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Prairie Fare: Turn Up the Volume on Food in the New Year

Any time people are excited about eating vegetables, especially orange vegetables, I’m all in favor.

By Julie Garden Robinson, Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

“This is really good! Who made this casserole?” someone asked.

Along with about 25 women, I was enjoying a potluck dinner at a meeting. We were arranged at several tables in someone’s home.

“I’ve asked at all the tables and no one is admitting to it,” someone else said as she brought a pitcher of water into our room.

“I have to have this recipe! Is it squash or sweet potatoes?” another person asked as she peeked around the corner.

“Isn’t anyone going to confess?” another one said with a chuckle.

I really wanted to stand up and say “OK, I made it!” I hadn’t because this dish was creating a feeding frenzy.

Any time people are this excited about eating vegetables, especially orange vegetables, I’m all in favor. Along with dark green vegetables, orange ones are most likely missing in our diets.

At this time of year, many people make a New Year’s resolution or two. Sometimes the resolution involves eating healthier or losing weight.

Usually people think losing weight means eating less. Nutrition researchers now are encouraging us to eat more. However, the researchers mean more volume, not more calories.

Eating food with more volume helps us feel full. Feeling full is a powerful signal to push back from the table.

Barbara Rolls at Pennsylvania State University tested the effect of increased food volume on calorie consumption in an interesting way. Her research team made milk shakes with different volumes by whipping air into them. The milk shakes varied from a little more than 1 cup to about 2 1/2 cups in volume. The shakes had the same number of calories.

The 28 study participants had three meals in the nutrition lab one day a week for four weeks. They drank a milk shake about 30 minutes before having the meal, then the researchers determined the number of calories they consumed from the food they were provided.

The participants who consumed the milk shakes with the greater volume consumed 12 percent fewer calories.

What do air-filled milk shakes have to do with eating more fruits and vegetables? The same volume principle applies. Vegetables and fruits can fill you up without “filling you out” because they’re naturally high in water and fiber.

Most adults need about 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit (preferably as whole fruit) each day to meet current recommendations. Try some broth-based vegetable soup to take full advantage of the volume principle of weight management.

The other day a message with the subject “Sweet Potato Casserole” appeared in my e-mail inbox. I made a couple of modifications to lower the fat content and then ran the nutrition analysis. Take note of your portion size and you may want to take a nice, long walk after dinner.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 c. mashed cooked sweet potatoes

1/4 c. margarine or butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. fat-free milk

2 eggs

Put ingredients in bowl and use mixer until well blended, then place in a 2-quart casserole.

Mix together:

1/3 c. brown sugar

3 Tbsp. flour

1/3 c. halved pecans

2 Tbsp. melted margarine or butter

Top potatoes with sugar mixture. Decorate with pecan halves. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 270 calories, 13 grams (g) of fat, 36 g of carbohydrate, 3 g of fiber and 300 percent of the daily recommendation for vitamin A (as beta carotene).

(Julie Garden-Robinson is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)


NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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