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Drinking a smoothie is an easy way to sneak in a serving or two of fruits and veggies towards your daily goal. A smoothie is great for breakfast, on the go meal, or a snack. Here’s how to blend a fruit- and veggie-packed smoothie that’s nutritious, satisfying and energizing.

 kalesmoothie

  1. Choose a Base Start with a liquid base such as low-fat milk, soymilk, or nonfat Greek yogurt that delivers protein, vitamins, and minerals with a sensible amount of calories. If using juice, choose 100% grape, orange, apple, or cranberry varieties and try adding just a splash of it to a milk base so you don’t miss out on the protein. Remember juice adds extra sugar and calories so watch portion sizes.
  2. Add Fruit When adding fruit, most fresh, frozen and canned fruits shine in smoothies. For calorie control and to cap added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened frozen fruit and drain canned fruit packed in water or light syrup to reduce excess sugar. Slicing bananas and freezing them works really well.
  3. Yes…you can add veggies! Even vegetables can be added to smoothies. Just remember to use mild-tasting veggies so their flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. If using a standard blender, you may need to chop them very finely or add a little water to help the blending process. Cucumbers, spinach, kale, and beets are popular options.
  4. Nutrient Boosters Super-charge your smoothie with flavorful and nutrient-packed blend-ins such as flaxseed, chia seeds, quick oats, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger), unsweetened cocoa powder, or powdered peanut butter.
  5. Less is More Remember to keep smoothie ingredients simple and take a ‘less is more’ approach. The more ingredients in a smoothie, the more calories it contains.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana

1/2 cup coconut milk, skim milk, soymilk, nonfat Greek yogurt, or almond milk

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)

1 ripe banana, chopped

Water for desired consistency

  1. Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
  2. You can add a few almonds for extra protein if you would like!

For a great beet smoothie click here https://foodhero.org/recipes/un-beet-able-berry-smoothie.

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

Sources:

www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

www.realsimple.com

www.foodhero.org

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Does your family go through boxes and boxes of store-bought snacks faster than you can replenish them? Do you feel like you’re spending a majority of your grocery budget on sugar-filled, processed snacks that don’t seem to last more than a few days at your house? There is an answer to this madness. Make your own snacks!

You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for that!” and while that may be true, you’d be surprised how much time you’d actually be saving. Yes, making your own snacks involves some planning and prepping. However, this planning and prepping stage might not involve the lengthy process of taking a trip to the grocery store. You can make various snacks for you, your kids, and whoever else may be at your house from foods you likely already have on hand. For example, you could try the Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars shown below. In addition, recipes like these make large enough batches to provide snacks lasting up to two weeks if stored properly. Many store bought boxes of granola bars provide only 5 servings, so why not whip up homemade bars that yield about 24 servings per batch.

Find a recipe for snacks that fits your own personal schedule. On a time crunch this week? Throw together a big batch of trail mix using those nuts you bought in bulk that have been taking up space in your cupboard. Add in cereal, raisins, seeds, or chocolate chips and seal in an air-tight container. Scoop into sandwich-sized bags for an easy, balanced, and healthful snack for any time or place.

Buying ingredients in bulk at your favorite grocery store can help make an abundance of different snacks that add variety to your daily routine. Stock up on versatile foods like oats and nuts and you’d be surprised at your options for snacks and meals as well as how much more full your wallet feels. The recipe below, found on the What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl website provides a snack that costs $0.30 per serving. No, that’s not a typo; $0.30 per serving. These homemade granola bars yield 24 servings making the total cost of the recipe about $7.15 according to USDA. You could get about 2 boxes, or 10 servings, of your average granola bars for that price.

Health bonus: Snacks like these provide more than just dollars in your pocket and variety to your pantry. The nutrition in homemade snacks like these is worth more than all of the previous reasons combined. The carbohydrate and protein provided in healthful, homemade snacks will offer the energy you need along with satisfaction until your next meal. On the plus side, you know exactly what ingredients are going into your snacks without paying for processed sugars and ingredients you can’t pronounce.

 

 

 oatballsr

Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars

From “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl

Makes: 24 servings

Total Cost: $7.15

Serving Cost: $0.30

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup carrot (grated)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and grate the carrots.
  3. Put the honey and peanut butter in a large saucepan. Cook on low heat until melted. Remove pan from the heat.
  4. Add oatmeal, raisins, carrots, and coconut to the saucepan. Stir well, and let it cool until you can safely touch it with your hands.
  5. Press the mix firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Cool and cut into 24 bars.

Authors: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Allision Doriot , Dietetic Intern with Wood County Extension.

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

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Smoothies continue to be a popular treat at restaurants; although special equipment is promoted to make them it is not necessary. While we think of them as a tasty way to increase our dairy and fruit consumption, they can also be a wonderful way to slide in a few vegetables. Yes, I said “vegetables”!

The perk with smoothies is you can add things that people may not usually think they like – yogurt or kale – and your children (or picky spouse or co-worker) won’t even know they are there. Vegetables that work well in smoothies are spinach, kale, steamed broccoli, romaine lettuce, cucumber, peeled avocado, and carrots. Using low fat dairy, skim milk and lite yogurt, a smoothie can provide calcium and protein in addition to the vitamins and fiber in vegetables and fruits.

Smoothie Tips:

  • While special smoothie machines aren’t necessary, a blender with a tight fitting lid is a must.green smoothie
  • To prevent damage to your blender, always use 1 cup of liquid, either skim or almond milk, or fruit juice.
  • Add a 6 ounce container of light yogurt, vanilla blends well with any combination, but all types work.
  • Choose your washed and chopped vegetable from the list above and add ½ to 1 cup. Remove stems from leafy veggies and add up to 2 cups.
  • Add 1 to 1 ½ cups assorted fruits like – bananas, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, pears, pineapple, peaches, or kiwi. To prepare fruit – wash and chop into smaller pieces for even blending. Freezing fruit ahead will give an icy consistency without the work on your blender of breaking up ice.
  • If you want to add ice – limit the amount to 4 cubes or no more than ½ cup.
  • Blend until smooth without over-blending. Vanilla extract and a dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg can be a tasty addition.

To make a green monster smoothie blend: kale, grapes, yogurt, skim milk, and bananas.

Smoothies can be a fun snack for families to make together, just supervise blending and limit servings to about 1 cup.

Sources:

University of Maryland Extension, http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_docs/Green%20Smoothie.pdf.

Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smoothies_a_healthy_alternative .

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

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County.

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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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