Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

A great way to celebrate Earth Day is spending time outside and connecting with nature. Time in nature offers an easy and inexpensive way to increase your happiness, improve your mood, and feel part of something larger than yourself. Studies have shown that getting outside can:

  • Improve your memory and attention: After just an hour interacting with nature, memory performance and attention spans improved by 20%. In workplaces designed with nature in mind, employees are more productive and take less sick time.
  • Heal: Patients in hospital rooms with a view of trees had shorter stays and less need for pain medications compared to patients with views of brick.
  • Improve psychological well-being: Joggers who exercised in a natural green setting felt less anxious, angry, or depressed than people who jogged in an urban setting.
Child running outside under flowering trees

We also know from research that children who spend time outdoors are more likely to develop positive environmental attitudes and behaviors as adults. One of the best ways you can take care of our planet is to encourage children and youth to get outside.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, has created an expansive list of activities to encourage children to spend more time outdoors. Here are just a few ideas you can try with your children or grandchildren:

  1. Maintain a birdbath, grow native plants, or build a bat house. For more ideas, read National Audubon Society’s Invitation to a Healthy Yard.
  2. Collect lightning bugs at dusk and release them at dawn.
  3. Keep a terrarium or aquarium and learn about the plants and animals you observe.
  4. Be a cloud spotter; build a backyard weather station. A young person just needs a view of the sky. Check out The Kid’s Book of Weather Forecasting for more ideas.
  5. Encourage a “green hour” every day. Give kids a daily green hour that includes time outside, unstructured play, and interaction with the natural world.
  6. Collect stones. Even the youngest children love gathering rocks, shells, and fossils. Read Rock and Fossil Hunter by Ben Morgan together.
  7. Learn about and raise butterflies. Consider purchasing a monarch rearing kit and growing milkweed so you can hatch and release your own butterflies.
  8. Hang up a bird feeder and watch birds. Have them close their eyes and just listen. For more tips, check out National Audubon Society’s Easy Ways to Get Kids Birding and Bird Sleuth Investigator from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

No matter what you do while you are outdoors, remember that simply going outside is the most important step. Despite all the positive benefits of being outdoors, according to the EPA, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. On this Earth Day, make a pledge to get out more and bring some young people with you. Nurturing the next generation of our planet’s caretakers is a perfect way to celebrate!

References:

Bratman, G. N., Daily, G. C., Levy, B. J., & Gross, J. J. (2015). The benefits of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition. Landscape and Urban Planning, 138, 41-50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005

Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Taylor, A. & Kuo, M. (2006). Is contact with nature important for healthy child development? state of the evidence. Children and their Environments: Learning, Using and Designing Spaces. 124-140.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511521232.009

Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224 (4647), 420–421. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.6143402

Wells, N. M. & Lekies, K. S., (2006). Nature and the life course: Pathways from childhood nature experiences to adult environmentalism. Children, Youth and Environments, 16 (1), 41663.

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.

Read Full Post »

“Finish your vegetables before you can leave the table” was a daily mantra my mother had for me at our dinner table. It always seemed like it was her objective in life to force those vegetables that simply could not compare to the extremely over-sweetened treats that had spoiled my taste buds. I never understood why I had to eat her under-seasoned steamed carrots or corn, and now my mother is still unable to give a solid explanation why she wanted me to eat my vegetables. She had been told from her mother to eat her vegetables and this has been shared from mother to child over time.  The more I have learned about nutrition, the more I understand just how important vegetables are in our diet.

basket of fresh vegetables

Eating the same steamed vegetables can be boring but using seasonal vegetables and making dishes with many colorful vegetables are much more enjoyable. One dish I enjoyed trying with vegetables as the star was a vegetable galette. Of course, when making a dish with many vegetables it is more economical, convenient and tasty to use vegetables that are in season. A salad with out-of-season tomatoes will simply not compare to fresh tomatoes grown in the summer. Before trying a new vegetable, be sure to check if they are in season. Eating vegetables in season means that your diet will change throughout the year and you will have new and different recipes to try out!

Vegetables not only provide many different flavors and color to a dish; they are also a vital part of a healthy diet. Vegetables provide important nutrients like: fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can have a positive impact on our health. High fiber foods like vegetables have been shown to decrease cholesterol, help regulate blood sugar, and increase fullness. Trying out different seasonal vegetables and using them in different recipes is a fun way to eat healthier.

About the author: Landon Griffin is a senior Nutrition and Food Science-Dietetics dietetics student at Middle Tennessee University with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He works as a dietetic aide at NHC Healthcare and on the MT Nutrition Team. In fall 2020, he will attend Eastern Illinois University for a Master of Science Nutrition and Dietetics. In the future, he wants to work with athletes to help them reach their full potential through nutrition.

Author: Landon Griffin, senior dietetics student at Middle Tennessee State University, future dietetic intern at Eastern Illinois University

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

Sources:

Maynard, D.N. and G. Hochmuth. 1997. Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers 4th Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York. Retrieved from: https://extension.psu.edu/seasonal-classification-of-vegetables

Retrieved from: https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/vegetables

Holly Larson. March 1, 2021. EatRight. Retrieved from: https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/easy-ways-to-boost-fiber-in-your-daily-diet

Read Full Post »

People eating breakfast

I have a routine that I begin each day with that includes brushing my teeth, working out, showering, getting dressed, fixing breakfast then heading out the door to go to work or teleworking from home. We all have actions that get our day started no matter what time it begins. Routines can lead to habits which can be positive or negative depending on the choices we make. Because routines are habitual, we don’t often evaluate whether they are positive or negative.

Do you usually grab a granola or protein bar in the morning? Or do you find yourself buying a pastry or sandwich when you stop for coffee or gas? Maybe you have a habit of sitting down to eat breakfast. Or maybe you don’t typically eat breakfast at all!

Take a moment today to think about the breakfast choices that start your day. Consider taking a break from your breakfast routine and try something different for a week or two.

Need ideas?

  • Make breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos at home. You can prep them ahead of time by scrambling eggs, adding in your favorite veggies, and refrigerating them overnight or until ready to eat. In the morning, just heat the eggs in the microwave and place into a tortilla for a breakfast wrap along with other toppings like cheese or salsa. 
  • Add fruit to your favorite morning drink or breakfast bar. Grab a fresh orange, apple or banana; a cup of applesauce or canned, diced fruit; or serve yourself a bowl of sliced berries or melon.
  • Try a new recipe such as Banana and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, Granola and Yogurt Parfaits, or No Bake Breakfast Cookies

For more ideas, view these OSU Extension videos on Food Prep for Breakfast and Breakfast Made Easy.

What you eat can set the tone for the day. Eating breakfast will help you perform better throughout the day by helping with concentration, problem solving and even eye-hand coordination. In addition, eating breakfast can raise your energy level, mood and overall health! Those who eat a morning meal tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day compared to those who skip breakfast.

Writer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Pike County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

Ellis, E. (2020). 5 Reasons your teen needs breakfast. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-reasons-your-teen-needs-breakfast

OSU Wexner Medical Center (2017). Improve your mood everyday: Just Eat Breakfast. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/improve-your-mood-just-eat-breakfast

Read Full Post »

Picture of a family holding hands and the 1943 USDA bulletin with the words National Wartime Nutrition Guide. U. S. Needs US Strong, Eat the Basic 7 Every Day.

In January, I wrote about the newly introduced Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, did you know that the United States Department of Agriculture has been providing dietary recommendations for well over 100 years? The first dietary advice by USDA was a Farmers Bulletin created in 1894, by W. O. Atwater. Atwater was the first person to publish tables of food composition and dietary standards. He recommended diets for American males based on protein, carbohydrate and fat content and their minerals. Interestingly, many minerals and vitamins were not even known back in 1894. The concept of eating a variety of foods, eating a well balanced diet, watching portion sizes and moderation for health and well being is the basis for today’s Dietary Guidelines, and its roots go way back to 1894.

If we look at dietary guidance over the years, some have certainly changed, however, many things still resonate today. In the 1920’s the government was concerned about food safety and foodborne Illness was prevalent in the USA. Our refrigeration technology was certainly not what it is today. For example, not all Americans had a refrigerator with a freezer. Therefore, perishable products such as milk and meat would go bad quickly. As we moved to the 1930’s there were more advancements in science and nutrition. We learned more about vitamins and minerals and their role in the body. In 1943, USDA released the Basic Seven Food Guide, a publication called the National Wartime Nutrition Guide. The Basic Seven advised choosing specific foods such as green/yellow vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, milk and milk products.

After World War II, USDA developed Food and Fitness- A Daily Food Guide. This publication focused on four groups; milk, vegetables and fruit, bread and cereal. It focused on eating with family, healthy meals and budgeting. This was the first time serving sizes were introduced. In 1977, the Dietary Goals of Americans was released. The focus was to address the issue of Americans consuming too much sugar, fat and salt. In 1980, the first Dietary Guidelines as we know it today was published “Nutrition and Your Health- Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” Since then, USDA has published recommendations on Dietary Guidelines every five years, to the most recent Dietary Guidelines 2020 to 2025.

The format of these documents have evolved from  paper copy bulletins, websites, blogs, pictorial images such as My Pyramid and MyPlate. Yet, USDA has been providing dietary guidance for over a century. The research has certainly expanded over the years to keep up with todays lifestyles and food consumption. However, in spite of all these rapid changes, the more things change, the more they resemble the past.

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, Program Coordinator, OSU Extension, Wood County, Smith.11604@osu.edu

Sources:

  • History of the Dietary Guidelines | Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Dietaryguidelines.gov. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/about-dietary-guidelines/history-dietary-guidelines. Published 2021. Accessed March 1, 2021.
  • Jahns L, Davis-Shaw W, Lichtenstein A, Murphy S, Conrad Z, Nielsen F. The History and Future of Dietary Guidance in America. Advances in Nutrition. 2018;9(2):136-147. doi:10.1093/advances/nmx025
  • https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/42215/5831_aib750b_1_.pdf
  • Schneeman B. Evolution of dietary guidelines. J Am Diet Assoc. 2003;103(12):5-9. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2003.09.030
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

Read Full Post »

As I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a meme that said, “Laughter is like a windshield wiper, it doesn’t stop the rain but allows us to keep going.” I had not thought of laughter like that, but I recently found this saying to be accurate.

Life is well, unpredictable. Sometimes you laugh your way through the day because there were many joyous or humorous events. Other times if you did not laugh at the obstacles thrown at you, you would cry. Why does laughter have a healing property? And if laughter is the best medicine, why don’t we laugh more?

Laughter therapy is not new, in fact it has been unofficially in practice for centuries. However, in the past 70 years more research has been focused on the use of laughter to help relieve pain, stress, and anxiety and improve a person’s sense of overall well-being. Researchers have found laughter may significantly increase a person’s level of hope. The hope the person felt helped reduce the severity of the stressors in their life.

Biologically, the act of laughter increases your oxygen levels, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases endorphins, or happy juice, released by your brain. This results in a good, tranquil feeling that sooths tension and aids in muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce the physical symptoms of stress.

Spontaneous laughter, also known as genuine laughter, in addition to psychological benefits, has been linked to increase tolerance of pain in both adults and children.  Self-induced, or simulated laughter, like that practiced in Laughter Yoga, has shown decreases in blood pressure, cortisol levels, depressive symptoms, and an increase the perception of life satisfaction.

So how can you increase your daily dose of laughter?

They Mayo Clinic suggests you can try:

  • Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos, greeting cards or comic strips, that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office. Keep funny movies, books, magazines or comedy videos on hand for when you need an added humor boost. Look online at joke websites. Go to a comedy club.
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
  • Consider trying laughter yoga. In laughter yoga, people practice laughter as a group. Laughter is forced at first, but it can soon turn into spontaneous laughter.
  • Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
  • Knock, knock. Browse through your local bookstore or library’s selection of joke books and add a few jokes to your list that you can share with friends.

Your challenge is to pick a way to incorporate laughter into your daily life. You just might find, like a wiper blade, it does not stop the rain, but it can make the journey much more enjoyable.

Written by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, CFLE, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Lucas County

Sources

Dexter, L., Brook, K. & Frates, E. (2016). The Laughter Prescription. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicate. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125057/

Texas A&M University. “Humor Can Increase Hope, Research Shows.” ScienceDaily. Feb. 11, 2005. (June 1, 2009) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211095658.htm

The Mayo Clinic. (2019, April 5). Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

University of California – Los Angeles.(2009, June 1). Watching Funny Shows Helps Children Tolerate Pain Longer, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024100905.htm

Read Full Post »

Spring is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts. It is a good time to take inventory of our health, financial, and relationship habits to consider what personal spring cleaning may be in order.

A few years ago, I came across the phrase “future self.” The concept is the way we see ourselves at some point in the future impacts our behavior today. When you think of yourself 5, 10, or 20 years into the future, who do you see? Our thoughts, actions, and behaviors today directly affect who we will become in the future.

Coins in glass pot with a green plant growing out

Hal Herschfield is a researcher of behavioral finance. He and his colleagues asked 1,500 people how similar they felt to their future self. Some people imagined themselves in the future regularly. Others felt distant from this future person. They tended to think more about the present without considering its impact on the future. The study found that people who felt most similar to their future selves had accumulated the most assets over time, even taking into account factors like age, education, and  income.

When you think about your current habits and attitudes, where is your trajectory leading you? Research shows us that there are best practices to aim for to give us better opportunities to experience healthy and vibrant lives as we age. We hear about things we should do all the time. However, it is a juxtaposition as American individuals desire to be unique and independent and not compare ourselves to others. However, comparing yourself to health and wealth benchmarks could help add years to your life, or at least a better quality life to your years.

Older couple fast dancing

Try this spring-cleaning inventory with a simple check-in regarding your health, your finances, and your relationships:

  • What are your numbers compared to recommendations for blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels?
  • How are you doing eating the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits recommended for adults to consume each day?
  • How much physical activity do you engage in over a week compared to the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate activity?
  • In the event of an emergency do you have enough money in your emergency savings to pay for 3 months of household expenses?
  • How are you doing with debt? Try calculating your debt-to-income ratio to see. The benchmark is below 0.15 or 15 percent.
  • Are you keeping up with friends and family? Are you investing time into the lives of your children, adult children, grandchildren, and other friends and neighbors?
Three generations, grandmother, mother and daughter knitting together

If you are not where you want to be with some of these questions right now, are you moving in the right direction? Choose just one to “spring clean” during the month of April. We may not have arrived yet, but we can be on an intentional journey to the future self we imagine.

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, OSU Extension

Sources:

Hershfield., Hal. “Considering the future self”. Hal Hershfield. 2020. https://www.halhershfield.com/considering-the-future-self .

O’Neil, Barbara and others. “Compare Yourself with Recommended Benchmarks”. Small Steps to Health and Wealth™. New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 2021.https://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/workbook/13_Compare_Yourself_With_Recommended_Benchmarks.pdf .

Powell, Sharon. “How much debt is too much?” Home and financial management. University of Minnesota Extension. 2020. https://extension.umn.edu/credit-and-debt/how-much-debt-too-much-debt#sources-652860

Read Full Post »

A little over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and we are all probably familiar with the symptoms of this disease. According to the CDC, fever, cough, body chills, muscle soreness are some of the symptoms of COVID-19. Many of these symptoms are the same as the common cold or seasonal flu, expect for one… the loss of taste and smell.

About 86% of people who test positive for COVID-19 report losing their ability to taste or smell. Scientists are looked for an inexpensive and consumer-friendly way to track our sensitivity to taste and smell to measure COVID in the community.

Researchers at Ohio State University have found a potential solution- candy! In a new study, researchers plan to distribute candy that is the same size and color but is actually eight different flavors. Each day the participants will smell and then eat one piece of candy. Participants will track the smell, taste, and flavor strength of the candy in an app. If there is a difference in the participants report, the app will ask them to quarantine and to schedule a COVID test. The hypothesis is that the candy could be used as a useful tool to capture the loss of sense of smell or taste.  

A sense of smell is often overshadowed by other senses, we do not even have great words to describe different smells! Unless you have experienced a sudden loss of smell yourself, you may not even have realized how much it colors the world around us.  Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 later express a newfound appreciation for a sense of smell.

Before going to work my partner and I must track symptoms like temperature and sense of smell to report it to our employers. In addition to taking our temperatures, we have also started smelling things with a distinct scent, like coffee or kimchi to test our sense of smell. Have you started checking your sense of smell? Would you be willing to add “eat a piece of hard candy” to your to-do list if it could predict early signs of COVID infection?


Written by: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Cuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Darke County, Scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

We all know we’re supposed to eat healthy, but how often do we use the excuse that it’s just too expensive? Fresh, perishable food and shelf-stable food can have a vast difference in price. Let’s look at canned tomatoes versus fresh tomatoes. My local grocer carries a national brand of 14.5-ounce canned diced tomatoes for 99 cents. Fresh tomatoes from the same grocery store sell for $2.49 per pound or roughly, $1.40 each. By volume, you end up with about the same amount of product: approximately ½ cup.

Canned tomatoes on a shelf

So why the huge difference in price? At the time of writing this article it’s late February here in Nashville, Tennessee. Tomatoes, being out of season, are going to be more expensive this time of year compared to any other. Have you noticed that tomatoes in February just aren’t as good as tomatoes in July? The tomatoes that get sold in the grocery store throughout the winter are typically grown and harvested in warmer parts of the country, namely Florida. They are picked before they fully ripen; while still green or at what’s called the breaker stage where the tomato is breaking in color from green to yellowish-red. They are then washed, cooled, and stored in warehouses awaiting distribution. This process is costly for the farmer and ultimately those costs are passed on to you, the consumer.

Fresh tomatoes

So why do growers use this procedure instead of allowing tomatoes to ripen on the vine? It would taste better, but the tomatoes would decompose by the time they reached the grocery store shelves. Another reason is to keep up with demand. In the United States we expect to see tomatoes at the grocery store any day of the week, any time of year. Additionally, produce is grown and sold based on how they look and not on how they taste. The trick to eating fresh, great tasting, healthy foods on a budget is eating locally and seasonally. The less time a tomato (or any produce) spends traveling from the farm to your plate, the more nutrients it retains. When fruits and vegetables start to decompose, so do those beneficial nutrients. We may have to wait until the summer to enjoy a juicy tomato around here but in the meantime, our local farmers are producing hearty root vegetables and nutrient-dense leafy greens. Skip the expensive, mealy grocery store tomato and enjoy this sweet potato and kale with grits dish instead. Check your local farmer’s markets for seasonally available foods in your area. It will be lighter on the wallet and heavier on the nutrition.

Sources:

Boyhan, G. E., & Coolong, T. (2019, April 01). Commercial Tomato Production Handbook. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1312

Harper, J., & Orzolek, M. (2021, February 25). Tomato production. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://extension.psu.edu/tomato-production

Staff, N., & Estabrook, B. (2011, July 09). The troubled history of the Supermarket tomato. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2011/07/09/137623954/the-troubled-history-of-the-supermarket-tomato

Eggs over kale and sweet Potato GRITS. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://www.myplate.gov/recipes/myplate-cnpp/eggs-over-kale-and-sweet-potato-grits

Author: Bridget Russell, Senior Dietetics Student, Middle Tennessee State University, ber3h@mtmail.mtsu.edu

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

Read Full Post »

At the beginning of the pandemic, while many of us were under lockdown and shelter in place orders, the hashtag #Quarantine15 started to circulate the internet to describe the weight gain some were experiencing while at home in isolation. Initially, the hashtag received backlash; some health professionals spoke up and advised the public not to worry about this weight gain, acknowledging that baking and eating “comfort food” can serve as a coping strategy in difficult times. However, while most health experts would agree that a preoccupation with dieting or obsession over body image is not good for one’s mental or physical health, there is reason to be concerned about #Quarantine15.

One reason maintaining healthy weight is important is that obesity is associated with serious complications in those infected with COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having obesity increases risk for many serious chronic diseases – not just COVID-19 – and also increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in those infected. Obesity is also linked to impaired immune function, which can impact one’s ability to avoid infection in the first place. Eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains not only helps one maintain a healthy weight, it also provides the body with important nutrients that strengthen immune function.

a spread of fruits, vegetables and nuts

Unfortunately, the ultra-processed and carbohydrate-heavy foods and sweets that many turn to for comfort in stressful times tend to be high in calories and low in nutritional value. Alcoholic beverages also contain calories and can contribute to weight gain.

If you slipped into less healthy eating habits during the pandemic and are ready to make some changes, here are a few tips from health experts:

  • Adopt a positive perspective. Rather than giving in to #Quarantine15 and accepting weight gain as inevitable, look at the pandemic as an opportunity to change your routine and establish new healthy habits.
bowl of raspberries
  • Adjust your setup. If you are still spending the bulk of your time at home, try not to hang out in or around the kitchen all day. Set designated times for meals and snacks. Keep sweets and processed foods out of sight or out of the house altogether, and make sure healthy snacks like fresh fruit, chopped veggies, cheese cubes or whole grain crackers are readily available.
hummus plate with celery sticks and crackers
  • Plan ahead.  Take time to plan meals, and then prepare or pack food as needed so you’re not tempted to grab something “easier” when you get hungry.
  • Focus on easy meals. Planning, preparing and cleaning up meals can be exhausting! See these tips for coping with cooking fatigue, and keep your pantry well-stocked with staples items so you can throw together an easy meal in a pinch if plans go astray.

Finally, be kind to yourself and set realistic expectations. Remember that nourishing your body with nutritious food is a form of self-care. Getting adequate sleep, coping with stress, and exercising regularly are also important components of self-care. Decide today to adopt one new healthy habit, and then build on that habit until you reach your ultimate goal!

Written by: Jenny Lobb, MPH, RDN, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

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

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Obesity, Race/Ethnicity, and COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/obesity-and-covid-19.html

Finch, S.D. (2020). 7 reasons why you don’t need to lose your “quarantine 15”. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/7-reasons-why-you-dont-need-to-lose-your-quarantine-15

Katella, K. (2020). Quarantine 15? What to do about weight gain during the pandemic. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/quarantine-15-weight-gain-pandemic

Koenig, D. (2020). The “Quarantine 15”: Weight gain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicine Net. https://www.medicinenet.com/the_quarantine_15_weight_gain_during_covid-19-news.htm

Markey, C. (2020). Obsessing over #Quarantine15. Rutgers-University Camden. https://www.rutgers.edu/news/obsessing-over-quarantine15

Read Full Post »

 I love walking into the grocery store into the produce section! The colors and textures of the fruits and vegetables are bright and beautiful. Seeing my fridge at home packed with a bright selection of fresh produce is fun too if I have a plan to use them all.

One-third of the world’s food is wasted. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of food waste happens at the consumer level. In the US, the average person wastes 238 pounds of food per year or about 21% of the food they buy. This costs consumers $1,800 per year. Fresh fruits and vegetables account for the largest of these losses. 

Reevaluating your fridge can help not only the environment but your wallet as well. Consider these tips to help optimize your fridge and fresh food storage:

Prep: I often find a member of my household staring at the open fridge then uttering the famous words “there’s nothing to eat.” Doing a few minutes of prep work after grocery shopping can save time later and ensure your fresh produce gets used. Cut carrots, broccoli, celery, and other vegetables. You will be grateful this is done when you are reaching for a snack. Having these prepped also makes them a quick option to add to meals. Finally, unused fruits and vegetables that are already prepped can be added to a freezer-safe container and frozen before they spoil.

Clean: Set aside time each week to clean and take an inventory of your fridge and freezer. This task can be done in 30 minutes. Take time to throw away expired food and leftovers while wiping spills and cleaning surfaces. As the food is returned to the fridge take stock of what needs to be used and plan. Use this cleaning to check the temperature of your fridge and freezer. Your refrigerator should be at or below 40°F. The freezer temperature should be set at 0°F. Checking these temperatures regularly can help ensure your food stays fresh longer.

Glass Jars: Consider using recycled glass or mason jars for food storage. These are great to keep food fresh and are easy to see what is inside. Glass jars are easy to clean and their airtight seal will keep foods fresh. To reuse jars, just wash, remove the label, and they are good to go!

Throw in a Towel: Sounds weird? Wrapping fresh broccoli or cauliflower in a slightly damp towel will keep them crisp. Storing spinach or lettuce in a glass container with a dry towel on top will help them stay crisp and fresh.

Don’t Over shop: Try not to over shop.  You may get excited about a good deal, but if you don’t have a plan to use a large amount of something on sale that good deal may become food waste. Try to keep in mind how much of an item that you will use and avoid buying more than you need. Cleaning and taking regular stock of what is in your fridge will help avoid overbuying.

You know your fridge and your habits more than anyone else. Consider your habits and the foods you enjoy while you figure out a system that works for you. If you are storing food safely there is no right way to stock and maintain your fridge.

View Looking Out From Inside Of Refrigerator As Woman Opens Door And Unpacks Shopping Bag Of Food

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

Reviewer:  Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

Resources:

Are You Storing Food Safely? (2021) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/are-you-storing-food-safely

Food Waste Is a Massive Problem-Here’s Why. (2021) FoodPrint.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »