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When asked in a recent poll, 58% of Americans said that Monday was their least favorite day of the week. For many people, Monday marks the start of a new work week and the tasks and responsibilities that come along with it. Individuals may start to feel some anticipatory anxiety thinking about what Monday will bring, sometimes referred to as the “Sunday Scaries” – a sense of anxiety or dread that comes around each Sunday (or the last day of your weekend). Generally, Sunday Scaries begin in the late afternoon or evening hours, when your mind starts to think of the week ahead.

If you experience these feelings, you are not alone. The shift from “weekend mode” to “work mode” each week is a transition many others struggle with as well. Sunday Scaries may be expressed in different ways, such as: a racing heartbeat, upset stomach, headache, or trouble sleeping.

Woman with a pen at her desk.

There are strategies to try to combat the Scaries:

  • Stay in the Moment – Try to keep your mind on the present and not on tomorrow’s to-do list. Plan fun activities for the day or spend some time with family and friends.
  • Sunday Self-Care Routines – Keep time open for rest and relaxation! Complete household chores and tasks on Saturday, so that Sunday can be left for hobbies and activities that you enjoy. This can help you feel more refreshed for the week ahead.
  • Treat Yourself – Give yourself something to look forward to on Monday. Maybe it’s your favorite food for lunch or plans to meet with friends after work that will make Monday not seem so bad.
  • Exercise – Schedule in some time for movement. Exercise can relieve some of the stress you may be feeling about your week. If you are able, go outside to get in some green exercise.
  • Listen to Your Mind – Is there something in particular about work that you are dreading? Perhaps it is a specific task or co-worker that is causing your worries. By figuring out what exactly you are dreading, you can take steps to make changes in your schedule.

If your life and routines are being greatly impacted by the Sunday Scaries – perhaps you are unable to sleep at all on Sunday nights, your eating habits change drastically, or you feel so anxious that you regularly call off work on Mondays, a mental health professional may be able to help you through different treatment options.

Sources:

Ballard, J. (2021). What is America’s most and least favorite day of the week? YouGov America.  https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2021/03/15/most-and-least-favorite-day-week-poll

Cleveland Clinic (2021). What are the ‘Sunday Scaries’?  https://health.clevelandclinic.org/sunday-scaries/

Schramm, S. (2022). Ways to Beat the ‘Sunday Scaries’. Duke Today.  https://today.duke.edu/2022/04/ways-beat-%E2%80%98sunday-scaries%E2%80%99

Treber, M (2019). Thanks, Doc, for the Nature Prescription. Live Healthy Live Well.  https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/08/29/thanks-doc-for-the-nature-prescription/

Written by:  Jessica Lowe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Pickaway County, lowe.495@osu.edu

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

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A waiter with two plates of food
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Let’s face it, it’s really nice to eat out sometimes. You don’t have to prepare food or do the dishes, and can order what you want. However, eating out can leave a large footprint on the environment, depending on what you order, how its served, and what you do with leftovers. Food waste, single use items, and resource intense foods contribute to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that you can eat out more sustainably by making some small changes. Here are some easy tips that you can do when eating out to help the environment:

  • Choose more plant based foods, smaller portions of meat and fried foods. Plant based and fresh foods are usually less resource intense to produce. Guess what? They’re healthier too!
  • Refuse single use straws, utensils, cups, and bags. Bring your own reusable ones.
  • Take home leftovers. Food waste contributes to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as it rots in landfills. Bring reusable plastic containers to use as a doggy bag for example.
  • Compost or recycle unsoiled paper products such as pizza lids, bags and boxes.
  • Choose restaurants that you feel are ethical and sustainable. You might have to do a little bit of research. Find out if they support your values. Do they pay workers a livable wage, do they source locally, do they offer healthier and sustainable menu items?
  • In general, try to eat out less often. When you eat out, there is also a chance you are leaving food at home to spoil.

Behavior change is hard, so try not to do too many things all at once. Consider setting some small goals. Small goals can lead to big impacts collectively and over the course of time. Think of all the plastic straws you would save from landfills by refusing them over the rest of your life. Choose goals that are really simple and attainable. For example, make a box of reusable items that you could use at restaurant and place in your car. If you go out to lunch 3 days a week, consider cutting back to one day a week.

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, MSPH, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

Reviewed by: Jessica Lowe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, lowe.495@osu.edu

Sources:

Lobb, Jenny. (2022). Starting the Year with a SMART goal. Retrieved at https://wordpress.com/post/livehealthyosu.com/12600

Sabate, Joan. (2014). Sustainability of Plant-based Diets: Back to the Future. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/suppl_1/476S/4576675.

United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.) Food waste and It’s links to Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2022/01/24/food-waste-and-its-links-greenhouse-gases-and-climate-change.

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For families who have experienced the heartbreak of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), nothing makes sense. However, continued research is offering recommendations that may reduce the risk of future unexplained sleep related deaths.

According to the Mayo Clinic, SIDS is the death of a baby less than a year old who otherwise seems healthy. SIDS often occurs as the child is sleeping. Although the cause is often unknown, SIDS might be associated with breathing issues associated with sleep arousal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the term SIDS is also used to describe sleeping infant deaths that are caused by accidents, including suffocation or entrapment, which account for approximately 27% of sudden unexplained infant deaths.

Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Sam Hanke and his wife Maura, who was a kindergarten teacher at the time of their son Charlie’s death, realized if they could lose a child to SIDS, anyone could. Combining their medical expertise with their personal experience they started Charlie’s Kids Foundation to educate, support and advocate for safe sleep practices for all families.

In a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) it is estimated that approximately 3,500 infants die of sleep-related deaths in the US each year. Although this number has decreased since the 1990’s, research continues to reveal the need for education and prevention efforts.

In July 2022, the AAP released a full list of updated evidence-based recommendations for reducing infant death in the sleep environment that include:

  • Back to sleep for every sleep
  • Feeding of human milk
  • Keep soft objects such as pillows, pillow-like toys, quilts, comforters, mattress toppers, fur-like materials, and loose bedding such as blankets and nonfitted sheets away from the infant’s sleep area
  • Infants sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for at least their first 6 months 

Although there are additional recommendations in the updated report, the message for parents and caregivers is supine (back) sleeping continues to be the safest sleeping position for infants.

Author: Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, reister.6@osu.edu

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

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Sudden unexpected infant death and sudden infant death syndrome: Data and statistics. Retrieved June 1, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm

Charlie’s Story: Turning a tragic loss into a catalyst for change, (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://charlieskids.org/our-story/

Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment. Publications.aap.org. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2022 from https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/150/1/e2022057990/188304/Sleep-Related-Infant-Deaths-Updated-2022?autologincheck=redirected&_ga=2.254117454.774970786.1658929277-1670574471.1657804696

Sudden infant death syndrome, (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352800

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According to a 2018 Nielsen report, 39% of Americans are shifting toward eating more plant-based foods – for various reasons and to varying degrees. Some potential draws of a plant-based diet include health benefits, food safety, cost savings, ethics, and sustainability. As depicted in the graphic below from Illinois Extension, plant-based eating can range from a diet that proportionally includes more foods from plant-based sources to a vegetarian, plant-based diet that excludes animal flesh foods to a vegan diet that includes no animal foods or products.

Infographic from Illinois Extension on plant-based diets. Plant based includes more foods from plant sources: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Flexitarian is plant-based and occasionally includes eggs, dairy and meat. Vegetarian is plant based and excludes animal flesh foods. Lacto-ovo is vegetarian but includes dairy and eggs. Pescatarian is vegetarian but includes seafood. Vegan is no animal foods. Vitamin B12 needs to be included in the diet.

The plant-based foods industry is responding to this increased demand. The Plant-Based Foods Association, a trade association representing the plant-based foods industry, states that they are working with brands, retailers, distributors, and food service providers to  “build a sustainable infrastructure for this growing demand”. Over the past couple of years, more and more plant-based foods have appeared in the grocery store. For example, “meatless grind”, a product resembling ground beef that can be used in place of ground meat in recipes for hamburgers, tacos, meatloaves, and more is now available from certain brands, and store brands are selling their own versions as well.

While you can certainly make a veggie burger from meatless grind or purchase pre-made veggie burgers in the freezer aisle of your grocery store, there are lots of easy, tasty recipes for homemade veggie burgers available online. These recipes typically include a combination of beans and grains. Here are three options:

  1. Lentil burgers containing shredded carrot and breadcrumbs
  2. Black bean burgers made with brown rice, sweet potato, and breadcrumbs
  3. Chickpea (garbanzo bean) burgers made with green onion, carrot, and flour
a veggie burger

If you have a bit more time and are willing to invest some effort in the creation of your own delicious veggie burgers, homemade beet burgers made with roasted, grated beets, black beans, brown rice, and oats are a central Ohio favorite.

Do you have a favorite veggie burger recipe? If so, please share in the comment box below!

Sources:

Illinois Extension (2020). What’s the best diet? Plant-based eating trend growing. https://extension.illinois.edu/news-releases/whats-best-diet-plant-based-eating-trend-growing

Nielsen IQ (2018). Plant-based food options are sprouting growth for retailers. https://nielseniq.com/global/en/insights/analysis/2018/plant-based-food-options-are-sprouting-growth-for-retailers/

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

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

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Plastic bags overflowing with empty plastic bottles

I used to pride myself on my recycling efforts. I would compare my overflowing recycling bin with my neighbors and wish more people recycled. I felt it was our duty, responsibility, and obligation to protect our planet.

However, my recycling pride was deflated when I read a report from the Department of Energy that showed only 5% of plastics were recycled in 2019. A whopping 86% of plastics end up in landfills and the rest is burned to generate electricity. I finally realized that just because a product has a recycling arrow on it, does not mean it’s being recycled, especially if it is plastic.

So how do we reduce our plastic consumption? Let’s examine four common household purchases and see why plastic should be avoided.

1. Food: Paper Box Rather Than Plastic Cups
Sometimes, there is a hefty economic and environmental cost to convenience, like this example with macaroni and cheese. Turns out mac and cheese from the box is 17 cents/ounce, while the plastic cups cost 61 cents/ounce. Even worse, the consumer is left with four #5 plastic containers, which are one of the least recycled post-consumer plastics, at a rate below 1%. Compare this to paper and paperboard, which have a recycling rate of 68%.

Box of Mac N Cheese next to 4 plastic cups of Mac N Cheese

2. Fruit: Metal Cans Rather Than Plastic Cups
The cost difference between pears in a metal can and in plastic cups is negligible. However, the environmental cost is substantial. As mentioned above, #5 plastic has a recycling rate of less than 1% while the recycling rate for steel cans is 71%. Of course, fresh pears are package free. To have the smallest environmental impact possible, shop with reusable produce and grocery bags, then throw the pear core in a compost bin.

A metal can of pears next to pre-packaged cups of pears

3. Soda Pop: Cans Rather Than Bottles
There is little cost difference between pop cans and bottles. But once again, the environmental difference is noteworthy. Aluminum cans are the most recycled category of aluminum at 50%, compared to the recycling rate of #1 plastics which is 29%.

Aluminum can of Diet Mountain Dew next to a plastic bottle of Diet Mountain Dew

4. Soap: Bar Rather Than Liquid
Again, the cost between bar and liquid soap is minimal, so let’s compare the packaging. Soap bars are often packaged in paper, which have a recycling rate of 68% while liquid soap is often packaged in #2 plastic containers, which have a recycling rate of 29%. This information also applies to laundry detergent. If you are looking to avoid the large, #2 plastic jugs of laundry soap, consider plastic-free laundry powder, bars, tablets, or sheets.

Body wash in a plastic bottle next to 6 bards of soap

Stay Informed
The dos and don’ts of recycling changes frequently. Stay up to date on what you can recycle curbside and look for additional opportunities to recycle in your community, through zero-waste organizations or your solid waste district.

Final Thoughts
As summer winds down, it’s a great time to start planning waste-free lunches for your kids. The goal is similar: reduce waste and reliance on convenient, single-use, hard-to-recycle items. The next time you are at the store, reach for the apple sauce in the glass jar rather than the plastic one. Mother Earth will thank you.

Note: Item descriptions, prices, and photos were retrieved by the author at a local grocery store that is affiliated with a national supermarket chain on 7/18/2022.

For more information about plastic and recycling, visit:

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

Reviewed by: Courtney Warman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Program Specialist, Healthy Finances. Email: warman.44@osu.edu

Photo Credits: Cover image by rawpixel.com. All other photos by Laura M. Stanton, 2022.

References:

Bollas, B. (2021). Reducing your single-use plastic waste. Ohio State University Extension. https://fcs.osu.edu/sites/fcs/files/imce/PDFs/Single_Use_Plastics.pdf

Leblanc, R. (2019, May 9). An overview of polypropylene recycling. The Balance Small Business. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/an-overview-of-polypropylene-recycling-2877863

Milbrandt, A., Coney, K., Badgett, A., and Beckham, G. (2022). Quantification and evaluation of plastic waste in the United States. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Volume 183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2022.106363

Stanton, L. M. (2021). Ten tips for packing waste-free lunches. Ohio State University Extension. https://go.osu.edu/waste-free-lunches

Stanton, L. M. (2021). How to pack waste-free lunches. Ohio State University Extension. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv_zyW-WzZY

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2021, November 15). Ten ways to unpackage your life. https://www.epa.gov/trash-free-waters/ten-ways-unpackage-your-life

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2022, July 9). Facts and figures about materials, waste, and recycling. https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling

Woelfl, C. (2021, June 7). Our plastic problem. Ohio State University Extension. https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/06/07/our-plastic-problem

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Summer is in full swing! Children are home from school and parents may be on the hunt to keep them engaged and involved this summer. A popular choice that many parents have selected is summer camps. There can be a variety of summer camps to choose from. Some opportunities may be day camps; while others are a week away from mom and dad and full of new adventures to enjoy. There are many benefits to youth attending summer camps. These benefits include meeting new friends, trying new activities, physical activity, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Studies show camps offering structured programs and physical activity may prevent weight gain in youth and help maintain physical fitness over the summer.

Along with the many memories made, summer camps also teach independence. During the week, participants get themselves up, get dressed, and brush their teeth all before the bell sounds to start breakfast and to begin the day. Summer camps also encourage well-being. Youth get to attend camp, see their friends, meet new ones, and come home with so many stories to share. Camps provide opportunities for practicing self-advocacy and other social skills. Youth may also have opportunities to increase self-esteem in these programs. Campers get to try activities and have experiences they can bring home for the rest of the family to enjoy. Various summer camps offer different activities for all to enjoy; there is something for everyone. I know when I was young, summer camps kept me busy and entertained all summer. My favorite memories as a kid came from the various camps I attended. I also made some of my very best friends at summer camp. I encourage parents to provide an opportunity for their youth to attend a summer camp of some variation. It will get children into the great outdoors and there the opportunities are endless. 

Written by: Kearsten Kirby, Student Intern, Ohio State University Extension Miami County kirby.305@osu.edu

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

Sources:

15 benefits of summer camp for your kids. GWRYMCA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://gwrymca.org/blog/15-benefits-summer-camp-your-kids

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health, and Safety; Hutton R, Sepúlveda MJ, editors.

Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019 Sep 26.

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We all love the weekends- it is the time for fun! What did you do this past weekend that was fun? Did it bring a smile to your face? Are you counting the days until next weekend? We need daily fun in our lives. Fun provides many health benefits and makes life interesting. Having daily fun has a huge positive impact on our health and overall well-being. The benefits of laughter and fun include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Improved coping abilities
  • Boosted energy and work performance
  • Improved memory and concentration
  • Improved relationships
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased creativity

Here are ideas to add fun everyday into your life:

  • Get outdoors-take a walk, have a picnic with friends or family
  • Plan a fun night out- mini golf, karaoke, bowling, or dancing
  • Implement a weekly game night with family or friends
  • Visit a park
  • Enjoy an outdoor concert
  • Star gaze

Having fun is important. Start today to reduce stress, boost your energy level, improve productivity, and increase overall happiness by adding more fun into your daily schedule!

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

Reviewed by:  Margaret Jenkins, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clermont County, jenkins.188@osu.edu

Sources:

Bekoff, M. (2014). The importance of play: having fun must be taken seriously. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/201405/the-importance-play-having-fun

Becker-Phelps, L. (2018). Why you need to have more fun. WebMD. https://blogs.webmd.com/relationships/20180620/why-you-need-to-have-more-fun

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Do you have leftover medications in your medicine cabinet? Are you saving that medication in case you contract the same illness in the future? Well, that is NOT OK! Did you know that EVERYDAY 5,700 Americans misuse a prescription drug for the first time. Nearly 51% of those who misuse prescription pain relievers get them from family or friends.

white backgournd with yellow and red capsules and blue tablets of medications

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that between 6 and 7 million Americans , age 12 and older, have misused a prescription pain killer (such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin), sedative ( Valium, Xanax) or stimulant ( Ritalin, Adderall) in the past month.

Every year, approximately 60,000 emergency department visits and 450,000 calls to poison centers are made after kids under 6 years of age find and ingest medication accidentally. Below is a case summary from the FDA to show how some medications can result in death if they are accidentally taken by children.

  • A 2 year old boy was found lethargic by his mother with her methadone bottle open and 20 pills missing. She then put the child down for a nap and could not wake him 5 hours later. The child arrived to the emergency department (ED) in cardiac arrest, pupils were fixed and dilated.  A heart ultrasound showed no cardiac activity after 30 minutes of resuscitation, and the boy was declared dead. The cause of death: methadone toxicity.

This video demonstrates how to safely dispose of unused medications.

Please take time to check your medications and safely dispose of any medication you no longer need, you could be saving a life of a friend or family member.

Sources:

http://www.generationrx.org

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/safe-disposal-medicines/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

Reviewed by: Shannon Smith, RD, LD, CDCES, Program Coordinator, Wood County

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Where do you turn when you have a question related to your health? Do you talk to family members or friends whose opinions you respect? Call your primary care provider? Search for answers on the internet or on social media? Every day we encounter information that may impact our health in various ways, both when we are seeking it as well as when we are not. It is important to know how to evaluate the information for validity, as unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation in our world today.

fake news

Valid information is correct, factual information that is based on research. Misinformation is information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence at the time. While misinformation is sometimes spread intentionally to serve a malicious purpose, that is seldom the case. Disinformation is a type of misinformation that is intentionally false and intended to mislead or deceive. We may not always fully understand why someone creates or shares harmful information, whether it is intentional or not. However, according to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, it is important to know that many people who share misinformation are not trying to misinform; instead, they may be raising a concern, striving to make sense of conflicting information, or seeking answers to honest questions.

If you ever encounter health-related information from a person, website, newspaper, TV station or social media account that you are not sure about, use the below Health Information Checklist from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General to decide what to do with it.

Health Misinformation checklist from surgeongeneral.gov/healthmisinformation
Click to enlarge, or access in pdf form at SurgeonGeneral.gov/HealthMisinformation

In addition, you can investigate the credibility of the information by checking its source (both the author and/or organization responsible for the information), the date it was published, the quantity and quality of evidence cited, and whether it is in agreement with information from other reputable sources. Also consider whether the source of the information is biased. Does it provide information based on a single point of view or preference rather than presenting all the facts? Does the author or source earn money for sharing certain information? Ask yourself “Does this source have a reason to offer one point of view over another?”

Do your part today to identify and stop the spread of misinformation. Think twice about the information you see, hear and share. If you’re not sure, don’t share! According to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy “We all have the power to shape our information environment… one that empowers us to build a healthier, kinder, and more connected world.”

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

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

Sources:

Gebel, M. (2021). Misinformation vs. disinformation: What to know about each form of false information, and how to spot them online. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/misinformation-vs-disinformation

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2021). Is this legit? Accessing valid and reliable health information. https://teens.drugabuse.gov/teachers/lessonplans/legit-accessing-valid-and-reliable-health-information

Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, Department of Health and Human Services (2021). A Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/health-misinformation-toolkit-english.pdf

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June is National Camping Month and has been observed since the 1970s.  Growing up my family went tent camping as a part of our family vacations. Once in a while we’d be with my grandparents and were able to stay in their fifth-wheeler camper; a luxury compared to a tent. Regardless of how you camp, you must consider food safety as you plan, prepare, and pack your meals.

A campsite with tents, camping chairs and a campfire
Our Campsite in 2021

Every year over the July 4th weekend, a group of friends and family go camping in the woods on a friend’s property. On these trips we don’t have electricity so there is an extra level of caution needed to ensure we keep our food at the proper temperature. Depending on your style of camping you may have a water source, electricity or both. Our annual camping weekend is quickly approaching, and I am getting ready to set our menu. As I make my plan I wanted to share a few menu planning and food safety tips with you.

Preparation

One year on our annual trip, no one remembered to pack a spatula or tongs; making cooking over a fire even more adventurous and creative. Your packing plan needs to include everything you will need to prepare, make, serve, and eat each meal.

  • Make a menu, choosing basic recipes with limited steps and a low number of pots and pans.
  • Utilize recipes with overlapping ingredients and bring only the required amounts.
  • Plan meal portions to reduce meal preparation, leftovers, and waste.
  • Consider preparing parts of the meal before leaving for camp.
  • Incorporate shelf stable foods into meals and snacks.

Cleaning and sanitizing

Potable water is water that is safe to drink and is also the water you should utilize to clean your hands and dishes. Be sure to include biodegradable soap on your packing list. Include enough water for each person to drink, prepare meals, and wash hands and dishes. Alternatively, you can boil clear water from a stream or clear lake for one minute to wash dishes. Consider bringing hand sanitizer or disposable sanitizing wipes both for hands and surfaces. Be sure to clean up your campsite after each meal to deter unwanted animal visitors.

Keeping cold food cold and hot food hot

Cold food, prepared food, and leftovers all must be kept under 41°F. We utilize ice with our coolers, and place a thermometer in each cooler so I can quickly check the temperature.

  • Use a separate cooler or place raw meat (double wrapped) at the bottom of the cooler to keep it away from all other food. You can also cook the meat prior to leaving for camp to reduce chances of cross contamination.
  • Consider a separate cooler for meal food and ingredients versus drinks and snacks. The kids are always in and out of the drink cooler a million times which causes the ice to melt faster; making it harder for the cooler to maintain temperature.
  • Pack a food thermometer to ensure you are cooking food to the proper internal temperature.
    • Ground meat should be cooked to 160° F
    • Raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks or chops to 145° F
    • Raw poultry to 165° F
    • Hot dogs, precooked meat, and leftovers to 165° F
a camp stove

Cooling and Storing Food: The two-hour rule

Food should only be left out for 2 hours, then cooled rapidly. If the temperature is over 90° F, then you should discard food after 1 hour. The temperature danger zone is the range of temperatures between 40° F – 140° F where bacteria multiply rapidly. Remember if you put a hot food item in the cooler to cool, you are heating the temperature of the cooler and melting ice more quickly. When in doubt, throw it out. Leftover food can be burned instead of thrown out.

Additional details to consider

  • How will you transport and store your cooking equipment?
  • Where will you store nonperishable food and cooking utensils?
  • Your plan should include how you will “Leave No Trace” (i.e., no lasting impact or effect on the environment and eco-system.)

Regardless of your camping or glamping style, make sure to make a plan for camp and food safety before you head out!

Written by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Greene County.
Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 1). Water treatment options when hiking, camping or traveling. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/

Garden-Robinson, J., & Totland, T. (2021, June). Keep Food Safe when Camping and Hiking. North Dakota State University- Publications. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/keep-food-safe-when-camping-and-hiking

Klemm, S. (2021, November 17). Hiking and camping with Food Safety in Mind. EatRight. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/outdoor-dining/hiking-and-camping-with-food-safety-in-mind

U.S. Department of the Interior. (n.d.). Leave No Trace Seven Principles. National Parks Service. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.nps.gov/articles/leave-no-trace-seven-principles.htm

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