Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Return of Blackstrap Molasses

When sugar cane is processed into table sugar, a thick byproduct remains after the third boiling as the sugar crystallizes.  The concentrated syrup containing the nutrient remnants of the sugar cane juice is blackstrap molasses.

While it is still a sweetener, blackstrap molasses contains slightly fewer carbohydrates than sugar, honey, or maple syrup and is touted for its higher vitamin and mineral.  The following table shows the nutrient content comparison of one teaspoon of each sweetener.

Nutrient Comparison of 1 Teaspoon of Various Sweeteners

Blackstrap Molasses
Maple Syrup
Energy (calories)
Carbohydrates (g)
Sugar (g)
Calcium (mg)
Iron (mg)
Potassium (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Other Nutrients
manganese, copper, vitamin B6, selenium

phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin
manganese, zinc, riboflavin, niacin
kcal = calorie, g = gram, mg = milligram

Added Sugar Fast Facts
·       Added sugar is any sugar added to a food or beverage.
·       Average Americans consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
·       One teaspoon is equal to four grams of sugar.
·       Amounts recommended by American Heart Association:
o   No more than 6 teaspoons per day for most women
o   No more than 9 teaspoons per day for most men
·       Common names of added sugars on food labels:
o   Agave nectar, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup

Historical Facts
·       Blackstrap molasses was cheaper, and therefore more popular than sugar before the turn of the 19th Century. 
·       In 1919, a molasses tsunami coined the Great Molasses Flood tore through part of Boston, Massachusetts at 35 miles per hour causing devastation in the area.
·       Blackstrap molasses has been regaining popularity since the mid-1900s as people continue to make healthier food choices.

Tips for Use
·       Blackstrap molasses has a distinct flavor (think gingerbread cookies) due to the mineral content compared to other sweeteners.
·       Recipe substitutions:
o   1 cup of blackstrap molasses for every ¾ cup of brown sugar (i.e. in baked beans)
o   cup for cup in place of other liquid sweeteners (i.e. honey, maple syrup)

Information Collected from the following sources:
Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120:1011-20.

Can you tell me more about blackstrap molasses? The World’s Healthiest Foods. Accessed November 4, 2017.

USDA Food Composition Databases. United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed November 4, 2017.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Whole Grain Apple Cranberry Stuffing

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, hot
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
6 cups day-old whole grain baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 large eggs, scrambled
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 dried sage leaf, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 11-inch oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the broth and cranberries in a small bowl and let soak for 30 minutes. Saute the celery and onions in the butter in a large skillet until tender, 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.
Place the baguette cubes into a largebowl. Pour the broth and cranberries over. Pour in the eggs, and then add the salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, cinnamon and sage and mix together.
Mix in the onion and celery mixture. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared dish and bake until the center is set, 35 to 40 minutes.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


1 ¼ cup plain, nonfat or low fat Greek Yogurt or Icelandic Skyr 
(Skyr will make it thicker and can eliminate use of fat free cream to keep ingredients more natural)

¼ cup fat free cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar (can substitute honey) or to taste to lower sugar content

1 cup canned pumpkin pie filling, no sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger

Fresh apple or banana slices, 
graham crackers (check labels to avoid hydrogenated fat free  crackers)

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar together on medium until smooth.

Add pumpkin and spices, beating well.  Fold in Greek yogurt.

Each serving provides an excellent source of vitamin A and C, folate, fiber, potassium and magnesium.

Cover and chill for 8 hours. Serve with green apples or banana slices or graham crackers.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Serves 12. Calories: 90, Carbohydrates: 15g, Total Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 0.9g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 3g.


Thursday, October 5, 2017


·       1/2  cup Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree   =40 calories
·       1/2 of a container of nonfat Greek Yogurt or Icelandic Skyr = 60-70 calories
·       1/3 cup of Silk Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk (or nonfat milk – 45 calories)  =10 calories
·       1 splash of Maple Syrup  =10 calories (optional, but yummy)
·       ¼ tsp of coconut or vanilla extract = ZERO calories
·       One dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice  =ZERO calories
·       1/4 cup of ice  =ZERO calories
·       A light dusting of Graham Cracker Crumbs for topping  =trace calories (also optional)
·       Add a veggie of choice= Minimal calories (10 per ½ cup)
TOTAL =130-140 CALORIES of Pumpkin Pie Yumminess!


Since 1980, rates of obesity have doubled in 2- to 5-year-olds, quadrupled in 6- to 11-year-olds, and tripled in 12- to 19-year-olds. Recent reports show encouraging signs that obesity rates are stabilizing, and even declining in certain populations in the United States. Some probable causes of obesity include culture, societal norms, community assets, and practices at home influence a child’s opportunity to make healthy choices and, in the end, influence weight status. One-third of children in the United States eat fast food. One study indicated that children of certain ethnicities have less opportunities for safe play and have more exposure to media advertisements regarding unhealthy food choices. Other nutrition factors include:
  • ·       Meals away from home 
  • ·       Large portions sizes
  • ·       Increased screen time
  • ·       Advertising
  • ·       Sugar sweetened beverages
  • ·       Availability and convenience of refined foods
  • ·       Decreased physical activity at home and at school
  • ·       Safety issues in their environment for physical activity

  • References: National Institute of Health, Tufts Universtity

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Southside Featured on Cook's Corner

Southside Middle School presented a mouth watering display of spinach stuffed chicken, garlic whole grain noodles and a colorful display of fresh vegetable salad on WMUR's Cook's Corner on Monday, August 21. Cat Levesque (pictured), chef, and Helen Guilmette, Food Service Manager, demonstrated how to prepare this delicious meal served to the students at Southside. Jim Connors, Director of School Food Services, and Jennifer Gillis (pictured here), Principal, came along to help behind the scenes. If you missed this showing, please click  on the link below. Nice job ,Team Southside!

Saturday, August 12, 2017


A sweet and tangy combination of protein-filled beans and flavorful veggies. This salad tastes better when left refrigerated overnight or longer but can be eaten immediately.

2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, low or no sodium
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup minced carrot
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
10 halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, olive oil or reduced fat
1/4 teaspoon celery seed, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Mix edamame, chickpeas, red onion, red bell pepper, carrot, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, dried cranberries, olive oil, honey, vinegar, mayonnaise, celery salt, and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl.

Serving: 1/2 cup = Calories: 142, Sodium: 70 mg, Saturated Fat: 1 g; Added Sugar: 1g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Carbohydrate: 11g

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Snacking can be an important part of healthy eating if you choose the right foods. Use this handout to make healthy choices for you and your family. Snacking can be useful and can improve endurance prior to exercise rather than eating an entire meal. Healthy snacks can meet our nutrient needs, increase our energy levels, control blood sugars, help with weight loss and manage our hunger.
·       Choose foods a variety from the five food groups: protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. Snacks should be at least two food groups.

·       Snacks should always include a fruit or vegetable in addition to another foods group. People who are losing weight or have diabetes should limit intake of fruit to 2-3 servings which is about 2-3 cups of cut up fresh fruit or 2-3 small pieces of fruit.

·       Lean protein as a snack in small amounts can last longer and help with feeling fuller so is believed to help with weight control.

·       Always carry snacks when away from home to avoid the temptation of choosing a high fat, sodium or sugar snack or beverage. Keep snack baggies, plastic storage containers, ice packs and lunch coolers on hand!

·       Water or low fat milk are the best beverage choices. Infused water or hot or cold naturally flavored ice teas are a great choice. Other choices are unsweetened soy or almond milk.

  • Celery with all natural peanut butter
  • Reduced fat cheese or part skim string cheese with whole grain crackers & 4 oz. 100% fruit juice
  • Whole grain popcorn & 4 oz. 100% juice or water with fruit slices
  • Mini pizza made with whole grain pita or English muffin topped with vegetables, part skim mozzarella cheese and low sodium tomato sauce
  • Yogurt parfait: berries, low sugar, nonfat yogurt and 2 Tablespoons of low sugar granola
  • Trail mix: high fiber, low sugar cereal, unsalted nuts, unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds and 1-2 Tablespoons craisins
  • Nonfat cottage cheese and pineapple
  • Part skim mozzarella and tomatoes
  • Baby carrots, grape tomatoes, peppers with hummus
  • Half whole grain bread with all natural nut butter and bananas
  • All natural nut butter and apples
  • Berries with nonfat, low sugar yogurt
  • Smoothie with nonfat yogurt, 100% juice and frozen unsweetened or fresh fruit
  • Low sugar, whole grain cereal (1/2 cup),  nonfat milk and ½ banana
  • Half whole grain sandwich with tuna or lean meat (leftover chicken or turkey)
  • Half small pita loaded with vegs, reduced fat shredded cheese and hummus
  • Dark leafy green salad, almonds and mango or unsweetened mandarin oranges
  • Avocado and/or low sodium salsa with whole grain sweet potato corn chips

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Get Moving Manchester, the 4 week nutrition and physical activity journal program for students in grades 3-6 is approaching week 4! That means it is almost time to select the winning elementary and middle schools, the winning class and the winning student! 

The winning elementary and middle schools will receive the Get Moving Manchester trophy. The trophy will be presented by the mayor and superintendent of schools for the highest percentage of participation. 

The winning class will be honored at the Fisher Cats game on May 5 and will receive free tickets for the class to attend the game. The class will be selected according to how much nutrition or physical activity effort or creativity the class has demonstrated during the program. 

The winning student will receive the grand prize. This student has completed his/her log all four weeks of the program and will be entered into the district raffle. The winner will be awarded a bike donated by Bike Barn. The bike can be chosen according to age. One bike choice is a 20” Specialized Hotrock Coaster brake for the younger kids or the other is a 24” Schwinn Frontier for the older kids.  The winner can use the cash value equivalent towards the purchase of an upgraded bike.  The cash equivalent is $250.00 per bike. 

Thanks to Bike Barn and all our sponsors who have made this program possible: Catholic Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Manchester, Fisher Cats, Palace Theatre, Sky Zone, and Spare Time Bowling.


Saturday, February 18, 2017


(makes one loaf)
4 bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups flour  (try mixing half whole wheat or almond flour too!)
1/4 cup butter or nut butter
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten or 1 egg & 2 egg whites
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine bananas, applesauce and softened butter. Add eggs, vanilla and mix. Add sugar and baking soda. Add flour and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for an hour or until toothpick comes clean.


Banana bread, banana muffins, banana chips, banana with cereal, frozen banana pop, banana smoothie, chocolate covered banana, banana milkshake, banana with cereal, peanut butter & banana sandwich


National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In addition, National Nutrition Month® promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, also celebrated in March, increases awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and recognizes RDNs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.

2017 NNM Theme

"Put Your Best Fork Forward" is the theme for NNM 2017 which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier food choices. Making small changes during National Nutrition Month® and over time, helps improve health now and into the future. As nutrition experts, Academy members can help guide the public on gradually shifting toward healthier eating styles by promoting NNM activities and messages during March. Be sure to visit the Academy's National Nutrition Month® website during the upcoming months for new and updated resources to help make the NNM 2017 celebration an infinite success! For more information on NNM and promotional resources, visit

 · Create a "nutrition question of the day" contest. Suggested prizes: NNM pens, pencils, magnets, buttons or cooking items from the NNM catalog.
· Vote for your favorite fruits and vegetables: Offer a selection of fruits and vegetables cut into bite-size pieces. Ask participants to vote for their favorite vegetable and fruit. Post a tally board to record votes.
· Spend some time reading labels and comparing information in the Nutrition Facts panels.

· Start a school vegetable garden by planting seeds indoors or in the ground.
· Take a field trip to a farmers market or a local farm.
· Develop a lesson plan that explains the science behind ingredients needed for baking.
· Assign a school group project that involves each group researching one of the food groups, allowing each                child to explain a food from that food group and what nutrition it provides.
· Develop a school project that involves kids drawing and creating a meal based on MyPlate, using the Choose MyPlate Coloring Page.
· Organize a sports nutrition education session after school or during gym class.
· Highlight ethnic and cultural food traditions by having an international event with NNM posters or banners, table tents and balloons.
FOR MORE IDEAS, VISIT    Courtesy of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics