Posts Tagged ‘Diet and Cancer’

As the air cools in the fall we often lean towards fixing those comfort foods for our family. Things like: mac and cheese, chili soup, spaghetti sauce and pasta, chicken and noodles all taste good to us. Many of us are also concerned with making our meals as healthy as possible to prevent chronic disease risk, or just improve our health in general. Here are some ideas to “Soup UP” your next pot of chili:chili-2

  • Ground meats – Switch your regular ground chuck out for a ground sirloin or lean ground turkey (even turkey sausage). Look at the fat or % lean and go as lean as you can for the price. Another protein option could be meatless veggie protein crumbles – they will reduce the fat, but still have the same texture as other ground meats. This product is typically found in the freezer section of stores.
  • Beans – Instead of using just red kidney beans, try 2 different kinds of beans. Beans that are brighter color will have higher antioxidant properties (red, black or brown). Some research studies have found diets rich in the antioxidants in beans to result in lower cancer risks for breast, stomach, colorectal, kidney and prostate cancer. By combining the types of beans you can pick up the benefits from several different varieties.
  • Diced Vegetables – Replace your chopped onion with a variety of chopped vegetables. Choose from onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, corn, celery, pumpkin, and/or butternut squash. This is a great way to clean out the crisper drawer in your refrigerator and to ramp up the vegetables in your pot. I recently peeled and cubed a small sweet potato into a pot of chili – it tasted great and helped thicken it up too.
  • Tomato Products – Most chili is a combination of tomato products – sauce, paste, juice, and stewed or diced. Tomatoes are packed with vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, and even fiber. Research studies support the consumption of tomatoes with heart health benefits and even skin health. With tomato products look to “No Salt Added” products when purchasing canned.
  • Seasonings – Combine a variety of spices and herbs to suit your own taste preferences – cumin, black and cayenne pepper, oregano, and chili powder are all good choices. Keep your salt to a minimum. For some people higher sodium intake is linked with higher blood pressure.

A few other perks for a big pot of chili soup are that it is almost a one dish meal; by adding a dairy, fruit, and bread you can have a tasty meal. Soups also freeze well for left-over meals or to carry for lunch. And last-but-not-least you can use up left-overs in chili soup by switching ground meat for pulled chicken or pork, and almost any vegetable can be dumped in the pot. I can’t wait to hear your favorite chili combination.

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

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County.


American Heart Association, (2016). Myths About High Blood Pressure, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Myths-About-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_430836_Article.jsp#.WApYz4MrLct

North Dakota State University, “All About Beans Nutrition, Health Benefits, Preparation and Use in Menus”, Garden-Robinson, J. and McNeal, K., https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/all-about-beans-nutrition-health-benefits-preparation-and-use-in-menus#section-3.

Penn State Extension, “Eating Tomatoes May Very Well Save Your Life”, Kralj, R., http://extension.psu.edu/health/news/2014/eating-tomatoes-may-very-well-safe-your-life.


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


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

quick and easy roasted veggies


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

Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes:

Makes: 6 servings

Total Cost: $4.54

Serving Cost: $0.76



5 sweet potatoes (cooked)

4 apples

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup margarine

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons honey


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

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

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

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

5. Grease the casserole dish with butter or margarine.

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

7. Add a layer of apple slices.

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

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

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

11. Sprinkle the top layer with nutmeg.

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

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

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

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


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

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While vegetarians go “meatless” every day, there is a growing movement across the country and even the world for the rest of us to do “Meatless Monday’s” once a week. Following this trend can help your health and your bank account too. Meals without meat aren’t a new thing; families were encouraged to take a meatless day during World War II to spread the food around to soldiers and allies in other countries.

The benefits of going meatless today include:

  • Reducing your risk of cancer – There are numerous studies that link consumption of red or processed meats to colon cancer, while studies also show that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may decrease the risk of certain cancers.
  • Reducing risk of heart disease and stroke – By reducing consumption of the saturated fats in red meats you may also protect yourself again cardiovascular disease and stroke. At the same time an increase in whole grains, vegetables including beans, and fruit provide protective factors against the same health conditions.
  • Preventing obesity – Diets high in vegetables and fruits are higher in fiber, which will make you feel full quicker and typically contain fewer calories.
  • Spreading your food budget further – Most vegetables, beans, grains, and eggs can be used in recipes for less money than meats (red or white). Saving that money for a few months may give you the money for a family fun day, new games for family night, or just reduce your budget when finances are tight.

If you are looking for meatless recipes try:

A new favorite meatless recipe for me is Veggie Taco’s. Replace the ground meat in your taco with a peeled and chopped carrot and sweet potato (to speed up the process after chopping, microwave a few minutes with ¼ cup of water). Add a can of diced tomatoes and rinsed black beans to your seasonings and mix all ingredients in a skillet. Bring to a simmering bowl and heat for about 10 minutes to thicken. Top a whole grain taco shell with your meatless taco mixture, and chopped lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Trust me; you won’t miss the meat at all. Good additions are chopped peppers and a small chopped zucchini too.

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

Reviewer: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County.

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Feeling stressed? What are you eating? Most of us reach for comfort foods when we are stressed, stressed woman such as cookies, cake, candy and other high sugar, low fiber foods. These foods are not good choices to prevent chronic inflammation from developing and affecting our body. High levels of chronic inflammation are believed to cause rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. Even low amounts of inflammation can increase your risk of obesity and the effects of aging. Prolonged chronic inflammation increases our risk of cancer, heart disease and other diseases. One study on postmenopausal women found that those eating a healthier diet reduced their risk of death from any cause by 60% and had an 88% reduced risk of death from breast cancer.

What should we eat to avoid inflammation building up in our body? Three eating patterns provide reliable assistance along with allowing individual choices of food. Those three eating patterns are the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet. my plate Each of these has some differences but all three emphasize certain patterns.

All three eating patterns encourage us to eat:
• Plenty of vegetables and fruit.
• whole grains
• Low-fat or Fat-free Dairy
• Seafood and plant proteins

They also encourage us to reduce eating:
• Empty calories including foods with added sugar, or drinking excess alcohol
• Refined grains
• Saturated fat foods
• High sodium food

What would a daily eating plan include?
• Vegetables – 2 to 4 cups
• Fruits – at least 2 cups a day
• Whole grains – 3 to 4 ounces a day
• Fish/Seafood – 8-16 ounces a week for Omega-3
• Nuts and soy – 4-6 ounces a week
• Olive oil – 1 -2 Tablespoons a day.
• Dairy (1% or skim) – 1-3 cups a day
• Alcohol – 0-1 drink a day

Limit the amount of red and processed meats you eat to less than 12 ounces a week and keep added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men a day.

Make it a goal to eat lots of fiber by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts. fruits-veggies This will increase the anti-inflammatory properties from these foods. Add some garlic, onion, pepper and other herbs for additional anti-inflammatory properties.

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

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed
OSU Extension

Orchard, T. [2015]. Eating healthy under stress: improving diet quality to lower chronic inflammation. webinar for Your Plan for Health, Ohio State University

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As we head into spring many of the wonderful green vegetables come into season and are readily available. These green powerhouse foods are the foods most strongly associated with reducing chronic disease risk and are described as green leafy and cruciferous. Plants produce phytochemicals like antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients, flavones, and isoflavones. Green plants specifically produce the phytochemical lutein which has been shown to benefit eye health, cancer prevention, and heart health. Included in this food group are: kabr sproutsle, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuces, artichokes, and collard greens. The phytochemical beta carotene is not only found in dark orange foods, it is also found in the rich green founds of spinach, collard greens, kale, and broccoli. As we have often heard, beta carotene benefits the immune system, vision, and skin and bone health.

Cruciferous vegetables like: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, collards, and watercress are members of the “Cruciferae or Brassicaceae Family”. Plants in the Cruciferae family have flowers with four equal-sized petals in the shape of a cross. Many of these cruciferous vegetables are found to be “cancer fighting machines”, according to Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Studies show they lower the rates of prostate cancer and may even stop the growth of cancer cells in the lung, colon, liver, and breast.

Another reason to fill up on colorful vegetables is they may help you to age well. Foods rich in antioxidants (like leeks, lettuce and kale) can help fight free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that contribute to the aging process.

Many of the power house green vegetables will soon be available in farmers markets but if you would like to start your own in a container garden follow these links to resources to get you started. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1647.html or http://urbanext.illinois.edu/containergardening/herbveggie.cfm.

Try planting: spinach, leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, cabbage, peppers, herbs, or cucumbers to start your own patch of power house green foods. container garden

Writers: Lisa Barlage and Michelle Treber, Extension Educators, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, SNAP- Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Photos by: Michelle Treber and Lisa Barlage.

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power up your salad

Choose colorful vegetables and greens for a nutritious meal.  Lettuce and greens vary in levels of nutrients.  Although paler lettuces, such as iceberg, have some nutritional value, it’s best to choose the deeper, brighter ones – these contain the cancer-fighting antioxidants. Mix and match a variety of colors and textures, such as crunchy romaine tossed with soft, nutrient rich spinach leaves or peppery arugula leaves and add red leaf lettuce.   Spinach contains almost twice the amount of iron of most other greens and is an essential source of nitric oxide which helps dilate the arteries and deliver oxygen.  Arugula is rich in cancer fighting phytochemicals.

Add in tomatoes which are loaded with lycopene- great for your skin and bones.  Black beans, chickpeas or a hard-boiled egg all are good sources of lean protein.  Toss in carrots (great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C) and artichokes, which aids in digestion.

Add fruits in season, mixed berries, oranges, apples or pears.  Toss with a healthy option salad dressing that is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat.  Olive oil and vinegar may be a simple tasteful choice.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD,  Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Barber Spires RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu





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Quinoa has been part of the healthy lunch options at several catered events I have attended lately. The foods tasted very good and made me to want to find out more about it – what are the benefits of eating it, how to cook it, how long it takes to prepare?MP900049638[1]

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered a whole grain because of its nutrient benefits, and how it is cooked and prepared. However, it is actually a seed and a relative to the leafy vegetables beets, spinach, and Swiss chard. It was originally grown in the Andes Mountains of South America by the Incas over 5,000 years ago.  Quinoa is a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin E.  In addition it is known as a complete protein. Research has shown that the high fiber content of quinoa will make you feel full longer, which may aid in weight loss. High fiber foods are also shown to aid in digestion, may lower blood cholesterol, and reduce the risks of certain cancers. One of the best things about quinoa is that it is gluten free, which makes it a great food for those with celiac disease.

Quinoa is covered in a naturally occurring pesticide called saponin. Saponin gives it a bitter taste which discourages bugs from eating it. By rinsing the quinoa, you will remove this bitter taste. Start by placing the seeds in a fine mesh strainer, because it is small it will go through something with larger holes. Put the strainer in a bowl of water and gently rub the seeds for a few seconds, rinse and drain. Check the label, as some varieties of quinoa come pre-rinsed; however, not all. After rinsing, cook 1 cup of seeds with 2 cups of water. One cup of seeds will yield 3 to 3 ½ cups of cooked quinoa. Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice.  It will be done in 15 to 20 minutes. The cooked seeds can be used in everything from salads, main dish casseroles, soups or chowders, dessert foods like puddings, or hot breakfast cereals. Use the flour from quinoa to make gluten free cookies. Here is a link to a few quinoa recipes for you to try http://go.osu.edu/quinoa.

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County/Ohio Valley ERRA, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewers: Cindy Shuster, Kathryn Green, Linnette Goard, and Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension.


Whole Grains Council, http://wholegrainscouncil.org/.

Chow Line, Ohio State University Extension, http://extension.osu.edu/news-releases/resources/chow-line/.

Utah State University, Food $ENSE, Quinoa, https://extension.usu.edu/fsne/files/uploads/2012%20Food%20Basics%20Lessons/Grains/F$GrainsQuinoaHandout.pdf.

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We all have things we fear.  For some people it may be snakes or spiders, for others it might be speaking in public.  One of my greatest fears is developing a degenerative disease. To that end, I have made physical activity a priority in my life. Physical activity imparts an additional layer of protection to your body that food alone can’t provide. If you go out and take a walk every day, even if you don’t lose weight, you are giving your body one of the greatest gifts imaginable.  We tend to focus more on the external part of our bodies because that is what we see when we look in the mirror.  But exercise’s benefit to the inside of your body is where the true value of being active lies.  Take a walk with me this year (literally and figuratively) as we look at the relationship of physical activity to your risk for degenerative disease.  We’ll start this month with cancer.


Physical Activity and Cancer

Physical activity confers many benefits.  Weight control; reduced risk for premature death from diseases such as heart disease and diabetes; and maintenance of healthy bones, muscles, and joints are just a few.  Researchers are now learning that physical activity can also influence your risk for getting cancer.

Regular exercise reduces your risk for colon, breast, prostate, lung, and uterine cancers.  Of those five, the colon cancer-exercise benefits have been the most highly researched.

The colon is actually made up of several layers. It is important that food waste move through the colon as quickly as possible, to avoid the growth of polyps. A polyp is a benign, non-cancerous tumor.

However, some polyps can turn into cancer.  Colon cancer occurs when cells in the colon or rectum become abnormal and divide without control, forming a tumor.  The cells may also break away from the original tumor and spread to form new tumors in other parts of the body.Colon_cancer


Causes of cancer

Certain factors may increase your risk for developing colon cancer.  They include the following:

Age – This is a disease that usually occurs or onsets at late-middle age, unless you have the following:

Family History – Close relatives of persons who have had colon cancer are at higher risk, especially if that person developed the cancer at a young age.

Polyps – Polyps are common in people over the age of 50.  Most are benign, but it is important to be screened to determine if they are cancerous.

Diet – Colon cancer is associated with diets that are high in red or processed meats and low in plant foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).


How does exercise help prevent colon cancer?

Your large intestine is like an assembly line with a quality control inspector at the helm. As waste moves along your personal conveyor belt, your body (as the inspector) separates the useful things you can use and sends the rest along for disposal.  The longer waste sits in your colon or rectum, the more time harmful compounds have to leach out of the stool and into the tissues of your intestine.  When you move your body, you also move waste more rapidly through your colon.  How?  Physical activity stimulates peristalsis. Peristalsis generates muscular contractions that help push waste through your colon. The less time the layers of your colon are exposed to potential carcinogens, the better, according to the American Cancer Society.


What do I need to do? 

The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week, or vigorous activity for 20 minutes three days per week. You don’t need to go to a gym to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.  By increasing the amount of physical activity in your daily life, you can accomplish the same thing.  The protection comes from physical activity, so people who are overweight can reduce their risk by moving more, even if exercise does not result in weight loss.

Sources:  National Cancer Institute, CDC, American Cancer Society

Written by:  Donna Green, FCS Educator, OSU Extension, Erie County

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D. OSU Extension

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When you think of cranberries – what do you think of? Cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, dried cranberries on your salad, or maybe cranberry juice for breakfast is likely the most common answers. Most of us probably have forgotten that cranberries are native to North America and have be used for food, medicinal purposes, and as a dye for cloth for hundreds of years. What we probably didn’t realize is our ancestors were on to something – cranberries are a “Super Food”.

The term “Super Food” is a popular health term for foods that are low calorie, high nutrient, and anti-oxidant rich. The great thing about cranberries is that they are naturally low in calories and a good source of fiber and Vitamin C. They also are one of the highest sources of disease fighting antioxidants, with only blueberries higher. Other research has also linked cranberry consumption to prevention of urinary tract infections and prevention of tooth decay.

To include cranberries in your diet consider:

  • Adding fresh or dried cranberries to apple dishes, such as baked apples, apple pie, or even apple sauces.
  • Replace other berries with cranberries in recipes – you may need to add a little sweetener – as they are tart.
  • Think about serving your traditional cranberry sauce with other meals besides your baked turkey, it would be a great companion to pork roast, ham, or baked chicken; or even as a sauce on sandwiches.
  • Add dried cranberries to salad, muffins, cookies, snack mix, cheese balls, or side dishes.

Frozen cranberries are available year round, but fresh are only available in stores in the fall. Stock up now because they can be refrigerated for up to two months and frozen for up to a year. Select berries that are plump, shiny, firm, and free from spots. One moldy berry can ruin the whole bag.

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties.


WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cranberries-year-round-superfood.

West Virginia University, Extension Service, C. Rickman & J. Tritiz, Cranberry Thanksgiving, http://fh.ext.wvu.edu/r/download/116274.

USDA Blog, http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/11/16/cranberries-nature%e2%80%99s-garnets-are-ripening-across-the-country/.

Fruits & Veggies More Matters, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-cranberries.

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As the temperatures have cooled down the last few weeks what foods did you feel like making? I know many of my friends and co-workers have shared that they made traditional or white bean chili, vegetable soup, or chicken noodle soup. Comfort foods like soup just sounded good to them. The good thing to hear about those comfort foods is that they can also be “superfoods”. WebMD lists 14 superfoods that we should eat to protect us from heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions. Many of these foods are high in anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Seven of the 14 superfoods are also great soup ingredients:

  • Beans – because beans will often take on the flavor of the foods you combine them with, and can be added to almost any soup. If you use canned beans, look at the sodium content on the nutrition facts label and rinse them to cut that level.
  • Tomatoes – the base for many soups, look for no-salt added on the label if you are using canned.
  • Turkey – a perfect food for this time of year, stores already have them on sale and in a couple weeks we will have left-overs to use.
  • Spinach – rinse fresh spinach, chop into smaller pieces, and add to soup shortly before serving.
  • Broccoli – if you want to make a healthier version of broccoli soup be sure to use low fat and low sodium chicken broth, and low fat milk.
  • Soy – soy milk can be used in cream based soups, small cubes of tofu added to almost any soup, and soy “meat replacement” crumbles can be used in place of ground beef or sausage.
  • Pumpkin – another seasonal favorite which can be served as a hot or cold soup.

The wonderful thing about soups is many of them can also be made quickly. Often the ingredients can be kept on hand or left-overs can be used. One of our Ohio Extension co-workers had put together a great chart with a “Basic Homemade Soup Recipe”. The neat thing about it is you select an ingredient from each column – vegetables, grains, protein, seasoning, and liquid. Here is a link to that site http://go.osu.edu/soup.

If you have left-over soup you want to get it in the refrigerator or freezer in less than 2 hours after serving. If there are large quantities, divide it into small or shallow containers for quicker cooling. Soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days and freezer for 2 to 3 months. Frozen soups should be stored in sealed containers and labeled with the date. Frozen soups should be thawed in the refrigerator or can be reheated from a frozen state. You may choose to add additional liquid if you reheat from frozen. Always make sure left-overs soups are brought to a boil and heated to 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds for food safety. If you use your microwave for thawing or heating soups, using a glass or ceramic container is recommended. Microwave thawed foods should be cooked right after thawing because they may start to partially cook during the thawing process.

What super soup can you make this week and how many superfood ingredients can you include?


WebMD, Superfoods Everyone Needs, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs.

Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County, Basic Homemade Soup Recipe, D Becker,  http://go.osu.edu/soup.

USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Freezer Storage Chart,  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Focus_On_Freezing/index.asp#19.

Written by:

Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross & Vinton Counties, Ohio State University Extension, barlage.7@osu.edu.


Jenny Even, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Hamilton County, Ohio State University Extension, even.2@osu.edu.

Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Butler County, green.1405@osu.edu.

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