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4802625827_63cd6f152e_sChildren will soon be returning to school and to the routines that the school year brings. For many families, this means back to the routine of packing a lunch each day.  We want to make sure that the lunches we pack are healthy, safe and delicious!

For a healthy lunch, keep in mind the MyPlate guidance. Check out Choosemyplate.gov . One of the main messages of MyPlate is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. This is something relatively easy to accomplish in a lunch you pack yourself. For example, pack a whole fruit like an apple, banana, or a bunch of grapes. You can also add an individual container of applesauce or a variety of different fruits that are packed in natural juice. For vegetables, most children like baby carrots especially if you include a small container of low-fat dip! Other veggie favorites are cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers or even a small salad.

Another message from MyPlate is to make at least half of the grains you eat during the day whole grains. Use whole grain bread for the sandwich you pack, try pretzels for a snack instead of potato chips. Whole grain crackers spread with peanut butter or eaten with slices of cheese are a great addition to a healthy lunch.

MyPlate recommends that we consume low fat or fat free dairy products. Most schools make fresh, low fat milk available for children in the lunchroom. The calcium provided by milk is very important to children’s developing bones. If your child is not a milk drinker, you can pack yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese or sliced cheese to help them get the calcium they need each day.

You don’t want to forget the protein group. There are a variety of foods that we can choose from to meet the need for protein in our lunch. If you choose meat, make sure that it is lean. Turkey or lean beef are good choices. Other non-meat sources include eggs, peanut butter, beans, nuts, seeds and soy products.

To pack a safe lunch, remember that any perishable food you pack needs to be kept below 40° to stay safe. You can accomplish this in a variety of ways.

  • Use an insulated lunch bag with a frozen ice pack.
  • Freeze the sandwich, a juice box or yogurt container and pack it in the lunch bag to keep everything safe. By the time lunch rolls around, the sandwich, juice or yogurt should be thawed!

You also want to be careful about cross-contamination. This can happen if you are reusing paper or plastic bags or if you don’t remember to wash out the reusable bag each day. Remind your child to discard wrappers and leftover food as soon as they finish their lunch. Don’t forget the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of bacteria. If your child won’t have access to warm water and soap before eating, it wouldn’t hurt to put a disposable hand wipe at the top of the lunch bag!

A delicious lunch may not be something that you and your child will necessarily agree on. Be sure and ask them for ideas for a healthy, safe lunch that they would like to eat.  Don’t fall into the peanut butter and jelly every day trap! You might ask your child to help make a list of healthy foods from each section of MyPlate and use that list to vary what is packed each day.

By allowing your child to help plan and pack their own lunch, you are providing an opportunity to talk about making healthy food choices. Encouraging them to make a choice from each of the food groups every day may increase the odds that they will actually eat the lunch that is packed and help them develop good eating habits for life.

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Source:  MyPlate    http://choosemyplate.gov

School Lunches: Add Variety by soliciting the help of your children http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/school_lunches_add_variety_by_soliciting_the_help_of_your_children

What Can I Pack my Kids for Lunch   http://www.ext.colostate.edu/

Healthy Packed Lunches for Back to School http://byf.unl.edu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=d17c90e6-539d-4ab8-92e7-cbfe2e482647&groupId=4089458&.pdf

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ImageLet’s face it, not all of us get the recommended amount of dairy we need each day.  Sure, we may have a little milk in our coffee or a slice of cheese on our sandwich, but unless we get the recommended 3 cups a day for adults, we become at risk for being deficient in important nutrients like protein, potassium, Vitamin D, and calcium.  Here are some tips that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) give to help you get more fat-free or low-fat dairy foods in your daily diet.

  • Choose low-fat milk such as 1%, skim, or fat-free  If you are currently drinking whole or 2%, gradually switch to a version with lower fat.  Also, choose cheeses that are ‘reduced fat’ or ‘low-fat.’  Fat-free cheeses are healthy choices, but are not as good for cooking.
  • Use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream to top a baked potato or fruit salad.  Also try using low-fat milk on oatmeal and cereal.
  • Regular cream cheese, butter, and cream are not dairy foods which means they do not contain important nutrients
  • Sweet dairy foods such as yogurts, flavored milks, puddings, and frozen yogurts are often high in added sugar.  Check food labels to make sure it is a healthy dairy choice.
  • If you are lactose intolerant try a lactose-free milk such as almond or soy milk.  Use the nutrition facts label to make sure they have about 300 mg of calcium.  You can also get some calcium in leafy greens, but unrealistic to meet all your daily dairy needs.
  • Milk and yogurt are better choices than cheeses because they contain more potassium and less sodium, and many milk and yogurt products are fortified with vitamin D.
  • Model healthy choices for your children.  Remember that your children are more likely to drink milk if they see you drinking milk.  Try to include different dairy snacks into their lunch.  Children 4 – 8 years old need 2 ½ cups daily, children 2 to 3 years old need 2 cups, and older children and teenagers need 3 cups.

Whatever foods you choose to meet your dietary guidelines for the dairy food group just remember that “reduced fat,” “low-fat,” or “fat-free” options are always best.  Try to do whatever you can to meet the 3 cup a day requirement.  Remember to try different dairy foods to see what works for you.  For more tips, please visit www.choosemyplate.gov for information about dairy and all the other food groups as well as information about your nutrition health.

Resource:

Got Your Dairy Today? – http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet5GotYourDairyToday.pdf

Written by:  Dana Brown, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences,Morrow County, OSU Extension, Heart of Ohio EERA

Reviewed by:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by:  Barb Hildebrand, Office Associate, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, Heart of Ohio EERA

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Everyone today is talking about getting more calcium and nutrients. What better way than eating yogurt?  How many of you have had someone ask you if you are eating Greek or regular yogurt? Purchasing Greek yogurt is very popular and consumers really like the taste. 

By adding Greek or regular yogurt, either in their nonfat or low-fat forms, persons planning a healthier diet can add valuable nutrients.  Greek yogurt, which is strained extensively, has an undeniable nutritional edge for the consumer.  When selecting yogurt read the food label. Things to look for include:

  • PROTEIN:  Greek yogurt is being touted for its higher amount of protein. A typical 6-ounce container has 15 to 20 grams, which is the same as 2-3 ounces of lean meat. Regular yogurt provides just 9 grams of protein.
  • FAT:   Yes, yogurt does contain fat.  A 7-ounce serving of full-fat Greek yogurt packs 16 grams of saturated fat or 80 percent of your daily allowance assuming a 2,000-calorie diet.  Whereas, an 8-ounce serving of regular full-fat yogurt has 5 grams of saturated fat.  Saturated fat raises total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for heart disease. Read nutrition labels carefully. If you’re going Greek, stick to low-fat and/or fat-free versions.
  • SODIUM: Greek yogurt is much lower in sodium than regular yogurt, making it a healthier choice for those watching their salt intake. One cup of Greek yogurt contains 65 mg of sodium, while 1 cup of regular yogurt has 159 mg of sodium.
  • CALCIUM:  So where is the calcium? Regular yogurt provides 30 percent of the federal government’s recommended daily amount. A 6-ounce cup of Greek yogurt typically supplies about 20 percent of the daily recommendation. If you’re still worried about calcium intake, load up on milk, seeds, and almonds, says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Next time you are at the grocery store, stop and compare the variety of yogurt options. You will be surprised; what will you choose?

Resources:

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/ask-the-expert/ask-the-dietitian/archives/what-is-the-best-kind-of.html

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/diet/articles/2011/09/30/greek-yogurt-vs-regular-yogurt-which-is-more-healthful

Press Release, General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition
Food Guide – Dairy, National Institutes of Health

Author: Marie Economos, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Trumbull County.

Reviewed by:  Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Perry County

Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross and Vinton Counties

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Are you interested in making a health change this fall?

If so this challenge is for you!

For six weeks this fall we will focus on increasing your physical activity levels as well as focusing your awareness on one health habit per week.  Examples of behaviors we will be encouraging include drinking more water, watching portion size, eating more vegetables and fruits and consuming low fat dairy products.  We will share tips, recipes and researched based information through emails and blog posts.  We also have a facebook page to encourage participants on their journey.

The on-line email challenge will run from September 17th to October 29th.

There is no charge to participate and any adult with an email account can register to participate.

Participants will sign up for the email challenge and complete a consent form to participate in the challenge.  During the challenge, participants will track their daily progress on a 6 week log.   We will have an anonymous pre and post on-line survey for you to complete. 

What is included: Twice weekly educational messages, tracking log for progress, Facebook account for group interaction, weekly drawings from participants for wellness and fitness prizes.

Why: To improve your overall health and well-being while providing valuable research as to the effectiveness of social media as a means of disseminating educational information.

How do I sign up? – Contact Dana Brown at Ohio State University Extension, by email at brown.4643@osu.edu or phone 419-947-1070 by September 10, 2012.

Sponsored by: Ohio State University Extension and County Commissioners
Cooperating

OSU Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, age, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or veteran status. Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agriculture Administration and Director, OSU Extension. TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio Only) or 614-292-1868.

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For most of us dairy is an important source of calcium, protein, potassium and (depending on the dairy food) Vitamin D. However, some people have problems with eating diary and then we hear of other concerns.  So are dairy foods healthy or not?

Bones – Milk critics have believed that eating animal protein, including dairy protein, causes our bodies to leach calcium from our bones.  However, several studies have shown that people who eat more animal protein have higher bone mineral density than those eating the least protein.  Studies by the USDA and the University of Connecticut found that eating diary foods does not make women lose calcium more.

Neutral – Dairy foods do not appear to harm bones.

Colon Cancer – The World Cancer Research Fund and the American institute for Cancer Research concluded recently that “Milk probably protects against colorectal cancer.”  (This finding was not applied to yogurt or cheese.)  They have concluded that those who drink at least one cup of milk a day have a lower risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer than those who rarely drink milk.

Plus – Milk seems to protect against colon cancer.

Prostate Cancer – According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research milk and dairy products show limited evidence as a cause of prostate cancer.  The evidence is inconsistent which makes it difficult to make recommendations to men.

Maybe Minus – Evidence is inconsistent.  There have been too few studies to make firm conclusions.

Blood Pressure – Research has shown that dairy products have a modest effect on lowering blood pressure.  This modest effect may help prevent some people from progressing to full-blown hypertension from pre-hypertension.  In the Women’s Health Study those who averaged at least two servings of low-fat dairy foods a day had about 10% lower risk of developing high blood pressure over those who averaged two or less servings a week.  Calcium supplements had no effect on lowering the risk.

Plus – Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy and low in saturated fat lowers blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension or hypertension.

Weight Loss – Although you may have heard many commercials about how diary helps you lose pounds a new study concluded that including dairy in a weight-loss diet does not help you lose more pounds or fat than just cutting calories.  The study did find that the group that consumed the least dairy saw a loss of bone mineral in the hip as well as markers of bone loss.  The group who eat a high-dairy diet didn’t have the bone loss.

Neutral – Dairy does not help you lose more weight or fat while you cut calories.

Conclusions - Dairy foods help lower blood pressure, seems to protect against colon cancer and don’t harm our bones (may help our bones as in study under weight loss).  Dairy does not help with weight loss and the jury is still out on prostate cancer. For most of us dairy foods are an important source of calcium, protein, potassium, and Vitamin D.  (Reference:  Schardt, D. [2011].  Dairy- Hero or Villain? Nutrition Action Healthletter, 38 (6), pp.9-11)

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3 a Day for Bone Health and Healthy Weight

Dairy’s Unique Nutrient Combination
Searching for more nutrients? Look no further than low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt. Together, they pack a powerful nutritional punch:
• Calcium
• Potassium
• Phosphorus
• Protein,
• Vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin, and niacin (niacin equivalents).
Dairy Foods and Healthy Weight
A growing body of research shows that, as part of a nutrient-rich, balanced diet, three daily servings of milk, cheese, or yogurt may help maintain a healthy weight.
How can you get 3 servings a day of low or non-fat calcium rich foods?

Some ideas that may work to add more calcium- rich foods to your diet:
Enjoy low or non-fat milk with your whole grain breakfast cereal.
Snack on a non-fat yogurt when you get hungry in the mid-morning or afternoon.
Add a non-fat yogurt to your packed lunch. It makes a nice addition and with so many flavors available, you won’t get tired of one or two flavors.
Add reduced fat cheese to your salad or sandwich.
Drink a glass of skim milk with lunch or dinner.
Make a non-fat yogurt parfait for dessert. Simply layer non-fat yogurt, fresh fruit such as berries or banana and top with a small amount of low fat granola.

Here is a tasty recipe idea from the National Dairy Council website.

Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip

Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Ingredients
• 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
• 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
• 1 (8-ounce) container low-fat plain yogurt
• 1 cup shredded part-skim, low-moisture Mozzarella cheese
• 1/4 cup chopped green onion
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2 tablespoons chopped red pepper
Combine all ingredients except red pepper and mix well. Pour mixture into 1-quart casserole dish or 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and sprinkle with red peppers. Serve with toasted bread or whole grain crackers.
Recipe created by 3-Every-Day™ of Dairy.
Nutritional Facts
Calories: 80
Total Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Sodium: 220 mg
Calcium: 20% Daily Value
Protein: 8 g Carbohydrates: 7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Source: http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org

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