I had the good fortune to attend Dole’s Annual Food Blogger Summit a few weeks ago at the California Health & Longevity Institute. Sure, Dole wants to you to eat more fruit and vegetables. That’s because they’re concerned about your health and well being as much as they are concerned with their bottom line.
Face it, Americans are getting fatter. And our brothers and sisters in around the world aren’t far behind. We’re eating too many sugary and salty processed foods, too much fatty animal protein, and not enough fruits and vegetables. Dole hopes to change all that – and have asked healthy food bloggers like me to help spread the word.
Not just bananas and pineapples
Institute Director of Nutrition Paulette Lambert demonstrated many healthy ways to get more fruits and vegetables into my family’s meal routine. I was introduced to new Dole products. (Yay for broccoli slaw, frozen berries, and salad kits!) And I was shown how Dole is being a good corporate citizen and working with small growers around the world.
Inspired by Dole Chairman, David H. Murdock, I learned that Dole is leading the way in nutritional education and research including a soon to be released study on the probiotic and potential weight loss benefits of bananas. I ate lunch at Dole’s corporate healthy cafeteria. I met their researchers, marketing people, and nutritionists.
I was impressed enough by what I learned at the summit not only to sign up for their enewsletter, Dole Nutrition News, but to keep an eye out on all the ways I can incorporate their products into my healthy cooking. (Of course getting to hang out with an awesome bunch of food bloggers and get a little pampering was nice, too.)
Paulette, who is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator, impressed me with the facts and figures she told us off the top of her head. For example,
- Adults need to eat every five hours – three meals and one to two snacks a day.
- Breakfast is an important way to get your metabolism going after a long fast.
- Breakfast helps you set a period of satiation for the day. If you skip it, you end up eating 25% more calories because your body thinks you’re going through a famine mode.
- Breakfast helps with cognitive ability and improves concentration, memory and better mental performance.
- Average health costs increase from $7,000 to $14,000 per year if you get diabetes. It DOUBLES, people!
- Eating a healthy meal on a regular basis levels out your blood sugar and insulin levels.
She had some good tips too like:
- Eat organic soy to avoid GMO soy.
- Avoid instant flavored oatmeal. It has a lot of sodium as well as sugar.
- A few servings of soy are good for you. Look for sources of whole soy.
- Berries help suppress cancer. Try to eat some every day! They don’t have to be fresh and frozen is fine.
- Use buttery spreads instead of butter to avoid saturated fats. Look for the brands with less than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which has no transfats as well.
- Make soup with lots of vegetables. Even if your picky spouse or child picks them out, the veggie goodness (vitamins and other nutrients) are still in the broth!
A few Dole inspired healthy breakfast recipes
The first day of the Dole Blogger Summit, we watched Paulette cook up a wonderful healthy breakfast for us. Here are a few of her healthy recipes.
Serve warm over oatmeal, in cold cereal, over yogurt, with sliced bananas or over lite ice cream for a dessert!
- 1 tablespoon no trans fat margarine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 pints DOLE® Strawberries, hulled (You can use frozen stawberries, too, Just defrost before cooking.)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Melt margarine in microwave on low power. Add vanilla, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, whisk until smooth. Toss with berries to coat.
- Place berries in 9x13 inch baking dish and roast in the oven 12-15 minutes.
- Serve warm with oatmeal.
Calories per serving: 190
Calorie equivalent: 1 fruit, 1 carbohydrate
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 DOLE® Green Onions, chopped
- 2 cups DOLE® Baby Spinach
- 1 small tomato
- 4-5 DOLE® Mushrooms
- 1 whole egg or 3 egg whites
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1/4 cup low fat shredded cheese
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in sauté pan. Add onions, spinach, tomato and mushrooms, sautéing 2-3 minutes until spinach is just wilted.
- In a medium bowl, beat egg or egg whites together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour egg mixture into the pan over the spinach mixture, scrambling together until lightly golden.
- Sprinkle in cheese, lightly fold in and serve.
Calories per serving: 240
Calorie equivalent: 2 protein, 3 vegetable, 1 fat
Blogger post roundup
- Dole Wellness & Nutrition Food Blogger Summit at Family Fresh Cooking
- Grilled Romaine Salad & The DOLE Blogger's Summit at Cheeky Kitchen
- Dole Food and Wellness Blogger Summit at She's Becoming DoughMessTic
- Dole Food & Wellness Bloggers Summit Wrap-Up! at Healthy. Happy. Life.
- Dole Food & Wellness Blogger Summit at Two Peas and Their Pod
- The Dole Food & Wellness Blogger Summit – Part 2! at fANNEtastic food
- The Dole Food & Wellness Blogger Summit – Part 1 at Savor the Thyme
- Dole Nutrition and Wellness Blogger Summit, Day One at Choosing Raw
- Dole Nutrition and Wellness Blogger Summit, Day One at Raw Mood
- Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Banana Pineapple Oatmeal Breakfast Cake at Babble’s Family Kitchen
Disclosure: Dole paid for my transportation, meals, spa treatment, fitness consultation, and lodging during the event. All opinions are my own.