Posts Tagged ‘Calories’

Have you noticed that the winter holidays are associated with food more than at any other time of the year? From Thanksgiving turkey with all of the trimmings through New Year’s Eve celebrations, there are many temptations put in front of us. Cookies seem to magically show up at the office and there are multiple events to attend where it is very easy to indulge more than we should.cookie-585903_640

If you’ve been working hard this year at healthier eating or increased physical activity, don’t let the holiday season set you back. If you do slip into some old habits don’t let it get you down.

Here are some hints to help you have a healthier holiday:

• Schedule time for physical activity – if it is on your calendar you are more likely to follow through.
• Cut back on what you eat a little for a few days but not too much.
• Look for a couple of new recipes to incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet. The fiber will help you feel full longer. For example, green bean almandine with lemon is a much healthier choice than the traditional green bean casserole!
• Be more conscious of your portion sizes. Use a smaller plate and remember to fill at least half of it with vegetables and fruits.
• Try to eat a light, healthy snack before a party. This might curb your appetite and make it easier to avoid temptation! Eat a low fat Greek yogurt, string cheese or other protein food to help you feel fuller.
• Track what you eat each day. Being aware of what we are actually consuming can help us make any necessary adjustment.
• If you have a favorite holiday treat, make it, enjoy a serving or two and give the rest away!

Studies show that the average American gains one to two pounds over the holidays and these pounds usually don’t go away. You might make it your goal to maintain your weight over the holidays instead of trying to loose. If you try to deny yourself your favorite holiday foods, you are more likely to “fall off the wagon” and go overboard on eating. Enjoy our favorites and then get back to your wellness plans of healthy eating and exercise after the New Year!

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu
Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu


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Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.

  1.  THE List:Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.
  2. Explore coupons: Coupons are a great way to save money while grocery shopping and can be a great activity to do with your family! You will have no problems finding some great deals. Looking for coupons is easy since they are located in a variety of places: in your newspaper, different magazines, at the grocery store, and even your smart phone. Many  grocery stores have mobile apps where you can get coupons with a touch of a button. All you do is bring in your phone with the coupon pulled up and have the cashier scan the bar code on your phone.
  3. Shop the perimeter: Most processed foods are located in the middle of the grocery store such as sugar flavored drinks, cookies, cereals and chips.Shopping the perimeter where the fresh produce, dairy products, meats and most bread are located is a great way to purchase more healthful foods for you and your family.
  4. Eat before: How did those doughnuts get in your cart? Have you ever been a victim of shopping while you were hungry and buying foods that you never went to the store for in the first place? Eating something before you go grocery shopping can satisfy this syndrome of picking up foods that sound and smell good to you at that time.
  5. Be mindful when buying in bulk: Ever buy a huge bag of popcorn because it was on sale and noticed you’ve eaten the whole bag by yourself? I have! Be mindful and strategic when you buy in bulk. You want to ask yourself if you are buying this huge stock of food because it is on sale or if it is something you need. If it is both on sale and something you need, make sure you have a way you can preserve some of the product. For example, if you buy meat in bulk, know that you can freeze half of it and eat what you know you will need instead of trying to eat it all in one week. This can lead to unnecessary overeating and even send you to the store buying more.

These five general shopping tips can help you stay on task and purchase more nutrient-rich foods for you and your family! It’s important to stay focused and make sure you’re buying your needs and not your wants.

Written by :  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Courtney N  Klebe, Dietetic Intern , Bowling Green State University.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, MSPH, Ph.D, Field Specialist, Food Nutrition and Wellness.

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Many of us know we should be eating fruits and vegetables. However, few of us are actually getting the recommended intake.  In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 76% of adults do not meet fruit recommendations of 1.5-2 cups per day. Additionally, 87% of adults do not meet vegetable recommendations of 2-3 cups per day. When the CDC examined children’s’ eating habits, they found 60% did not meet fruit recommendations and 93% did not meet vegetable recommendations.  One could say “the apple does not fall far from the tree. “No pun intended! However, these statistics suggest that neither adults nor kids are  getting an adequate intake of important nutrients found in fruits and vegetables such as fiber, vitamins A, C, and potassium.


Do you ever feel short on time to prepare fruits and vegetables to your meal?  I know for me this can be a struggle. However, the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s website has over 300 recipes that take 30 minutes or less. Why not check  out Produce for Better Health Foundation’s website today and add more produce to you and your family’s diet!

quick and easy roasted veggies


Another great resource for recipes is the United States Department Of Agriculture ” What’s Cooking ” USDA Mixing Bowl.

Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes:

Makes: 6 servings

Total Cost: $4.54

Serving Cost: $0.76



5 sweet potatoes (cooked)

4 apples

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup margarine

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons honey


1. Boil 5 sweet potatoes in water until they are almost tender.

2. After the sweet potatoes cool, peel and slice them.

3. Peel the apples. Remove the cores, and slice the apples.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

5. Grease the casserole dish with butter or margarine.

6. Put a layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom of the dish.

7. Add a layer of apple slices.

8. Add some sugar, salt, and tiny pieces of margarine to the apple layer.

9. Repeat steps 6, 7, and 8 to make more layers of sweet potatoes, apples, and sugar/salt.

10. On the top layer of apples, sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar and margarine pieces.

11. Sprinkle the top layer with nutmeg.

12. Mix the hot water and honey together. Pour the mix over the top layer.

13. Bake for about 30 minutes until apples are tender.

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County. Erie Basin EERA

Reviewed by: Daniel Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness


  1. Moore LV, Thompson FE. Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations – United States, 2013. Center for Disease Control Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. July 10, 2015; 64(26):709-713.
  2. Zies S. Fruits and vegetables are a convenience for busy people! Ohio State University Extension: Family and Consumer Sciences Fact Sheet.  

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Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, those of us with primarily office-based jobs tend to do an awful lot of sitting. Research has consistently shown that too much sitting is associated with several risks to our health, including reduced blood flow, spinal issues related to hunching over a desk, and lack of activity which is linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease and a shorter lifespan.

As more people have taken notice of this research, some workers have been conscious about standing up regularly to take breaks from sitting throughout the day, using the stairs more often than the elevator, astanding desknd even having standing or walking meetings. I recently decided to take it one “step” further and invest in a standing desk. I now stand all day instead of sitting! Of course, there are times when I sit, but the majority of my day is spent standing up and working. After all, I do enough sitting in the car, during meals, and while watching TV or reading in the evening.

One immediate benefit I have noticed since I began using my standing desk is that the tension that I used to carry in my upper back and shoulders has been relieved. I believe this is a result of no longer sitting in the “computer” position, hunched over my screen for excessive amounts of time. (I have heard this condition referred to as ‘tech neck’). I also notice that since I started standing at work, I have a decreased feeling of the ‘afternoon drag’, where I feel my energy start to get low, which – whether I realized it or not – very likely affected my productivity. Now at my standing desk, I find my energy level is more consistent and that sleepy feeling after lunch seems to have disappeared. A similar experience with transitioning to a standing desk is reported in Harvard Business Review.

An added bonus to standing is more calories burned during the day. A research study from the University of Chester in the UK showed that standing promotes a higher heart rate – on average, about ten beats per minute higher than the average sitting heart rate. This translates to .7 calories per minute – or about 50 calories per hour. Replacing sitting with standing for about three hours per day over the course of a year would burn about an extra 30,000 calories, or about eight pounds of fat! If you add to that all of the other benefits of standing more, such as improved blood glucose level regulation, strengthening muscles, and increased balance, you might consider wheeling your office chair right out the door!

Author: Joanna Rini, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Medina County. rini.41@osu.edu

Reviewer: Candace Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Morrow County. heer.7@osu.edu





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Did you know that 12 ounces of sweetened tea has 135 calories in it? Or that 12 ounces of regular soda has 136 calories? There is an alternative to these sugary drinks that can not only help you cut the calories but increase your overall well-being. The Ohio State University Extension has developed a campaign, “Water First for Thirst”, to get people to put down the pop can and enjoy drinking water. This initiative helps to inform people of the benefits of drinking more water.
Drinking water can be a chore all by itself but that doesn’t mean that it is any less important. Your body needs water to complete everyday tasks:

• Regulating body temperature
• Get rid of waste through urination and bowel movements
• Lubricate joints

Infused Water

Infused Water

If you’re like me, drinking water seems boring and bland. I’ve found some ways to spice things up a bit and help me meet the recommended goal of drinking 64 ounces of water per day. Here are some creative tips that I’ve found:

1. Invest in a stylish water bottle that you can keep with you. Whether you’re at work, in the gym or outside in the garden it’s key that you keep a bottle with you so you can refill it whenever you want.

2. When you can, drink through a straw. People tend to drink more when using a straw.

3. Infuse your water with some of your favorite flavors. Adding lemon, berries or citrus with a dash of mint leaves will change things up. If you’re on the go try some of the pocket enhancers that you can purchase from the store. Even with the flavor, you’re still able to cut the calories.

4. Yes, there’s even an app for that. You can download ‘Waterlogged’ and ‘Daily Water’ for free on your device. It will help you track your intake and reach your goals

5. Eating foods that have more of a water base allows you to consume more water without even knowing it. Foods like cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and celery are all made up of more than 90% water. These are naturally low in calories as well!

After hearing tips like these I encourage you to rethink your drink and raise a glass of water!



Photo Credit: KaryeeSays Blog

Writer: Mallorie Wippel, Summer Intern, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, wippel.139@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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Drinking a smoothie is an easy way to sneak in a serving or two of fruits and veggies towards your daily goal. A smoothie is great for breakfast, on the go meal, or a snack. Here’s how to blend a fruit- and veggie-packed smoothie that’s nutritious, satisfying and energizing.


  1. Choose a Base Start with a liquid base such as low-fat milk, soymilk, or nonfat Greek yogurt that delivers protein, vitamins, and minerals with a sensible amount of calories. If using juice, choose 100% grape, orange, apple, or cranberry varieties and try adding just a splash of it to a milk base so you don’t miss out on the protein. Remember juice adds extra sugar and calories so watch portion sizes.
  2. Add Fruit When adding fruit, most fresh, frozen and canned fruits shine in smoothies. For calorie control and to cap added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened frozen fruit and drain canned fruit packed in water or light syrup to reduce excess sugar. Slicing bananas and freezing them works really well.
  3. Yes…you can add veggies! Even vegetables can be added to smoothies. Just remember to use mild-tasting veggies so their flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. If using a standard blender, you may need to chop them very finely or add a little water to help the blending process. Cucumbers, spinach, kale, and beets are popular options.
  4. Nutrient Boosters Super-charge your smoothie with flavorful and nutrient-packed blend-ins such as flaxseed, chia seeds, quick oats, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger), unsweetened cocoa powder, or powdered peanut butter.
  5. Less is More Remember to keep smoothie ingredients simple and take a ‘less is more’ approach. The more ingredients in a smoothie, the more calories it contains.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana

1/2 cup coconut milk, skim milk, soymilk, nonfat Greek yogurt, or almond milk

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)

1 ripe banana, chopped

Water for desired consistency

  1. Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
  2. You can add a few almonds for extra protein if you would like!

For a great beet smoothie click here https://foodhero.org/recipes/un-beet-able-berry-smoothie.

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu





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Many people are consuming more sugar each day in foods and drinks then they realize. Added sugars contribute zero daily nutrient needs to our daily diet. A few things that most of us consume that have sugars include: regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cookies, cakes, pies, fruit drinks, dairy desserts and sweetened milk. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they’re processed or prepared. These added calories can lead to extra pounds and have been cited to contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But the added sugar Americans consume as part of their daily diet can more than double the risk of death from heart disease, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon

How much sugar is just right for you? The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. The AHA recommendations focus on all added sugars, without singling out any particular types such as high-fructose corn syrup.  For more detailed information and guidance on sugar intake limits, see the scientific statement in the August 2009 issue of Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association. According to the study, most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day.

For more tips on healthy eating, cooking and recipes: Simple Cooking with Heart www.heart.org/simplecooking


Journal of the American Heart: Circulation, August 2009. http://circ.ahajournal

Writer Marie Economos, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Trumbull County, Western Reserve EERA

Reviewer: Liz Smith, SNAP- Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.


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