Archive for February, 2012

We all have favorite foods that we enjoy.  According to USDA ChooseMyPlate Tip Sheet, you can enjoy your meals while making small adjustments.  One of the easiest things we can do is to fill half of our plate with fruits and vegetables.  Make your protein portion a little smaller and pick whole grains.  Add your low-fat or non-fat dairy and you are on your way to a healthier meal.

Here are some tips to enjoying your meals:

  • Get to know the foods you eat.  Use the SuperTracker https://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker/ to learn about the foods you eat.  Make healthier selections by using these free online tools.  You can find out the kinds of foods and how much to eat.  It is free and easy to use.
  • Options on your Custom SuperTracker:
  1. Track your physical activity
  2. Track the foods you eat
  3. Set 5 goals to improve health habits
  4. Manage your weight
  5. Receive coaching tips
  • Use a Smaller Plate

Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control.  That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.

Use a Smaller Plate

Mindful Eating on a Smaller Plate

  • Take your time

Be mindful to eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel.  Use hunger and fullness cues to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.

  • If you eat out, choose healthier options

Check and compare nutrition information about the foods you are eating.  Preparing food at home makes it easier to control what is in your meals.

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way

Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish- fruit!  Serve a fruit parfait made with yogurt.  For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.

Baked Apples

  • Make treats “treats,” not everyday foods

Treats are great once in a while.  Just don’t make treat foods an everyday choice.  Limit sweet treats to special occasions.

Remember to enjoy the food you eat, make healthy substitutions and move more.  Take a few minutes to sign up for the SuperTracker to help you get “on track” to a healthier lifestyle.

Writer:  Michelle Treber, LD, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator

Source:  USDA www.ChooseMyPlate.gov



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Is your kitchen the hub for activity?  Does your family socialize, do homework, read the mail and generally congregate around the kitchen table or island?  With all the activity going on have you ever stopped to think about how clean this space is?

Before putting food on these surfaces make sure they are clean.  There are some simple steps to follow to make sure they are safe for your family. Follow this advice from The Ohio State University’s website:  foodsafety.osu.edu

  • Start by cleaning your counters, sinks or utensils with soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Second, spray the rinsed surface with a sanitizer.
    • To make a sanitizer, start with 6% chlorine bleach.  Check the label for the list of active ingredients.  Add 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach to 1 quart water in a spray bottle.  (foodsafety.osu.edu also offers alternative sanitizer solutions)
    • Spray the clean and rinsed kitchen surface and let air dry.
    • If you are in a hurry, dry with a clean paper towel. Throw the used paper towel away.

Keep your family and your food safe.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Ohio State University Extension.

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heart.jpg 10.6KFebruary is celebrated as American Heart Month to bring awareness of the impact of heart disease and to suggest lifestyle changes that can help us to have healthier hearts.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in three deaths are from heart disease and stroke. This averages to 2,200 deaths per day!

Almost all of us have been affected by heart disease in our own lives through the loss of a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend.   Heart disease and strokes also are the leading cause of disability which prevents us from working or enjoying everyday activities.

As one way to help us fight back against heart disease, the CDC has created the “Million Hearts” program. The goal of this program is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by the end of 2016 by educating us on how to make heart healthy choices.

Each of us can help prevent heart disease for ourselves and our families by understanding the risks and taking the following steps:

  • Take the Million Hearts pledge at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
  • Make your calories count by eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium and trans fats, and cholesterol.
  • Know your ABCs:

Aspirin – ask your doctor is you should take one every day

If you have high Blood pressure or Cholesterol, get effective treatment.

If you Smoke, get help to quit.

Remember, making small changes in your diet and physical activity level can help you to live a longer, healthier life.

Source: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Be One in a Million this American Heart Month,  http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

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

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picture of milkOsteoporosis, which is a condition of brittle bones, affects 44 million Americans. It is estimated that over 50% of the women over 50 and 25% of the men over 50 years of age will break a bone because of osteoporosis. There are some factors that lead to osteoporosis that cannot be prevented such as a decrease of bone density with age and heredity, but other risk factors can be minimized with some attention to lifestyle and habits. Some of those habits are quitting smoking, controlling alcohol and taking steps to make the bones health as strong as possible.
Starting off the tips to stronger bones is choosing low-fat dairy. Using 1% or skim milk, lower fat cheeses and low fat yogurt you get excellent sources of calcium. By using these low fat versions the same amount of calcium and minerals are provided but less fat and calories are taken in. Dark green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals and sardines are other sources of calcium.
Vitamin D is needed for your body to absorb calcium. You do get Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun. At some latitudes, people that are house bound or those that use sunscreen are going to have more trouble getting the needed Vitamin D. Vitamin D is found in some food like fatty fish, so asking your health care professional about supplements may be necessary.
A recent study shows that prunes may be helpful for slowing bone loss. Starting with two or three prunes each day and gradually increasing this to six or more per day may be beneficial.
Finally walking and lifting weights are both ways to strengthen the bones. Walking helps strengthen the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine. Weight lifting focuses more on building muscle and bones in your arms and upper spine. Work towards at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
Keeping your bones strong is important in the aging process. Work on incorporating these habits into your day!

Source: Keep your Bones Strong, Health Smart, Jan. 2012.
Author: Liz Smith, FCS Educator, Ohio State University Extension

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The week of February 13 – 19 is celebrated as Random Acts of Kindness week.  From paying for food for the car behind you in thefast food drive through to shoveling snow from someone’s driveway, to making a favorite dessert for someone unexpectedly are just examples of how people share Random Acts of Kindness every day.  It is important to carry out your acts of kindness withoutexpecting anything in return.

It truly can be a win/win/win situation. The person you are being kind to benefits through your help. You feel good for having helped someone. And the world is a better place through your kindness.

In celebration of Random Acts of Kindness week, February 13 – 19, Ohio State University Extension Live Healthy, Live Well Blog, will be awarding a $25 gift card to a random participant for sharing a Random Act of Kindness they have performed or been a recipient of.  Submit your stories to shuster.24@osu.edu with Random Acts of Kindness in the subject line of your email and your story in the body of the email.

All participants must be a resident of the United States, 18 years of age or older with a valid email address.  All participants agree to the publication of their name and story with other followers of our Live Healthy, Live Well Blog site.  Winner will be notified via email on Monday, February 20th prior to publication of their Random Acts of Kindness story.

Let’s make “Kindness” contagious by sharing random acts of kindness on a daily basis.

Writer: Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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Why are family meals so important? In today’s busy world it is hard to make time to plan and eat with our family. However, eating with your family can improve your family’s health in many ways:

  • Eat together. Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Let your child see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks. Families eat more fruits and vegetables that sit and eat together.
  • Children do better academically in school.
  • Children drink more milk and get more dairy products.
  • Fewer fatty foods are consumed by the family at mealtimes
  • Risky behaviors such as smoking. drinking and using drugs in children is less likely to be found in families who eat together.
  • Eating together you develop better communication with your children that will strengthen your relationship for a lifetime!

Strong Families that eat together have many opportunities to pass on many traditions to their children. Research shows that mealtime can be very powerful learning experiences for families that need to be planned, valued and make it happen 4 to 5 times a week or more. Start today!

  • Aim for 4 or more meals a week.
  • Make family meals a priority.
  • Work toward happy, relaxing conversations at meals.

Take time for family meals to focus on the meal and each other.  Turn off the television. Take phone calls or texts later! It’s worth it and the whole family eats better. Make mealtimes a Family Time this week!

Author: Marie Economos, Family and Consumer Science Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/preschoolers/healthy-habits/making-mealtime-family-time.html,   http://fh.ext.wvu.edu/strong_families, http://www.hec.ohio-state.edu/famlife

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Eat Fish for Better Health

Do you eat fish at least twice a week?  Studies show you should do this for good health. Seafood is high in nutrients, including healthy Omega- 3 fats.  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults eating about 8 ounces of seafood per week.  Eating a variety of seafood can help prevent heart disease.  Here are some tips to help you eat more seafood:

1.       Eat a variety of seafood.

Include some that are higher in Omega -3’s and lower in mercury, such as salmon, trout, oysters, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel, herring and sardines.

2.        Keep it lean and flavorful

Try grilling, broiling, roasting or baking- they don’t add extra fat. Avoid breading or frying seafood and creamy sauces, which add calories and fat. Using spices or herbs such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin and lemon or lime juice, can add flavor without adding salt.

3.       Shop smart

Eating more seafood does not have to be expensive. Tilapia, sardines, canned tuna, and some frozen seafood are usually lower cost options. Check the newspaper, online and at the store for sales, coupons, and specials to help save money on seafood.

4.       Grow up healthy with seafood

Omega-3 fats from seafood can help improve the nervous system development in infants and children. Serve seafood to children twice a week in portions that are appropriate for their age and appetite. A variety of seafood lower mercury should also be part of a healthy diet for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

5.       Know your seafood portions

To get 8 ounces of seafood a week, use these guides. A drained can is about 3 to 4 ounces, a salmon steak ranges from 4 to 6 ounces, and 1 small trout is about 3 ounces.

Susan Zies , Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources: USDA, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, DG Tip Sheet No. 15, December 2011. www.Choosemyplate.gov

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