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Posts Tagged ‘ChooseMyPlate’

Laptop on Kitchen Table with Cup of CoffeeShould you eat lunch at your desk?

Do you find yourself eating at your desk at work more and more often?  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that at least 83% of Americans eat at their desk several times a week. While many of us would prefer to have lunch with a friend or at least go out for lunch, we often find ourselves “too busy” to do so.

So is eating at your desk healthy?  When we eat at our desk, we often are totally unaware of just what and how much we are eating. We’re not focused on the food as we answer emails, sort papers and answer phone calls. But you can make healthy choices by bringing your lunch from home and avoiding take-out lunches which can tend to have excess calories, fat, and sodium and are often lacking in nutrients. Some healthy lunch choices could include:

  • A salad with added protein and fiber – some leftover chicken, healthy beans and/or nuts.
  • A whole grain wrap filled with veggies.
  • Homemade or low-sodium prepared soup that you can heat in the microwave.
  • Yogurt with added fruit and granola.
  • A sweet potato or fresh vegetables that you can pop into the microwave.
  • Water with a slice of lemon, lime or orange.
  • For a sweet ending to your lunch, fresh fruit makes a great dessert.

If you are bringing your lunch from home, use an insulated lunch bag with a freezer pack to keep your food cold until you can put it in the refrigerator at work. You want to be sure and wash your hands before eating your lunch and clean your desk top. According to an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics survey only 36 percent of survey respondents said they clean their work areas, desktop, mouse and keyboard on a weekly basis; 64 percent said they do so on a monthly basis or less.

A 2007 study from the University of Arizona found that desktops have 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!

So, if you are going to eat at your desk, take a few minutes to disinfect the area before opening your food. Once you start eating, avoid touching your phone, mouse,
etc. as you could be constantly re-contaminating your food.  You might also use a placemat or at least a paper towel under your lunch for added protection!

To answer the question, eating at your desk is not the healthiest activity!  Not only are you likely to eat more unhealthy foods, you are risking contaminating your food and potentially becoming ill. Take a little time for yourself at lunch time – walk to the kitchen or break room, invite a co-worker to join you and enjoy that healthy lunch you have prepared!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/7-tips-eating-while-you-work

http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=6442464916&terms=lunch%20food%20safety#.Uwd2PMYo7DQ

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augustblogpizza

In their February 2013 journal, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics took the position supporting the total diet approach, which is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Total diet is defined as “the combination of foods and beverages that provide energy and nutrients and constitute an individual’s complete dietary intake, on average, over time.”

The guidelines emphasize that all foods can be included, in appropriate amounts, in a healthy diet. Yes, this includes carbohydrates, fats, cupcakes, and even ice cream. It is important, however, to understand that although all foods can fit, the bulk of the diet should be largely comprised of nutrient rich foods necessary to meet energy and nutrient requirements (for your requirements, visit www.choosemyplate.gov).my plate

The total diet approach vehemently avoids labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” This tends to create a sense of black and white thinking concerning healthy eating leading to an emphasis placed on individual foods and/or nutrients. Isolating nutrients from their respective foods leads to confusion and frustration.

Researchers have not verified a “magic bullet” for better health, but there is evidence supporting the importance of variety. Eggs are touted as having one of the highest quality proteins, but they lack other nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants found in whole grains. Dairy is a great source of calcium and potassium, but doesn’t contain the Omega-3 fats you’d find in seafood or walnuts. The total diet approach encourages balance such that all nutrients can be obtained in sufficient quantities.

Understand, however, that the total diet approach is not a ticket to eat less healthful foods without reservation. Although all foods can fit, nutrient rich foods should be the foundation of your diet. Nutrient rich foods are those like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Nutrient poor foods (i.e. foods high in saturated fat or trans fat, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages) should be enjoyed in small portions or suggested serving sizes and remain within the recommendations.

Food is an important part of culture and tradition. Removing certain foods or food groups from your life can create a sense of loss and deprivation. The goal is to create an overall eating pattern, which includes your favorite foods that can be sustained over a lifetime. So you can have your cake and eat it too, but be sure the treats remain a treat, and not a staple.

This fall several  County Extension office are  offering a Free, “Live Healthy, Live Well” Fall Kick Off The Pounds Wellness Challenge .This email challenge can help to improve your overall health and well-being and help you with the total diet approach .This on-line challenge is designed to help participants get fit by encouraging regular exercise, nutrition, and wellness tips. Participants will receive weekly e-communications via blogs, Facebook, and email with tips and recipes to help them get fit.  There will be weekly drawings for prizes to encourage wellness- all participants are eligible to win.  Interested in participating in this on-line challenge?  Look for sign up  information coming in future blogs.

Written By: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, FCS, Wood County and Ryan Leone, Program, Program Assistant, Wood County with IGNITE: Sparking Youth to Create Healthy Communities Project.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

Sources:  “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics February (2013): 307-17. Print.

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4802625827_63cd6f152e_sChildren will soon be returning to school and to the routines that the school year brings. For many families, this means back to the routine of packing a lunch each day.  We want to make sure that the lunches we pack are healthy, safe and delicious!

For a healthy lunch, keep in mind the MyPlate guidance. Check out Choosemyplate.gov . One of the main messages of MyPlate is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. This is something relatively easy to accomplish in a lunch you pack yourself. For example, pack a whole fruit like an apple, banana, or a bunch of grapes. You can also add an individual container of applesauce or a variety of different fruits that are packed in natural juice. For vegetables, most children like baby carrots especially if you include a small container of low-fat dip! Other veggie favorites are cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers or even a small salad.

Another message from MyPlate is to make at least half of the grains you eat during the day whole grains. Use whole grain bread for the sandwich you pack, try pretzels for a snack instead of potato chips. Whole grain crackers spread with peanut butter or eaten with slices of cheese are a great addition to a healthy lunch.

MyPlate recommends that we consume low fat or fat free dairy products. Most schools make fresh, low fat milk available for children in the lunchroom. The calcium provided by milk is very important to children’s developing bones. If your child is not a milk drinker, you can pack yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese or sliced cheese to help them get the calcium they need each day.

You don’t want to forget the protein group. There are a variety of foods that we can choose from to meet the need for protein in our lunch. If you choose meat, make sure that it is lean. Turkey or lean beef are good choices. Other non-meat sources include eggs, peanut butter, beans, nuts, seeds and soy products.

To pack a safe lunch, remember that any perishable food you pack needs to be kept below 40° to stay safe. You can accomplish this in a variety of ways.

  • Use an insulated lunch bag with a frozen ice pack.
  • Freeze the sandwich, a juice box or yogurt container and pack it in the lunch bag to keep everything safe. By the time lunch rolls around, the sandwich, juice or yogurt should be thawed!

You also want to be careful about cross-contamination. This can happen if you are reusing paper or plastic bags or if you don’t remember to wash out the reusable bag each day. Remind your child to discard wrappers and leftover food as soon as they finish their lunch. Don’t forget the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of bacteria. If your child won’t have access to warm water and soap before eating, it wouldn’t hurt to put a disposable hand wipe at the top of the lunch bag!

A delicious lunch may not be something that you and your child will necessarily agree on. Be sure and ask them for ideas for a healthy, safe lunch that they would like to eat.  Don’t fall into the peanut butter and jelly every day trap! You might ask your child to help make a list of healthy foods from each section of MyPlate and use that list to vary what is packed each day.

By allowing your child to help plan and pack their own lunch, you are providing an opportunity to talk about making healthy food choices. Encouraging them to make a choice from each of the food groups every day may increase the odds that they will actually eat the lunch that is packed and help them develop good eating habits for life.

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

Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Source:  MyPlate    http://choosemyplate.gov

School Lunches: Add Variety by soliciting the help of your children http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/school_lunches_add_variety_by_soliciting_the_help_of_your_children

What Can I Pack my Kids for Lunch   http://www.ext.colostate.edu/

Healthy Packed Lunches for Back to School http://byf.unl.edu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=d17c90e6-539d-4ab8-92e7-cbfe2e482647&groupId=4089458&.pdf

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In 1903, the “chew and spit” diet was the newest craze. In order to lose weight you would chew your food 32 times and then spit it out. The year 1925 brought about an even better diet: the cigarette diet. Not surprisingly, Lucky Strikes was behind the idea to “reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” This led to doctors actually prescribing cigarettes to patients hoping to lose weight.

These diets seem ridiculous to us now. Imagine your doctor today writing you a script to purchase cigarettes. It’s thought provoking. How many insurance companies would cover that? It’s safe to assume these can be classified as fad diets. The trend came and went, just like ripped jeans in the 1980’s and yo-yo’s in the 1990’s.

scale

While these particular fads have passed, fad diets themselves are becoming increasingly popular. Whether trying to fit into those new jeans or your old wedding dress, fad diets are appealing to many people. Offering quick weight loss with minimal effort, it’s no surprise they attract the attention of those hoping to shed a few pounds.

Unfortunately, relying on a quick fix for a lasting problem is a poor approach. While the diet may produce initial results, the effects are typically short lived. Often , fad diets are overly restrictive, commonly eliminating one or more food groups. These diets are not sustainable over a lifetime which will lead to eventual weight regain. If the practice is continued for a lengthy time, it can lead to health complications and nutrient deficiencies (think Ashton Kutcher and his fruitarian diet).

Although it may seem less exciting, the best path to long term health, wellness, and sustainable weight loss can be summed up by author Michael Pollan’s advice: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

This sounds a lot like My Plate. Fruits and vegetables should take up half the plate, one quarter should be whole grains, and lean protein should fill up the remaining quarter. Don’t forget to include a serving of  low-fat dairy as well!

Next time you hear about the best way to lose weight, ask yourself several questions:

  • Does this diet eliminate  food groups?my plate
  • Are there promises of quick and extreme results?
  • Can this way of eating be sustained over a lifetime?

The answers can help you determine whether the next best thing is a path to a healthier life or if you’re “reaching for a Lucky instead of a sweet.”

Sources: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Author: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Ryan Leone , Adolescent Obesity Prevention Project Manager,  Ohio State University Extension, County, leone.92@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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There are maMP900202043ny wonderful reasons to be involved with gardening and especially to involve children. Children love digging in the dirt, looking for worms and insects, watering the garden and themselves! Besides having fun, there are many benefits to gardening with children.

The National Gardening Association has documented that teachers and youth leaders describe how gardening benefits kids’ health and well-being, their attitudes towards learning and the environment, their connections to community and so much more.

What other activity can you think of that can help us eat healthier, provide strength and cardio training, increase flexibility plus relieve stress! Gardening can provide all of these plus so much more.  Vary your gardening activities to keep your interest and to broaden the range of benefits.

By introducing children to the joy of gardening at an early age, you are exposing them to what can become a lifelong passion and healthy habit!  Children will also enjoy the special time they are spending with an adult in the garden – someone who is encouraging their creativity and curiosity.

Gardening – check out some of these Hidden Benefits:

  • Stress Reduction
  • Physical Activity
  • Connecting with Others
  • Exposure to New and Different Foods
  • Pride and a Sense of Well-being

Healthy Eating

While many children and some adults will not eat a variety of vegetables,  they are much more likely to at least taste something that they have grown themselves. Gardening provides fresh fruits and vegetables and the encouragement to eat them. These foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other compounds that help fight disease.

The most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines which are pictured on MyPlate recommend that ½ of our plate should be made up of fruits and vegetables. (2 ½ cups veggies, 2 cups fruit) Most Americans are only eating about ½ of the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.  By increasing the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables that we are eating, it can help with the current obesity epidemic that we and our children are facing.

Both Physical and Mental Wellness

As many adults can attest – that first day in the spring working in the garden can bring sore muscles the next day! As the summer goes along, our muscles are strengthened and we find that we are able to do more than we imagined on that first day out! Our endurance also increases as the season goes along.

Many children lack opportunities for physical exertion. Sometimes they don’t have safe places to play outside or they just aren’t interested in “exercise”.  Gardening provides the opportunity to encourage children to walk away from the computer, TV, video games, etc. and introduce them to a fun and productive activity.   Gardening is an excellent way to get physical activity. Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death.

Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. You can burn 150 calories by gardening (standing) for approximately 30-45 minutes. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day. If you have been inactive, start out with just a few minutes of physical activity each day. Gradually build up time and intensity.

Gardening also can help reduce our stress levels. Relaxation and stress reduction are one of the biggest hidden benefits of gardening. Research has shown that working in a garden can help create a more positive outlook by the participants.

We sometimes forget how much stress children can have in their lives. Spending time in the garden – focusing on the garden even if just for a short time can help them relax and rejuvenate.

Gardening can also increase the feeling of belonging. Again, many children do not have that sense of being an important part of their community. By working together in a garden, that sense of community develops and children can begin to appreciate that they can contribute to their community in a meaningful way.

We don’t want to forget that one of the most important benefits from gardening with children is the opportunity to have fun. You have probably heard  the phrase of having “good clean fun”.  Well, gardening may not be clean, but it surely can be fun and good for us at the same time!

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

http://www.cdc.gov/family/gardening/

http://www.kidsgardening.org/node/13152

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

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

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Spring is in the air. Mornings are becoming brighter, the sound of birds returning, and the trees are beginning to bud. Returning with the (sometimes) pleasant weather in  Ohio are the local farmer’s markets. There are many different farmer’s market here in Ohio. To find one near you follow this link http://www.ohioproud.org/searchmarkets.php .   Purchasing from these locations is obviously a great way to support the local economy, but it also can improve your diet quality.

ohio proud470334_10151224932924753_1335094555_o

An article published in the January issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics looked at the diets of college students and their views towards local, organic, sustainable, and non-processed foods (typically those you’d find at your local farmer’s market). Researchers found that those who held more positive views towards these types of foods and practices tended to have a better diet.

Of the 1201 students surveyed, about half placed a moderate to high importance on these types of foods and practices. These same students also ate more fruits, vegetables, and fiber. They also ate fewer calories from fat, less sugar, and fast food less frequently.

Because this study was limited to college students, it is unknown whether the same effects would be observed in other populations. Regardless of whether or not these findings apply to other groups, there are many benefits to supporting your local market.

If quality is of importance to you, the foods found at your local market are some of the highest quality you can find. If you prefer the freshest foods you can find, look no further than the farmer’s market. Travelling only a matter of several miles preserves freshness better than those which traversed the nation.

While you’ll save a great deal of money by shopping at farmer’s markets, you will also be supporting the local economy. But, most importantly, you may be doing yourself and you’re family a very large favor by improving everyone’s overall health. This spring and summer, peruse your local market for the best seasonal fruits and vegetables. Be sure to bring along your family and friends in order to spread the word about all the great qualities about local farmer’s markets!

Here is more information on finding local farmer’s markets.

http://www.northernohiotourism.com/farmers_markets.htm

http://wood.osu.edu/topics/agriculture-and-natural-resources/2010%20Brochure.pdf/view

http://www.ohioproud.org/markets.php

Ohio proud facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ohio-Proud/104588964752

Written by : Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences and Ryan Leone, dietetic intern with Wood County Extension FCS Program, currently pursuing these advanced degrees- Master Food and Nutrition Program, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Master of Education in Human Movement, Sports, and Leisure Studies, Focus in Kinesiology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Reviewed by Dan Remley, OSU Extension Field Specialist.

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I’m sure you have noticed how large the meals are that we are served when we eat out. Often the amounts we serve ourselves or our families at home are just as oversized as the restaurant portions. How can we control the calories we are eating each day to help us maintain a healthy weight?

One simple helpful tool is to recognize the difference between a “serving” and a “portion”.

A “portion” is the amount of food or beverage a person chooses to eat or drink. A “serving” is a standard amount established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. People commonly portion out more than one serving to eat or drink at a time.

For example, a serving of soda is 8 fluid ounces. Sixteen fluid-ounce bottles of soda are common, and many people choose to drink 16 fluid ounces in one sitting. Even though a 16-fluid ounce bottle is commonly viewed as one “portion,” it is actually two servings! Many cups at fast food restaurants are 32 ounces or even 44 ounces. Think how many servings you are having if you refill the cup before you leave?deck of cards

A serving of meat or fish is 3 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards. But the portion that you have on your plate may be 6 – 9 ounces or more!  Now, think of the calories that you are consuming if you eat the “portion” instead of a “serving.”

One 3-4 ounce hamburger has about 330 calories; a 6 – 8 ounce hamburger comes in at about 600 calories!

We know that just 100 extra calories per day could lead to a 10 pound weight gain in one year. It would take about 1 hour and 30 minutes of exercise to burn off the extra calories from the double burger!

Research has shown that if people are given food in larger serving size packages, they are likely to eat the entire package. For example, a 10.5 ounce bag of potato chips contains about 11 one ounce servings (about 13 chips). Each 1 ounce serving gives you 140 calories, 8 grams of fat and 180 mg of sodium. If you multiply those by 11, you are eating 1,540 calories, 88 grams of fat and 1,980 mg of sodium!

It might be helpful it you divided a larger package into individual serving sizes. When you first open the bag, divide the chips into 11 separate baggies and you will be less likely to mindlessly eat the whole bag while watching TV!

To help you visualize how big (or small!) a serving actually is here are some helpful hints using everyday items to determine the size of a serving.

  • A 3 oz. serving of meat, fish and poultry = a deck of cards or the size of a computer mouse
  • 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter =      a ping pong ball
  • 1 ½ oz. cheese = 4 stacked dice
  • ½ cup of ice cream = ½ of  a baseball
  • 1 baked potato = a fist
  • ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta or potato = ½ of a baseball

As you can see, a serving is much smaller than the portions we typically put on our plate!  You can download a portion card at: http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion/servingcard7.pdf

Choosemyplate.gov has the following suggestions to help you:

Measure out foods you regularly eat (such as a bowl of cereal) once or twice, to get a sense of how big your typical portion is. Also measure out what 1/2 or 1 cup portion size looks like to help you estimate how much you eat. Don’t forget to check the serving size information on the Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods. It describes what the “standard” serving size is, and how many are in the package.

How much we eat each day is just as important as what we are eating.  Be sure to eat nutrient rich foods to supply the calories as part of your daily health plan.  Don’t forget to include some physical activity that you enjoy each day to balance the calories in the foods you are eating.

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

Reviewed by:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County, Ohio Valley EERA, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Resources:

North Carolina School Nutrition Action Committee, http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/TrendsEffectsSolutions/Texts/RightSizeYourPortions.pdf

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion/servingcard7.pdf

USDA, Choose My Plate, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/weight-management/current-consumption.html

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Whether you are in the checkout line at the local supermarket, discount store or local library or listening to the radio or TV, you have seen or heard the “claims” . . .  “look slimmer without dieting”, “stay-slim secrets”, “drop 10 lbs. or more”, “boost energy”, “look and feel younger”, “10-minute tummy tighteners” and “new rules of healthy eating”.  The list goes on and on.

The annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries is a conservative $20 billion according to an ABC News 20/20 report from May 2012.  The report continues citing 108 million individuals in the United States are dieting annually.

Unfortunately, there are no “quick fixes” to weight loss.  It requires lifestyle changes.  Ohio State University Extension wants to help you make those necessary lifestyle changes for improved health and well-being.

Live Healthy, Live Well is a free six-week online email challenge designed to help participants improve their health.

Each week participants will receive two e-communications containing research-based nutrition, health and fitness tips.  Additional a food and activity log will be available for download to help participants track their progress.  A pre-and post-assessment online survey will be used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.  All participant information will be kept confidential.

Interested in participating in this online challenge?  Send an e-mail to Cindy Shuster at shuster.24@osu.edu with Live Healthy, Live Well in the subject line and subscribe in the body of the email no later than Friday, April 4th.  You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting April 8th.   The Challenge runs from April 8 to May 20, 2013. Additional information is available on the Ohio State University Extension, Perry County website at http://perry.osu.edu.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, OSU Extension

Reviewed by:  Jeannie Allen, Ohio State University Extension Office Assistant, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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valentine

Are you in charge of planning for your child’s school Valentine Party? It used to be pretty easy – bake some cupcakes, buy some pop or punch, open a bag of chips and maybe add some ice cream. Today, many schools are asking that primarily healthy foods be included in class parties. This doesn’t mean that cookies, cupcakes or candy are permanently banned from these celebrations but we really should think about including healthy foods as the star of the party!

What are some choices you could include that are healthy and also delicious? Think of MyPlate and try to include something from two or more sections. Be sure and check with your school on any restrictions they may have on parties and talk to the classroom teacher to see if there are any children with food allergies in the class.

  •  Fresh fruit is always a good  idea. Fruit could be cut up and placed on small skewers to make kabobs. These are fun for adults or children. Dried fruit or frozen fruit can be a  sweet treat!kabobs
  • Cut veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, or broccoli can be served with a low fat dip or dressing. Maybe introduce something new such as hummus as a healthy dip for the veggies.
  • Cheese served on whole-grain crackers is a great source of both the dairy and grains that our bodies need every day. Yogurt smoothies or parfaits that those at the event can make for themselves are fun and nutritious.
  • Pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers or low fat granola bars are tasty treats and also provide whole grain goodness for your body.  Trail mix is another great choice – it could be prepared ahead of time or those attending could measure and mix their own!
  • For drinks, why not have water, milk or 100% fruit juice as the choices.  The best choice for the milk would be low-fat or non-fat plain milk but low-fat flavored milk is also a healthy choice. You can make water more exciting by providing slices of fruit to add to the glass – lemons, strawberries, oranges and even apples add just a hint of flavor!

When you are planning the party, you might shift some of the emphasis from the food to other fun activities.

  • Children love to move – dancing, active games, and other activities get everyone moving. If you  join in the fun you are setting a great example for the children! It is  recommended that children be active at least 60 minutes most days and      adults 30 minutes.
  • Plan some quiet activities. Crafts and puzzles are sure to be crowd pleasers. Make sure you have all of your supplies and plenty of helpers. A treasure hunt can be a great group activity with non-food prizes awarded at the end.

Here are a couple of healthy, delicious, simple recipes that you could have the children help make.

Fruit Smoothie

1 cup low fat milk

1/2 cup apple juice

1 6oz container low fat plain yogurt

1 medium banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

Add all ingredients to a blender or food

processor. Cover and blend on high

speed until smooth (about 30 seconds).

Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Fruit Log

1 whole wheat tortilla

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1 medium banana

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Spread Peanut butter on tortilla.

Drizzle syrup on peanut butter. Roll banana up in the tortillas.

Cut into 4 equal pieces.

Serves 2

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County/Ohio Valley EERA

Resources:

Healthy Celebrations   http://www.ohioactionforhealthykids.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/OAFHK-Healthy-Celebrations-at-School-1.pdf

Create Healthy, Active Celebrations http://www.fns.usda.gov/eatsmartplayhardhealthylifestyle/quickandeasy/celebrations.pdf

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HeartFebruary is American Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ohio for both men and women. We can reduce the risk of heart disease by promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle. One key to heart health is eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Choose foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Eating a well-balanced diet includes a combination of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. To celebrate Heart Month, take the time to evaluate your diet to make sure you are eating heart healthy foods.

Heart Healthy Foods
• Whole grains: brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain pasta
• Vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, spinach & red bell peppers
• Fruits: oranges, blueberries, red grapes, cantaloupe, papaya
• Beans: red, black or kidney beans
• Omega-3 fatty acids: tuna, salmon, olive oil, flax seed
• Nuts: almonds or walnuts

This baked oatmeal recipe is a good source of fiber, fruit and calcium. This recipe is a great make ahead treat to reheat for a quick healthy breakfast or snack. It also is great to serve for overnight guests.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Servings 4-6
2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)
1 ½ cups fat free milk or soymilk
2 egg whites
¼ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon melted margarine
1 ½ cups diced apple

Optional Toppings:
Raisins
Dried Cranberries
Chopped almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, applesauce, margarine, and cinnamon together.
3. In a larger bowl combine the oats and baking powder. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the oats and mix well. Gently stir in diced apples. Pour oatmeal mixture into prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until top is firmed and a toothpick comes out clean in the center. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Add additional toppings to baked oatmeal if desired. Also, you may refrigerate and reheat for use later. Make a big batch on Sunday to use as a healthy breakfast all week long!
Nutritional Facts: 1 square equals 160 calories, 3 g fat, 80 mg. sodium, 4 g protein, 3 g fiber, 30 g total carbohydrate
Start today to take better care of your heart health by including heart healthy foods, exercising and promoting a healthy lifestyle!
Written by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator

Reviewed by:
Carolyn W. Gunther, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Extension State Specialist, Ohio State University
Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D. Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension
Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension

Sources:
Be one in a million this American Heart Health Month. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/
http://www.odh.ohio.gov/healthstats/vitalstats/deathstat.aspx
http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/apple-cinnamon-baked-oatmeal/

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