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Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

Two people walking in the snow with a small dog

Getting outside is a wonderful thing to do any time of the year. The health benefits of spending time outdoors have been well documented and validated over the last four decades. For example, spending time in nature can improve your psychological wellbeing, lower your stress, and reduce your blood pressure. Although science shows all the positive ways being outside can benefit us, we also know that Americans spend 93% of their lives indoors. We challenge you to change this statistic and make plans to get outside this winter!

If you are looking for unique opportunities and ideas of what you can do outside during the colder months, consider these activities:

  • Go tubing, skiing, sledding, ice skating, and snowshoeing when there is snow on the ground. Of course, building snow forts and snowmen are also classic winter activities.
  • Find a safe place to have an outdoor fire. Invite friends and family over, bundle up, and sing or tell stories. Be sure to follow outdoor fire safety tips.
  • Watch the stars, planets, and moon during the dark winter months. Clear, cold nights are perfect for watching the night sky. Check out What’s Up: Skywatching Tips from NASA, an educational website full of great tips and resources.
  • Invite the birds into your yard. Providing bird seed and a heated water bath is sure to attract feather friends. If you enjoy birds and birdwatching, consider signing up for Project Feeder Watch and/or Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count.
  • Read a book about winter to the children in your life and then re-create the story in real life. To get ideas, check out The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats or Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.
  • Explore seasonal and holiday-themed opportunities. Many communities have light shows, ice rinks, and outdoor activities for you to enjoy during this time of the year. Check with your area parks, museums, zoos, and nature centers for events.

Before heading out, remember to follow these winter weather safety tips:

  • Monitor the weather and plan ahead.
  • Wear layers.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Protect your head, hands, and feet.
  • Wear sunglasses, apply sunscreen, and use a lip balm with sunscreen.

If you or someone you love has limited mobility or a difficult time getting outside, consider bringing nature closer to you and if possible, bring nature indoors. For example, if it snows, bring some snow inside in a plastic tub. You can also purchase a houseplant that has a seasonal scent, like rosemary or pine. A window bird feeder is another option. Each of these ideas is a way to enjoy the benefits of nature without leaving your house.

Every day is an opportunity to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer, even during these colder and darker months. Make it a priority to wonder and wander outdoors this winter!

Written by: Laura M. Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60.osu.edu  

Reviewed by: Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

Sources:

Gallup, S. (2021, May 19). Falling in Love with Nature. https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/05/19/falling-in-love-with-nature

Harvard Health Publishing (2018, December 1). The Wonders of Winter Workouts.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-wonders-of-winter-workouts

Kelpies, N. E., Nelson, W. C., Ott, W. R., Robinson, J. P., Tsang, A. M., Switzer, P., Behar, J. V., Hern, S. C., & Engelmann, W. H. (2001). The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants. Journal of exposure analysis and environmental epidemiology, 11(3), 231–252. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jea.7500165

Stanton, L. M. (2021, April 19). Get Out! Celebrate Nature on Earth Day and Every Day. https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/04/19/get-out-celebrate-nature-on-earth-day-and-every-day

Photo Credit: Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

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This time of year is prime for a tasty cup of cold cider… or even a steaming mug of hot mulled cider. Did you know that cider can be good for you? That’s right, apple cider is packed with nutrition and contains compounds that have many health benefits.

Basket of apples with mug of hot cider

What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? While both apple juice and apple cider come from juiced apples, cider has bits of apple pulp in it and may or may not be pasteurized. Apple juice has been filtered and pasteurized to kill bacteria.

Cider is packed with nutrition. At only 120 calories in an 8 ounce glass, it has several vitamins and minerals, such as: Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Apple cider contains antioxidants in the form of polyphenols, a plant-based compound. These antioxidants can lower the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease by helping the body to fight against free radicals and cell damage. Polyphenols may also help to decrease inflammation in the body.

Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Cider contains health-promoting phytonutrients that can  slow the oxidation process of bad cholesterol. This cholesterol contributes to buildup of plaque in arteries which increases the risk for heart disease.

Improve regularity. Because apple cider is not filtered like apple juice, it still contains a good amount of pectin. As a soluble fiber, pectin can help improve regularity and help with constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.

Hydrate. Apple cider is comprised mostly of water so it is easy to drink. You can dilute cider with water to reduce your sugar intake.

There are risks associated with drinking cider that has not been pasteurized. Unpasteurized cider could possibly contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli., especially if the cider was made from apples picked off the ground. Be sure to check the package label for pasteurization. If you are still unsure, you can heat your cider on the stove to a gentle boil, stirring to distribute heat.

For hot spiced cider, see this recipe from University of Illinois Extension:

  • 1 gallon naturally sweet apple cider
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon whole allspice

Tie cinnamon, cloves and allspice together in cheesecloth or use a coffee filter tied with string. Combine cider and brown sugar in a large pot. Add spices. Bring mixture to a slow boil. Then turn heat down and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove spice bag from pot. Serve hot cider in mugs. Spiced Apple Cider may be kept warm in a slow cooker on low setting. Yield 18 servings.

Try a glass of cider and drink to your health!

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

Sources:

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In a couple of weeks, my family and I will be sitting down to feast on sweets, side dishes, and TURKEY! To ensure everyone stays healthy and happy, I am going to debunk some turkey myths.

Myth #1 – You must rinse your turkey before cooking. According to the USDA, don’t wash the bird! Rinsing off the turkey increases the risk of cross-contamination. As water splashes, bacteria can be spread to your sink, countertops, and to already prepared foods. The exception to this rule is brine. If you are brining your turkey and need to rinse it, please make sure to remove all food items from the surrounding area before starting. After rinsing, be sure to wash the countertops and sink with hot soapy water and wash your hands for 20 seconds. To be extra careful, you can sanitize your surfaces with 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. It’s important to allow the surface to air dry completely before moving on to your next task.

Myth #2 – Those plastic pop-up thermometers are 100% accurate. Consumer Reports found that not all the 21 pop-up thermometers they tested in whole turkeys and turkey breast were accurate. Food experts at USDA recommend using a food thermometer instead. Make sure your food thermometer registers 165 ºF or higher in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast. You can be assured that the turkey is ready and safe to eat.

Myth #3 – Always choose white over dark meet because it is healthier. Turkey is a great source of protein. It has a low glycemic index, which means it won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike and it helps increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in your body. There are some nutritional differences, white meat (breast and wings) has fewer calories and fat than dark meat (legs and thighs) per serving, while dark meat has higher levels of zinc and iron. Depending on your current health, if you are cutting back on fat and calories, then white meat might be the better option. Otherwise, choose whatever type you like and enjoy!

Myth #4 – Turkey makes people sleepy. Turkey meat contains a lot of an amino acid called L-tryptophan. The brain changes L-tryptophan into serotonin, which helps calm us down and helps us sleep. However, scientists at Johns Hopkins think it isn’t just what we eat that makes us so sleepy on Thanksgiving (after all my turkey sandwich any other time of the year has no impact), it is the quantity. Consuming a large meal increases blood flow to our stomach and decreases blood flow to our brain. The increased intake of carbohydrates (which may impact our glycemic index), alcohol consumption, and the hustle and bustle of the day can lead to a desperate need for a nap. To decrease your fatigue you might choose to eat smaller portions/meals, decrease the intake of carbohydrates, limit alcohol consumption, and delegate holiday preparations as you are able.

Turkey time can be a happy and healthy time if you debunk these myths. If you are looking for tips on ways to cook a turkey and a guide on how to roast a turkey (frozen or fresh), the USDA has several resources available for free.

For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline – (1-888-674-6854), E-mail: mphotline@usda.gov

Happy turkey day!

Written by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Ph.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Perry County

Photo by DONALD COOK from FreeImages

Sources:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (N.D.). Does Eating Turkey Make Me Sleepy? Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/Patients-Families/Health-Library/HealthDocNew/Does-Eating-Turkey-Make-Me-Sleepy

Mayo Clinic. (2020, August 25). Nutrition and healthy eating. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/glycemic-index-diet/art-20048478

Rehman, A. (2021, July 6). What Is Tryptophan? Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/what-is-tryptophan

Umansky, D. (2016, November 22). Holiday Turkey: Should You Rely on a Meat Thermometer or a Pop-Up Timer? Consumer Reports. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/meat-thermometers/meat-thermometer-or-pop-up-timer-for-turkey/

University of Illinois Extension. (N.D.). Turkey for the Holidays – Nutrition. Retrieved from https://web.extension.illinois.edu/turkey/nutrition.cfm

University of Illinois Extension. (N.D.). Turkey for the Holidays – Using a Thermometer. Retrieved from https://web.extension.illinois.edu/turkey/thermometer.cfm

USDA. (2017, February 17). How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/11/22/how-cook-thanksgiving-turkey

USDA. (2015, September 28). Let’s Talk Turkey—A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/poultry/lets-talk-turkey-roasting

USDA. (2021, August 3). Tips and Resources for a Bacteria-Free Thanksgiving. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/11/22/tips-and-resources-bacteria-free-thanksgiving

USDA. (2017, February 21). To Wash or Not to Wash… Your Turkey? Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/11/21/wash-or-not-wash-your-turkey

USDA. (2019, October 22). Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/poultry/turkey-basics-safe-cooking

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (N.D.). Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/cholesterollevelswhatyouneedtoknow.html

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A cardboard sign at an event that reads "you'll die of old age, we'll die of climate change"

I’m sure you have heard the words climate change. Are you familiar with their meaning and impacts? Climate change describes a change in the average conditions, such as temperature and rainfall, in a region over a long period of time. Most people are aware of the affects of climate change on the world we live in including temperature, environment, air quality, and many others. Did you know climate change can impact our health? In 2015, former Director of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, publicly acknowledged climate change as an urgent public health issue. She stated “The evidence is overwhelming: climate change endangers human health. Solutions exist, and we need to act decisively to change this trajectory.”

According to the US Global Change Research Program, climate change affects human health in two ways:

  • It changes the severity and frequency of health problems that are already affected by climate and weather factors.
  • It creates unanticipated health problems or health threats in places where they have not previously occurred.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors and the affects they can have on our health. Rising temperatures, more extreme weather, rising sea levels and increasing carbon dioxide levels lead to a variety of conditions that affect our environment and ultimately our health. Listed below are some results of climate change and the impacts they can have on our physical and mental health:

  • Severe heat – injuries, fatalities, mental health issues
  • Air pollution – asthma, cardiovascular disease
  • Increasing allergens – respiratory allergies, asthma
  • Water quality impacts – bacteria and viruses in the water
  • Water and food supply impacts – malnutrition, diarrhea
  • Environmental degradation – forced migration, civil conflict, mental health issues
  • Extreme heat – heat-related illness and death, cardiovascular failure

How we live, work, and play together in our communities and cities can have a huge impact in tackling climate change. What can communities do to combat this issue?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Inspire, educate, and raise awareness on how our everyday behaviors affect the local environment and planet. Introduce people to actions they can implement into their daily routines to reduce their negative environmental impact. 
  • Encourage sustainable commuting – walking, biking, ride shares
  • Support local businesses who produce products and food locally
  • Address the needs of the most vulnerable
  • Reduce the use of energy in buildings
  • Recycle
  • Create wealth from waste – upcycle, practice responsible production and consumption patterns
  • Reclaim green spaces – community gardens, parks, green roofs, trees
  • Implement community sharing – some objects are not necessary to be owned by every household

Working together to curb the negative affects of climate change is going to take everyone working together. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember what’s good for our climate is good for our health, and what’s good for our health is good for our climate.

Written by Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Sources:

NASA Climate Kids. What is Climate Change? https://climatekids.nasa.gov/climate-change-meaning/

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Cities and Local Action to Combat Climate Change. https://unfccc.int/topics/education-youth/youth-engagement/global-youth-video-competition/global-youth-video-competition-2019/cities-and-local-action-to-combat-climate-change U.S. Global Change Research Program. Climate and Health Assessment. https://health2016.globalchange.gov/


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Cooked Salmon on a white plate wiht cauliflower mashed potatoes and green salad.

Did you know that fish is like a multivitamin for our brains? Fish and shellfish supply the nutrients, vitamins and omega-3s essential for brain development, strong bones, a healthy heart and immune system. This time of year, many people are looking for ways to “boost” their immune system . Good nutrition is extremely important in supporting a strong immune system, which can offer protection from some chronic health diseases. Unfortunately, even though eating fish is like a multivitamin for our brain, almost 90% of Americans, both children and adults, do not meet the recommendation for seafood! I have to admit, I too fall into that 90% group of not eating enough seafood each week and I absolutely love seafood.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating fish as part of a healthy eating pattern. It is recommended to eat at least 8 ounces of seafood, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the recommendations are to consume between 8 and 12 ounces per week of a variety of seafood from choices that are lower in mercury.

Here are some tips from seafoodnutrition.org that I plan to try this month to encourage my family to meet the seafood recommendations:

Eat a variety of seafood: Fish that is rich in omega-3s include tuna, salmon, trout, and sardines.  Grilling and broiling are great cooking methods and don’t forget to add some spices to enhance the flavor..

Keep seafood on hand: Be sure to stock your pantry with canned seafood. Canned salmon and tuna are tasty, healthy and easy to prepare. Keep frozen fish in the freezer for any easy meal. Kids love fish sticks!

Buy budget friendly:  It doesn’t have to be expensive to eat seafood. Check out weekly ads and sales, and buy in bulk. I personally like to buy several pounds of salmon and freeze into individual serving sizes for future use. The picture at the top of this blog is an example of this method after pulling out fish from my freezer and grilling it.

Put it on a salad or a sandwhich: Top a salad with canned tuna or salmon or use it for sandwiches in place of deli meats. You can also cook extra of your favorite fish and use the leftovers for another meal or two – a great way to get your seafood twice a week.

Keep seafood safe: Keep seafood refrigerated until ready to use and then cook fish to an internal temp of 145°F, until it easily flakes with a fork. Cook shrimp, lobster, and scallops until they are opaque (milky white).

I challenge you to be creative over the next month and eat seafood at least twice a week.

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, Zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Smith, MFN, RD, LD, CDCES

Sources:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/

Seafood Nutrition Partnership, http://www.seafoodnutrition.org

National Fisheries Institute, https://aboutseafood.com/

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This time of year can be more comfortable than the dog days of summer to work on cleaning projects around your home. There are many reasons that people choose to make their own cleaning mixtures. For some, it is the simple knowledge of what they are using. Unlike food labels, all ingredients on cleaning products are not required to be listed on the packaging.

Amber spray bottles with homemade cleaners

Some people are very sensitive to chemical compounds found in commercial cleaning products. According to University of Arkansas Extension Specialist Margaret Harris, about 16 percent of individuals are extremely sensitive to chemicals, easily breaking out in rashes or with other chronic ailments.

People may also be interested in making their own cleaners because of environmental concerns. There are certainly more “green” labeled products than there used to be. Unfortunately, they can also come with a hefty price tag. Therefore, another reason to make your own household cleaners is that the ingredients are relatively inexpensive.

There are several characteristics of different cleaner ingredients. One category is base or alkali, which are good for removing dirt, fat, and grease. In homemade cleaners, these ingredients are baking soda (mild), borax (moderate), and washing soda (strong).

Cleaners and ingredients including castille soap, hydrogen peroxide, salt, baking soda, borax, washing soda and a spray bottle

Acids are used to break down rust, mineral deposits, and hard water stains. They can also be good for glass, windows, and mold. Vinegar and lemon juice are common acids that can be used. Detergents loosen dirt and lift it up and out of the way. Washing soda and borax, as well as vegetable and coconut oils, act as detergents.

Just like they sound, abrasives wear off dirt by rubbing. Baking soda or salt can be used for this purpose. Bleaches and sanitizers can involve more than chlorine bleach. Milder sources that can whiten, remove stains, as well as reduce numbers of bacteria include sunlight, hydrogen peroxide, and tea tree oil.

One thing to remember with most homemade recipes is that they may take more contact time or elbow grease than some commercial cleaners. Patience and persistence are key. The University of Arkansas has several recipes available for a variety of cleaning purposes.

I appreciate that they have a mild, stronger, and strongest version for every situation. They recommend starting with the mildest formulation and increasing the strength of ingredients only when needed. Here is an example of all-purpose cleaners:

Mild All-Purpose Cleaner

½ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, ½ gallon hot water. Mix ingredients and pour into a spray bottle.

Strong All-Purpose Cleaner

2 tablespoons borax, ¼ cup white vinegar, 2 cups hot water. Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.

Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.”

Unknown

Extra Strength All-Purpose Cleaner

3 tablespoons white vinegar, ½ teaspoon washing soap, ½ teaspoon castile soap, 2 cups hot water. Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.

A few drops of essential oils could be added to any of these.

It is also helpful to know where to purchase some of these ingredients that we may not be as familiar with. Washing soda and borax are powders and are both located in the laundry section of the grocery store. Castile soap comes in liquid and bar form and can be found either with shampoos and hand soaps or in natural/organic sections of supermarkets. Happy cleaning!

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Melissa J. Rupp, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fulton County

Sources:

Harris, M. Clean and Green: Healthy Homes, Healthy People. University of Arkansas Extension Publication MP 492. https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/MP492.pdf

Keel, M. and Hinds, B. (2015) Make Your Home Healthy – Keep It Clean. University of Tennessee Extension Publication W318-A. https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W318-A.pdf

Rabe, M. (2015). Fall Cleaning. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2015/08/17/fall-cleaning/

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Soups, stews, casseroles, and stuffing. There are many popular recipes this time of year that call for the use of broths and stocks. Not sure of the difference between broths and stocks? One of our blogs has the answer. While not too expensive, you probably have everything you need to make your own broth at home- you might even be throwing it away! 

At home, we keep a freezer bag for storing our cooking scraps. The bottom and tops of celery, red and white onions, carrots, green onions, leftover herbs, a small piece of shriveling bell pepper that wasn’t used. When the bag becomes full, we dump it all into our pressure cooker, cover it with water, and in a short time, we have stock. This is also a wonderful time to look in the fridge and pantry for other items that might be good additions: garlic cloves, a knob of ginger, I’ve even added a softening apple to the pot. 

There are hundreds of recipes online promising the perfect proportion of ingredients to make the best vegetable broth. As a sustainable alternative, here’s my method for making vegetable broth at home from things you already have. Put fresh and/or frozen vegetables and herbs into a pot, cover with water, simmer for about an hour. If you’d like to speed up the process you could use a stove or countertop pressure cooker. Once the broth is to color and flavor you like, strain, and use in your favorite recipe. While not an exact science, this method allows for simple, free, clean-out the kitchen broth.

Another benefit of storing scraps in a freezer is that it allows flexibility to use the items when it fits into your schedule. In addition to the cost-savings, convenience, and eco-friendly benefits of making broth at home, there are health benefits as well. You can control the amount of salt going into the broth, and by doing so, into the final dish. So next time you are slicing and dicing your way to a delicious meal, consider saving your scraps to give them new life!

Sources:

Christensen, E. (2020, October 24). How to make vegetable stock (it’s so easy!). Kitchn. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-vegetable-stock-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-136725.

Riley, J. (2020, January 8). Broth versus stock. Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/02/03/broth-versus-stock/.

USDA. (n.d.). Recipes- Soups and Stews. MyPlate. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes?f%5B0%5D=course%3A127.

Author: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, woelfl.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Katie Schlagheck, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, Ohio State University Extension

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This fall has presented many challenges for my family with eating a nutritious dinner as one of them. With back-to-school, work, homework and my kids extra-curricular activities, we found ourselves hitting the drive-thru more times than not. While discussing my troubles with a co-worker, they recommended I dust off my slow cooker and put it to work. Duh! Why didn’t I think of that? I decided to take full advantage of my slow-cooker and gain back my nutrition, time, and sanity.

Collection of slow cooker recipes graphic

As humans, we want tried and true recipes that we know others enjoy. What better way to get that than to team up with your co-workers and turn it into a project! At the beginning of the month, my office teammates and I started a Facebook campaign of slow cooker recipes for the month of October. Every day we have been posting a slow cooker recipe that our families enjoy. Not only did we want to share recipes, we wanted to share educational information with them.

Prior to the recipe posts we started with some slow cooker safety tips:

1. Make sure everything is CLEAN.

2. Keep food COLD until it’s time to assemble.

3. DEFROST meat first. Never put frozen meat into your slow cooker.

4. Cut meat into SMALLER pieces.

After that information was posted on social media, I received a lot of comments related to thawing meat prior to slow cooking. You can find additional information on this topic in one of our previous blog posts: “Using Your Slow Cooker Safely”.

We’ve also been keeping all the recipes on our county website to make it easier for people to find and print them. The great thing is you will find a mixture of recipes! We have a collection of breakfast dishes, soups, drinks, desserts, appetizers, and entrees. With the month coming to an end, we are sad to see this project come to an end, but excited to start working on the next one!

Sources:

Goard, L. (2011, October 18). Using your slow cooker safely Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2011/10/18/using-your-slow-cooker-safely/

Jeffers, M.K. (2021, August 3). Cook slow to save time: four important slow cooker safety tips Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/10/24/cook-slow-save-time-four-important-slow-cooker-food-safety-tips?fbclid=IwAR31cTEAHJQ06p-sUCtrU4Ca2KkSNuPfHMBiBWTR7CqgQ_oy8oSQ_olhrlI

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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This fall I want to encourage you to do something you may have been scolded for at the dinner table as a youth; play with your food! Don’t worry, playing with your food as an adult won’t look the same.  We can sometimes get stuck in a rut when it comes to our food choices or find ourselves on autopilot eating the same foods or using the same recipes over and over. We want to remind you; it is possible to have fun with food even as an adult!  Just adding a few new twists can have you exploring new foods and having fun. May we suggest:

Play with a Cuisine: build some play into the types of cuisines you are trying. Start with creating a list of foods you enjoy or that sound interesting to you. Do you have a curry dish that you love from a local Indian restaurant? Look up a similar recipe online and try it at home. Been wanting to try a new cuisine? Ask around or look online for a restaurant that offers what you’re wanting to try. Adding new cuisines to your food routine can be a great way to include new flavors and textures, and those are NEVER boring!

Play with a Group: Food can be fun to enjoy at parties, or with friends and family. Food is often tied to great memories, family traditions, and other meaningful experiences. Invite a new group of people to join you to play with your food by trying a new restaurant or invite them over to enjoy a meal in your space. Connecting food to meaningful experiences and making new friends is an enjoyable way to play with your food. . . and make a new connection!

Play with a Seasonal Food: Using seasonal food is a great way to save money and try foods when they are showing off at the peak of their freshness.  This list can be a great way to help you know what is in season. Try playing with fresh fruits and vegetables in your favorite season.  Wander the produce section of the grocery store and make a point of picking out something you’ve never tried.  Finding a new food you love will pay off in a fun way for a long time.

Play with a Style: There are so many ways to prepare foods. If you’ve passed on food before, consider trying it again in a new way. Not a fan of steamed squash? Try it roasted in the oven with some fresh herbs. Didn’t love a cut of meat at first taste? Try it in a soup, stew, curry, or pasta dish. You could even play with a new cooking method or technique.  

Now that you are inspired to PLAY with new foods, techniques, and cuisines, we hope you find something new that you love!!

Resources:

Healthy Cooking Techniques: Boost flavor and cut calories. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-cooking/art-20049346

Seasonal Produce Guide. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County  barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

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pumpkin spiced drinkAre you a pumpkin spiced lover? Do you flock to the local coffee shop or bakery to pick up the latest pumpkin spiced treat? You are not alone, in 2019 the pumpkin spice market was worth over half a billion dollars in the US alone.  Some of the popular additions to the trend this year are candy, hot or cold drinks, baked goods or mixes, ice cream or cold treats, breakfast foods, and even alcoholic beverages.

True pumpkin, not just the flavoring, is packed with fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C. Just one cup of pumpkin can provide 50% of your daily recommendation for vitamin C and 450% for vitamin A in only 50 calories. The beta-carotene in pumpkin has been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and heart disease.

If you love pumpkin flavors and want to add a few pumpkin foods or treats to your diet, consider making them yourself. Not only will you save money, but you can also have better control on the calories, sodium, fat, and sugar. A typically Pumpkin Spiced Latte has anywhere from 170 to over 400 calories, but if you make this version from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach you can make a low-fat, natural sugar version for about 120 calories. The recipe even ends up being a good source of vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. Other pumpkin flavor ideas include:

  • Pumpkin Oatmeal – mix your oats with skim milk and ½ cup of pureed pumpkin. Add ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice or some cinnamon.
  • Pumpkin Smoothie – yogurt, pumpkin puree, chopped banana, ice, pumpkin pie spice, and a small amount of honey blended until smooth. Make it into a pumpkin smoothie bowl by leaving your smoothie a little thicker and sprinkling granola and a few other fruits on top.
  • Quick Pumpkin Soup – pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, skim milk, and basil, ground ginger, and garlic powder.  
  • Pumpkin Black Bean Chili – heat your pureed pumpkin, black beans, diced tomatoes, chopped veggies (onion, peppers, celery), with chicken broth and diced or canned chicken, and seasonings. Always look for the no salt added or low sodium versions of canned foods.

If you would like to pressure can your own pumpkin or winter squash my coworkers from the Ohio State University Extension Food Preservation Team recently did webinar full of tips. To access that information, go to: https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-people/food-preservation/office-hours-recordings  and click on Canning Winter Squash.

We can’t wait to hear your favorite ways to include pumpkin in your diet. Be sure to comment or share your favorite recipe or pumpkin tip.

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

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

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