Celebrate good health and good eating with soyfoods! April is National Soyfoods Month. As individuals prepare for spring and new beginnings, take this opportunity to try a new food, too.

“Whether you consider yourself a gourmet chef or a drive-through connoisseur, you can enjoy soyfoods,” says Gretchen Hofing, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension soyfoods health educator and a registered dietitian based in Lenawee County. “Soyfoods are available in a wide variety of products in mainstream grocery stores,” Hofing says. “If you’re thinking that you don’t have time to cook or look for something new at the store, soyfoods are also easy to find in restaurants. Look for edamame in salads, tofu in Asian soups and stir-fries and soymilk in smoothies and coffee drinks.”

The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee and MSU Extension are doing their part to introduce people, including future chefs, to soyfoods with the release of their new “Soyfoods . . . Soy good for you, Soy easy!” lesson plan. The lesson plan was done with Michigan’s high school career and technical programs hospitality track in mind, but it could be adapted for use with a variety of school and public audiences interested in learning more about why and how to cook soyfoods.

The concept was piloted by Hofing with the Lenawee Intermediate School District’s (LISD) Tech Center classes this past fall.

“The soyfoods lesson plan was probably one of the most informative and influential presentations that has been given to my students. It gave them a better appreciation for soyfoods and products that are becoming ever more popular in our industry,” says Corbett Day, careers in hospitality instructor for the LISD Tech Center.

Conversations with the Michigan Restaurant Association also revealed that instructors using their ProStart curriculum, a careers in restaurant and food service industries curriculum, have an increased interest in cooking with vegetable protein sources.

The lesson plan consists of a guide on how to use the included resources and suggested activities; a PowerPoint presentation on the composition of soybeans, health benefits of soyfoods, a discussion of how soyfoods fit into MyPyramid, and information on the uses and functionality of soyfoods in cooking; a chart of additional soyfood resources; a comparison of soyfoods and their traditional counterparts; a guide to modifying recipes; and a set of 11 recipes. For more information on “Soyfoods . . . Soy good for you, Soy easy!” visit Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee.

Purchasing and consuming soyfoods is a great way to support your health and Michigan agriculture. The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee represents soybean producers in the state and funds soybean research and educational efforts. For more information, go to Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee. For information on MSU Extension nutrition programs, visit their web site.

Here is a tasty treat made with soy. Look for more soyfoods recipes at Soy Connection

Coffee Chococcino
2 cups chocolate soymilk
4 to 6 tsp* instant espresso powder

Microwave soymilk and espresso powder in medium uncovered microwave-safe container on high for 2 minutes until very hot.

Carefully pour mixture into blender. Cover and hold down lid with folded towel or potholder. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until very frothy. Pour into two 12-ounce coffee mugs. Sprinkle with espresso powder, if desired.

*for a more intense coffee flavor, add 6 teaspoons espresso powder

Yield: 3 cups. Per 1 cup serving: 140 calories, 3.5 g fat (0 g sat fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein (5 g soy protein), 0 g dietary fiber.

Tip: Use light chocolate soymilk to eliminate an additional 2 grams of fat and 20 calories, for a total of 120 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving.