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Add purees to make food more healthy

February 28, 2012

By Pamela Redwine
Nutrition & Food Safety Area Agent

Studies have found that calories can be lowered in meals by adding vegetable purees. In the study, everyone enjoyed the food and they ate 200 – 350 fewer calories per meal.
Here are ways you can sneak in more veggies for your meals at home. It is a good idea to get everyone eating more veggies which bring more fiber and nutrients. The good news is that they lower the calories, too.
Follow these tips:
1.      Match up the colors:
•         Orange –carrots, winter squash: add pureed orange veggies to cheesy dishes like cheese dips, macaroni and cheese and casseroles.
•         Red – tomatoes, beets; add red pureed veggies to chili, pasta, meatloaf, stews and casseroles.
•         Yellow/white – cauliflower, add pureed cauliflower to mashed potatoes, cream soups.
•         Green – broccoli, zucchini – add this to pasta sauce or rice dishes.
2.      Cook until soft. In order for a puree to be nice and smooth and just slip into a dish, be sure you cook the vegetables a little softer than you would for serving as a side dish. Puree in a food processor or blender.
3.      Use about 25-33 percent veggies to start. The study went up to half the amount in some recipes but using a little less ensures success.
Best uses:
•         Chili – add one extra can of tomatoes; add one cup diced or pureed pumpkin/winter squash.
•         Pasta – use more sauce; add pureed broccoli and chopped spinach – the spinach looks like herbs.
•         Mashed potatoes – use 2/3 potatoes and 1/3 cauliflower.
•         Macaroni and cheese – add 1 cup pureed carrots.
•         Casseroles – add 2 cups pureed veggies to most casserole recipes.
•         Pizza – Put one more cup of chopped veggies on top.
•         Rice – add one or two cups of veggies to the liquid and puree in the blender. Some good ideas are spinach and herbs.
•         Meatloaf – 2/3 lean meat, 1/3 pureed stew vegetables.
Article source: "Communicating Food For Health Newsletter, April 2011"

Half n Half Meat Loaf
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 lb. frozen stew veggies
1 can whole tomatoes, no salt
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. poultry seasoning
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
Ketchup, about 2 T.
1.      Cook the veggies in the microwave for 10 minutes or until really tender.
2.      Puree the cooked veggies with the tomatoes in a food processor.
3.      Stir the turkey, puree, seasonings and bread crumbs together. Place into oiled loaf pan, top with ketchup and bake at 375 degrees for one hour or until done.
4.      Allow to sit out for 10 minutes; cut and serve from the pan.
Serves 10, each slice (4 ounces); 100 calories, 1g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 21mg cholesterol, 191mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 12 g protein, (Compare to 520 calories and 36 g fat for regular meatloaf).
Recipe Source: Communicating Food For Health, April 2011
Pamela Redwine is a nutrition and food safety agent affiliated with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Article provided by the Oktibbeha County Extension Service. For more information call 662-323-5916.

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