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Stay Up-Beet this Spring!

by Rosa Ochoa Andujo, Dietetic Intern from Central Michigan University

Spring provides so many great opportunities to eat healthy, exercise and try some new recipes while practicing social distancing. Here are some tips on how to embrace all that Spring has to offer including recipes to carry us through quarantine.

Take advantage of the warm weather and get active
Being active can be difficult to add to a busy schedule. Be realistic about activity goals and start slow. Some good starting points are going out for a stroll around the neighborhood, local park or to the store three times a week 15-30 minutes. For accountability and staying safe while social distancing, call and chat with a friend while walking or check in with a friend before and after exercising. Be kind to yourself if you don’t meet your first goal. Modify the goal and attempt again.

How to utilize canned goods during quarantine
Canned goods are great to stock up on during quarantine. They can be used for many recipes and avoid unnecessary trips to the store. A classic recipe uses canned whole tomatoes for tomato soup. A great tip to enrich the flavor is to roast the tomatoes in the oven.


  • Use 2 cans (28 oz.) of whole tomatoes
  • Reserve the liquid for later
  • In a baking pan lay out the tomatoes
  • Add 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until tomatoes are soft, about 30-35 minutes
  • In a pan heat 1 tablespoon oil and add 1 large onion (washed and diced) with salt and pepper
  • Cook until onions are translucent about 5 minutes
  • Add ¼ cup of tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes
  • Remove from heat
  • Then, in a pot add 4 cups of water, the reserved juice, the roasted tomatoes and
    sautéed onions
  • Simmer for 20 minutes
  • Lastly, puree in a blender until smooth
    *It does not have to be these exact ingredients. Use any veggies, herbs or seasoning that you think will complement the tomatoes. The recipe can be found at https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-roasted-tomato-soup-234425

Other recipes can be made from canned goods like tuna and beans. A great tip is to use drained tuna from a can with oil, 2 tablespoons orange juice, ginger, scallions, and cilantro. Sauté in a pan for about 5 minutes. Then, add rice with some of your favorite toppings to make a rice bowl.

Canned beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they reduce the preparation time. A great tip for canned beans is washing the beans in a colander as they drain. This removes the added salt. It allows for a better way to moderate salt to your own taste. Beans are versatile and can help bring together other items. For example, if you have frozen lean meat, canned tomatoes, and canned beans, combine them to make a great batch of chili. Add in seasonings and any canned/frozen vegetable.

If you have black beans or white beans drain the cans, then use them to make a cold salad. Add any of your favorite salad dressings, vegetables and/or canned fish and toss to get a flavorful salad.

About the Author
My name is Rosa Ochoa Andujo. I am a dietetic intern from Central Michigan University. I completed my food service and public health rotation here at Senior Services with Megan Geierman, the Nutrition Director. I was provided high-quality learning opportunities in keeping participants healthy in foodservice and how to continue to best provide services during a pandemic. I am a Colorado native and plan to move back home in September after my internship. I met some incredibly kind people here in Michigan. I look forward to the summer activities this state has to offer. A few on my list are Dow Gardens, kayaking at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, being outdoors at National parks, biking, and the summer farmer’s market. This experience has allowed me to be outside my comfort zone.

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