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Posts Tagged ‘healthy choices’

As we work to take small steps to improve our health and well-being, are we taking into account the influence we have on others? As parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, volunteers, and our other roles, are we helping the youth and young parents make changes and establish habits to improve their long-term health and wellbeing?

I always think of examples of how this has played out in my life. As a dietitian, I have always encouraged my children to eat a well-balanced and healthy diet. My son was an athlete who ran a half mile run as part of the track team. I always encouraged him to drink milk, even chocolate milk, after competition as a post workout recovery drink. As a mother, my advice often went unheard, but one day I came home to see my son sitting at the table drinking a glass of milk. Being excited I commented on his change of heart and the happiness that he was following my input. Suddenly he replied by discussing the information that the track coach had shared about the value of drinking chocolate milk and so he was willing to try it. My excitement may have diminished, but the idea is that role models from other influences such as teachers, coaches, volunteers etc… are very important and valuable in the life of our children and youth.

Another example was a preschool education session I observed. The educator was discussing the importance of eating and drinking healthy foods. As the educator was talking the preschool teachers were sneaking a drink of soda pop and had bags of cookies on their desk. What are the students seeing to reinforce the messages being taught? Although no one eats perfectly or is as physically active as they need to be every day, when we are in a position to be observed by younger children or students are we displaying the kind of behaviors we hope those children and youth can learn good long term habits from?
Positive Role Model

The USDA has a great 10 tips nutrition education handout that is titled, “Be a Healthy Role Model for Children”. The ten tips are great ideas for all of us to keep in mind as we go through our daily routines and possibility influence others.

These tips are:

• Show by example— eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains when youth are watching you.
• Go food shopping together—let your children make healthy choices.
• Get creative in the kitchen—cut food into fun shapes or name a food after your child.
• Offer the same foods for every one—stop being a short order cook.
• Reward with attention, not food—everyone likes a hug.
• Focus on each other at the table—turn off the television and take calls after the meal is over.
• Listen to your child—offer your child a choice between two vegetables.
• Limit screen time—limit screen time to 2 hours and day and get up and move during the commercials.
• Encourage physical activity—make physical activity fun for the whole family.
• Be a good food role model—try new foods yourself.

Check out this tip sheet and others at the ChooseMyPlate.gov website. Consider putting this and others on the refrigerator for quick reminders of how easy being a good role model can be. With little effort you can make a big difference in someone else’s life!

Sources:

University of Texas at Austin, (2011). Chocolate Milk Gives Athletes a Leg Up after Exercise Says University of Texas Austin Study.

http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

Writer: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D., NE Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, M.A., L.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

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power up your salad

Choose colorful vegetables and greens for a nutritious meal.  Lettuce and greens vary in levels of nutrients.  Although paler lettuces, such as iceberg, have some nutritional value, it’s best to choose the deeper, brighter ones – these contain the cancer-fighting antioxidants. Mix and match a variety of colors and textures, such as crunchy romaine tossed with soft, nutrient rich spinach leaves or peppery arugula leaves and add red leaf lettuce.   Spinach contains almost twice the amount of iron of most other greens and is an essential source of nitric oxide which helps dilate the arteries and deliver oxygen.  Arugula is rich in cancer fighting phytochemicals.

Add in tomatoes which are loaded with lycopene- great for your skin and bones.  Black beans, chickpeas or a hard-boiled egg all are good sources of lean protein.  Toss in carrots (great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C) and artichokes, which aids in digestion.

Add fruits in season, mixed berries, oranges, apples or pears.  Toss with a healthy option salad dressing that is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat.  Olive oil and vinegar may be a simple tasteful choice.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD,  Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Barber Spires RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199

 

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Score a touchdown with friends and family tonight with this Buckeye Bean Soup!  Tonight we will cheer on our Ohio State Buckeye Football team in the first NCAA College Football National Championship in Dallas, Texas.baloon  This soup will make a healthy addition to tonight’s pregame meal.  Canned soups generally have 800-1000 mg of sodium per one cup serving. This soup has less than half that amount and is additionally high in fiber .Therefore Buckeye Bean soup is appropriate for people with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, or high blood pressure.  Any type of beans can be used in place of pinto beans in this recipe. In addition, if your football fans prefer a creamier soup, the soup can be pureed in a food processor for a creamier consistency if desired. To save time, the vegetables can be chopped ahead and placed in a zip-top bag. The beans can be drained, rinsed and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator before using.

Finally, if you’re New Year’s resolution was to eat healthier, remember portion control with those peanut butter chocolate buckeyes tonight during the game! GO BUCKS  .. BEAT DUCKS!

Winning Buckeye Bean Soup

Makes approximately ten, one cup servings

130 calories per serving , 1 gram Fat, 6 grams Dietary Fiber, 6 Grams Protein

Ingredients:

2 tsp. olive oil

1 cup each diced onions, red pepper and carrots

2 cloves garlic, minced (or ¼ tsp. garlic powder or 1 tsp. bottled pre-minced garlic)

1 tsp. each dried thyme, oregano and parsley

3 cups reduced-sodium broth (can be beef, chicken or vegetable)

1 cup tomato sauce

2 (19 oz.) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp. brown sugar

¼ tsp. black pepper

Equipment

Measuring cups and spoons

Large saucepan or stockpot

Strainer

Mixing spoon

Ladle

DWDHeartyBeanSoup (1)

Directions

Step 1.  Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, red pepper, carrots, garlic, thyme, oregano and parsley. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.

Step 2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Writer: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Wood County, Erie Basin EERA, Zies..1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Remley.4@osu.edu

Recipe Source: Dining with Diabetes, WVUES 2000-present, original recipe Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup

 

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After 21 years, I no longer resolve to be a morning exerciser. I have tried and failed numerous times. If others can do it, why can’t I? Simply because I AM NOT, nor ever will be a morning person.  Keeping New Year’s Resolutions realistic can be difficult for many people. We set goals to lose weight, start exercising, train for a marathon, stop smoking, have a cleaner house, pay off debt, spend more time with friends and family, sleep more, eat healthier….the list could go on and on, yet we achieve very few. New Year’s Day is a time to reflect back on our behaviors in the previous year and to take a look at small changes we would like to make. Promising yourself to overhaul your life will just result in frustration, disappointment and hopelessness by the end of January or February during the cold, grey winter months.

How can you prevent “failure” and achieve your goals? Consider these tips:

  • Start small. Aim for progress, not perfection. If you want to increase your exercise, start out with 3 times per week, not every day. Don’t punish yourself by taking goals to the extreme, this is not about deprivation. Saying you will never eat a cookie again is just not realistic!
  • Change one behavior at a time. This is not the time to seek out a total life transformation or overhaul. Choose one behavior to work on. Want to spend more quality time with your family? Agree to spend an hour 3 times a week in a tech-free zone.
  • Talk about it. Open up and share what your goal is. You might find others who want to achieve the same goal. Having others to share your struggles and success with makes achieving that goal easier.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Minor missteps are part of the journey. The most important aspect is to get back on track. We all make mistakes!
  • Have specific, measurable, attainable goals. Set a deadline for yourself. Track your progress so you have a visual indicator of your achievements. review your goals periodically and adjust if necessary.

fireworks-235813_1280

It’s ok if you choose not to have any resolutions surrounding January 1. It’s important to always be working on small goals at all times of the year, which will alleviate some of the stress and pressure.  Incorporating small changes in everyday life is much more manageable. Here’s to 2015-Happy New Year!

 

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

Reviewer: Donna Green, MA, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:               www.apa.org

www.webmd.com

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Family Eating BreakfastJoin us on December 3rd for “Dine-in Day for Healthy Families.” The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences are encouraging people to eat at home for a least one meal on December 3rd. Why eat meals together?

Many benefits especially for youth and children have been documented by having three or more family dinners a week. These include:
• Teens are half as likely to smoke, do drugs or get drunk.
• Avoidance of depression, higher grade point averages and increased self-esteem
• Lessen the risk of teen pregnancy
• Positive impact on literacy and language development
• Increased family connections and memories
• Opportunities for parents to monitor child’s or teen’s friends, activities, and attitudes
• Develop better dietary choices and food preferences
• More family meals correlates with lower BMI in youth
• Less eating disorders

If we examine all the benefits of family meals, it can make you feel guilty for not eating together. How can you make family meals happen?
1. Decide on a meal that will work for everyone. It does not have to be dinner. If you can’t do dinner together try to a breakfast, lunch, or a snack time. If you can’t have everyone have as many family members as possible.
2. Try to schedule eating together three or four times a week or if possible once a day.
3. Decide on a menu. It does not have to be an elaborate meal; make it simple. Just be sure you have the ingredients you need.
4. Involve everyone in the cooking or preparation of the meal. Children can cut up vegetables, set the table and other tasks. Cooking skills will benefit youth and children in the future. Have teens prepare the meal with guidance from you.
5. When possible make enough for two meals, cutting down on future meal preparation. You can freeze the other half if you want. Most stews, casseroles, chilis, and beans can be doubled and then frozen.
6. Stock your pantry with ingredients to cook a fast, tasty meal. Examples include whole grain pasta, pasta sauce, canned beans, frozen vegetables, oatmeal, potatoes, spices, dried herbs, onions, garlic, brown rice, and oils and vinegars.

Let’s all “Eat In” on December 3rd and make it a weekly occurrence.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Liz Smith, Program Specialist, Supplemental Nutrition and Assistant Program – Education, Ohio State University Extension

References

American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, (2014.) Dine In With Us, Available at http://www.aafcs.org/FCSday/

CASA Columbia Foundation. (2011). “The Importance of Family Dinners VII,” Available at http://www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/importance-of-family-dinners-2011

Food and Health Communications, Inc. (2014). “It’s Possible: Easier Family Meals” Available at http://www.foodandhealth.com

Science Daily, (2014). ‘”Family Meal’ Ideal is Stressful, Impossible for Many Families” North Carolina State University Available at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105642.htm

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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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