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Posts Tagged ‘food choices’

 

range

 

Recently I had to replace my beloved stove. It had served me well over the years with family dinners, parties and countless cooking experiments.  I researched the various models, features and recommendations and was prepared to make an educated, informed decision.

When I finally started making the rounds at the appliance stores to check out the new ranges, I wasn’t prepared for a specific feature I found on a majority of the ranges. Chicken Nugget and Pizza pre-set buttons. What’s this? Does our nation eat chicken nuggets and pizza to such an extent that we need to have those two specific foods singled out for pre-set buttons so we can heat them up in a moment’s notice?  Are we perceived by appliance manufacturers as consumers of convenience foods in massive quantities?

Other countries already see Americans as huge drive-thru/convenience food eaters; is it any wonder the appliance industry followed suit? What will be next? Refrigerators with high sugar beverage or energy drink dispensers? It’s no wonder the current dietary guidelines have started to shorten their estimates of life expectancy—we know our children won’t live as long as their grandparents.  Their diets are not health-supporting.

The 2015 dietary guidelines recommend that Americans start to shift their food choices from convenience foods to more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to improve overall health. In the next couple of years there will also be more health messages touting the danger of excessive sugar in beverages and energy drinks.

At a recent meeting with colleagues, I observed several co-workers pull yogurt, fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus, and various vegetables out of their lunch bags to consume during our working lunch. It struck me how easy these simple, healthy foods are to eat, yet so powerful. I am grateful to be part of a group of health-focused individuals that are not just “talking the talk,” but also “walking the walk.” Let’s all do our part to improve the American diet and get healthy along the way!

P.S. I ended up purchasing a range that has no pre-set nugget/pizza buttons, and look forward to future cooking adventures!

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

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

References: Am J Clin Nutr January 2015 vol.109 no.1 6-16

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OrganicCauliflower

Cauliflower

In the same way you used to roll your eyes and tune out your mother when she said “eat more vegetables and fruits,” your eyes will probably glaze over at yet another reminder. But of all the health messages we receive on a daily basis, this one really is one of the easiest to assimilate, and it can make a huge difference in whether or not you will develop a chronic disease.

Why should you eat more vegetables and fruits? Research shows that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease–and that includes both heart attack and stroke. It may also (1) provide protection against certain types of cancers; (2) help you maintain or lose weight; and (3) enable you to consume more fiber, which keeps you feeling full and aids in elimination.

Not sure how much to eat? Just fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Sound too simple?  That’s because it is! Just remember to select whole fruits (instead of juice) and vary your veggies.

To help you get there, one vegetable in particular you might want to reconsider is cauliflower. It is the flower of the plant; growing in tight, compact clusters. This mild white vegetable is available fresh or frozen. Most of us eat cauliflower raw with dip or steamed as part of a vegetable medley. I personally love it steamed with broccoli, carrots and onions. It is colorful and tasty, and steaming seems to bring out a mellower flavor.

Why should you eat cauliflower?

Want a new way to enjoy this vegetable from the cabbage family?

  • Make low-calorie “mashed potatoes” with cauliflower.
  • Roast it for a crunchy unique flavor. I added a dash of smoked paprika for more flavor.

    Roasted Cauliflower

    Roasted Cauliflower

  • Try cauliflower pizza crust – great if you eat gluten free or are watching your calories.
  • Make stir-fry using cauliflower as one of the vegetables. Stir-fry onion, garlic, and cauliflower, then add flavor with low sodium soy sauce. After the vegetables are crispy, add two beaten eggs. Heat until eggs are firm, and then serve with brown rice and quinoa.

    stirfry

    Stir -Fry

  • Enjoy Cauliflower-Cheese Soup on a cool winter day.
  • Try this kid friendly and cute idea, named “Hiding Rabbits”.
Rabbitcrop

Hiding Rabbits

One head of cauliflower can yield about 10 ½ cup servings.

So… I challenge you that next time you are at the grocery, pick up a head of cauliflower and find a new way to enjoy this healthy vegetable.

 

 

Sources:

https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2015/11/healthy-eating-getting-creative-cauliflower/

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/fruits_vegetables.html

http://choosemyplate.gov

Photo Credits: Doug Wilson

Michelle Treber

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

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

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hot-chocolateHot chocolate is my favorite drink during the fall and winter months. The snow was falling outside and I was anxious for my 1st cup of the New Year. However, I made a New Year’s Resolution to be healthier and watch my sugar intake. Have you ever taken time to stop and read the nutrition label on a box of hot chocolate?  The first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup. Cocoa is not listed until the fifth ingredient. My once loved drink was slowly adding weight to my body. One cup of hot chocolate can contain anywhere from four to seven teaspoons of sugar. Since my favorite way of making mine is with reduced fat milk and using original hot chocolate packaged mix I was drinking SEVEN teaspoons of sugar in one cup!

I was not going to let one little drink ruin my goal of becoming healthier. I set out to find a better option. Standing at the grocery store my mind was overloaded with all the different options. All too many times we believe what we read on the outside of the box instead of taking the time to read the nutrition label. No sugar added had to be better for me right? It should have fewer calories. Or what about the all-natural versions where you can pronounce all the ingredients?  There aren’t any added sweeteners or artificial flavors in them. What if I pick the dark chocolate flavor? Dark chocolate has antioxidants so that hast to be the best option. What about my whipped cream or marshmallows on top?

So what is a person to do when they still want that cup of hot chocolate but are trying to be healthier? The American Heart Association offers some suggestions on how to trim the calories by using fat free milk, low sugar hot chocolate packets and a minimal amount of toppings. If you would prefer, make it yourself so you can control the amount of sugar. Chances are you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen. By personally controling the amount of sugar you are using it’s no longer the number one ingredient. Start with taking your favorite hot chocolate recipe and only use half the amount of sugar. It will not seem as sweet but you can add cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla extract to help give it that extra something special. For a greater depth of flavor try simmering a cinnamon stick with your milk. Maybe you are looking for a recipe that is a sophisticated, European-style of hot chocolate which is thick and rich.

A healthier version of hot chocolate is very doable and in moderation has great health benefits. After all cocoa beans do come from seeds of a fruit that is grown on trees in tropical forests. That makes chocolate a fruit right?

 

Source: Gampel, S., & Bobroff, L. B. (2010, October). Dark Chocolate Benefits. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FM/FM38300.pdf

Source: Core, J. (2005, April 4). In Chocolate, More Cocoa Means Higher Antioxidant Capacity . Retrieved from http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2005/050404.2.htm

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

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

 

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Exciting news, the 2015 – 2020 updated Dietary Guidelines were just released. These Guidelines are updated by a team of nutrition and medical experts from across the country focusing on scientific and medical evidence in the nutrition field. This exclusive group of committee members included experts from Harvard, Yale, Duke, Tufts University, and our own Ohio State University. The results of their work are found in five basic guidelines: dietary guidelines

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. To reduce your risk of chronic disease, choose foods and beverages at an appropriate level to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. Plan to include a variety of vegetables especially dark green, red, orange, and legumes (beans and peas). Eat fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy and whole grains. Consume a variety of protein foods like seafood, lean meats, eggs, nuts, soy products, and legumes.
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Look to foods and beverages in their simple state and avoid those with added sugars, fats, and sodium.
  • Shift to healthier food and beverages choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and reduce less healthy choices. Examples might include colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grain pasta or rice, low fat milk or yogurt, and a variety of proteins including beans, eggs, poultry, fish, and other low-fat choices.
  • Support healthy eating patterns for all. We each have a role in creating and supporting healthy eating – from home to school to work to community.

This eighth version of the Dietary Guidelines has less major changes than past versions, with the apparent changes being an increased focus on less sodium, fat and sugar (especially those that are added to foods or drinks); and less emphasis on cholesterol content of foods. By following a healthy eating pattern with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, seeds or nuts, and low-fat dairy we will all have less risk of chronic disease like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. This version of the guidelines also includes a wonderful reminder that we all have a role in making healthy eating a priority.

What change can you make to shift your diet to a healthier pattern? Small changes to improve, as well as poor choices both add up. For further information go to http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.

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:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.

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Have you noticed that the winter holidays are associated with food more than at any other time of the year? From Thanksgiving turkey with all of the trimmings through New Year’s Eve celebrations, there are many temptations put in front of us. Cookies seem to magically show up at the office and there are multiple events to attend where it is very easy to indulge more than we should.cookie-585903_640

If you’ve been working hard this year at healthier eating or increased physical activity, don’t let the holiday season set you back. If you do slip into some old habits don’t let it get you down.

Here are some hints to help you have a healthier holiday:

• Schedule time for physical activity – if it is on your calendar you are more likely to follow through.
• Cut back on what you eat a little for a few days but not too much.
• Look for a couple of new recipes to incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet. The fiber will help you feel full longer. For example, green bean almandine with lemon is a much healthier choice than the traditional green bean casserole!
• Be more conscious of your portion sizes. Use a smaller plate and remember to fill at least half of it with vegetables and fruits.
• Try to eat a light, healthy snack before a party. This might curb your appetite and make it easier to avoid temptation! Eat a low fat Greek yogurt, string cheese or other protein food to help you feel fuller.
• Track what you eat each day. Being aware of what we are actually consuming can help us make any necessary adjustment.
• If you have a favorite holiday treat, make it, enjoy a serving or two and give the rest away!

Studies show that the average American gains one to two pounds over the holidays and these pounds usually don’t go away. You might make it your goal to maintain your weight over the holidays instead of trying to loose. If you try to deny yourself your favorite holiday foods, you are more likely to “fall off the wagon” and go overboard on eating. Enjoy our favorites and then get back to your wellness plans of healthy eating and exercise after the New Year!

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu
Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holiday-eating-10/holiday-foods-diet
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/montgomery/news/healthy-holiday-eating

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cereals

Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.

  1.  THE List:Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.
  2. Explore coupons: Coupons are a great way to save money while grocery shopping and can be a great activity to do with your family! You will have no problems finding some great deals. Looking for coupons is easy since they are located in a variety of places: in your newspaper, different magazines, at the grocery store, and even your smart phone. Many  grocery stores have mobile apps where you can get coupons with a touch of a button. All you do is bring in your phone with the coupon pulled up and have the cashier scan the bar code on your phone.
  3. Shop the perimeter: Most processed foods are located in the middle of the grocery store such as sugar flavored drinks, cookies, cereals and chips.Shopping the perimeter where the fresh produce, dairy products, meats and most bread are located is a great way to purchase more healthful foods for you and your family.
  4. Eat before: How did those doughnuts get in your cart? Have you ever been a victim of shopping while you were hungry and buying foods that you never went to the store for in the first place? Eating something before you go grocery shopping can satisfy this syndrome of picking up foods that sound and smell good to you at that time.
  5. Be mindful when buying in bulk: Ever buy a huge bag of popcorn because it was on sale and noticed you’ve eaten the whole bag by yourself? I have! Be mindful and strategic when you buy in bulk. You want to ask yourself if you are buying this huge stock of food because it is on sale or if it is something you need. If it is both on sale and something you need, make sure you have a way you can preserve some of the product. For example, if you buy meat in bulk, know that you can freeze half of it and eat what you know you will need instead of trying to eat it all in one week. This can lead to unnecessary overeating and even send you to the store buying more.

These five general shopping tips can help you stay on task and purchase more nutrient-rich foods for you and your family! It’s important to stay focused and make sure you’re buying your needs and not your wants.

Written by :  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Courtney N  Klebe, Dietetic Intern , Bowling Green State University.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, MSPH, Ph.D, Field Specialist, Food Nutrition and Wellness.

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Did you know that 12 ounces of sweetened tea has 135 calories in it? Or that 12 ounces of regular soda has 136 calories? There is an alternative to these sugary drinks that can not only help you cut the calories but increase your overall well-being. The Ohio State University Extension has developed a campaign, “Water First for Thirst”, to get people to put down the pop can and enjoy drinking water. This initiative helps to inform people of the benefits of drinking more water.
Drinking water can be a chore all by itself but that doesn’t mean that it is any less important. Your body needs water to complete everyday tasks:

• Regulating body temperature
• Get rid of waste through urination and bowel movements
• Lubricate joints

Infused Water

Infused Water

If you’re like me, drinking water seems boring and bland. I’ve found some ways to spice things up a bit and help me meet the recommended goal of drinking 64 ounces of water per day. Here are some creative tips that I’ve found:

1. Invest in a stylish water bottle that you can keep with you. Whether you’re at work, in the gym or outside in the garden it’s key that you keep a bottle with you so you can refill it whenever you want.

2. When you can, drink through a straw. People tend to drink more when using a straw.

3. Infuse your water with some of your favorite flavors. Adding lemon, berries or citrus with a dash of mint leaves will change things up. If you’re on the go try some of the pocket enhancers that you can purchase from the store. Even with the flavor, you’re still able to cut the calories.

4. Yes, there’s even an app for that. You can download ‘Waterlogged’ and ‘Daily Water’ for free on your device. It will help you track your intake and reach your goals

5. Eating foods that have more of a water base allows you to consume more water without even knowing it. Foods like cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and celery are all made up of more than 90% water. These are naturally low in calories as well!

After hearing tips like these I encourage you to rethink your drink and raise a glass of water!

http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

Photo Credit: KaryeeSays Blog
http://www.karyeesays.com/2014/06/12/5-infused-water-recipes-to-keep-you-hydrated-this-summer/

Writer: Mallorie Wippel, Summer Intern, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, wippel.139@osu.edu

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

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