Posts Tagged ‘healthy choices’

Sleep or Exercise? Both activities are critical for maintaining good health. But let’s be real; it’s much more fun to do an extra hour in bed instead of on the treadmill. Have you ever made the decision to wake up early in the morning to workout, only to find yourself feeling like an extra hour of sleep would be more beneficial to your body than forcing yourself to exercise?sleep

But how can you tell if the desire for sleep is biologically dictated and not just procrastination? Is exercise even beneficial after a short sleep cycle? There is no quick, one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but looking at sleep/exercise research may help you make an informed decision when faced with those groggy “Should I really get up to work out?” thoughts in your head:

  • Adequate sleep and exercise are both critical for optimum health
  • Sleep and exercise promote one another – physical activity promotes high-quality sleep, and high-quality sleep promotes physical performance
  • Adults need a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, but if you are averaging around this amount, it’s okay to skip a half hour of sleep a couple of times per week to get in a morning workout
  • The CDC and American Heart Association recommend a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week.
  • Some experts, when absolutely pressed to choose one that would be considered more important, choose sleep. But (and this is a big but), it simply is not advisable to recommend opting out of exercise completely, and exercise should be considered a “must” for a healthy lifestyle.

**These facts are based on average adults. Those with sleep disorders or other health conditions that affect their ability to sleep or exercise should consult a health care professional when making decisions related to these activities.

For those who cannot find time for adequate sleep and exercise, try to evaluate and organize your schedule to:

  • Go to sleep a little earlier so you don’t feel like you have to sacrifice sleep time.
  • Schedule time in the evening to allow for exercise so you can sleep longer in the morning.

Once you make a conscious effort to live in a way that allows you to practice habits that are healthy – and that includes both adequate sleep and adequate exercise – you will feel much more balanced. We can’t take best care of others and our responsibilities until we take best care of ourselves.

Written by: Joanna Rini, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County








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Join the American Diabetes Association® to put good food and good health on the table during American Diabetes Month® this November. Whether you are one of the nearly 30 million Americans living with diabetes or the 86 million Americans with prediabetes, or you simply want to live a healthier lifestyle, the Eat Well, America!sm campaign will show you how easy and joyful healthy eating can be for everyone in our Ohio State community!

Looking to prepare a healthy Thanksgiving Day meal? They have seasonal recipes and tips to ensure you don’t miss out on the autumn and holiday flavors you love. Also, view the American Diabetes month newsletter for facts and figures on diabetes in the United States.

 Interested in learning how make healthy choices when eating out and grocery shopping? Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educators/Program and Field Specialist designed an online course with your needs in mind. “Dining with Diabetes: Beyond The Kitchen” is a dynamic, free online course that provides three modules that you can work on at your own pace. The first module addresses carbohydrates and diabetes. The second covers fats and sodium, and the third explains the role of vitamins, minerals and fiber. In this online educational program you can share ideas and experiences with your classmates, chat with a health professional, and learn about new technology including websites and mobile apps.

Why not sign up today and learn how to make healthy choices for yourself and family members!

For more information or to enroll please contact Dr. Dan Remley at remley.4@osu.edu

Written by: Susan Zies, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, Erie Basin EERA,  zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food Nutrtition and Wellness,   remley.4@osu.edu




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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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If you’re confused by all of the healthy cooking oils in the supermarket, don’t be. From almond to walnut, today’s cooking oils offer benefits as well as disadvantages. Just be sure to read the label, check the price, and be willing to experiment. Here’s a primer on the hottest new cooking oils available on store shelves:




  • Almond oil – available in both refined and unrefined formulas, almond oil is made by expeller pressing ground almonds. It has a light, mildly sweet flavor with buttery undertones. The smoke point is 420 degrees so the best uses for almond oil are for stir-frying or roasting. Smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to decompose and begins to smoke as if it were burning.
  • Avocado oil – also available as refined or unrefined. Avocado oil is made by grinding and then pressing avocadoes. It has a rich, full flavor and with a smoke point of 520, it is good for grilling on high-heat and roasting or frying. Avocado oil may be used as a salad dressing, as a dip for bread or in pesto.
  • Coconut oil – is white and solid at room temperature but is clear when heated. High in saturated fat content, it should be used sparingly like any other saturated fat until more is known. Coconut oil is creamy and has a buttery flavor. It works great in stir-frying, as a spread or in baked goods.
  • Flaxseed oil – is made by crushing brown flaxseeds which removes the healthy lignans during processing. These may be added back to the final product by some manufacturers. Flaxseed oil is high in alpha linoleic acid and has a warm and nutty flavor. Not really a cooking oil since it should not be heated, flaxseed oil can be used with grains or tossed with salads or cooked vegetables. Flaxseed oil should be refrigerated to extend the shelf life.
  • Sesame oil – is made from extracting or expeller pressing the oil from sesame seeds. Rich in antioxidants, sesame oil has a light and nutty taste. Toasted sesame oil works well with light sauces, salads, or grains such as rice. The smoke point for sesame oil is 410 degrees.
  • Walnut oil – made from dried and pressed walnuts, it contains omega-3 fatty acids. It has a nutty flavor with earth tones and is good in vegetables or cream soups. Smoke point is 400 degrees. Walnut oil must be refrigerated.

Using a new oil can totally change the flavor of a dish and add a new dimension to your family meals. Experiment with smaller bottles until you know if you like the qualities, taste and texture of the new oil. Don’t be afraid to try something new; there’s more to cooking than using vegetable or canola oil!

Source(s): Delicious Living, April, 2015; Cleveland Clinic Heart Healthy Cooking Oils 101, October, 2015; WebMD Healthy Cooking Oils Buyer’s Guide.

Author: Jennifer Even, FCS/EFNEP Educator, OSU Extension, Hamilton County. Reviewed by Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialist, OSU Extension.




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Why should we be aware?

  • Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry contributing jobs for one in seven Ohioans, and more than $107 billion to the state’s economy. (ohioproud.org)
  • Ohio offers a unique proximity of metropolitan and micropolitan areas, linking rural and urban consumers, growers and communities to food produced on small, medium and large-scale family-owned farms.
  • Ohio ranks in the top ten states for direct sales to consumers represented by a wide variety of food products including but not limited to eggs, milk, cheese, honey, maple syrup, beverages, bread and other artisan products, fresh, frozen canned and dried vegetables, fruits and meats. (USDA Ag Census, 2012.)
  • One in six Ohioans is food insecure and lacks access to fresh, local, healthy food.
  • All Ohioans are part of the food system just by making daily decisions about what food to eat.

There is not one definition for “local” food. When making food decisions, many people consider where their food was grown or raised and make an effort to develop personal connections with growers and producers to enjoy flavorful, safe, local food. Ohio Local Foods week is not only about enjoying the tastes of local foods but is also about becoming more aware and better informed about the nutritional, economic, and social benefits of local foods in Ohio.

Even during wintertime, Ohio local food is available, whether it is fresh produce grown with season extenders or crops that can be held for long periods of time in cold/cool storage as well as baked, canned, frozen and dried foods. August is a great time to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week because of the availability of direct-to-consumer marketing of all products including a wide variety of fresh produce.

The Ohio State University Extension Local Food Signature Program invites everyone to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week from August 9th – 15th, 2015. We encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to grow, purchase, highlight and promote local food all the time but especially during this week. I personally have a CSA (community supported agriculture) share at a local farm that I pick up every Monday. I also try to shop at my local farmer’s markets or fruit and vegetable stands. I also enjoy freezing a lot of my local produce so I can enjoy it all year long. There is nothing better than homemade strawberry jam or a side of sweet corn in the middle of our long Ohio winters!

Just as there is no one definition for “local,” there is no one way to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week. Even though I prepaid for my CSA, I still plan to spend more than $10 buying extra sweet corn and some blueberries at my Farmer’s Market this week. You are invited to participate in the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge by committing to spend at least ten dollars (or more) on your favorite local foods during Ohio Local Foods Week. Look for regional community events, follow the event on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up at http://go.osu.edu/olfw10dollars for the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge. Even though I prepaid for my CSA, I still plan to spend more than $10 buying extra sweet corn and some blueberries at my Farmer’s Market this week.


Not sure where to find local foods or interested in finding new places? Here are some ideas to get started. You can also find an online summary of food directories. You can also check out events throughout the state. Let us know how you are celebrating Ohio Local Foods Week. Share your pictures and stories with us on Facebook or Twitter. #olfw15.

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: Patrice Powers-Barker, CFLE, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County, Maumee Valley EERA, powers-barker,1@osu.edu

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Did you know that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes?  More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is  the most common form of cancer in the USA. This is unfortunate because skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Youth are particularly at risk of overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation since a large amount of the average person’s UV exposure occurs before the age of 18. Even one severe sunburn in childhood can double the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. As parents, you can give your children a legacy of sun safety by helping them develop good sun protections habits early in their lives.  Here are a few tips to help reduce sun damage this summer and throughout their life:

  • Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you and your family goes outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin.
  • Look for some “fun “colors such as blue, pink, red, etc. They look like skin paint which may be fun for kids to wear, and also you can see your kids in a crowd of other children. Many of these varieties are available online.
  • Be sure to reapply more sun screen if your children are playing in water or sweating.
  • Remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.
  • Have children wear hats that have a brim to shade their eyes, sides of the faces and back of neck. Make sure they wear them when they are in the sun.
  • Also wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
  • Have children wear shirts with sleeves, especially to cover the upper back and shoulders, where the sun hits most directly.
  • Limit outdoor play time during the 10am-4pm when ultraviolet rays are the most intense. When outdoors during midday, help children find shady spots to play.

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

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, MA, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Lucas County,powers-barker.1@osu.edu







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Ever walk through the neighborhood and catch a whiff of that wonderful grilled food smell? Mmmmm… makes my mouth water just thinking of that sizzle. Grilling can be a healthy, low fat, tasty way to prepare food. Let’s look at a few tips…

Safety Tips

  • Start with a clean grill to avoid flare ups and potential contaminants. Scrub the grill with hot soapy water and a brush.
  • Use clean hands and cooking utensils.
  • If you’re using frozen food, be sure to thaw it safely in the refrigerator, microwave or cold-water-sink-method (changing cold water every 30 minutes).
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. After using dishes or grill utensils on raw meat, be sure to wash them in hot soapy water before using them again on cooked meat or other ready-to-eat food.
  • Marinating is a great way to add flavor and tenderize meat. Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Don’t re-use meat marinades that have touched raw meat on cooked meats or other foods. If you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on cooked food, reserve a portion before placing raw meat and poultry in it.
  • Don’t leave the grill unattended.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure high enough cooking temperature to kill bacteria.

Steak, porkchops: 145°F (Allow to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming)
Hamburgers, ground meat: 160°F
Chicken: 165°F


Healthy and Yummy Tips
Grilling allows any fat to drip off the food, making it a healthy way to prepare food. Here are some healthy suggestions from http://www.eatright.org:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat for less chance of flare-ups from fat drippings.
  • Add color and flavor with fresh vegetables. Vegies such as sweet peppers, onions and tomatoes add flavor, color, vitamins and nutrients to any meal. Some of the best vegetables to grill are onions, cabbage, mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, and corn. You can sprinkle herbs on each cob of corn and then wrap it in foil to grill it. You won’t even need butter!
  • To grill a veggie kabob, brush the vegetables with olive oil and your favorite spices and grill over medium heat, turning until marked and tender (about 12 to 15 minutes, and 8 to 10 minutes for cherry tomatoes and pre-boiled potatoes).
  • How about a grilled, marinated Portobello mushroom? Marinate then grill mushrooms, gill sides up, over medium-low heat with the grill covered until they are marked and softened (about 15 minutes). Flip and grill until cooked through, being careful not to char the gills (1 to 2 minutes).
  • You can even grill a tasty dessert like fruit kabobs. Try pineapple slices or peach halves. Grill on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden. Serve them on top of low-fat frozen yogurt or angel food cake.
  • Every try grilled watermelon? When grilled, the water evaporates, leaving an intense watermelon flavor. Grill watermelon slices for about 30 seconds on each side.

Click here for more great grilling ideas.
Click here for a link for more information on grilling safety and tips.
I hope you find a tasty way to celebrate national grilling month in July and all summer long!

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=10958
North Dakota State University Extension http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn658.pdf

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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