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Posts Tagged ‘Fruits & Vegetables’

If I had to guess I would say you are probably not getting the recommended servings of vegetables and fruits each day, just like most other Americans. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that less than 9% of us are eating the 2 to 3 cups of Dietary Guideline recommended vegetables and not many more are eating enough fruit. The Dietary Guidelines recommend 1 ½ to 2 cups for adults per day, while the study found that just 13% of us consume that much.

Why is it so important to get more of those vegetables and fruits in our diet each day?Veggies and Fruits

  • While vegetables and fruits aren’t calorie free, most are low calorie.
  • Vegetables and fruits are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Look to those with deep colors (dark green, orange, purple, and red) for many of the highest amounts.
  • Fruits and vegetables are often found to have properties that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
  • The fiber found in vegetables and fruits can aid your digestion and may even help with weight loss. Examples of those with higher fiber include beans, pears, apples, berries, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Vegetables and fruits contain little if any fat.

There is a perception that vegetables and fruits are more expensive than many other foods, but eating those that are in season will get rid of that myth. Consider too that a few more cents now may save you thousands of dollars in medical bills in the future.

A few ways to add another serving of vegetables or fruit (or more) each day:

  • Shred or finely chop vegetables and add to meat loaf, pasta sauce, muffins, and more.
  • Change your evening bowl of ice cream to a vegetable and fruit smoothie. Any fruit tastes great with a cup of milk or juice, a yogurt container, and a cup of ice. Toss in a little kale or spinach too.
  • Add black or other beans to any pasta dish, taco meat, or even on top of a salad.
  • Toss a few berries in your morning cereal or yogurt, and chopped veggies in your scrambled eggs.
  • And don’t forget that fruit is the original fast food. Most of it can be eaten after a quick rinse.

To see if you are close to the recommended vegetable and fruit servings, use a tracking log on your phone, computer, or just a small tablet. Write down after each meal or snack how much you had, within a few days you should be able to see how far you have to go.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

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While vegetarians go “meatless” every day, there is a growing movement across the country and even the world for the rest of us to do “Meatless Monday’s” once a week. Following this trend can help your health and your bank account too. Meals without meat aren’t a new thing; families were encouraged to take a meatless day during World War II to spread the food around to soldiers and allies in other countries.

The benefits of going meatless today include:

  • Reducing your risk of cancer – There are numerous studies that link consumption of red or processed meats to colon cancer, while studies also show that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may decrease the risk of certain cancers.
  • Reducing risk of heart disease and stroke – By reducing consumption of the saturated fats in red meats you may also protect yourself again cardiovascular disease and stroke. At the same time an increase in whole grains, vegetables including beans, and fruit provide protective factors against the same health conditions.
  • Preventing obesity – Diets high in vegetables and fruits are higher in fiber, which will make you feel full quicker and typically contain fewer calories.
  • Spreading your food budget further – Most vegetables, beans, grains, and eggs can be used in recipes for less money than meats (red or white). Saving that money for a few months may give you the money for a family fun day, new games for family night, or just reduce your budget when finances are tight.

If you are looking for meatless recipes try:

A new favorite meatless recipe for me is Veggie Taco’s. Replace the ground meat in your taco with a peeled and chopped carrot and sweet potato (to speed up the process after chopping, microwave a few minutes with ¼ cup of water). Add a can of diced tomatoes and rinsed black beans to your seasonings and mix all ingredients in a skillet. Bring to a simmering bowl and heat for about 10 minutes to thicken. Top a whole grain taco shell with your meatless taco mixture, and chopped lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Trust me; you won’t miss the meat at all. Good additions are chopped peppers and a small chopped zucchini too.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County.

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vegetables-752153_1280The weather lately has allowed some of our early season crops to flourish. As we begin to enjoy the fresh vegetables and herbs from our garden, we should think about the best methods for harvesting them and the other vegetables that will mature in the coming months.

Many of us choose to grow our own vegetables so that we can have the best tasting product possible! However, the quality, taste and appearance of vegetables can be affected if they are not harvested at the proper time and in the proper way.

Store bought vegetables are often picked before they are fully ripe to allow time for them to be shipped and stored. The home gardener has the advantage here by knowing when and how to harvest their products. Harvesting most vegetables when they have ripened on the plant will produce the best taste.
Don’t fall into the “bigger is better” trap and allow produce to stay on the plant too long. This can lead to tough, fibrous, or rotten produce. Also, most vegetables are best when harvested early in the morning while they retain the maximum moisture. After you harvest, keep your produce out of direct sunlight and keep them cool.

You should be gentle with your vegetables as you harvest them. Some vegetables will require scissors, a knife or pruners to remove them without damaging the plant. One example of this may be green peppers which have firm stems attaching each individual pepper to the plant. Also, frequent picking of vegetables can prolong the harvest for that plant. If you wait too long to harvest, the plant may stop producing more vegetables since it will sense that its reproduction goal has been reached!

The ripening process continues when the vegetables are harvested and the quality declines rapidly so they should be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator to slow down the process. Some produce that this applies to are tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, and others. The sugar in some of these vegetables can change to starch and affect the taste of the item.

Home gardeners are often not familiar with the proper time to harvest some of the vegetables they have chosen to grow. The information from Clemson Cooperative Extension and Washington State University Extension should provide guidance on the proper stage of maturity for harvesting many common vegetables. Ohio State University Extension provides information on individual vegetables and the proper storage to keep the quality high.

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

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

http://ohioline.osu.edu

http://agr.georgia.gov/harvest-vegetables-at-proper-time-to-ensure-best-taste-and-quality.aspx

http://county.wsu.edu/king/gardening/mg/factsheets/Fact%20Sheets/Harvesting%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables.pdf

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/pdf/hgic1262.pdf

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super foods

From Brussels sprouts and blueberries to salmon and sweet potatoes, there is a lot to learn about super foods! OSU Extension professionals will be sharing information on what makes some foods “super” and how to work super foods into your diet.

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Follow and chat with the Live Healthy Live Well team…

Lisa Barlage – Family & Consumer Sciences Educator @lbarlage

Linnette Goard – Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management @lmgoard

Polly Loy – Family & Consumer Sciences Educator @WellnessWakeup

Dan Remley – Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness @remley4

hashtag super

 

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Next to football, my favorite thing about fall is apples!  I have my personal favorite variety; what’s yours? Here are a few facts about apples:

  • Nutrition – We all know, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”, but do you know why? Apples are delicious, easy to carry for snacking, low in calories (about 80), and they are still very inexpensive. Apples have 4 grams of fiber, including both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber in apples provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system.  It is best to eat apples with their skin. Almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin and eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content.  For complete apple nutrition facts, check out this site: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/nutrition.cfm
  • Varieties – Did you know there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide? How do you ever decide which one becomes a favorite or which one is best for a particular purpose? Apple varieties have different qualities. Apples can be sweet, tart, soft and smooth or crisp and crunchy, depending on the one you choose. Some are perfect for baking, others work better for salads, and some are ideal for eating fresh off the tree. For example, Jonathans are tart, great for baking or eating. Honeycrisps are sweet, crisp, and delicious for eating. Galas are sweet, good for, eating, or salads.  Granny Smith apples are tart and great for baking.  Here is a  wonderful guide to help you know which varieties are best for what you plan to do: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1402.html
  • The Best Place to Buy Apples – If you have the chance, there are benefits to buying your apples locally.
    • Locally grown food is full of flavor.
    • Eating local food is eating seasonally.
    • Local food has more nutrients.
    • Local food supports the local economy.
    • Local food benefits the environment.
    • Local foods promote a safer food supply.
    • Local growers can tell you how the food was grown.

When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food. To find a Farmer’s Market in your area that sells apples, the Ohio Proud website will allow you to enter your county and find a place to buy apples close by. See: http://ohioproud.org/searchmarkets.php

  • A Recipe – Fall is a good time to enjoy this recipe for Apple Salad:

3 med apples (unpeeled), cut in chunks

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup celery, diced

2 T raisins

3 T plain yogurt

2 t mayonnaise

1 T pineapple juice

1/8 t cinnamon

Combine apples, pineapple, celery, and raisins. Mix yogurt, mayonnaise, pineapple juice and cinnamon together and blend into other ingredients. Yield: Four 1 cup servings. Calories: 121 per serving.

Written by: Kathryn K Dodrill, MA, CFCS, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Washington County

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross County

Sources:

Apple Nutrition, http://urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/nutrition.cfm

Apple Varieties, http://www.bestapples.com/varieties/index.aspx

Suggested Uses for Ohio Apples, http://www.ohioapples.com/ohio_apples_uses.htm

Apples: A Guide to Selection and Use, http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1402.html

5 A Day Roadside Market Project, http://ohioline.osu.edu/5-a-day/apples.html

Find a Farmer’s Market, http://ohioproud.org/searchmarkets.php

7 Benefits of Eating Local Foods, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/7_benefits_of_eating_local_foods

 

 

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cherriesTart cherries have powerful secret nutrients. Studies have found that the antioxidants in tart cherries continue to increase until they reach peak ripeness.  Consuming them when they are ripe will offer you the most benefits.

 

These properties called anthocyanins could improve our health by:

  • Cutting down on inflammation and decreasing muscle soreness.
  • Producing beneficial metabolic effects such as decreasing fat, sugar, and insulin levels in the blood.
  • Melatonin in rich tart cherries may help sleep disturbances.
  • Phytonutrients in cherries act as antioxidants to help reduce free radicals in the body, possibly reducing the risk of some types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease

Cherry-Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

3/4 cup canned, pitted red tart cherries in water, chilled in the refrigerator, undrained

1/2 cup low fat milk or dairy-free milk

1/2 cup frozen berries

8 oz. low fat cherry Greek yogurt

1 small banana

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. More or less milk can be added to achieve desired consistency.

Makes 3 servings

Per Serving:

Calories: 164

Total fat 2 g (1 g saturated fat)

Carbohydrate 33 g

Protein 6 g

Fiber 2.8 g

Sodium 72 mg

Vitamin C 6 mg

Vitamin A 635 IU

As we support good health, everyone should try to eat more fruits and vegetables so by adding tart cherries or the concentrate you can easily add one more serving of fruit to your meal plan each day!

Writer: Marie Diniaco Economos, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Trumbull County, Western Reserve EERA, Economos.2@osu.edu

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

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

For more information on how to maximize nutrients in other fruits and vegetables visit: Farm to Health Series: http://localfoods.osu.edu/maximizenutrients

Sources:

http://www.choosecherries.com

http://www.ncnm.edu/images/Helfgott/Projects/scientific-literature-summary-cherries-2011.pdf

Recipe developed by Robin Ralston and Morgan Orr, The Ohio State University available from: http://localfoods.osu.edu/sites/d6-localfoods.web/files/Cherries_0.pdf

 

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Fall Challenge 2014

Join Ohio State University Extension for a six-week personal wellness challenge. This fall the Live Healthy Live Well challenge for better health will run from September 8-October 19. This is an online challenge designed to help adults get fit by encouraging regular physical activity, healthy eating and wellness tips. This is a free event. Participants will receive e-communications twice weekly sent directly to you from your local OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Professional. This challenge focuses on:

• Organic/natural foods
• Calcium and fiber in your diet
• Superfoods
• Gluten-free and whole grains
• Incorporating fitness into your day
Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/Mahoningfall14
Once you register, you will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of September 8, 2014.
We look forward to taking this fall challenge journey together!

Written by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, MA, LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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