Archive for August, 2015

Do you get confused when you go to the grocery store and look in the meat case? What does fresh, natural, no hormones or antibiotics, organic, or certified really mean? These definitions come from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) which oversee labeling of meat and meat products. The FSIS is responsible for accuracy and truthfulness in labeling of meat and poultry products. Grades of meat are not included in this list as many stores only carry one grade of meat. Different stores may carry different grades of meat, so if you shop more than one store you may find the meat in some stores of higher quality than in other stores.

First, we will look at terms you see on poultry products:
• Fresh means the poultry has never been below 26°F, which is the temperature at which poultry will freeze. Fresh poultry should always have the statement “Keep refrigerated” on the label.
• Never Frozen means the poultry has never been at zero degrees. photo 2
• Natural means it contains no artificial ingredients or added color and is minimally processed. If natural is used, the label should have a statement as to its meaning.regul
• No Hormones stated on the label is prohibited by law unless it is followed by a statement explaining “Federal ations prohibit the use of hormones.” In other words they can’t use hormones to raise any type of poultry.
• No Antibiotics can be used on the label if the grower provides sufficient documentation to the USDA demonstrating they raised the poultry without antibiotics.
• Cage-Free means the bird was not caged and could roam in a building or enclosed area.
• Free Range whole cooked turkeyor Free Roaming means the producers have provided the USDA with documentation that the poultry was allowed access to the outside.
• Fryer-Roaster Turkey is a young, immature turkey less than 16 weeks of age of either sex.
• Young Turkey is a turkey less than eight months of age of either sex.
• Hen or Tom Turkey designates sex of the turkey. Hen is female, and
tom is male.

Beef and Pork Terms
Fresh red meat cannot have been irradiated or treated with a substance that delays changes in color or with an antimicrobial substance. Fresh has to be a product that has not been canned, cured, dried or chemically preserved.
Grass-Fed meat has to have come from animals that received most of their nutrients from grass during their life-time. This does not limit the use of hormones, antibiotics or pesticides.
• No Added Hormones or Raised without Hormones can be on the label if the producers of the beef products provide sufficient documentation showing no hormones were used in raising the beef animals. Hormones are not allowed by law to be used in raising hogs.
• Certified means the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agriculture Marketing Service havegrill-beef evaluated a meat product for grade, class or other quality characteristics, such as “Certified Angus Beef.”
• Lean meat has to have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3.5 ounce serving.
• Extra Lean meat cannot have more than 5 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3.5 ounce serving.
• No Antibiotics or “no antibiotics added’ can be used on a label if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency assuring the animals were raised without antibiotics.
• Natural assures that the meat has only been minimally processed with no artificial ingredients or added color. The label needs to explain the meaning of the term natural, such as “no artificial ingredients.”
• Humane is a word not defined by a USDA definition and not regulated. Verification can vary widely.
• Kosher can only be used on meat products prepared under rabbinical supervision.
• Halal and Zabiah Halal products have been handled according to Islamic law and under Islamic authority.

All these terms can leave us confused and not sure what is the best product for our money. Use this list to make yourself aware of what terms you feel are important for yourself and your family. You may want to write them on your grocery list or make a list on your phone, which you can use at the store when you shop.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.


Read Full Post »

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day – that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt!  Most Americans eat an average of 3,300 mg of sodium daily! http://www.cdc.gov/salt/

You should reduce your intake further to 1500 mg per day if you are in any of the following population groups who have been shown to be more susceptible to sodium’s blood pressure-raising effects.

  • People with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease                    image001
  • African-Americans
  • People ages 51 and older
    • Read the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in the foods you are considering. All Americans should consume less than 100% of the Daily Value or less than 2400 mg of sodium each day. Check the label for lower sodium choices and compare sodium in different brands of foods — like frozen meals, packaged soups and choose those with lower sodium,
    • Prepare your own food when you can.  Don’t salt foods before or during cooking, and limit saltshaker. Only a small amount of the sodium we consume each day comes from the salt shaker.
    • Add Flavor Without Adding Sodium. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to your foods.
    • Get FRESH when you can. Buy fresh or frozen (not processed) poultry, pork and lean meat rather than canned, smoked or processed meats like luncheon meats, sausages and corned beef. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
    • Watch your veggies. Buy fresh, frozen (without sauce), or low sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables.
    • Give sodium the “rinse.” Rinse sodium-containing canned foods, such as tuna, vegetables, and beans before using. This removes some of the sodium.
    • Examine your dairy products. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soy beverages (often called soymilk).
    • Choose “Unsalted” snacks. Choose unsalted nuts and seeds, and snack products such as chips and pretzels.
    • Consider your condiments. Sodium in soy sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, and seasoning packets can add up. Choose lite or reduced sodium soy sauce and no-salt-added ketchup, add oil and vinegar to a salad rather than bottled salad dressings, and use only a small amount of seasoning from flavoring packets instead of the entire packet.
    • Eating Out: Choose a lower-sodium option. Ask for sauces and salad dressings be served “on the side,” then use less of them. Reduce your portion size – less food means less sodium! For example, ask the server to put half of your meal in a take out container before it comes.

    Start today in taking small steps that can have big results for good health!

    Author: Marie Economos, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Trumbull County, Western Reserve EERA, economos.2@osu.edu

    Review: Beth Stefura, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu






Read Full Post »

Many of us know we should be eating fruits and vegetables. However, few of us are actually getting the recommended intake.  In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 76% of adults do not meet fruit recommendations of 1.5-2 cups per day. Additionally, 87% of adults do not meet vegetable recommendations of 2-3 cups per day. When the CDC examined children’s’ eating habits, they found 60% did not meet fruit recommendations and 93% did not meet vegetable recommendations.  One could say “the apple does not fall far from the tree. “No pun intended! However, these statistics suggest that neither adults nor kids are  getting an adequate intake of important nutrients found in fruits and vegetables such as fiber, vitamins A, C, and potassium.


Do you ever feel short on time to prepare fruits and vegetables to your meal?  I know for me this can be a struggle. However, the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s website has over 300 recipes that take 30 minutes or less. Why not check  out Produce for Better Health Foundation’s website today and add more produce to you and your family’s diet!

quick and easy roasted veggies


Another great resource for recipes is the United States Department Of Agriculture ” What’s Cooking ” USDA Mixing Bowl.

Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes:

Makes: 6 servings

Total Cost: $4.54

Serving Cost: $0.76



5 sweet potatoes (cooked)

4 apples

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup margarine

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons honey


1. Boil 5 sweet potatoes in water until they are almost tender.

2. After the sweet potatoes cool, peel and slice them.

3. Peel the apples. Remove the cores, and slice the apples.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

5. Grease the casserole dish with butter or margarine.

6. Put a layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom of the dish.

7. Add a layer of apple slices.

8. Add some sugar, salt, and tiny pieces of margarine to the apple layer.

9. Repeat steps 6, 7, and 8 to make more layers of sweet potatoes, apples, and sugar/salt.

10. On the top layer of apples, sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar and margarine pieces.

11. Sprinkle the top layer with nutmeg.

12. Mix the hot water and honey together. Pour the mix over the top layer.

13. Bake for about 30 minutes until apples are tender.

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County. Erie Basin EERA

Reviewed by: Daniel Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness


  1. Moore LV, Thompson FE. Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations – United States, 2013. Center for Disease Control Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. July 10, 2015; 64(26):709-713.
  2. Zies S. Fruits and vegetables are a convenience for busy people! Ohio State University Extension: Family and Consumer Sciences Fact Sheet.  

Read Full Post »

sd2I’m lucky because the majority of my teaching time with OSU is spent primarily in a standing position.  But I also spend the occasional day in my office sitting in front of a computer. I would much rather stand than sit, so I finally took the bull by the horns and invested in a standing desk. If you’ve been encouraged by previous postings to do likewise, my standing desk “sleuthing” will give you a head start in the research department.

I have a fairly large office with a cool antique oak desk for non-technical work and a separate “table-like” desk that holds my computer/printer equipment.  I still prefer working on a desktop; I know laptops are all the rage but I just cannot work comfortably on one for long stretches of time. So my search for the perfect standing option had to “marry well” with my personal work station.


What Option Should You Choose?

You’ll be amazed at how many innovations are currently available for elevating your work station. I narrowed my search down to two fairly unobtrusive ones. The first option was an adjustable table-like desk, very similar to what my computer already sits on. Two upside-down, T-type legs with a top is the best way to describe it.  But unlike mine, an adjustable desk has mechanisms that move the legs from sitting height to standing height and back again.

Sit/stand desks are raised and lowered by (1) a hand-crank (the cheapest), (2) electronics, or (3) a hydraulic/pneumatic mechanism (most expensive). Electronic desks are currently the most popular choice for efficiency and cost reasons. They can hold up to several hundred pounds, and range in price from $500-$4000.

Since I already had a desk that resembled the sit/stand desk, I decided to go with option two, which is an adjustable station you place on your existing desk ($250-500 range). It is a great way to transform your regular desk into one where you can stand and sit. The station comes in different finishes and has a 28- by 24-inch base level that holds the keyboard and mouse.  A second, smaller elevated level holds the monitor.stand

When you want to stand, you adjust a knob that pneumatically raises the two platforms together, so they glide up to the proper level. When you feel like going back to sitting, you just bring the platform back down. The adjustable station meets my personal needs perfectly, but if you are interested in making a similar investment, I recommend you view multiple sites and read customer reviews before making a purchase.


Why Stand?

Sitting all day, every day, is bad for you. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic was one of the first researchers to document the hazards of sitting. Unfortunately, many Americans sit all day at work and then all evening at home.  But even people who exercise on a daily basis and then sit the rest of the day in their car, couch, and/or desk are at risk.  Sitting most of the day raises your risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and potentially an early death.

If your lifespan or risk for chronic disease isn’t enough of a motivating factor to get you upright, consider this:  standing instead of sitting helps promote weight loss. Replacing an hour or two of sitting time with standing time will help burn extra calories.  There are also posture issues, butt issues, and spinal concerns to consider. Whether your future includes a standing desk or not, please commit to stand more and sit less. Your body will thank you.


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


Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu








Read Full Post »

Fall Cleaning

Most of us think about cleaning in the Spring when sunlight starts streaming into our house and the accumulated dust bunnies and fingerprints take center stage. Even though this is considered the traditional time for a thorough cleaning, I’ve always been a fan of fall cleaning! After a summer full of open windows and busy schedules, the inside of our homes can use some “TLC”.

Some high-points of a good cleaning should include:                                    wash_cutting_board_lo

• The Kitchen:
o The refrigerator. Remove all of the contents and shelves and wash with an antibacterial cleaner. Check expiration dates on the food items while you have them out. Don’t forget the door seal and the outside of the refrigerator. Use a vacuum cleaner on the coils to keep your refrigerator working at top performance. Clean the top too!
o The stove. If you have a self-cleaning oven follow the directions in your manual. If you don’t have a self-cleaner, you can purchase oven cleaner or leave a cup of ammonia in the oven overnight which will soften the residue. Don’t forget to wear gloves and keep windows open. Follow the recommended suggestions for cleaning the outside surfaces and don’t forget to clean under the stove also.
o The microwave. This can be dirty both inside and out. Boil a cup of water in the microwave to help loosen stuck on foods.
• The Bedrooms
o Wash all bedding – including mattress covers, dust ruffles, blankets and pillow covers.
o Wash curtains and other window coverings such as mini-blinds which tend to be true dust magnets.
o Use the attachments on your vacuum to clean the mattress and box springs and any other upholstered furniture in the bedroom.
o Move and vacuum behind and under the bed and other furniture.
• All rooms
o Clean any ceiling fans and lights in the rooms
o Wipe the inside and outside of your doors – they are touched many times during the day and accumulate fingerprints and dirt.
o Wash inside and outside of windows.

• Lastly, don’t forget your trash cans and recycling bins. Scrub them inside and outside.

Does this feel overwhelming? Too much to accomplish? If so, take it one room or project at a time and conquer your fall cleaning. Your home will be sparkling clean and fresh smelling! The holidays will be here before you know and you will be ahead of the game if you do a thorough cleaning now!

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu
Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Clean Ideas: Fall Cleaning. Cleaning Institute

Household Hints and Help. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension http://lancaster.unl.edu/home/articles/2005/fallcleaning.htm

5 Tips for Cleaning for Fall. How stuff works.com

Read Full Post »

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, those of us with primarily office-based jobs tend to do an awful lot of sitting. Research has consistently shown that too much sitting is associated with several risks to our health, including reduced blood flow, spinal issues related to hunching over a desk, and lack of activity which is linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease and a shorter lifespan.

As more people have taken notice of this research, some workers have been conscious about standing up regularly to take breaks from sitting throughout the day, using the stairs more often than the elevator, astanding desknd even having standing or walking meetings. I recently decided to take it one “step” further and invest in a standing desk. I now stand all day instead of sitting! Of course, there are times when I sit, but the majority of my day is spent standing up and working. After all, I do enough sitting in the car, during meals, and while watching TV or reading in the evening.

One immediate benefit I have noticed since I began using my standing desk is that the tension that I used to carry in my upper back and shoulders has been relieved. I believe this is a result of no longer sitting in the “computer” position, hunched over my screen for excessive amounts of time. (I have heard this condition referred to as ‘tech neck’). I also notice that since I started standing at work, I have a decreased feeling of the ‘afternoon drag’, where I feel my energy start to get low, which – whether I realized it or not – very likely affected my productivity. Now at my standing desk, I find my energy level is more consistent and that sleepy feeling after lunch seems to have disappeared. A similar experience with transitioning to a standing desk is reported in Harvard Business Review.

An added bonus to standing is more calories burned during the day. A research study from the University of Chester in the UK showed that standing promotes a higher heart rate – on average, about ten beats per minute higher than the average sitting heart rate. This translates to .7 calories per minute – or about 50 calories per hour. Replacing sitting with standing for about three hours per day over the course of a year would burn about an extra 30,000 calories, or about eight pounds of fat! If you add to that all of the other benefits of standing more, such as improved blood glucose level regulation, strengthening muscles, and increased balance, you might consider wheeling your office chair right out the door!

Author: Joanna Rini, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Medina County. rini.41@osu.edu

Reviewer: Candace Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Morrow County. heer.7@osu.edu





Read Full Post »


Why should we be aware?

  • Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry contributing jobs for one in seven Ohioans, and more than $107 billion to the state’s economy. (ohioproud.org)
  • Ohio offers a unique proximity of metropolitan and micropolitan areas, linking rural and urban consumers, growers and communities to food produced on small, medium and large-scale family-owned farms.
  • Ohio ranks in the top ten states for direct sales to consumers represented by a wide variety of food products including but not limited to eggs, milk, cheese, honey, maple syrup, beverages, bread and other artisan products, fresh, frozen canned and dried vegetables, fruits and meats. (USDA Ag Census, 2012.)
  • One in six Ohioans is food insecure and lacks access to fresh, local, healthy food.
  • All Ohioans are part of the food system just by making daily decisions about what food to eat.

There is not one definition for “local” food. When making food decisions, many people consider where their food was grown or raised and make an effort to develop personal connections with growers and producers to enjoy flavorful, safe, local food. Ohio Local Foods week is not only about enjoying the tastes of local foods but is also about becoming more aware and better informed about the nutritional, economic, and social benefits of local foods in Ohio.

Even during wintertime, Ohio local food is available, whether it is fresh produce grown with season extenders or crops that can be held for long periods of time in cold/cool storage as well as baked, canned, frozen and dried foods. August is a great time to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week because of the availability of direct-to-consumer marketing of all products including a wide variety of fresh produce.

The Ohio State University Extension Local Food Signature Program invites everyone to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week from August 9th – 15th, 2015. We encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to grow, purchase, highlight and promote local food all the time but especially during this week. I personally have a CSA (community supported agriculture) share at a local farm that I pick up every Monday. I also try to shop at my local farmer’s markets or fruit and vegetable stands. I also enjoy freezing a lot of my local produce so I can enjoy it all year long. There is nothing better than homemade strawberry jam or a side of sweet corn in the middle of our long Ohio winters!

Just as there is no one definition for “local,” there is no one way to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week. Even though I prepaid for my CSA, I still plan to spend more than $10 buying extra sweet corn and some blueberries at my Farmer’s Market this week. You are invited to participate in the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge by committing to spend at least ten dollars (or more) on your favorite local foods during Ohio Local Foods Week. Look for regional community events, follow the event on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up at http://go.osu.edu/olfw10dollars for the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge. Even though I prepaid for my CSA, I still plan to spend more than $10 buying extra sweet corn and some blueberries at my Farmer’s Market this week.


Not sure where to find local foods or interested in finding new places? Here are some ideas to get started. You can also find an online summary of food directories. You can also check out events throughout the state. Let us know how you are celebrating Ohio Local Foods Week. Share your pictures and stories with us on Facebook or Twitter. #olfw15.

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: Patrice Powers-Barker, CFLE, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County, Maumee Valley EERA, powers-barker,1@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »