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When choosing foods we eat, the texture, moistness, taste, color, nutrient content, and cost are all important. It can be easy to determine if we want to buy foods based off the food label, but what about home cooked foods- especially if we are the culpable chef? Can I decrease the amount of sugar without jeopardizing the signature sweet taste? What happens if I replace the oil with yogurt? The cooking fun starts with the wiggle room every recipe allows for healthy ingredient swaps, or modified amounts of familiar add-ins.

The Ohio State University Extension office supplies a factsheet on this very topic. In it contains ingredients to use instead of the unhealthy versions, along with ways to reduce sodium, fat, and sugar, and how to increase fiber, provided by this link: http://go.osu.edu/factsheet. For example, sugar is important in recipes to increase tenderness, color and taste but it still can be reduced without a noticeable defect. Being creative with what to add to the recipe can also be fun. Adding spices, for example, can reduce the need for salt and add more flavors.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, formally known as the DASH diet, is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute’s plan for decreasing blood pressure by the foods we eat. They posted a recipe that combines the low-sodium foods of the DASH diet along with the beauty of swapping higher fat foods (like mayo) with yogurt. The recipe also uses spices and herbs to generate flavor loss from higher fat ingredients.

Yogurt Salad Dressing
8 oz plain yogurt, fat-free
1/4 cup mayonnaise, low-fat
2 Tbsp chives, dried
2 Tbsp dill, dried
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients in bowl and refrigerate.
Makes 5 servings
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp

Written by Rachel Tobe,B.S. Dietetics Food and Nutrition, Intern with Wood County Family and Consumer Sciences

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

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Lazy Daisy Cake RecipeI have things about my family that I wonder about . . . . How did my grandparents meet? What was life like for them years ago? What were their family traditions? According to the Search Institute, family assets are the everyday things that families do to be strong, even in challenging times.

Take time this year to learn about your family traditions. What are your family recipes? When I was a young adult my grandma wrote out her recipes for me in a recipe book and gave it to me one Christmas holiday. Those recipes in her handwriting are precious to me. I recently found a similar recipe book and vow to copy or write the recipes for the second book. Why? I would like for both of my daughters to have a recipe book with their great grandma’s recipes. I hope to continue the tradition of the Lazy Daisy Cake that my grandma often made. Informing the younger generations about our family traditions helps them know about their family history and traditions and can strengthen their sense of family support.

QUILT

My Grandma Treber loved to quilt and when I was a teen she taught me to hand stitch. I picked my purple (my favorite color) and white and we started piecing the quilt. She cut out the pieces of the quilt and I made a few squares. She taught me the importance of tiny stitches and how you have to be precise if you want the quilt squares to fit correctly. We both worked on the quilt but she did the majority since she had more time to work on it than I did. One day when I stopped by for a visit, the quilt top was finished. She’d been working on it while she watched her stories (afternoon TV shows). That quilt and the time I spent with my grandma hold precious memories for me.

The Search Institute identifies Family Assets that help families be strong. When families have more of these research-based assets, the teens and adults in the family do better in life.

Establishing Routines
• Family meals – Family members eat meals together most days in a typical week.
• Shared activities – Family members regularly spend time doing everyday activities together.
• Meaningful traditions - Holidays, rituals, and celebrations are part of family life.
• Dependability – Family members know what to expect from one another day-to-day.

Each of these qualities is important and strengthens your family. For additional information about Family Assets, visit the Search Institute website. Everyone can play a role in developing and strengthening these assets. All members of the family including children, teens and the adults contribute to these family assets.

Recipe Book

Perhaps this is the year that you will talk to your parent or grandparent about their family stories. Collect those recipes and make them into a family recipe book. You might enjoy interviewing a family member and recording their responses. Use your phone, flip camera or other recording device to capture those family memories. You will be rewarded by spending time with a family member and offering them a family book or recording to treasure. There are many options for you – online recipe cards, recipe boxes, and recipe or cook books. Have copies made for family members – what a wonderful Mother’s Day gift you can create.

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

Reviewer:  Dana Brown, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, brown.4642@osu.edu

Sources:  The Family Assets Framework retrieved from http://www.search-institute.org/familyassets/framework

Hosier, A., Jenkins-Howard, B. & Mineer, S., Creating and Maintaining Family Traditions, University of Kentucky, Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture, retrieved March 2013 from http://johnson.ca.uky.edu/sites/johnson.ca.uky.edu/files/FCS/Creating_and_maintaing_family_traditions_pub.pdf

 

 

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HeartFebruary is American Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ohio for both men and women. We can reduce the risk of heart disease by promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle. One key to heart health is eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Choose foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Eating a well-balanced diet includes a combination of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. To celebrate Heart Month, take the time to evaluate your diet to make sure you are eating heart healthy foods.

Heart Healthy Foods
• Whole grains: brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain pasta
• Vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, spinach & red bell peppers
• Fruits: oranges, blueberries, red grapes, cantaloupe, papaya
• Beans: red, black or kidney beans
• Omega-3 fatty acids: tuna, salmon, olive oil, flax seed
• Nuts: almonds or walnuts

This baked oatmeal recipe is a good source of fiber, fruit and calcium. This recipe is a great make ahead treat to reheat for a quick healthy breakfast or snack. It also is great to serve for overnight guests.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Servings 4-6
2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)
1 ½ cups fat free milk or soymilk
2 egg whites
¼ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon melted margarine
1 ½ cups diced apple

Optional Toppings:
Raisins
Dried Cranberries
Chopped almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, applesauce, margarine, and cinnamon together.
3. In a larger bowl combine the oats and baking powder. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the oats and mix well. Gently stir in diced apples. Pour oatmeal mixture into prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until top is firmed and a toothpick comes out clean in the center. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Add additional toppings to baked oatmeal if desired. Also, you may refrigerate and reheat for use later. Make a big batch on Sunday to use as a healthy breakfast all week long!
Nutritional Facts: 1 square equals 160 calories, 3 g fat, 80 mg. sodium, 4 g protein, 3 g fiber, 30 g total carbohydrate
Start today to take better care of your heart health by including heart healthy foods, exercising and promoting a healthy lifestyle!
Written by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator

Reviewed by:
Carolyn W. Gunther, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Extension State Specialist, Ohio State University
Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D. Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension
Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension

Sources:
Be one in a million this American Heart Health Month. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/healthstats/vitalstats/deathstat.aspx

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/apple-cinnamon-baked-oatmeal/

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MP900182724[1]In addition to Christmas or other holiday dinners, many of us also host or attend bowl game parties or New Year’s Eve events during late December and early January. What do you have planned? I am a college football junkie, so snack foods that my family can eat during the bowl games are a necessity. In addition to things that are quick and easy to prepare, I also need to keep in mind ways to make them healthier for everyone.  The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has come up with a set of tips for healthy eating during winter gatherings that are lessons we can all use. Here are a few modifications of their suggestions:

  • If you are going to someone else’s party, eat a healthy snack before you go. This is a great time to have a vegetable, fruit, or dairy. Even a half of a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread.
  • Make sure the dish you bring to share is a healthy one. Bring the vegetable or fruit tray, a modified side dish (one you have cut the fat, calories or sodium in), or a dip or spread with reduced fat ingredients. Don’t forget to get whole grain corn chips or pretzels to serve your dip with.
  • When you get to the party, check out everything they have to eat and think about how it will fit into your diet. Don’t forget to visualize half your plate being vegetables and fruit, and only a quarter protein, and a quarter grain (hopefully whole grain). It is always good for a snack to have at least 2 food groups in it – think vegetable, fruit, protein, dairy, or grain.
  • Once you fix your plate, move away from the buffet to avoid grazing. It is easy to continue snacking on cookies, if there is a plate right in front of you. You will probably think twice about it, if you have to get up and go to another room to get it.
  • Savor the flavors and take your time eating. You have probably heard the research that it takes time for your stomach to tell your brain you are full, but you may not have heard that there are also hormones at work in the digestive system that let the brain know you are satisfied. By eating more slowly, most of us will eat less and give our brain and body time to work together.
  • If you plan on drinking punch, soda, teas, or an adult beverage at the party – make sure you are also getting in your water. It is a good idea to alternate a glass of water then your glass of punch and back to a glass of water before you can have more punch. We often eat when we are really thirsty.
  • Last but not least – Enjoy your party! Remember why you came or got together, it was probably to enjoy time with family, friends, or an activity like New Year’s Eve or a Bowl Game – not really to eat food. Participate in board games, card games, dancing, or those active TV games. If you are watching a sporting event, use half time or the time between periods to take an exercise break rather than refill your plate. Dance to the half time music, walk the dog, or let the kids try out their new bike for 15 minutes.

So what ideas do you have for snack foods besides the common vegetable and fruit trays? Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County has a nice online database of Healthy Recipes – http://go.osu.edu/snacks.   I thought they had several ideas that would be good for parties or during games (Zippy Vegetable Dip, Frozen Fruit Cups, Fruit Kabobs, Spinach Dip Rollups, and the Black Bean Dip Rollups all look good). Another idea would be to put a big batch of soup in your slow cooker, many of them are low fat, and full of vegetables or beans. Whatever you decide to do – don’t forget to make your party meals part of your daily plan for healthy meals.

Writer:  Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewers: Elizabeth Smith and Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialists SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

National Diabetes Education Program, http://ndep.nih.gov/media/NDEP_Healthy_Eating.pdf.

Harvard Medical School, Health Blog, http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605.

Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County, http://wayne.osu.edu.

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The Possibilities are Endless

           The sandwich is a staple in the American diet.  With unlimited options, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year.  National Sandwich Day is celebrated on November 3 in recognition of John Montague, the fourth Earl of Sandwich.

As the story goes, Montague loved to gamble.  During a gambling spree, he instructed his servant to bring him meat tucked between two slices of bread, as to not interfere with his gambling game – he could eat with one hand and gamble with the other.  Another source states he invented the sandwich so that he wouldn’t have to take time out of his busy day to sit down to a full-course meal.  Regardless of which story you believe, the sandwich was born.

The sandwich, America’s mealtime favorite, is the ultimate convenience food.  A sandwich can be a hearty breakfast, mid-day meal or light dinner.  Like any of our favorite dishes, a sandwich can be really healthy or not so healthy at all.

You’ll be building healthier, fulfilling and delicious sandwiches in no time using this four-part formula.

Choose Whole Grain/Bread:  Choose 100 percent whole-grain for fiber.

  • Whole wheat tortilla, English muffin, baguette, pita bread, sandwich thins, waffle, pancake
  • Sprouted grain breads – found in larger specialty stores
  • Sourdough whole wheat or rye bread
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Seeded whole grain bread
  • Oatmeal bread

Next add Filling: Pack in the protein with lean meats and meat alternatives.

  • Hummus (the varieties seem endless), refried beans or bean spreads
  • Smoked salmon
  • Shrimp or Tuna salad – go easy on the mayonnaise or use vinaigrette dressing
  • Chicken or egg salad – make with less mayonnaise, use a little hummus or Greek yogurt
  • Nut and seed butters – peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower, etc.
  • Deli meats – turkey breast, roast beef, ham (nitrate-free)
  • Turkey or Canadian bacon
  • Slices of cooked chicken or turkey
  • Cheese (be adventurous – stray from the ordinary)
  • Tofu or hard-cooked eggs
  • Cottage or Ricotta cheese

Pile on the Produce: Boost nutrition by piling on the vegetables and/or fruit – lettuce, tomatoes and onions are standard; don’t be afraid to try something different, there are so many options.

  • Roasted garlic and peppers (red, green, yellow, orange, purple)
  • Grilled Portobello mushrooms
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs
  • Arugula, baby spinach, watercress, and romaine (the darker the greens the better)
  • Avocado, cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, bell peppers, turnips, scallions, cabbage or carrots
  • Sliced apples, pears, strawberries, plums, nectarines, sliced grapes or pineapple

Top with Condiments: Add flavor with “good fats”.

  • Low fat or light cream cheese
  • Dijon, honey, spicy, or German mustard
  • Barbecue and Chipotle sauce
  • Low fat or light mayonnaise
  • Low fat or light favorite salad dressing (easy does it)
  • Cranberry chutney or Apple butter

With a little creativity, the sandwich can be transformed into a perfect meal.

Here are a couple of easy sandwich ideas:

Lettuce Wrap – Spread a little salmon or tuna salad on a lettuce leaf, sprinkle with scallions, roll up and enjoy!

Open Face Whole Grain Waffle Sandwich – lightly toast 1 large whole-grain waffle.  Spread with 2 tbsp. peanut butter and top with tomato slices and enjoy!  This is my husband’s favorite summer go-to sandwich.

Sources:

It’s National Sandwich Day, by Lauren Torrisi, November 3, 2011 (Blog)

Build a Healthy Sandwich, by Alana Sugar, August 9, 2010 (Blog)

Build a Healthier Sandwich: Stack your favorite lunch option with protein, fruit and more for a healthier meal, by Abigail Cuffey

Build a Healthier Sandwich! , by Amanda Pressner – Advice from Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, a   New York City-based dietitian and author of the F-Factor Diet.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Ohio State University Extension, shuster.24@osu.edu.

Reviewers:

Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D., OSU Extension NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, smith.3993@osu.edu.

Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family & Consumer Sciences, Fayette County, Ohio State University Extension, brinkman.93@osu.edu.

Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, Ohio State University Extension, Morgan County, lindimore.1@cfaes.osu.edu.

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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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Have you tried grilling vegetables and fruit?  Grilling can bring out the flavors in fruits and vegetables, but watch out as they quickly burn.  It’s important not to get the food too close to the coals (or gas), so it heats before it starts to blacken.

Here are some suggestions from Julie Garden-Robinson, a food and nutrition specialist with North Dakota State University Extension Service, in her online column “Prairie Fare.”  She suggests trying these ideas to help add flavor, color, and fiber to your grilling menu with grilled fruits and vegetables.

  • Sprinkle wedges of apple or pear with cinnamon and a touch of brown sugar.  Grill for about five minutes per side.
  • Brush peeled, whole bananas with vegetable oil (preferably canola) and add to the grill just until it turns golden about five minutes.
  • Cut peaches or nectarines and remove the pit.  Place cut side down and grill.   You can use as a side dish with steak or pork tenderloin or cut the fruit up after grilling and make a salsa by adding fresh herbs, chili peppers, and lime juice.
  • Cut vegetables into large, pieces of even thickness and grill.  After grilling,  You can cut into smaller pieces, if desired.
  • Cut the top and bottom off of bell peppers.  Remove the core and then cut the pepper in half from top to bottom.  Grill skin side down.
  • Brushing vegetables with olive oil and seasonings can add delicious flavor.  Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with oil and season as you start to grill.  Turn them over and repeat the other side.  Asparagus is delicious this way with some garlic and thyme.
  • Marinades can add flavor.  However, sugar-based marinades will cause the exterior of the vegetables to blacken.
  • Try this for dessert, cut a ¾ inch deep slit down the length of an unpeeled banana.  Carefully, open the slit to stuff it with 2 tablespoons of chopped dark chocolate or your favorite candy bar.  Wrap the banana in foil and grill for about five minutes on each side.

You can use both moist and dry heat to cook your grilled vegetables, by grilling and then placing them in a bowl or pot.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent the steam from escaping for five to ten minutes.  This will finish the cooking and keep the vegetables from drying out.

What suggestions do you have for grilling fruits and vegetables?   I hope you enjoy grilling out this season.

Submitted by Pat Brinkman, , Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County.

Reference: Garden-Robinson, J. North Dakota State University Extension Service, downloaded at  http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/news/columns/prairie-fare/prairie-fare-fire-up-your-grill-menu-with-more-fruits-and-vegetables/?searchterm=Grilling%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables.

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Local Foods – Fresh and Healthy!

Most of us will agree that fresh and unprocessed food is usually a healthier and tastier choice.  Now that we are heading into summer in Ohio, we will have more and more choices when it comes to choosing and using fresh foods that are grown locally. Nothing tastes quite as good as veggies or fruits straight from your own garden or from a local source!

Where are some places that we can find local foods? Here are a few suggestions:  Farmers Markets; on-farm markets and roadside stands; produce auctions; branded sections in grocery store; or, your own garden!

Whether produce is harvested from the garden, or purchased at a grocery or farm market, there are certain things that you can do to maintain both safety and quality.

First, all produce should be thoroughly washed before you eat or preserve it. This includes both produce grown at home or purchased from a grocery store or farmer’s market. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking. Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. When you are washing your produce, never use soap, bleach or commercial cleaners.  Plain cold running water is the best! You can use a clean produce brush to scrub items with firm skins such as melons, cucumbers and peppers.

Next, proper storage will ensure the safety and quality of your produce. Certain perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) can be best maintained by storing in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below. Produce such as uncut tomatoes, bananas, potatoes and onions are best stored at cool room temperature. Produce should not be washed before storage as excess water will encourage the growth of spoilage bacteria.

There are many delicious and simple ways to prepare fresh vegetables. This can include simple dips and sauces, salads, casseroles, stews and soups.

A great source of free recipes using fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at choosemyplate.gov   (Simply click on “sample menus and recipes” for easy, low cost, nutritious recipes) and USDA Snap Ed Connection, Recipe Finder.

One quick easy recipe for using your fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions is salsa. If you are preparing salsa to be eaten immediately or refrigerated for a few days, you can experiment with amounts and types of ingredients. If you want to preserve your salsa through canning, it is important to follow a recipe that has been designed with the proper proportions of vegetables and acids.  Always be careful when handling hot peppers. Use rubber gloves when cutting these peppers as they can irritate the skin. Do not touch your face or eyes!

 Salsa
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 chopped onion
3 finely chopped, seeded if desired, jalapeno chiles
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 juiced lime

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients.
2. Serve or store salsa in refrigerator for up to three days in a covered plastic or glass container.

Source: USDA Snap Ed Connection, Recipe          http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/index.php?mode=display&rec_id=51

Sources:

USDA Snap Ed Connection, Recipe  Finder

Ohioline.osu.edu

Foodsafety.wisc.edu/gardening.html

From Your Garden to Your Table – Webinar for OSU Your Plan for Health – Mike Hogan and Marilyn Rabe, June, 2012.

Author: Marilyn Rabe, FCS Extension Educator, OSU Extension

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Local fresh strawberries are here!  These delicious fruit annually welcome the arrival of summer with its grand entrance. Eating locally grown fruit in season provides the assurance that the berries are picked fully ripe and will get to the consumer within a day.

Strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants and fiber.  A cup of fresh strawberries contains only 50 calories, 11 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of protein. Strawberries contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

Choose plump and firm strawberries with a bright red color and natural shine.  The size of the berry is not important as the color of the berry. The fragrance is the best indicator of flavor.  Caps should be fresh, green and intact.  Avoid strawberries with a green or white color, wilted, bruised or soft berry.  Strawberries do not ripen after picking. Store immediately in the refrigerator and pick as close to consumption time as possible.

When purchasing strawberries, check the carton for stains, which indicates over ripeness of the berries. Remove the strawberries from the original container and store in a shallow container on a paper towel in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Do not wash the strawberries or remove the caps until you’re ready to eat them or use them in a recipe.   Handle the berries gently as they bruise easily. Immediately before serving, swish in a bowl of cold water.  Do not soak.

Strawberries are a versatile fruit with many options to serve.  Halve, quarter or slice fresh berries and let stand 5-10 minutes to allow juices to form and enjoy.  Mix in a fruit cup, with other berries or add to a fresh garden salad.

Several of the local restaurants are serving delicious seasonal salads with fresh strawberries, roasted chicken, blueberries, and toasted pecans.  Not only are these salads beautiful, they are healthy as well.  For a nice summer dinner, prepare a salad with greens, grilled or roasted chicken, add vegetables of your choice including fresh strawberries and serve with a whole wheat crusty roll and dinner is ready.

Visit a local farm market or grower to pick your own or purchase fresh local grown strawberries this weekend and enjoy!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 4

4 cups spinach or other mixed greens

1 cup fresh strawberries or combination of peaches, blueberries, and kiwi fruit (sliced)

Topping options:

2 green onions, chopped

1 small red onion, sliced into thin rings

½ cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces, blanched and chilled

½ cup toasted almonds or walnuts

2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds, toasted

½ cup cheese, goat or blue, crumbled

1 cup cooked turkey, chopped

Combine with selected toppings.  Top with your favorite salad dressing.

Source:  Edible, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Author:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

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It’s winter and hard to find fresh fruit at a reasonable price.  Do you choose canned, frozen or dried?  How do they match up nutritionally?

Canned, frozen and dried fruit can be a good alternative in the winter.  All provide good nutrition similar to fresh fruits.   Canned fruit can contain some nutrients that are more easily absorbed by the body.  Dried fruit is an easy portable snack.

Tips for buying canned, frozen and dried fruits:

Canned

  • Look for ‘packed in its own juice’ or ‘packed in fruit juice,’ or ‘unsweetened.’   If these are unavailable then choose ‘packed in light syrup.’
  • Use canned fruits immediately after opening to retain flavor and nutrients.  If not used immediately place in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze.

Frozen

  • Buy unsweetened.  Check the label under ingredients to see if any sweetener is added.
  • Once unfrozen use quickly or refrigerate leftovers.

Dried

  • Buy plain.  Check the label to see if sweeteners or other ingredients are added.
  • Keep your portions small as they are usually higher in calories.  A ¼ cup of dried raisins contains as many calories as ½ cup of fresh fruit.  Dried fruit contains lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate.
  • Add to salads, trail mix, pancakes, bread recipes, or a bowl of cereal.
  • Read labels as some dried fruit is preserved with sulfite, which can cause allergic reactions.

Try this Spinach Salad recipe which has some dried fruit and fresh apple.

1 bag of fresh Spinach, rinsed

1 green apple sliced thin

1 red apple sliced thin

1/2- cup dried cranberries

½ cup chopped pecans

Arrange pecans on a baking sheet.  Toast in 375⁰F oven for 5 minutes or until nuts begin to brown.  Cool.  Toss together spinach, apples, cranberries, and nuts.  Add your favorite dressing.  Enjoy.

References:

American Dietetic Association Website http://eatright.org

Foster, J. & Zies, S. [2006].  Fruits and Vegetables Are a Convenience for Busy People, available at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5302.html

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