Diabetic Corner – Hummus and chips with a twist

Welcome back to our special corner for family style, quick, easy recipes that won’t make your sugar spike but will sure get noticed by your taste buds!

Reaching for healthy snacks can be difficult when home with the family and we need to remember that especially for diabetics, it is important to choose a snack that is high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats to help keep your blood sugar levels under control. As always friends, balance is everything and with each of our recipes we understand you may need to make adjustment for you and your family. Reminders: It’s important for any diabetic trying a new diet or recipe to adhere to the portion size recommendations and to monitor your levels to ensure this is a recipe that will work for you. Everyone processes sugars and carbs differently. Finding that balance is part of your diabetic journey but that doesn’t it can’t be a tasty journey!

Black bean hummus and oven baked chips This is a fun twist on a popular snack and the chips are optional, you can definitely just use veggies as well. Black beans are a healthy alternative to garbanzo beans but can also be done with any other canned bean. Kidney beans are another recommendation!

Hummus:

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
  • Optional: ½ cup of any roasted veggies give this dip a great taste as well

Chips:

  • 1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

You will also need: A blender, an oven, a baking sheet pan, a cutting board, a knife and a small bowl and food brush

  1. In a blender, add all ingredients for the hummus except for the oil. Turn blender on and slowly add the olive oil until the hummus reaches the consistency you would like.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  3. Cut tortillas into 8 wedges by cutting into 4’s and then cutting those in half. Arrange the wedges in a single layer on the baking pan.
  4. In a small bowl, combine oil and lime juice. Lightly brush each tortilla wedge until slightly moist.
  5. Sprinkle the salt on the chips.
  6. Bake the wedges for about 7 minutes and then rotate the pan and bake for another 7-8 minutes. Bake until the chips are crisp but not overly brown.
  7. Take out and serve warm or wait for them to cool 

We hope you and your family are able to enjoy this twist on this favorite snack reach and reach for it first the next time you’re hungry! Serving size is 1 oz of hummus and 8 tortilla chips. Remember to adjust for your recommended serving sizes.

Red bell pepper slices

Healthy Living Tips - Snacks

Today, we want to address SNACKING! Why are snacks so much more appealing while we’re home? And, why do we keep going back for more? We are going to dive into a mini lesson about fats and sugars that we hope will help all of us next time we go to the pantry and look for a snack. Often times, we can choose snacks that are high in fat or added sugar that taste good, but they leave us feeling hungry and wanting to come back for more.

Let’s start by talking about fats. Did you know that your body actually needs small amounts of healthy fats? Even though your body needs some fats to function, it is important to note that not all fats provide the benefits your body needs. There are healthy and unhealthy fats that we can consume. What we need to be weary of is overeating those unhealthy fats and being able to identify them in our foods. Unhealthy fats can affect your heart and lead to weight gain down the road. Identifying unhealthy fats can be tricky as they are hidden in foods. A good tip is to always look at the labels on foods for all of the ingredients. Below is a list we hope will give you some clarity as to what the healthy vs. unhealthy fats are. Hopefully you will have a better idea of what to eat for your next snack!

  • Healthy Fat Sources (Unsaturated Fats)
    • Nuts - almonds, peanuts, walnuts, nut butters
    • Seeds - pumpkin, flax, sunflower, sesame
    • Other - avocado, olives
  • Unhealthy Fat Sources (Saturated Fats)
    • ​​​​​​​Packaged baked goods - cookies, cakes, pies, biscuits
    • Fried foods - fries, doughnuts, fried chicken
    • Snacks - Chips, microwave buttered popcorn

Knowledge is power, and the more you know the more power you have to make healthy choices or find ways to modify the foods you are eating to make them healthier. For example, instead of deep-frying something, you can bake it. We are not saying you can never have an unhealthy fat but eat these in smaller portions and less often.

Now, let’s talk sugar. Foods high in sugar provide instant bursts of energy but this energy boost doesn’t last forever. Eventually, your body processes sugar, breaks it down, and you experience a feeling of tiredness. High sugar foods are called “fast-release foods”. It provides a burst of energy quickly and then fades leaving you feeling unsatisfied. This “fast-release” into your system leaves you feeling hungry and craving more. Our bodies need foods that are “slow release” foods to thrive. These foods help you feel satisfied longer and give you energy that lasts throughout the day (think whole grains, legumes, fruits, veggies).

Sugars can also be hidden ingredients in our foods. Here are some of the other names added sugars can go by:​​​​​​​

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Dextrose, Maltose
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Syrup (corn, malt, brown rice, agave, maple, fruit)
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Sugar (brown, invert, raw, turbinado)
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Nectar
  • Fruit juice concentrate

One of the things that helps the most is having healthy foods readily available. Easy access to foods that are less healthy (high in unhealthy fats and added sugars) really makes it hard to choose a healthier option. Hopefully, this information about fats and sugars can help you next time you reach for a snack!

 

*Adapted from Y-USA’s Healthy Living Program

tomatoes, blue berries, rice cracker

Free Summer Meals for Kids & Teens

Each Thursday morning at North Austin and East Communities, we will distribute meal packs for children (18 years and under) for free to parents. Meals packs include seven breakfasts (whole grain item, fruit, milk per day) and seven lunches (frozen lunch trays and milk per day).

  • East Communities at 8 AM – Thursdays beginning 6/11, 100 meal packs. 
  • North Austin at 9 AM – Thursdays beginning 6/11, 100 meal packs.

Parents Need to Bring Kids or Paperwork

Parents can pick up meals for any kids 18 years or younger. If the kids are present, then it’s easy. One meal pack per kid present. If the kids are not present, then parents much have some documentation to present.

  • Official letter/e-mail from school listing children enrolled
  • Individual student report cards 
  • Attendance Record from parent portal of the school website
  • Birth certificate for a child not in school
  • Student ID cards

EN ESPAÑOL

En colaboración con el Central Texas Food Bank, cada jueves por la mañana, la YMCA estará proporcionando paquetes de comida gratuitos durante el verano para niños 18 años o menor.

Paquetes de comida incluyen siete desayunos (alimento integral, fruta y una leche para cada día) y siete almuerzos (bandejas de comidas congeladas y una leche para cada día).

East Communities Y:

  • Cada jueves – 11 de junio al 13 de agosto
  • 100 paquetes de comida
  • Distribución empieza a las 8am

North Austin Y:

  • Cada jueves - 11 de junio al 13 de agosto
  • 100 paquetes de comida
  • Distribución empieza a las 9am
  • Cuidadores necesitan traer a los niños o documentación.

Cuidadores pueden recoger comidas para sus niños de edades 18 y menor. Si los niños están presentes, solo un paquete de comida será proporcionado para cada niño presente.

Si los niños no están presentes, cuidadores tendrán que presentar unos de los siguientes comprobantes:

  • Carta oficial/correo electrónico de la escuela nombrando los niños inscritos
  • Calificaciones individuales de niños
  • Récord de asistencia desde el portal de padres en la página de la escuela
  • Acta de nacimiento para un niño que no está inscrito en la escuela
  • ID escolar del estudiante

Food Distribution at North, East & Bastrop YMCAs

The YMCA of Austin is partnering with Brighter Bites and DiMare Fresh to host free distribution of fresh produce beginning Tuesday, May 19, at the North Austin, East Communities, and Bastrop YMCAs. Area residents can receive 20-pound boxes of fruits and vegetables via touchless drive-through or walk-up. The weekly program will run each Tuesday through August.

  • Distribution at the North Austin YMCA (1000 W. Rundberg Ln.) will begin Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and will continue on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Drivers are asked to enter the parking lot from Mearns Meadow Drive.
  • Distribution at the East Communities YMCA (5315 Ed Bluestein Blvd.) will begin Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and will continue on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Drivers must enter the parking lot from the northbound lane of Ed Bluestein.
  • Distribution at the Film Alley (1600 Chestnut St., Bastrop, TX 78602) will begin Thursdays at 9 a.m. and will continue on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

“At a time when many are hurting and hungry, we need to do whatever we can to ensure families and communities have fresh fruits and vegetables on their plates,” said James Finck, YMCA of Austin President and CEO. “We’re excited to be able to partner with Brighter Bites and DiMare Fresh to help our community.”

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, 25,000 families nationwide were enrolled in the Brighter Bites program across 100 schools, with each family receiving 25 pounds of fresh produce and nutrition education on a weekly basis. Then COVID-19 hit, schools shuttered, and families lost access to this fresh produce they were dependent on for daily nourishment. 

“This partnership with the YMCA of Austin and DiMare Fresh will ensure Brighter Bites families in Austin continue to receive fresh, immune-boosting produce at a time when they need it most,” said Brighter Bites Director of Sourcing Jennifer Boone. “The program will allow us to expand our reach, and we’re grateful to DiMare for trusting Brighter Bites to distribute their product with the greatest care and consideration.”

As part of the USDAFarmers to Families Food Box” program, produce distributor DiMare Fresh is supplying product through their facilities in Texas to service nonprofit entities throughout the Southwest.

DiMare Fresh is a provider of value-added distribution services in the form of repacking, ripening, consolidation and delivery of refrigerated food, specializing in produce and floral. DiMare Fresh has long-standing relationships with local and regional food banks and other nonprofits, such as the Houston Food Bank, North Texas Food Bank, Community Table and Brighter Bites.

Are you interested in volunteering to distribute food on Tuesdays? 

Sign up to volunteer at North Austin Y

Sign up to volunteer at East Communities Y

Sign up to volunteer at Bastrop Y

 

Have you heard about our free meal distribution for kids and teenagers? Each Thursday morning at North Austin and East Communities, we will distribute meal packs for children (18 years and under) for free to parents. Meals packs include seven breakfasts (whole grain item, fruit, milk per day) and seven lunches (frozen lunch trays and milk per day). Click here for more details: https://bit.ly/YMCASummerMeals.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Home: Food Edition

It’s officially Cinco de Mayo! We have some great recipe options that you can do from home with your family. Our recipes are brought to us thanks to our dear friend, membership coordinator Yamel Nelson from the Hays Communities YMCA. These are family favorites, so they are sure to not disappoint! Enjoy!

*To read more about the brief history of this Mexican American Celebration click here.

Salsa Fresca

Ingredients:

  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds of Roma tomatoes, cores removed and coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Wash vegetables thoroughly
  2. Place Serranos, cilantro, onion, lime juice, salt, and garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse on low speed for 5 seconds
  3. Add tomatoes and pulse on low speed until desired consistency

Note: This will make a medium-heat salsa. Reduce or add Serranos to your taste!

Cilantro Jalapeño Ranch Dip

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 jalapeños (deseeded)
  • 1 bunch o cilantro
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 packet of ranch dip powder

Directions:

  1. Use a food processor to finely chop and blend everything together.
  2. Store in a container in the fridge for a couple of hours so the dip thickens, and enjoy!

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Avocados, peeled & pitted
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (optional/to taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, sea salt, and garlic salt.
  2. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and jalapeños.
  3. Refrigerate for best flavor and enjoy!

School Districts Providing Food for Students

According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), school lunches are important to improve a student’s health and well-being. There are a number of low-income students who rely on the lunches provided to support their learning and nutrition. According to research provided by the FRAC, free or reduced-price school lunches can do the following: 

  • Reduce Food Insecurity

  • Improve Dietary Intake

  • Positively Impact Health and Obesity Rates

  • Meet a Child’s Nutritional Needs Leading to a Better Learning Environment

In light of the current public health crisis, there are many families that are concerned about where their child’s next meal may come from. Austin area school districts are stepping up to support families by providing meals to students who rely on them daily. Click the links below to learn more about what school districts are doing to provide food access during the current statewide school closures.

UPDATE (3.22.2020): The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is managing all the school meal sites as a searchable database on their website. You can also click the button below to find free school meal pick-up locations near you.

FREE MEAL PICK-UP LOCATIONS

For the latest information about YMCA branches and programming, please visit “Safeguarding the Y”.

School lunches are an important part of students' health and well-being.

Fall Family Jubilee at the Southwest Y: A Party In Two Acts

ACT I: The Jubilee

In an odd autumn season that has fluctuated between scorching heat and dreary month-long downpours, you could easily say it has been a challenge for families to plan great activities together.

When Southwest Family YMCA scheduled its Fall Family Jubilee, they took their chances and put on a party in the backyard on Friday, November 16. Fortunately the hard freezes earlier in the week gave way to balmy sunshine, and families packed the pavilion to celebrate.  Tables were loaded with crafts to break the ice for even the shyest participants, and hot chocolate was on tap to warm everyone up.

Older children helped younger kids string beads together to make friendship bracelets that they traded with one another, and youngsters threaded perpendicular popsicle sticks with pretty yarn patterns to make decorations. Out on the lawn, grown-ups paired with kiddos to “Ski Camp Moody,” by coordinating their movements and walking together with their feet attached to 2x4 wooden beams!  

A father and daughter try to “Ski Camp Moody”

A father and daughter try to “Ski Camp Moody”

As more friends arrived, a couple of counselors and a handful of children led everyone to the stage to perform “Going on a Bear Hunt.” With binoculars in hand and fear at bay, these brave explorers bested a cold river, a dark forest, a snowstorm, and more to discover a bear in a cave! Good thing for them, this bear was a big fan of YMCA Camp Moody! She invited all the kids to sing along about adventure. At least one little girl helped herself to more hot chocolate while her mom wasn’t looking.

 

“Going on a Bear Hunt” lead these kids to a friendly bear who loves YMCA Camp Moody

As the sun went down, the pavilion became the gathering place for a few rounds of Campfire Stomp – a fun game that is a lot like musical chairs, but every time someone gets eliminated, they have to run over to the treasure chest and choose a prize! Not surprisingly, this was a popular game. While everyone else was collecting their prizes and showing them to their parents, at least one little girl collected herself some more hot chocolate!

Campfire Stomp was a family favorite

Campfire Stomp was a family favorite

ACT II: Campfire Cook of the Year

After everyone had a chance to win a prize or two, it was time for the main event: The Campfire Cooking Contest.

Judging the competition was Ali Khan, host of The Cooking Channel’s Cheap Eats (@blackbookali). Ali guides audiences on budget-friendly culinary adventures across America, and we were glad he could stop by. Ali was joined by Case Erickson, the producer of Trucklandia Food Truck Fest (@trucklandiafest) and tastemaker by default. YMCA CEO James Finck rounded out the judge’s table, bringing his level consideration to each dish.

Case Erickson, James Finck, and Ali Khan take their judging responsibility seriously

the judges consider each dish

Case Erickson, James Finck, and Ali Khan take their judging responsibility seriously. 

The YMCA of Austin is fortunate to be headquartered in a city with so many talented chefs, five of whom contributed campfire-friendly dishes to this competition. Emoji’s Grilled Cheese (@emojisgrilledcheese) presented a deluxe sandwich that blended jack and cheddar cheese and smoky crispy bacon between toasted sourdough slices. McCollum Barbecue’s (@mccollumbbq) frito pie riffed on the traditional campfire meal with surprising brisket chili and creamy sauce drizzled over the top.

Miguel Kaiser of T-Loc’s Sonoran Hotdogs (@tlocssonorahotdogs) impressed judges with his submission of brisket hash, versatile at the campsite for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This tasty dish won the “Most Savory Campfire Recipe” category.

There could only be one Campfire Cook of the Year, though, and this year’s spatula went to Neil Joiner of The Black Forest (@blackforestatx). His innovative and flavorful campfire cornbread came served in a personal-sized cast-iron skillet heaped high with smoked pork, ember-roasted onions, pickled cabbage, corn nuts, and chipotle hot sauce.

The Black Forest’s Campfire Cornbread earned Neil Joiner the title of Campfire Cook of the Year! Congratulations!

The Black Forest’s Campfire Cornbread earned Neil Joiner the title of Campfire Cook of the Year! Congratulations!

YMCA of Austin and YMCA Camp Moody are grateful to all the chefs who were such good sports and spent their Friday evening in friendly competition to benefit Camp for All. Thanks to all the families who came to celebrate the season with crafts and songs and just one more cup of hot chocolate!

When Southwest Family YMCA scheduled its Fall Family Jubilee, they took their chances and put on a party in the backyard on Friday, November 16.
Southwest Fall Family Jubilee