Nutrition has, and will continue to be, a major contributor to our health. The food we eat and beverages we drink directly connect to our ability to maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases all throughout life. In light of this, Connections IN Health is beginning a new blog series titled “Cooking with Connections”. Throughout this series, we will be sharing different recipes that can be easily made, contain essential nutrients for our diet, and exciting information of how they can contribute to our health.
To start off, we want to provide you with cooking resources that are available to you for free! Below are 7 key resources that can help you discover new recipes, free nutrition lessons, cooking demonstrations, and much more! Click on each resource to go to their respective website.
1. Eat, Gather, Go!
Eat, Gather, Go! is Purdue Extension’s Nutrition Education Program that provides free educational resources to youth and adults through schools and community groups. Their programs are interactive and easy to understand lessons that focus on nutritious meals, being active, food safety, grocery shopping, budgeting, and SNAP benefits. Right now, they are offering free virtual lessons you can be a part of from your own home! These lessons teach on important skills from meal planning to grocery shopping to portion sizes.
MyPlate Kitchen is a great place to discover new recipes. You can even create your own virtual cookbook filled with your favorites! The site also includes videos of how to make different recipes, touching on food safety tips and budgeting. You can easily filter through recipes based on food groups, nutrients, cost, equipment needed, type of cuisine, etc. MyPlate has included 100 of their own recipes that are specifically created and based around the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and also provided over 800 recipes that meet SNAP benefit requirements. If you are looking for new recipes that are nutritious and affordable, MyPlate Kitchen is a fantastic resource to utilize.
3. Fruits and Veggies for Better Health
Did you know 9 out of 10 Americans do not meet fruit and vegetable intake recommendations? Fruits and Veggies for Better Health is an initiative that encourages and equips Americans to include more of these two food groups in meals and snacks. This initiative provides recipes on their website that include more fruits and vegetables and taste delicious! The recipes also take into account health specificities such as diabetes, heart disease, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and vegetarianism.
4. Whole Food, Plant-Based, No Oil Cooking
The Indianapolis Public Library has many programs which promote nutrition. The video above about plant-based cooking is the first program in a series called Simple and Affordable Plant-Based Cooking. In this video, you will see two presenters, Brian and Joe, prepare Southwest Egg-less Scramble, Mongolian BBQ Stir-Fry, and Healthy Quick Bread Pound Cake. All of the recipes displayed in the video are plant-based, made from whole foods, and require no oil during cooking. The Indianapolis Public Library also has other programs including Fruit & Veggie Yoga for Kids and Tortilla Making for Kids.
5. “Eat Better for Less” Newsletter
Purdue Extension also offers a monthly newsletter called “Eat Better for Less” which are free to download from their website. Each month’s newsletter celebrates a national holiday from “National Slow Cooking Month” to “National Egg Day” and includes cooking tips and a recipe pertaining to the national holiday! You can sign up to receive their newsletter for free via email at their website.
6. American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association has created the Diabetes Food Hub for thousands of diabetic-friendly recipes. Each recipe includes a breakdown of the nutrition facts as well as “exchange information” for diabetes meal planning. Several of the Food Hub’s recipes are approved as kidney-friendly by renal dietitians as well! Check out this website for recipes that are healthful for prediabetes, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.
7. American Heart Association
The American Heart Association also provides a collection of recipes that promote heart health and includes the nutritional information and quick cooking tips. You can search for recipes based on ingredient, lifestyle, or course. These recipes focus on reducing saturated fat and sodium intake and promote eating more fruits and vegetables and “healthy fats”. There are also several helpful articles to check out on this page that encourage making small, simple changes to your overall eating pattern through explaining the basics of good nutrition and healthful choices.