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Archive for June, 2014

In our efforts to improve nutrition and choose “healthy foods”, it can sometimes be a challenge to know what is healthy and what is not. One measure of how a food fits in to your efforts to “eat healthy” is to look at how many important nutrients the food provides for the amount of calories it delivers. Our best bet is to choose foods that deliver the most nutrients – protein, vitamins and minerals – for the fewest calories. Avoiding empty calories is also a good goal. Low-fat dairy foods can be an important part of this plan. Dairy products that have some or all of the fat removed still contain all of the “good” nutrients we want.

girl drinking milkTogether, low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt provide a unique package of nine essential nutrients that improve overall diet quality and promote good health. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize that milk and milk products are linked to improved bone health, especially in children and teens, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in adults.

What the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Say about Dairy Foods
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) encourage all Americans to increase intakes of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products to the recommended daily amounts:

• 2 cups for children 2 to 3 years
• 2.5 cups for children 4 to 8 years
• 3 cups for those 9 years and older

Milk is the number one food source, in terms of consumption, for three of the four nutrients the DGA identified as lacking in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

According to the DGA, individuals who consume milk at an early age are more likely to do so as adults, so it is especially important to establish in young children the habit of drinking milk. Current evidence indicates intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents. For women, around 40 percent of initial bone mass is achieved in the first 20 years of life, underscoring the importance of early bone development and health.

Nutrient-Rich Foods, Like Dairy
A positive approach to healthy eating does more than monitor calorie intake – it also maintains a diet that offers maximum vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. Nutrient-rich foods, like dairy foods, provide essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for fewer calories. Nutrient-rich foods from each food group include:

• Brightly colored fruits and 100 percent fruit juices,
• Vibrant-colored vegetables and potatoes,
• Whole, fortified and fiber-rich grain foods,
• Low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt, and
• Lean meat, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts.

Dairy’s Health Benefits
Research has shown that:
• Osteoporosis – Dairy’s nutrients are vital to the development of strong bones thus reducing the risk for developing osteoporosis.
• Healthy Weight – Milk and dairy foods may also play a positive role in maintaining a healthy weight.
• Healthy Blood Pressure – Three minerals found in dairy foods – calcium, potassium and magnesium – may play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
• Cardiometabolic syndrome, Cardiovascular disease, type 2 Diabetes – Current evidence indicates that the consumption of dairy foods is associated with a reduced risk of Cardiometabolic syndrome – a cluster of metabolic abnormalities that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease – and type 2 Diabetes.

Author: Polly Loy, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA.
Reviewed by: Kathryn Dodrill, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, Buckeye Hills EERA
References: Dairy Foods and Nutrition Fact Sheet, Midwest Dairy Council, http://www.midwestdairy.com, March 2012.
USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines, http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm
Nutrient Density Fact Sheet, Clemson University Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet, http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/nutrition/dietary_guide/hgic4062.html

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We know that sitting in front of a computer, laptop, tablet, video game or TV robs our children (and us!) of Playgroundtime that could be spent moving, playing or creating. It contributes to the obesity rate and encourages all of us to be “couch potatoes”.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun.
Think about that – children are spending almost as much time in front of a screen as some of us spend during our work day. Wow! The 11-14 age group spends the most time in front of screens with their total reaching 9 hours per day! Five of these hours are spent watching television. Visit this website for a great infographic which shares information about each age group and their screen time averages. http://makinghealtheasier.org/getmoving

Get outside, have fun and move! How can we encourage our youth to become more active this summer?

• Limit total screen time to 1-2 hours per day.
• Involve your child in planning their day – ask them what activities they like to do and make some suggestions.
• Provide creative activities for your child to enjoy – think pens, paper, paint, modeling clay, or art and craft projects.
• Send the kids outside to play – try balls, bikes, skateboards, or sidewalk chalk.
• Resurrect some of the games you played as a kid – go outside with them and PLAY! Try soft ball, kick the can, tag, red rover, or hide-and-seek.
• Some areas offer free or low cost day camps – soccer, gymnastics, etc. – check out what is available in your area.

According to the Let’s Move website, spend time this summer encouraging your child to be active by exploring, riding, swimming or playing outside. Here are some ideas for each area:

Let’s Explore!
As a family explore parks in your area. You may find a new walking trail, play ground or nature preserve. Plan a walk around the block in your neighborhood in the evening. Be safe but encourage your child to explore their surroundings. Visit http://www.nwf.org/NatureFind.aspx to locate a new area to explore.
Let’s Ride!
Pump up those bike tires, grab your bike helmet and check those brakes. Enjoy a family bike ride either in your neighborhood or on a bike path. Many bike paths are available so explore a new one today. Find one of the many rails-to-trails for a smooth bike ride through nature.
Let’s Swim!
Find a safe spot to swim. Lifeguards save lives so select a pool or swimming area carefully. Remember to wear sun protection while in the sun.

Soccer
Let’s Play!
Look for a playground in your area. Perhaps you can plan a day to visit a play area near your home. Pack a picnic lunch and play! For play spaces near you, visit http://mapofplay.kaboom.org/playspaces/new

Remember to have fun this summer and encourage your family (kids and adults) to get outside and play! Get creative and reduce that screen time to one hour per day.

Sources: http://makinghealtheasier.org/getmoving
http://Healthyohioprogram.org
http://mapofplay.kaboom.org/playspaces/new
http://www.nwf.org/NatureFind.aspx
http://www.letsmove.gov

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

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA rabe.9@osu.edu

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apple

According to the University of California- Riverside Wellness page: There are many dimensions of health: physical, spiritual, emotional, occupational, social, intellectual, and environmental. The dimension of environmental wellness includes “trying to live in harmony with the Earth by understanding the impact of your interaction with nature and your personal environment, and taking action to protect the world around you.” Protecting yourself from environmental hazards and minimizing the negative impact of your behavior on the environment are also central elements.” For the sake of today’s blog we will focus on the environmental wellness question that everyone faces at the grocery: paper or plastic?

When products are manufactured, stored, and transported to stores pollution can occur from extraction of raw materials, burning of fossil fuels, and production of garbage. Taken collectively, packaged products create societal problems for today and for future generations such as the production of greenhouse gases, growing landfills, dependence on fossil fuels and pollution of natural resources. Therefore when shopping think of the environmental impact when making purchases. By reducing the amount of waste you produce, you save energy and reduce pollution.

According “Enviroshopping: Buy Smarter” from the University of Florida Extension, consumers should buy products that make the best use of energy, don’t pollute air and water, are reusable or recyclable, made from plentiful resources and recycled materials, and use minimal of materials in design and packaging. Although packaging serves many useful purposes such as product preservation, consumer education, and consumer convenience much packaging is still wasteful. Before purchasing a product consider the following points:

• Buying larger food and beverages in larger containers produces less waste since they require less packaging. Be sure not to buy volumes that you can use before food spoilage.
• Is the packaging made from recycled materials- sometimes it will say on the package. Recycled plastics cannot be used for packaging food for it has not been approved by the FDA.
• Buy products with packages that you can re-use before they enter the waste stream. For example, drawstring mesh citrus bags make excellent laundry bags!
• Buy fresh fruits and vegetables with less packaging.
• Go inside restaurants and avoid the drive-thru when possible. Most fast-food serving materials end up in landfills.
• Ask yourself if the packaging is really needed or is just used to make the product more attractive.
• Avoid products that use several layers of materials when one layer would suffice.
• Ask if the materials can be recycled? Many plastics cannot be recycled. Check with your sanitation department if you have questions.

What about paper or plastic at the check-out? It would be better if you did not have to ask yourself this question. Purchase and use recyclable bags when you can. Both paper and plastic can be recycled. Therefore, consider if you can reuse the bags before they enter the waste stream. For example, plastic bags have some advantages over paper for some uses such as handling wet or moist products.

Our economy, culture, quality of life, and politics are closely tied to the environment. Sustainable practices enable us to meet our current needs without compromising the next generation’s ability to satisfy their own needs. We can preserve our natural heritage and conserve natural resources for the future by living sustainably.

Resources:

Enviroshopping buy Smarter
Accessed at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/he790 on 6/19/2014

University of California-Riverside Wellness Program
Accessed at http://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html on 6/19/2014

Author: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD
Reviewer: Susan Zies, MS

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summer road trip

Summer is here and it’s time for the American road trip. There is no better way to escape the daily routine than to hit the open road. There is nothing like a short road trip to refresh the mind, body and spirit. Before you break out the cooler and hit the open road, plan in advance to avoid the pitfalls of open road trips. Here are some healthier ideas while on the open road:

• Make rest breaks active- pick a road stop or park and get the family out of the car to take a brisk 10 minute walk and move around. This helps to burn off some energy and helps the driver feel rejuvenated and more alert.
• Pack to play – plan to include regular physical activity in your daily routine while you’re away from home. Pack a football, Frisbee, paddle balls or a soccer ball so you can be physically active during your down time.
• Bring plenty of water. Sitting in the car for long periods of time can make it tempting to drink soda. Pack water or small portions of juice to quench your thirst.
• Pack healthy snacks in the cooler. Bring celery or carrot sticks and hummus for dipping, apple slices, fresh berries, grapes, low fat cheeses, healthy sandwiches, whole grain breads, pretzels, bags of dry cereal and whole grain crackers to snack on.
Safe travels this summer!

Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD. The Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Susan Zies, M.Ed, The Ohio State University Extension, Wood County.

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SunburnOuch!  You didn’t think you were out in the sun that long.  What happened?  Now, your skin is red and really hurts.  What do you do?

•First get out of the sun and indoors, if possible.

•Put a towel dampened in cold water on your skin. Change the towel every 10 to 15 minutes. This will help remove some of the heat out of your skin. You can also take a cool shower or bath. Just gently pat your skin dry, leaving some water on your skin.

•To help relieve dryness of the skin you can apply a moisturizer with aloe vera or soy. This will help trap the water in your skin. Aloe vera has a soothing action on the skin. However, be careful with lotions and creams as those containing petroleum, benzocaine or lidocaine should not be used. Petroleum products can trap heat in your skin and make you more uncomfortable. Benzocaine and lidocaine can irritate your skin. Hydrocortisone cream may help if you have an area that feels especially uncomfortable.

•You can take an over the counter pain reliever to help reduce discomfort, swelling, and redness. Don’t use home remedies as these can slow or prevent healing.

•Drink extra water. Being sunburned dries you out so you need to drink extra water to prevent dehydration.

•Don’t pop blisters. Popping blisters can make your sunburn worse. If you have blisters you have a second-degree sunburn. Blisters protect you from infection if you allow them to heal naturally and don’t pop them. If they do pop on their own, apply an antibacterial ointment in the area.

•If you feel dizzy, weak, sick to your stomach, cold, itchy, feverish, or if you develop a rash or are just not feeling well, you should seek medical help. These symptoms signal the sunburn may be making you really sick, or you may be very dehydrated and need medical attention. Heat exhaustion is also a possibility requiring medical attention.Sun hat and applying sun screen

•Be careful until your sunburn heals. Skin healing from a sunburn can easily burn again in the sun. Wear sunscreen and additionally protect your skin with tightly-woven clothing in dark or medium colors.

Sunburns cause damage to your skin which can last for some time. Sunburns increase your risk of skin cancer in the future. Protect your skin with a 30 SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen when going outside and reapply every two hours. Learn and follow other sun safety tips.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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

References:
American Academy of Dermatology, (2014). Treating Sunburn, Available at http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/for-kids/about-skin/skin-cancer/treating-sunburn

Mayo Clinic, (2012). Sunburn: First Aid, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-sunburn/basics/art-20056643

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Summer has arrived and brings with it the time of year that families set off on summer vacation. It’s the time to step away from work 008deadlines, school and sporting events and the bustle of normal life. Vacation allows families the opportunity to spend quality time together. Traveling to exciting new places and seeing new things is something to look forward to. It sounds ideal, but anyone who has travelled with children knows just how quickly the experience can turn from an opportunity to reconnect with your family to a fight with your own sanity as you try to manage children that are tired, out of their routine, and bored. Quite simply, parents can find themselves coming home from vacation in need of a vacation to themselves regroup.

There are some simple steps that you can take to help lessen the stress of family vacations and make the trip more enjoyable for all involved.

  1. Plan your vacation destination and activities as if you were the child. – Thinking about not only what your child likes to do, but what they are capable of doing. For example, planning on a long day at a busy amusement park with a toddler could be a recipe for disaster. It is most likely that they will not want to be confined to a stroller all day, and walking long distances is too difficult for a little one just mastering the skill. This frustration can result in a tantrum.
  2. Involve the family in the planning.-This is especially true if you are travelling with teens. Allowing them to research activities and plan an entire day or days will keep them invested in the vacation and doing things they like to do.
  3. Prepare your children with what they can expect at your destination. -Sharing photos with them, looking up your destination on the internet, and allowing the children to take a virtual tour will help them get an idea of where you are going and what to expect. This will allow you to enjoy their anticipation and will help alleviate any anxiety or fear of the unknown.
  4. Schedule breaks, play time, nap time, and flex time. -Vacation is a time to take a break from our hectic schedules, but young children still need the security of familiar events. They can get stressed by unfamiliar events and places. When you are in a strange place, do what you can to keep them on schedule.-It is also important to not overbook your vacation full with activities. Hectic travel plans can also stress children and lead to irritability. Allow for some down time to enjoy the scenery, spend some quite time and reflect on your experiences or just snuggling as a family. If you do less, you will enjoy it more.
  5. Watch what your kids eat. -Many feel that vacation is a time to indulge, but too many sugary treats can lead to a child bouncing off the walls and then crashing into tears. In addition, many temper tantrums are a result of hunger and a child’s inability to communicate their feelings to you.

Family vacations are a chance to reconnect with your family and build lasting positive memories, and should not have to result in stress and frustration. Taking small steps to help children regulate themselves while on vacation will offer positive results.

Sources:

Parent Further; A Search Institutes Resource for Families.  Better Family Vacations.  Retrieved from http://www.parentfurther.com/resources/enewsletter/archive/better-vacations, June 2014

Walsh, D. (2013). Stress and Your Child’s Brain: Too Much, Too Little and the Resilience Sweet Spot, Retrieved from http://drdavewalsh.com/posts/165.

 

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

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@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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