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Posts Tagged ‘Food Decisions’

grocery

Do you have a plan when you make a trip to the grocery store?  You can save time and money by planning ahead before you head off on your trip.

  • Plan your meals using a worksheet such as, Create a Grocery Game Plan. This will help you make decisions about what you need to buy.
  • Go through your cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer to see what items you already have that can be incorporated into your meals.
  • Consider your schedule for the week……choose meals that are easy to prepare on busier days and save recipes for days when you have more time
  • Make a list of recipes you would like to try. Need help finding new ideas?  Try What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl for healthy, low-cost recipes using items you already have on hand.

Now that you know what you will be cooking each week, use your list of weekly meals to create a list of foods and drinks you need to buy.  Be sure to include fruits, vegetables, and milk even though they may not be part of any of the recipes you have planned for the week.

Time to make your list:

  • You can use scrap paper or the back of an envelope.
  • Type your list on a computer
  • Type your list in the “notes” section of your smartphonegrocery 2
  • Download a free mobile app for grocery lists
  • Use this template to make your list

Once your meals are planned and your list made, here are a few tips to help you get the most for your dollar.

  • Read the sale flyer(s) for the stores you plan to visit to see what is on sale from your grocery list. You can find sale info at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, and on the store’s website.
  • Use coupons for as many items on your list as you can. They can be found as inserts in newspapers each week, you can download coupons from the internet, and your grocery store most likely has digital coupons on their website that can help you save even more.
  • Look for store brands that typically cost less than name brands.
  • Ask for a rain check if the store is out of a sale item. This is usually done at the customer service desk located in the front of the store. A rain check lets you pick up the item once they are back in stock.
  • Sign-up for your store’s customer loyalty program. This free program offers discounts and rewards to members.

Sources:

Pixabay.com

United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/sites/default/files/budget/grocery_list_interactive.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/sites/default/files/budget/grocery_gameplan_interactive.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

Writer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

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

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Did you know restaurants follow some tricks to encourage you to eat more?  Accasian-1239311__180ording to Deborah Cohen, a physician and senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation , a nonprofit research organization, restaurants follow these advertising tricks to get us to order and eat more.

  • They serve us bigger servings. When we see food, we usually eat all of it even if we are not hungry for that size portion.
  • We do not tend to rely on how much we have eaten during the day, or how hungry we are, when deciding quantities later in the day.
  • Combo meals portray a better value and are easy to order.  But just two items would be satisfying to many people, if they knew they could save money and calories.menu-512197_960_720
  • The “sweet spot” on the menu is in the upper right-hand corner.  More people choose items in that area of the menu.  Restaurants also know we are likely to choose items that appear first or last in a section of the menu.  Highlighted or boxed items are also chosen more often.
  • The more people you eat with, the more food you are likely to consume.
  • We tend to mimic the people we are with, it seems to be part of socializing or fitting in.
  • The more variety the more we are likely to eat. One study gave people only one type of pasta and another group three different types of pasta.  All of the pasta cookie-1125527_960_720tasted the same.  However, the group getting the three different types of pasta ate more than the one getting only one type.   The same thing happens with cookies, crackers or snack foods.
  • Showing you the desserts will get you to order dessert more often.

Will knowing this information influence our choices or actions the next time we eat out?  With restaurant meals usually 2-3 times what we should be eating remembering the tips above could help us to reduce the calories we eat at restaurants.  Since most of us eat out often, is it any wonder our society gains weight each year?

I am going to start looking at the whole menu carefully, limit combo meals, and cut portions in half putting the rest in a box for home before I start eating. What strategies are you going to use?

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

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Cohen, D. (2016) It’s Hard to Eat Less When There is Too Much on Your Plate.  RAND Corporation. Available at http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/02/its-hard-to-eat-less-w hen-there-is-too-much-on-your.html

Liebman, B. (2016).  Under the Radar What made you buy (and eat) that.  Interview with Deborah Cohen, Author of A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Influences Behind the Obesity Epidemic – and How We Can End It (new York: Nation Books).  Nutrition Action Health Letter, Center for Science in the Public Interest March 2016. 43(2) 1,3-5.

 

 

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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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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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Freshman15

Frequently, college students may not select or purchase the most healthful options while at school. With the major shift in environment and academics, students can put the focus of nutritious eating on the back burner. As a result, several college students tend to gain weight.

Many factors can explain why students may not eat healthfully, including a lack of nutrition and diet education, social pressure, taste, and a lack of exposure prior to coming to college. Students may go for the most appealing, accessible, and easy options which can frequently include energy-dense, nutrient-poor, high-sodium, and high-fat products.

Let’s set the scenario: you are an incoming freshman with an unlimited meal plan. Back home you may have been used to eating home-cooked meals or what your parents provided you, but perhaps for the first time in your life you make all of the selections of what you eat every day. As many dining hall operate, you can basically treat each meal as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The choices are endless and calories never cross your mind. Breakfast could be a healthy choice such as fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt with almonds or it could be bacon, sausage, pancakes, eggs, hash browns, and toast. Which would you choose?

If you were any of the new college students around the country (that are not exactly focused on health), you may have chosen the latter. It’s often hard to keep nutrition and portion sizes in mind when there is such a selection in front of you. What students may not realize at the moment is that making these food choices into their usual dietary behaviors can become an unhealthy habit over time. These poor dietary habits can persist through adulthood, affecting their and their family’s health. Not only do poor dietary choices tend to carry over into adulthood when established at a young age, but they can also affect academic performance in college students. Many studies have found this to be true, noting the extreme importance of a healthy balanced diet while in school.
Social marketing and nutrition advertising in the dining halls have become emerging strategies in influencing students’ dietary choices. These tools can be used to increase awareness and motivate students to select healthier food choices. But, beyond these techniques what can we as parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and other adult role models do to encourage these young adults to prevent poor eating habits and weight gain. We all know how difficult it can be to lose the weight once it is gained, so prevention is key.

Talking with your young adult and encouraging some good habits early may lead to healthier choices. Some of these include:

• Encouraging calorie free beverages. Many teens and young adults do not realize the number of calories they are consuming simply from their drinks. Encourage water, unsweetened tea, sugar-free sodas, low-fat dairy, or other calorie-free beverages. This simple change can make a huge difference.

• Talk about ways to increase fruits and vegetables in one’s diet. Snacks can be great ways to incorporate more of these daily. Teens and young adults often tend to love dips. Encourage low fat or low calorie dips with fruits and vegetables as a healthy way to snack. www.choosemyplate.org is a fantastic site that offers a plethora of tips on healthy eating as well as a SuperTracker that can help students plan, analyze, and track their diet and physical activity with personalized goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling!

• Be physically active. This can be easier for young teens and adults on a college campus due to the amount of walking between buildings. Often times the college has a great facility for physical activities to be tried and sustained. Encourage the use of these facilities and ask your teen or young adult about this.

• Finally, talk to your teen or young student about portion sizes. College can be a great social experience and time to try new and different foods. Talk to them enjoying new tastes, but doing so in moderation.

We can all do our part in encouraging healthy behaviors and preventing weight gain. Helping our young adults do that can make a difference in the present and future.

Authors: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic intern/student, Bowling Green State University

Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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

Sources:

Peterson S, Duncan DP, Null DB, Roth SL, Gill L. Positive changes in perceptions and selections of healthful foods by college students after a short-term point-of-selection intervention at a dining hall. Journal of American College Health. 2010;58:425-431.

Wald A, Muennig PA, O’Connell KA, Garber CE. Associations between healthy lifestyle behaviors and academic performance in U.S. undergraduates: A secondary analysis of the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment II. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2014;28:298-305.

www.choosemyplate.org

Photo credit: kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/college/freshman_15.html

 

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Does your family go through boxes and boxes of store-bought snacks faster than you can replenish them? Do you feel like you’re spending a majority of your grocery budget on sugar-filled, processed snacks that don’t seem to last more than a few days at your house? There is an answer to this madness. Make your own snacks!

You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for that!” and while that may be true, you’d be surprised how much time you’d actually be saving. Yes, making your own snacks involves some planning and prepping. However, this planning and prepping stage might not involve the lengthy process of taking a trip to the grocery store. You can make various snacks for you, your kids, and whoever else may be at your house from foods you likely already have on hand. For example, you could try the Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars shown below. In addition, recipes like these make large enough batches to provide snacks lasting up to two weeks if stored properly. Many store bought boxes of granola bars provide only 5 servings, so why not whip up homemade bars that yield about 24 servings per batch.

Find a recipe for snacks that fits your own personal schedule. On a time crunch this week? Throw together a big batch of trail mix using those nuts you bought in bulk that have been taking up space in your cupboard. Add in cereal, raisins, seeds, or chocolate chips and seal in an air-tight container. Scoop into sandwich-sized bags for an easy, balanced, and healthful snack for any time or place.

Buying ingredients in bulk at your favorite grocery store can help make an abundance of different snacks that add variety to your daily routine. Stock up on versatile foods like oats and nuts and you’d be surprised at your options for snacks and meals as well as how much more full your wallet feels. The recipe below, found on the What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl website provides a snack that costs $0.30 per serving. No, that’s not a typo; $0.30 per serving. These homemade granola bars yield 24 servings making the total cost of the recipe about $7.15 according to USDA. You could get about 2 boxes, or 10 servings, of your average granola bars for that price.

Health bonus: Snacks like these provide more than just dollars in your pocket and variety to your pantry. The nutrition in homemade snacks like these is worth more than all of the previous reasons combined. The carbohydrate and protein provided in healthful, homemade snacks will offer the energy you need along with satisfaction until your next meal. On the plus side, you know exactly what ingredients are going into your snacks without paying for processed sugars and ingredients you can’t pronounce.

 oatballsr

Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars

From “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl

Makes: 24 servings

Total Cost: $7.15

Serving Cost: $0.30

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup carrot (grated)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and grate the carrots.
  3. Put the honey and peanut butter in a large saucepan. Cook on low heat until melted. Remove pan from the heat.
  4. Add oatmeal, raisins, carrots, and coconut to the saucepan. Stir well, and let it cool until you can safely touch it with your hands.
  5. Press the mix firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Cool and cut into 24 bars.

Authors: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Allision Doriot , Dietetic Intern with Wood County Extension.

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

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