Archive for August, 2013

More than half of Americans don’t have an emergency fund. Only 37 percent have tried to figure out their retirement savings needs. More than 40 percent believe they have too much debt. While these findings from the 2012 National Financial Capability Study aren’t surprising, they are trends we would all like to see reversed. That’s why Ohio State University Extension is coordinating the Ohio Saves effort, a statewide campaign to encourage people to save money, pay down debt and build wealth. Jar of Money

Research shows that if you make your savings goal specific, if you give yourself a deadline, and if you write it down, then you’re much more likely to achieve it. So, just the fact that you’re signing up to be an Ohio Saver will help you achieve your goal. Every Ohioan can start saving, no matter how low their income nor how high their debt. Start wherever you are financially. Even putting your change in a jar is a start. It can add up fast. If you save just a handful of change each day, you’ll have a good start toward an emergency fund by the end of the year. Or try putting money that you would have used for a habit like a soda or coffee each day in a jar and deposit it once a month. Your body and your bank account will thank you.

It helps to make a savings deposit first, before paying bills. Put aside what you think you can save first. If you wait until the end of your pay period, it will definitely be spent. Even if you have to tap into your savings in between paychecks, if you deposit it first, you’re more likely to save more money no matter how much it is. Participants in the Ohio Saves program have access to free resources that will encourage them to save money and reduce debt. Savers receive a monthly email newsletter with savings strategies from national experts. They also have access to online tracker tools and all sorts of encouragement and motivation. An individual saver needs to make a savings goal of their own, and be encouraged and motivated to reach that goal.
Start now, and see how much money you can save by March 1, which is the end of the 2014 Ohio Saves and America Saves Week

The Ohio Saves program is free. Anyone can sign up by going to http://ohiosaves.org and clicking on “enroll in Ohio Saves today.” Ohio Saves is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ohiosaves and on Twitter at @MoneyMattersOH.

Filipic, Martha (August 2013). Ohioans Urged to Join Saves Program, OSU Extension, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences press release.

Submitted by: Polly Loy, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County, Ohio Valley EERA.


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Join OSU Extension for the
“Live Healthy Live Well” Fall Wellness Challenge

When: September 9 – October 20, 2013

What does it cost: Nothing – Free!

Who can participate: Any adult with an email account.

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. Past participants report in end of program surveys that 80% have adopted practices to reduce their risk of chronic disease and over 95% have lost or maintained their weight.

How do I sign up? Go to http://go.osu.edu/kickoffpounds and register on line.

Further questions contact us through the link for comments at the bottom of this message.

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It seems “Happy, Happy, Happy” is sweeping the nation with nearly twelve million viewers of the popular reality television show, Duck Dynasty. Happy, Happy, Happy is the motto of Phil Robertson, one of its cast members. No, I’m not advocating you watch more television; or even take up duck hunting; however, there is something to be said for Phil’s “happy, happy, happy” approach to life. Perhaps you know people who are always happy. MP900386362

Which poses the question . . . are you born with a happy attitude set-point, is happiness a learned behavior, or a product of our environment/upbringing, and/or a combination of all of these?

Research has shown that our talent for happiness is, to a large degree, determined by our genes. Psychology professor David T. Lykken, author of Happiness: The Nature and Nurture of Joy and Contentment, says that “trying to be happier is like trying to be taller.” We each have a “happiness set-point” he argues, and we move away from it only slightly.

In short, we may be born with a happiness “set-point,” as Lykken calls it, but we are not stuck there. Happiness depends on how we manage our emotions and our relationships with others.

There are two types of people in the world; those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves. Unhappy people believe they need to obtain certain material items or levels of achievement to be happy. A few notable differences between happy and unhappy people are as follows:

1. Happy people make an effort to surround themselves with positivity; they do not enjoy being around people that send out negative vibrations and who deflate their mood. Happy people make a conscious effort to engage with other happy people so they can have healthy and positive friendships and relationships.
2. Happy people do not waste their days being jealous of other people. Happy people have no need to desire everything that someone else has. They are purely content with their own life and who they are.
3. Happy people take time for themselves. It is imperative for a happy life. Happy people make sure they put aside 10 to 20 minutes each day for personal time because they know how important it is for stress reduction and general well-being.
4. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff. They believe they can overcome most obstacles that life presents and they do not put themselves through any unwanted stress over issues that can be solved.
5. Forgiveness is a fact of life. Happy people find it easy to forgive and move on. They realize the damage of holding on to anger and how it can affect general health and quality of life.

Happy people like Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty do many things differently and they make sure they do everything wholeheartedly and with great effort. They are passionate people who usually have a big smile on their face and live their lives to the fullest every day.

Choose to be happy. Push the “delete” button on negative thoughts and “evict” those individuals or thoughts you have allowed to live “rent free” in your head/life to keep yourself positive. You will have less stress and enjoy life more.


Jett, Pamela (2012). National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, Keynote Speaker

Lykken, David T.(1999). Happiness: The Nature and Nurture of Joy and Contentment by St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York

Valeo, Tom. Choosing to be Happy – Strategies for Happiness: 7 Steps to Becoming A Happier Person, Web MD

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

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Getting your child off to a good start can prevent health problems later. With back to school right around the corner, it’s a great time to develop good lifelong eating habits.

Seven Rules for Healthy Eating
These seven rules for healthy eating helps to raise a healthy eater by defining what the parent is in charge of and what the child is in charge of with regard to their meals and snacks.

1. Responsibility- a parent’s responsibility is to provide nutritious food and regular mealtimes and snack times. Decide where your child should eat. Give food only at the table. Let your child make choices from a variety of good foods. A child’s responsibility is to decide how much to eat.
2. Respect- respect a child’s need to be guarded about trying new foods. Encourage, yet never force a child to try something new.
3. Resist- resist power struggles. Don’t make mealtimes a battle. Choosing to eat is your child’s job. Your job is to provide healthy food and to keep the atmosphere relaxed.
4. Reinforce-reinforce good eating habits. Don’t purchase sugar cereals. Ignore whining for junk food, yet do allow your child to have an occasional treat. Avoid using food as a way to keep a child entertained. Establish regular meal and snack times. Set a good example by eating and enjoying a variety of foods. Your child learns by watching you!
5. Replace- Don’t allow a child to carry around a bottle or cup of milk, juice or soda. This encourages eating for comfort not hunger.
6. Recognize- learn to recognize correct portion sizes. Offer your child the correct portion sizes
7. Relax! Providing healthy foods, regular times for meals and snacks and a calm, relaxing environment will help set the pace for healthy eating.
Family meals are extremely important for you and your family. It is a perfect time to engage in conversations about the day. Children who have frequent family meals:
• Develop good manners and eating habits
• Improve conversation skills
• Learn to compromise and not always have their favorite foods
• Eat more vegetables
• Are frequently happier
• Do better in school
• Often avoid teenage problems such as eating disorders and substance abuse

Start today having family dinners as many nights as possible!

Resources: American Academy Pediatrics/family dinners

Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, RD,LD, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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Unhealthy ChoicesDo you think that your current sugary snacks may be making you crave more sugary snacks? This may be the truth for many people. When you eat simple carbohydrates, without protein or fat, hunger may be satisfied but it is usually short term. The energy boost usually wears off quickly leaving you hungry and soon craving more food.

According to Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, “our appetite may be hardwired and sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth.” The feel-good brain chemical, serotonin, is released when carbohydrates are eaten. Sugar is carbohydrate, but so are other foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us. This is like a natural high.

Americans average about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association. The AHA recommends 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men. So what can we do to tame those cravings and meet these recommendations? Try these tips to get started in the right direction.

Eat just a small amount. If you are really craving something have a small amount. Try the fun-size candy bar or the small cookie. Try to stick to 150 calories or less.
Combine foods. Try combining the food you are craving with some healthier options. For example, dip a banana in chocolate sauce or add mini chocolate chips to almonds. This way you are still getting some healthy nutrients from the healthy foods.
Grab chewing gum. According to nutrition advisor, Dave Grotto, chewing gum has been shown to reduce food cravings. So grab a stick of gum when that feeling for something sweet arises.
Reach for some fruit. You get fiber and nutrients along with sweetness when eating fruit. According to addiction specialist Judy Chambers, LCSW, CAS, having foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruits on hand can often help you steer clear of sugary treats.
Get moving. When the cravings for sugary foods hit, get up and walk. Taking your mind off the craving can help.
Choose quality over quantity. Savor the food you are craving but keep the portion size small. Concentrate on the taste and enjoy it. Incorporating small amounts of those foods we love is not harmful, overindulging can be.
Eat regularly. When you wait too long between meals the cravings for high sugar, high fat foods may increase. Eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar more stable. By choosing protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, hunger may not be as severe.
Reward yourself. When you have successfully managed your cravings, do something for yourself. Soak in the tub, or purchase a new clothing item or decorative item.
Slow down. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. Dr. Chambers states “eat what you intend to eat instead of eating when desperate.”
Support helps. Frequently people turn to sugary foods when stressed, depressed or angry. Sugar will not help emotional situations or issues. Try to figure out the underlying issue and address that without the sugar.
Mix it up. It may take more than one strategy to stop sugar cravings. By having a variety of tricks and figuring out what works for you, the chance of success increases.
Go easy on yourself! Changing any habit is difficult. Every victory is one step towards a healthier you!
Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features
Writer: Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Northeast Region, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, M.S., R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, West Region, Ohio State University Extension.

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Shift Workers

Good nutrition is important for everyone but for shift workers, healthy eating is vital to feeling your best, both on and off the job and for maintaining your mental, spiritual and physical health. Eating during shift work often requires a change in the type of foods chosen and the timing of meals.

If you work shifts, you probably experience more gastrointestinal problems, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite and heartburn. Dehydration, another common problem, can cause headaches, dry skin and nasal irritation, making you more susceptible to colds, coughs, sore throats and the flu.
There is evidence that shift work can lead to stomach disorders, nutritional deficiencies, irregular appetite and weight gain or loss. There also seems to be a link between shift work and heart disease and cancer.

Some reasons for these problems include:
• Too much caffeine intake to stay awake
• High-fat snacking instead of eating meals
• Eating infrequently during the day, then over-eating during the evening
• Eating when digestion and other body functions are slowed down
• Eating meals in a rush, often without the company of family and friends
• Sedentary jobs and lack of opportunities to exercise

It is critical for shift workers to establish regular eating times. Skipping meals can result in fatigue, increased snacking, increased eating at the next meal, or even less overall food intake. Snacks can play an important part of a healthy eating pattern and are especially important during long shifts.

What to eat
• Pack food to take to work to avoid vending machines and take-out fast foods.
• Be sure each meal is balanced with protein, starch, vegetables and fruit.
• Taper off liquids as you near the end of your night shift.
• Place some crackers by your bed in case you wake up hungry during the day.

When to eat
• Try to avoid eating a large meal before work.
• Eat small, nutritionally balanced snacks throughout the shift.
• Eat the largest meal of the day when you wake up.
• Eat as little as possible — and avoid fatty foods entirely — toward the end of your shift.

The right food at the right time:

protein food
• Consume protein foods when it is necessary to stay awake, carbohydrate foods when it is necessary to sleep.

To promote sleep after completing their shift, workers may benefit from a high carbohydrate meal. Foods high in carbohydrates increase levels of serotonin, which promotes sleep. Cereal, bread/bagels, crackers or fruit are good high carbohydrate snacks.

To stay alert, shift workers may turn to protein foods. Protein foods have the opposite effect of carbohydrates and decrease serotonin levels. A high protein meal can make you feel more alert; so, it is important to include protein foods in meals and snacks during your shift. Food choices might include low fat cheese or meat, peanut butter, or hard-boiled eggs in sandwiches or with low fat crackers.

• When working afternoon and evening shifts, eat the main meal at midday instead of during the middle of the shift.
• When working night shift, the first main meal during waking hours should be late afternoon or early evening. After completing a night shift, a moderate snack will prevent going to bed hungry or too full.


Drink caffeinated beverages before your shift or early into it. Don’t have caffeine after midnight; it stays in your body for 6-8 hours. Limit caffeine to no more than 400 mg. a day (about 2 cups of coffee). Excessive caffeine may cause insomnia, headaches, anxiety, among other disorders.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/workschedules/

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/About-Us/News/News-Releases-2006/It-Can-Be-a-Hard-Days-Night-For-Weight-Watchers-on-the-Late-Shift.aspx
WebMD.com: http://blogs.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/2009/12/shift-worker-alert-curb-the-caffeine.html

Writer: Kathryn K. Dodrill, MA, CFCS, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County/Buckeye Hills EERA, dodrill.10@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, LD, MA, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County/Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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back to school

Many parents want the best for their children. This includes school success. Every child has the power to succeed in school and every parent, can help. What parents say and do can help children develop positive attitudes toward school and learning and build confidence in themselves as learners. Showing children that education is valued and useful provides them with powerful models and contributes greatly to their success in school. In addition it is shown that when parents and families are involved in their children’s schools, the children do better and have better feelings about going to school.

The U.S. Department of Health has compiled resources for parents. Here are some suggestions to help your child succeed in school:

  •  Encourage Your Child to Read-Helping your child become a reader is the single most important thing that you can do to help the child to succeed in school, and in life. The importance of reading simply can’t be overstated. Reading helps children in all school subjects.
  •  Talk with Your Child-Talking and listening play major roles in children’s school success. It’s through hearing parents and family members talk and responding to that talk that young children begin to pick up the language skills they will need if they are to do well. For example, children who haven’t learned to listen carefully often have trouble following directions and paying attention in class.
  • Monitor Homework-Have a special place for your child to study. The area should have good lighting and it should be fairly quiet. Provide supplies such as pencils, pens, erasers, writing paper, and a dictionary.
  • Set a regular time for homework-Remove distractions. Turn off the TV, cell phones, and discourage your child from making and receiving social telephone calls, and using social media sites during homework time.
  • Monitor TV Viewing and Video Game Playing-Limit the time that you let your child watch TV and play video games. Too much television cuts into important activities in a child’s life, such as reading, playing with friends and talking with family members.
  •  Helping Your Child with Test-Taking-Talk to your child about testing. It’s helpful for children to understand why schools give tests. Don’t get upset because of a single test score. Many things can influence how your child does on a test.
  •  Meet with your child’s teacher as often as possible. Ask the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests and to improve your child’s understanding of schoolwork.
  • Make sure that your child attends school regularly. The more effort and energy your child puts into learning, the more likely it is that he will do well on tests.

As our children’s first and most important teacher, it’s important that all parents build and keep strong ties to our children’s schools.

Please visit Ohio State University Extensions Backpack Buddies Fact Sheet at http://ohioline.osu.edu/bb-fact/ for more information,



Canter, Lee. (1995). What to Do When Your Child Needs to Study: Helping Your Child toMaster Test-taking and Study Skills. Los Angeles: Canter & Associates.

Clark, Rosemary, Hawkins, Donna and Vachon, Beth. (1999). The School-Savvy Parent: 365 Insider Tips to Help You Help Your Child. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

Ramey, Sharon L. and Ramey, Craig T. (1999). Going to School: How to Help Your

Child Succeed: A Handbook for Parents of Children 3 to 8. New York: Goddard Press.

U.S. Department of Education. (2002). Helping Your Child with Homework. Washington, DC. (available online at http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov)

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, green.1405@osu.edu.

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

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