“I Propose a Toast! Let’s Drink To Our Health!”

The following blog post is written by Madelaine Frye. It is the fourth (be sure to catch up on week 1 , week 2 , week 3  and week 4 if you haven’t already!) in a series of 6 blogs she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor. Madelaine is teaching OFL as part of a Service Learning Class that has teamed up North Carolina State Students with the Inter Faith Food Shuttle’s OFL/Nutrition Program. Through this partnership the IFFS and NCSU hope to engage students in service learning and community nutrition while expanding the reach of its OFL program. Hello again! My name is Madelaine Frye and I am a senior Nutrition student at NC State. I have been reporting to you all on how our Side By Side classes at the Knightdale Head Start location have been progressing through our six-week healthy lifestyle adventure. Week five in the OFL Side by Side class sure was full of exciting activities, along with lots of cooking!

For week five we discussed the importance of exercising and how much fun it can be when you exercise as a family. Exercise can relieve stress, provide an overall feeling of well being, can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and lower your risk for chronic diseases. Water is very important for our bodies because if we exercise often, we lose a lot of water and can become dehydrated. In class, we shared some tricks on how we can make water more fun to drink by adding fruit juice ice cubes, or slices of our favorite fruits to pitchers of water. Another healthy beverage that we made was a fruit smoothie. Everyone in the class got to pick their favorite fruits and blended them with ice and low-fat vanilla yogurt to make an amazing fruit smoothie! This is not only a great way to rehydrate yourself but can also be a fun and healthy snack packed with tons of fruit.

This week we also discussed the importance of drinking low-fat and non-fat milk products. The calcium found in low-fat dairy drinks is very important in the building of strong bones and other important body functions. It is important to drink low-fat and non-fat dairy because you can raise your blood cholesterol to unhealthy levels with saturated fats and trans-fatty acids that can be found in these and other sugary beverages. If you are lactose intolerant, items such as yogurt and hard cheeses can sometimes be easier to digest than milk. Other non-dairy foods like calcium-fortified juice can also help us get the calcium we need.

After learning so many amazing tips in class, it is always nice to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal with your family that you made together. All of the families loved our turkey taco dinner that we created as a group from scratch. It was even tastier when combined with all of the fun and fruity drinks we had made during class. Why don’t you try this week’s recipes at your home?


serves 1, 1 smoothie per serving


  • Fruit of your choice (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc.)
  • Liquid (juice, low-fat/non-fat milk, soy-milk, almond milk)
  • Optional flavorings (Cinnamon, zest, honey, vanilla, coconut flakes)
  • Thickener (ice, low-fat/non-fat yogurt, silken tofu)


  1. Place ½ - 1 cup of sliced or chopped of fresh or frozen fruit to the blender.
  2. Add ½ - 1 cup of liquid to the blender.
  3. Add up to ½ teaspoon of optional flavorings.
  4. Add up to ½ cup of thickener.
  5. Blend until thick and smooth.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Use milk, tofu, or yogurt to create a creamier smoothie.
  • If adding frozen fruit, use less or no ice.
  • Make ice cubes out of juice instead of water to use in your smoothies.
  • Freeze slices of fruits that are about to go bad and use them in smoothies.

Turkey Tacos

 serves 8, 2 tacos per serving


  • 1 (15 ½ ounce) can pinto beans
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup tomato juice, no salt added
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, no salt added
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces low-fat cheddar cheese
  • ¼ medium head of lettuce
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 16 taco shells


  1. Drain and rinse pinto beans well, using a colander.
  2. Coat a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and brown turkey over medium-high heat.
  3. Measure and add pinto beans, tomato juice, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and black pepper to the frying pan. Stir well, using a long-handled spoon.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  5. Grate cheddar cheese.
  6. Rinse lettuce and tomatoes. Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Core and dice tomatoes.
  8. Place 2 tablespoons of the cooked meat mixture into each taco shell. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese so that it melts into the meat.
  9. Measure and top each taco with 1 tablespoon shredded lettuce and 1 tablespoon diced tomatoes.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Use any of your favorite sautéed vegetables, low-fat sour cream, hot sauce, or salsa to top the tacos.
  • Substitute and type of cooked beans for the pinto beans.
  • If tomatoes are not in season, use canned tomatoes without added salt.
  • Try using whole-wheat tortillas in place of the taco shells, or serve over rice or corn bread.