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Posts Tagged ‘family meals’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 18% or 13.7 million children and adolescents in the United States are obese. This means that they have a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC growth charts. It is projected that this epidemic will affect 50-80% of children in the United States by 2030.

Childhood obesity can result from an unbalanced diet consisting of high-calorie, low nutrient food and drink choices, lack of physical activity, and a rise in sedentary, screen-focused activities such as video gaming. Many studies have shown that children with obesity are at increased risk of developing short-term weight-related health conditions, as well as chronic conditions later in life. These children have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even premature death. This condition can also impact mental health in children, causing isolation stemming from bullying, depression, poor self-esteem, and a general lack of confidence.

BUT! There is good news. Obesity does not have to follow children into adulthood. Adopting positive lifestyle choices as children can help establish healthy habits and prevent the onset of these weight-related health conditions. Although genetics and metabolic rates differ from one child to another, healthy eating and living an active lifestyle can help manage their weight status, regardless of whether the child is at a normal weight, overweight, or obese.

You may be thinking this sounds great in an ideal world where kids get excited about eating their greens, and request grilled chicken instead of chicken nuggets, but that’s just not the world we live in. So how can we get our kids to eat nutrient-packed, lower calorie foods?

Use fun colors! – Instead of using traditional colored foods, here are some fun ideas to make your child’s plate more vibrant:

  • Try rainbow colored carrots instead of regular carrots.
  • Make a rainbow veggie wrap with bright colored peppers, spinach, and red cabbage.
  • You can also use red cabbage juice, blueberry juice, or other natural dyes to color cauliflower, rice, and yogurt a new color!

Use fun shapes! – Try creating fun, new shapes with ordinary foods. rocket shaped sandwich with vegetables

  • Use cookie cutters to cut fruit or veggies into interesting shapes.
  • Try using a spiralizer or a spiral veggie knife to present vegetables into noodles or zoodles.

Hide the fruits and veggies! – Disguise fruits and vegetables in your child’s favorite foods

  • Create a tasty, nutrient-rich smoothie with your child’s favorite fruits and vegetables and freeze it into ice pops for a tasty treat.
  •  Substitute traditional dishes with healthier options that appear the same. Examples include mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or spaghetti squash to replace regular pasta.
  • Add healthier substitutes in a dish that looks similar. Try adding squash to macaroni and cheese, chopped vegetables in meatballs, or making chocolate pudding with banana, avocado, cocoa powder, and vanilla!

Lastly, get your kids involved in the kitchen! Letting children help in meal preparation can motivate them to eat the dish they helped create.

  • Mother and daughter shopping for fruit.It begins at the grocery store – Consider bringing kids along and let them help you pick the produce they find most appealing.
  • Encourage your child to find a recipe they want to make, which includes a fruit or vegetable, and make it together.
  • Give your child age-appropriate tasks during meal prep such as washing the produce, mixing ingredients, and setting the table!

Check out the Ohio State University Extension Office’s Nutrition page for information about additional activities, classes, and education. Incorporating these fun, simple ideas into your child’s routine can help them develop lifelong healthy habits which prevent the onset of conditions related to obesity. Teaching our children how to practice these lifestyle changes can impact this generation, and generations to come!

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html

The Harvard Gazette: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/11/harvard-study-pinpoints-alarming-obesity-trends/

About the Author: Olyvia Norton is a senior student in the Nutrition and Food Science, Dietetics program at Middle Tennessee State University. Her interests are in clinical nutrition, specifically pediatric nutrition and nutrition support. She serves as the President of the Students of Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is an active member of the Nutrition and Dietetics Association at Middle Tennessee State University and works as a dietitian’s assistant in Middle Tennessee for patients with special needs. Olyvia also enjoys serving on medical mission teams outside of the United States to bring better nutrition to underserved populations in developing countries.

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

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Over scheduled would be the word I try to avoid every fall. With school, starting sports and activities usually, resume making school nights hectic. There are so many great opportunities and it is easy to overbook children with sports and extracurricular activities. Some years we really miss the mark, other years we do better at prioritizing activities and schoolwork.

Like adults, children also need downtime to be at their best. If we want our children to do, their best in school we want to set them up for success in the evenings. Parents need to give children adequate time to complete schoolwork and prepare for the next day. Providing this time in the evening can be tough with multiple children, homework, and activities. Try a few of these suggestions to help with over scheduled school nights:

Child working on homework

1. Make eating dinner a priority. There are many benefits to regular family meals. These include higher self-esteem, better academic performance, lower substance abuse and lower rates of obesity. Sitting together for meals can help increase family unity. Planning a family dinner in the schedule on school nights can help family members slow down, regroup and unwind from the day.

2.     Help children with homework. This can help children do well in school but also this time is beneficial to parents making sure their students are staying up with classwork, and getting adequate time to complete their assignments.

3. The start of each school year is a good time to evaluate the academic, social, physical and emotional needs of each child when it comes to extra activities. Keep in mind that children are unique and their needs will be different. Some children can handle their schoolwork and extracurricular activities without difficulty. Other children may benefit from more time for homework and fewer activities.  

4.     Have an evening routine. Routines are beneficial for keeping families organized. An evening routine could include family dinner, homework time, chores, time for activities and bedtime. Children need different amounts of sleep depending on their age.  Children who do not get enough sleep can struggle academically, and be tired or cranky at school.   

Carefully selecting the right balance of extracurricular activities can be difficult. Parents providing support can be beneficial to children as they try to balance academics, friends, sports and other activities. In the end, academics will be important to your child’s success. Choosing academics over one more activity, or working on a slower evening routine may exactly what a child needs to feel prepared for their next day of school.  

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County.

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County.

Sources:

“Benefits of Family Dinners.” The Family Dinner Project, https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/about-us/benefits-of-family-dinners/.

College-Homework-Help.org. “Should Parents Help with Homework to Let Their Kids Succeed at School.” Should Parents Help with Homework to Let Their Kids Succeed at School, https://college-homework-help.org/blog/should-parents-help-with-homework.

“Routines for a New School Year.” Live Healthy Live Well, 13 Feb. 2019, https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/08/06/routines-for-a-new-school-year/.

“Signs Your Child Isn’t Sleeping Enough.” Sleep.org, https://www.sleep.org/articles/signs-your-child-isnt-sleeping-enough/.

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Spaghetti squash is a vegetable that can be used in place of traditional spaghetti pasta with your favorite sauce. It is full of folic acid, potassium, beta carotene, fiber, and Vitamins A and C – with a one cup serving coming in at 42 calories, versus the almost 200 calories a traditional cup of pasta contains. Photo of spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is an oblong winter squash that is ivory-yellow in color and weighs 2 to 3 pounds. A mature squash will be 4 to 5 inches in diameter and about 8 to 9 inches long with rounded ends. When selecting squash, look for a hard rind, free of bruises, and heavy in comparison to others. Squash can be stored at a mild temperature (50 – 60 degrees) for up to 6 months.

To prepare spaghetti squash, cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scrape out seeds. Place cut side down on a roasting pan in a 375 degree F oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Hull will be soft to the touch and beginning to brown when ready. Let cool about 30 minutes and spoon squash strands out, separating to form spaghetti like strands. Microwaving is also an option – place cut squash in a glass dish (cut side down) with ½ inch of water and microwave for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and remove squash strands.

Try serving your spaghetti squash with a Roma tomato sauce or your favorite jar sauce for a quicker meal. Ohio State University Heart Hospital has a wonderful Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Roma Tomato Marinara if you are looking for an option. To see a video of how to prepare spaghetti squash go to http://go.osu.edu/spaghettisquash.

Let us know your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash!

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

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

Sources:

The Ohio State University Heart Hospital, https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/

University of Illinois Extension, http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/facts/140218.html

Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/spaghetti_squash_also_called_vegetable_spaghetti

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Many people forget how important it is to start your day with a fueling breakfast. We often forget to include this meal due to lack of time and planning around hectic schedules. One versatile breakfast item that my family and I enjoy is a veggie egg muffin. This simple dish has fresh ingredients, is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is packed with protein from the eggs and fiber from its veggies. One large egg has 6 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and only 70 calories. Eggs also provide a rich source of vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Additionally, eggs are very economical to make; one egg has an average cost of approximately 8.5 cents in today’s market.    .

Vegetable Egg Muffin on a Plate

Veggie Egg Muffins

I like to make many versions of this recipe, depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. I always start with 10-12 eggs, and add milk and various veggies on hand. I also add additional spices to enhance the flavor. Spices include fresh garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, parsley flakes, and sometimes fresh or dried basil.

Here is an egg muffin recipe that I would to share to get started. This can be modified based on your veggie preferences and items you have on hand.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milkEggs in a bowl. Peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms on cutting board
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3 medium-size mushrooms
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cooking Spray

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, nonfat milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, diced peppers and onions. After vegetables are mixed together, add your cheese to the bowl.Egg mixture with veggies in a bowl

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan cups and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan then use a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.
*Adapted from Just a Taste

These healthy egg muffins taste good by themselves, but I often will make it into an egg sandwich to add more fiber. I start with a whole grain sandwich thin, and then add guacamole, taco sauce, 1 slice of cheese, and sometimes a thin slice of deli turkey. After I’ve assembled my sandwich, I warm it up in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. This is a great sandwich to start the day. They can be made the night before and put in a sandwich bag for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. My husband likes to have it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack.

If they will not be used in 5 days, plan to put them in the freezer for a later date.

Why not give it a try this week, and leave a reply in the comment box below to share other ideas for a healthy breakfast egg muffin.

Resources:
http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/egg-nutrition-basics/

http://www.aeb.org/news-trends/incredible-breakfast-trends/new-consumer/millennial-evolution

https://www.justataste.com/healthy-breakfast-egg-muffins-recipe/

 

Written by:  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Shannon Smith, RD, LD, Program Coordinator IGNITE Grant, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, smith.11604@osu.edu

Reviewed by:   Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,   remley.4@osu.edu

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In Buckeye land it is time for football games, tailgating or viewing parties. With those parties often comes heavy snacking. Why not start the season off right by making the switch to healthier food choices for future parties?  We are each responsible for making a few food or drink choices for the next party that we host or attend to help everyone maintain a healthier (not heavier) diet. Photo from Ohio State University football game

When you plan your party keep in mind that a few healthy options can go a long way in contributing to the health of all Buckeyes (or Bobcats, Bengals, Browns, Bearcats, Cavaliers, Flyers, Monsters, Zips, Falcons, Flashes, or your home town team).

  • Start your party prep by purchasing a medium size plate, I know those tray size plates seem like they should be wonderful, but often contribute to over-eating or waste (you take something, but don’t eat it).
  • Plan beverages so you can serve infused water rather than soda. Make ice cubes or rings out of fruit in your team colors.
  • Switch burgers to leaner meats and serve them on whole grain slider buns. The bun switch alone can save you 180 calories.
  • Always serve fresh veggies and fruits with a low-fat dip.
  • Serve pizza with vegetable or fruit toppings; limit the extra meats and cheeses. If you are making your own consider a whole grain crust.Photo of vegetable chili
  • Modify your chili to include 2 types of beans, turkey sausage, diced sweet potatoes, and chopped peppers.
  • Serve quesadillas on whole grain tortillas, filled with chopped vegetables and low fat cheese.
  • Serve grilled chicken breasts or lean pork loins.
  • Switch your chips or pretzels to baked, veggie, or whole grain.

Don’t forget to be food safe at your tailgate or party too! Use coolers or tubs of ice to keep cold food cold on those first warm fall games. Ensure that grilled meats reach safe temperatures by using a meat thermometer: ground beef or ground pork should reach 160 degrees, all poultry 165 degrees, and steaks or chops 145 degrees.

We can’t wait to hear what you will be serving at your next tailgate. If you are looking for ideas here are a few http://go.osu.edu/healthtailgate. Comment with your healthy tailgate tip or recipe.

Sources:

Alabama A & M, Auburn University: http://news.aces.edu/blog/2016/10/05/host-healthy-tailgate-season/

University of Washington, https://www.washington.edu/wholeu/2014/09/30/healthytailgatefoods/

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2014/10/09/vanderbilt-health-educator-offers-tips-for-healthy-tailgating/

Army HEALTH, http://blog.armyhealth.pbrc.edu/post/Healthy-Tailgating

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.

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It is no secret that drug abuse is running rampant in Middle America. Over half a million Americans die every year from overdoses, accidents, illness, or other poor choices. I live in southern Ohio, an area that has been over whelmed with the opiate epidemic. I recently had the opportunity to attend an “Ohio State University Conversation on the Opioid Crisis” where I learned some things that we can all do to prevent the spread of drug abuse in our own communities. Here are a few things you can do to prevent drug use: family-eating

  • Have regular discussions with your children about the risks of drugs and alcohol. These discussions have been shown to result in a 50% reduction in use (Who knew?).  Be consistent, talk about the law, listen to what your children have to say, and control your emotions as you talk with them.
  • Have dinner together as a family – four or more times per week if possible. Research shows that teens who eat meals with their family are less likely to try tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs. Use mealtime as a chance to find out what your children are up to, who their friends are, what is going on at school, and to encourage improving grades and school work. Make conversation at mealtime positive and encouraging. Turn off the TV, put cell phones away, and take out earbuds so everyone can talk and listen.  (As a side benefit, if you prepare some of these meals together you will save money and teach your children to cook.)
  • Encourage children to be involved in extracurricular activities – sports, music, church activities, 4-H, Scouts, clubs, or volunteering. Not only should you encourage your child to be busy doing positive activities, but know where they are, who they are with, and when they will be home.
  • Decrease opportunities for exposure to addictive substances. Keep medication where children won’t happen upon it. When you finish taking the pain medication you were given after surgery, dispose of any that is left. Discuss this with older family members as well.  Literacy about medications and medication safety is key.
  • Set an example for children. Use prescription drugs properly, don’t use illegal drugs, never drink and drive, and if you drink, drink in moderation. If you used drugs in the past, explain the problems that it may have caused for you or other family members. Discuss why you wouldn’t choose to do drugs now.
  • Remember you are the parent! Monitor your child’s TV and Internet viewing, games they are playing, music they are listening to or purchasing, maintain a curfew, make sure adults are present when teens are hanging out and check in with them when they get home from school, and keep track of their school work (they give us access to those grades on the Internet for a reason). Recognize children for the positives – did they raise a grade, achieve a PR (personal best) in running or swimming, or finish all their chores without nagging? If they did, let them select the Sunday lunch meal, the movie you are watching together, or a new game to play together.

Parents and grandparents can have a powerful influence on protecting children from drug use and abuse. Take advantage of opportunities to talk about the risks of drugs and alcohol, and set an example for your own children and their friends. Volunteer to drive your child and their friends/teammates to events, or allow your child to invite a friend for family dinner on the weekend. When you have these opportunities – ask questions and listen, without criticism.

Sources:

Drug Free New Hampshire, http://drugfreenh.org/families

Start Talking Ohio, http://www.starttalking.ohio.gov/

National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, http://www.centeronaddiction.org/

United States Food and Drug Administration, How to Dispose of Unused Drugs, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm

National Institute of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/EasyToRead_PreventDrugUse_012017.pdf

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: James Bates, Assistant Professor/Field Specialist, Family Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, bates.402@osu.edu.

 

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veggiegirl2

According to MyPlate.gov, snacks can help kids get nutrients needed to grow.  This blog will show some ideas to help you make creative snacks with veggies & fruits. By making food fun, you may encourage your child to try something new. If possible, involve your child in food preparation or cooking. Kids like to try their creations!

Concerned about the cost of fresh vegetables and fruits? Select vegetables & fruits when they are “in season” or on sale. Make sure to buy enough, but not too much where you end up throwing it away.

  • Winter “In Season” vegetables & fruits include kiwi and citrus fruits like tangerines, clementines, oranges and grapefruit.
  • Spring “In Season” vegetables & fruits include snow peas, broccoli, greens, asparagus, strawberries and spinach.
  • Veggies & fruits that are readily available “year round” include bananas, celery, carrots, apples, potatoes & onions.

Here are some recipe ideas to try:

    • Veggie Kid. Add light ranch dip for the face of the kid and make the body out of vegetables & fruits you may have on hand.
    • Cheese and Crackers. Try the convenience of single serving string cheese and pair it with whole wheat crackers. To ramp up the veggies, add a few carrot sticks or apple wedges.
    • Make a fun “character” fruit tray. Easy and fun! The eyes in this fruit tray are hardboiled eggs. Watch the children “gobble” up the fruit.

Need more inspiration? Try these:

elmofruit

  • Apple Smiles made with peanut butter and raisins.
  • Fruit Kabobs. Use your favorite fruits for this fun snack!
  • Crunchy Berry Parfait. Use your favorite fruits in this easy favorite.
  • Cowboy Caviar. A favorite of adults and kids alike! Serve with whole grain chips, fill celery sticks or top a salad with this tasty salsa.

Remember that some children don’t like foods that are mixed up. If this is the case, serve them individually.

Final Tips:

  • Make it easy to choose add-ins. Try hummus, creamy vegetable dip made with yogurt, or applesauce with a little “crunch” (granola or cereal) and cinnamon.
  • Let them pick a new vegetable or fruit to try if you take them grocery shopping.

What ideas do you have to add more veggies & fruits to your day? Post your ideas in the comment section.

Sources:

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (2017). Spend Smart. Eat Smart. http://extension.iastate.edu

USDA (2016). MyPlate snack tips for parents. MyPlate, MyWins. www.choosemyplate.gov

USDA What’s Cooking? Recipe Finder available from https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

Photo credits:

Jennifer Driesbach, driesbach.2@osu.edu

Michelle Treber, treber.1@osu.edu

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

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

 

 

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