness. Rest meat, lightly covered, for at least 10 minutes before serving. Slice meat across grain into thin slices.
Serve lamb with pesto, grilled vegetables and salad.

Source: American Lamb Board

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Game Day Menus That Score Big

Family Features  |  2016-01-27

(Family Features) Even if your team isn’t playing in the big game, you can still come out a winner with a tasty viewing party recipe. Plan your menu ahead of time so you can be confident you’ll score big with a spread that leaves guests cheering long after the game has ended.

These tips will help you get started with a lineup that gets your guests’ taste buds running into overtime:

  • Chips and dips are tailgating staples, but even they can stand a fresh twist of flavor. If you’re seeking inspiration, Hidden Valley Dip Genius can help you find a dip to pump up your menu. The online tool makes picking a hearty, savory, light or chunky dip recipe easy, allowing you to find a dip based on your occasion, mood and flavor. Visit to find a new dip recipe.

  • Anticipate all styles of snacking. Finger foods are ideal for grazing between plays and during commercials. Plan on serving more substantial entree-style dishes during halftime: sliders, BBQ brisket, pulled pork, soup and chili are all crowd-pleasers perfect for game day.

  • When it comes to dessert, fuss-free is the way to go. An array of cookies, brownies and dessert bars will satisfy the sweet tooth. Take your dessert table to the next level by icing your treats in team colors.

Find these and more recipes for your game day celebration at or

Baked Spinach and Chicken Dip

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12

1          package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
1          cup Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing
1          package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2       cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2       cup cooked chicken, chopped

Heat oven to 375 F.

In microwave-safe medium bowl, add cream cheese and dressing. Microwave on high 30 seconds, or until cream cheese is soft. Stir to combine. Add spinach and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Add chicken and stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to baking dish that holds at least 6 cups. Bake 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. The internal temperature should be 165 F.

Serve with crackers, bread or veggie sticks.

Tips: If you like it spicy, substitute Hidden Valley Farmhouse Originals Southwest Chipotle Dressing and add diced pickled jalapenos. For fewer calories, try Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Light Dressing. To make ahead, prepare unbaked dip up to 3 days ahead; store covered and refrigerated. Bake prior to serving.

Ranch Buffalo Wings

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 7

1/2       cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4       cup cayenne pepper sauce
3          tablespoons vinegar
24        chicken wings or drumettes
1          packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
1/2       teaspoon paprika
1          cup prepared Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

Heat oven to 350 F.

In small bowl, whisk together butter, pepper sauce and vinegar. Dip wings or drumettes in butter mixture; arrange in single layer in large baking pan. Sprinkle with dressing and seasoning mix. Bake until chicken is browned and an internal temperature of 165 F has been reached, about 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika.

Serve with dressing and celery sticks.

Source: Hidden Valley Ranch

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Power Up with a Protein-Packed Breakfast

Family Features  |  2016-01-27

(Family Features) You may recognize the importance of protein as part of a healthy eating plan, but if you’re like most people, you may not realize that the time of day you consume your protein matters.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 10 to 35 percent of total daily calories should come from protein. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this translates to about 50 to 175 grams per day. However, most Americans tend to eat most of their protein in the evening, leaving them without the appropriate fuel to feel energized in the morning.

Distributing your protein throughout the day, starting with a power punch at breakfast, will energize your mornings, and you’ll feel fuller longer and be able to focus on tackling the day ahead.  In addition to energy and focus, getting 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal can help support bone health, maintain a healthy weight and build lean muscle.

To jumpstart your morning with protein, pair a glass of milk with your favorite breakfast foods – like eggs – or mix milk into your favorite smoothie or overnight oats combination. Whether in a glass, cup or bowl, or mixed into a simple recipe, milk is an ideal way to get high-quality protein, along with eight other nutrients you need, like calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

For additional recipes and to learn more about the power of dairy protein, visit

Power Up Muffin Cups
Servings: 12

nonstick cooking spray
8          large eggs
1 3/4    cups plain 2 percent Greek yogurt
1          teaspoon onion powder
1          teaspoon garlic powder
1/2       teaspoon salt
1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4    cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/4    cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2    cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 1/2    cups cubed whole-grain bread

Heat oven to 375 F. Coat standard 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat eggs and yogurt until thoroughly combined. Whisk in onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, all cheddar cheese, broccoli and bread; mix thoroughly.

Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir thoroughly, then divide mixture evenly among prepared muffin cups. (Cups will be about two-thirds full.) Top evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Midwest Dairy Association

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4 Nutritious Reasons to Drink Chocolate Milk

Family Features  |  2016-01-27

(Family Features) Chocolate milk is more than just a sweet treat. The drink you enjoyed as a kid actually has many nutritious benefits, in addition to its delicious, chocolatey taste.

It’s a Nutrient Powerhouse
Nutrition experts recommend adults consume three servings of milk and milk products a day, as milk is one of the top sources for three key nutrients – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

And like regular milk, chocolate milk provides eight essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium, as well as protein, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin and phosphorus.

It Ups the Calcium Ante
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 50 percent of boys ages 9-13, girls ages 9-18, women over 50 and men over 70 are failing to meet their daily calcium requirements from diet alone.

“Calcium is one of the most important minerals for the human body,” said Katherine Brooking, MS, RD, Appetite for Health. “Not only is calcium essential for building strong, healthy bones, it also helps muscles, nerves and hormones function optimally.”

Made with 50 percent more calcium per serving than regular low-fat white milk, TruMoo Calcium Plus low-fat chocolate milk is the perfect way to introduce more calcium into your diet. With no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial growth hormones and no artificial sweeteners, you can feel great about enjoying it on its own or using it as a base in delicious smoothies, such as the Fuel Up Smoothie and Chocolate Berry Blast Smoothie.

It Helps Build Bone Mass
Bones grow throughout childhood and adolescence, with peak bone mass occurring around age 30. The more bone you have at the time of peak bone mass, the less likely you are to break a bone or develop osteoporosis later in life.

Meeting daily calcium and vitamin D needs by consuming foods rich in calcium, such as low-fat chocolate milk, or other low-fat dairy products like yogurt and fortified cereal, can help build strong, healthy bones and, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

It’s a Great Workout Recovery Drink
Recent studies have shown that, compared to juice, water or some sports drinks, low-fat chocolate milk’s unique blend of carbohydrate and protein is ideal for replenishing tired muscles. Its high water content replaces fluids and electrolytes that are lost during exercise.

Unlike water or most sports drinks, low-fat chocolate milk, such as TruMoo Calcium Plus, packs the additional benefit of calcium and includes a great balance of sodium and sugar – which may help you stay hydrated longer and regain energy.

Learn more about TruMoo Calcium Plus at

Fuel Up Smoothie
Serves: 1

1 1/2    cups TruMoo Calcium Plus low-fat chocolate milk
1/2       cup baby kale
1          cup ice cubes
1          tablespoon almond butter

In blender, combine chocolate milk, baby kale, ice cubes and almond butter. Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve.

Chocolate Berry Blast Smoothie
Serves: 1

1          cup TruMoo Calcium Plus low-fat chocolate milk
1          cup frozen mixed berries
1          tablespoon golden flaxseed meal

In blender, combine chocolate milk, frozen mixed berries and flaxseed meal. Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve.

Source: TruMoo

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