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Kitchen Comfort

Charlyn Fargo on

In these unprecedented times, many of us are turning to our kitchens -- both for food and for the soothing ritual of baking and cooking. I know I take great comfort in making bread now more than ever; it makes me feel grounded in the present, and it makes me feel strong and empowered to be able to feed my family and myself. I make my pizza crust from scratch, too. It literally takes minutes in a food processor or a KitchenAid mixer.

Last week, I made banana muffins with my turning-brown bananas, slid a few into a Ziploc bag and took a few to the neighbors (keeping my social distance, of course). It was a way to share -- and to check on my neighbors.

Community, care and comfort are things we can all lean into right now, and baking is a wonderful way to embrace all of these. Food has always been a source of sharing and caring for me, learned from my late mother and plenty of 4-H food projects along the way. As a dietitian, I believe food can be a journey to health.

We all have a little extra time as we shelter at home. Use that time to nourish yourself and your family with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains (make those banana muffins and homemade pizza crust with half whole-wheat flour). And consider a stir-fry or a Buddha bowl to get more vegetables in your meals. In addition, don't forget to hydrate and exercise daily.

I'm sending my thoughts and inspiration for ways to stay well-fed, safe and healthy.

Q and A

 

Q: How can I get more iron in my diet?

A: Red meat and other animal proteins such as poultry, eggs, fish and shellfish are the best sources of dietary iron because they contain a readily absorbed form of iron called heme iron. Liver and giblets are also high in heme iron. The other source of dietary iron, called nonheme iron, is found in plant foods such as legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, greens and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and enriched bread products. Nonheme isn't absorbed as efficiently as heme iron. Pairing plant sources of iron like beans, lentils, tofu, whole grains and greens with a source of vitamin C like citrus, strawberries or peppers enhances nonheme iron absorption. Recommended iron intake for males ages 19 and older and females ages 50 and older is 8 milligrams per day. For females ages 19 to 50, the recommended intake is higher, at 18 milligrams per day.

RECIPE

Stir-fries are a great way to boost your intake of vegetables. This one is from the Tufts University Health Letter.

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