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buffetAs we enter the holiday season, we are often participating in pot-luck celebrations at work and dinners with family and friends. What are some steps we can take to help avoid food borne illnesses at these happy occasions?

If you are the one preparing the food, remember the four basic food safety rules: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. By following these four simple rules, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria which could make your family ill and make your holidays less than jolly!

  • Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that countertops, cutting boards and utensils are clean by washing with hot soapy water. Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.
  • Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.
  • Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if a food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc to a rolling boil when reheating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.
  • Chill.  Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°F., use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter. After the meal, chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling.

If you are participating in a pot-luck lunch at work or school, there are some things to keep in mind for food safety. The most important rule to follow is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! Avoid the “danger zone”! It is often a good idea to appoint one person to make sure that foods are being kept at a safe temperature.

  • Foods that are to be served hot should be kept above 140°F.
  • Cold foods should be kept below 40°F.
  • Make sure that the surfaces where food will be served are clean.
  • Do not allow food to sit out for over 2 hours.
  • Any food that has not been kept at a safe temperature should be discarded after 2 hours.

So enjoy the holidays and the events that accompany them while keeping yourself, your family, friends and co-workers safe from food borne illness.

Sources:

Safe Food Handling Factsheets http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling

Be Food Safe   www.befoodsafe.org 

EXTENSION CONNECTION: Keeping Food Safe (pot luck party tips) http://www.crestviewbulletin.com/news/community/extension-connection-keeping-food-safe-potluck-party-tips-1.56092?page=2 

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Reviewer: Linette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

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Autumn

Stress often gets a bad rap. In small doses, stress serves as a motivator to get things done.  It also gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly when facing an emergency. Yet, if you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.

Protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process.

Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Weight issues
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

Managing stress is about taking control and taking charge. Take charge of your emotions, thoughts, schedule, and your environment.  Strengthening your physical health will help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

There are a number of techniques that are useful to reduce stress. Here are a few of these ideas:

  • Set aside relaxation time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

Find something that calms you and get in the right mindset to face these challenges. Managing your stress will bring balance to your life.  While we may not be able to control all the stressors in our lives, we can change how we react to them!

Writer: Beth Stefura, MEd., RD, LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S. RDN,LD, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed

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Are you stressed out about everythinniXkZzog and anything? Does your life lack direction and focus? Are you trying to get more done with less time and fewer people to help? Well, I believe it’s never too late to challenge yourself to become more effective and efficient in everything you do. NOW is the time to learn about yourself and develop those habits and skills which will help you to choose your destiny!

Which “quotes” will inspire you?

Find inspirational quotes which will get you moving and post them at locations where you will see them often such as your work desk, refrigerator, entrance to your home, car, computer, etc. In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.” Booker T. Washington knew what he was talking about when he said “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

What do you value and believe in?

It’s important to reflect upon, appreciate and acknowledge what is important to you in your life. How would you rank the following on a value and belief system: Family; Friends; Work; Home; Spirituality; Community; Relationships; Self-Awareness; Education; Happiness; Helping Others; etc.?

What are some important Time and Life Management Tips?

  • Choose Your Attitude and make it positive and proactive.
  • Set Goals which lead to a successful and productive life.
  • Make a Priority List because not everything is of equal importance.
  • Analyze and Evaluate to determine where your time and life are going.
  • Plan to “Get It Done” with intent and determination.
  • Keep to a Schedule as your way of keeping a promise to your commitments.
  • Eliminate Interruptions as much as possible.
  • Condense Paperwork so you aren’t surrounded by stacks and stacks of it.
  • Delegate to others and involve them in the process of getting things done.
  • Do Not Procrastinate because everything will eventually hit at the same time.
  • Create a Team that works together and pulls in the same direction.
  • Select Values and Principles which are appropriate for you and your family.
  • Be Efficient with tasks.
  • Be Effective with people.
  • Seek Positive Relationships which build you up.
  • Avoid Negative Relationships which tear you down.
  • Choose Quality over Quantity so that you do your best at fewer things.
  • Develop Character which makes others want to be like you.
  • Become a Leader within your family, friends and community.
  • Live in Harmony with as many people as you can.
  • Put “First Things First” and make good choices about what comes first in your life.
  • Maintain Balance by using important Time and Life Management Tips.

What’s one final thought about Time and Life Management?mhGuFx6

Remember that you don’t have to know exactly where you’re going every single second to be headed somewhere great!

 

Written by: Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Madison County, myers.31@osu.edu

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

Source:

Time and Life Mastery – Putting First Things First, Developed by Kurt Utterback, Presented by Communicate Institute Training and Development in partnership with Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio, Graduate courses for teachers, WEB: www.communicateinstitute.com/

 

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Need more energy? Have this energy drink. If you are playing a sport, you need a sports drink. Really, do we need sport or energy drinks, vitamin waters, or fruit flavored drinks? The advertisers claim we need them. What is truth and what is hype? sports beverages

• Sports drinks are not necessary unless you are engaging in continuous, vigorous activity for more than 60 minutes in hot weather. Most sports drinks have lots of sugar and calories. Most of us don’t need the extra nutrients, electrolytes and/or protein as your diet usually provides what is needed. Water is the best drink for rehydrating, which is what your body needs. Sports drinks increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease. Low-fat or fat-free milk can be a better option to drink when engaging in sports or physical activity to regain what you have lost.

• Energy drinks are not needed and may over-stimulate the cardiovascular and nervous system causing some detrimental effects. Most energy drinks have high amounts of caffeine and other stimulates. Energy drinks can be dangerous for people with unknown heart issues. Energy drinks are not safe for youth. In fact, studies have shown youth who drink energy drinks are less able to concentrate and may have a slower reaction speed. Extra vitamins in energy drinks do not really help your body. Energy drinks have been associated with many health concerns such as increased blood pressure, sleep problems, seizure activity, heart arrhythmia and others. Avoid powdered caffeine which is very dangerous.

• Vitamin waters have added vitamins which are better obtained by eating vegetables and fruits. These drinks also contain added sugar and sodium. Don’t pay the high price tag for these which also increase the risk of obesity. Eat a healthy diet and drink water.

• Fruit flavored drinks tend to be high in added sugar and other ingredients. Some of the herbal fruit flavored drink ingredients have not been researched on children. These drinks also increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease.glass of iced tea

• Sweetened teas and coffee drinks have added sugar and carry the same health risks as sports drinks. They also can cause sleep disturbances and nervous problems in youth and adults.

Beverage manufactures are trying to convince us that they are providing us with “ready-to-go” attractive beverages. Most of the health claims on the bottles cannot be proven true and the added sugars increase the risk of diabetes and obesity.

Drink water!
It is the best drink. Other recommended choices include nonfat or low-fat milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juice in small amounts. Eat a healthy diet, and you will have the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

Writer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

References:
Center for Weight and Health, (2014). Hiding Under a Health Halo, University of California at Berkeley, Available at: http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/healthhalo.html
Nelson, J. and Zeratsky, K. (2010). Milk Joins the Roster of Sports Drinks, Mayo Clinic, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/sports-drinks/bgp-20056125
Nutrition Action, (2014). Caffeine in Food – Caffeine Content of Drinks Revealed! Available at http://nutritionaction.com/daily/caffeine-in-food

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When I was a young mother, the message that we received about keeping our babies safe as they slept was to have them sleep on their stomach. We also used crib bumper pads, small pillows, stuffed animals, and of course soft, fluffy blankets.

All of these recommendations have changed in the last few years. The message on safe sleep for a baby is as simple as ABC.baby in crib

A – ALONE! You should never share a bed with a baby nor take a nap on the couch or chair with the baby because you could roll too close or onto your baby, babies can get stuck between the mattress and the wall, headboard, footboard or other furniture or fall off of the bed. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in your room (within arm’s reach), but not in your bed.

B – BACK! Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to choke than those who sleep on their stomachs. Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. It’s safer for your baby to wake up during the night on his back. If he or she is sleeping on their tummy and needs to take a deep breath they might not be able to move their head and the baby’s mouth or nose could be blocked and they could suffocate.

C – CRIB! Place your baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Sleep clothing like fitted, appropriate-sized sleepers and sleep sacks are safer for a baby than blankets. Many parents think their baby won’t be safe and warm without bumper pads, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals, but these items can be deadly. Babies can suffocate on any extra item in the crib.

Some other general guidelines for a happy healthy baby:

  • Don’t smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.
  • Try using a pacifier at nap and bed time.
  • Give your baby some “tummy time” when he is awake and someone is watching. This helps avoid flat spots on baby’s head and helps develop neck muscles.
  • Infants should receive all recommended immunizations.

While much of this information is shared with new mothers and fathers, often a grandma or baby sitter hasn’t heard the new safety recommendations. Be sure and share these guidelines with anyone caring for your baby.

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Science Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Wood County,  zies.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/~/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/infant%20safe%20sleep/SafeSleep_Brochure-TriFold-Print_5-6-14.ashx

http://columbus.gov/publichealth/programs/Safe-Sleep-for-Infants/Infant-Safe-Sleep/

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

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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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