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I recently spent 8 days in Costa Rica with a group of extension professionals from 10 other states learning about the culture and the history of the country. I have to say it was one of the most wonderful experiencosta-rica-country-side.jpgces of my life. You might think, OF COURSE, how could being in a tropical paradise not be wonderful?! Especially since Ohio and much of the Midwest has been experiencing unpredictable weather, to say the least. But, the weather aside, the whole journey was full of wonderful experiences.

This trip was not about sitting on the beach or in the mountains at some all-inclusive resort basking in the sun or the mountain air. It was about immersing ourselves in the culture of the country and getting outside of our comfort zone to learn about people, who at first glance may appear to be different from us and what we know. As we traveled around the country to the various locations (we stayed in 4 different accommodations), we were able to gain a better understanding of how the Ticos (native Costa Ricans) live and work.

Our group of 33 were divided into smaller subgroups for different activities throughout the week. We went on a variety of outings designed to increase our cultural awareness and to challenge us in our leadership philosophies and ideas. Our first task was to go to the Central Market in San Jose to check prices of various items and purchase them (we donated all the items to different organizations we later visited). We then had to compare the cost of these items as they relate to the average minimumgreen-house-e1524004828723.jpg wage in the United States versus in Costa Rica. While the cost of the items was somewhat comparable to prices in the U.S., when you look at the minimum wages, the discrepancy was very large. This required us to think about the proportion of the wages in Costa Rica that go toward necessities versus the proportion in the U.S.

The Central Market outing was just the first of many that would challenge us to achieve a common goal while trying to overcome the language barrier in this foreign country. As we traveled around Costa Rica and participated in different activities, the most overarching theme that our entire group observed was how patient and gracious all of the Ticos we encountered were with our groups. Few of us were able to speak and/or understand Spanish, so at times, there was a lot of patience required. Every group related that the Ticos were incredibly helpful, patient and gracious.

A large part of this leadership program involves reflecting on the experiences and lessons we have learned. As we reflected in our large group and in smaller groups, we all wondered what someone traveling to the United States would experience. How would any of us handle trying to communicate with someone who does not speak English or at least not well? Would we have the same patience and understanding that the Ticos had with us? I can honestly say that before this trip, the answer for me would be no. I would not have had the patience and understanding that was shown to me and the others. One of the things I have taken away from this experience is to have more patience. Patience with others, but also patience with myself.

While this trip was for business, when I travel for personal reasons, I try to make it a point to find local places to eat and shop. My Costa Rica experience has taught me that I can do more to enrich my travel experiences. I have not usually lodged in places that allow me to experience the local culture as much as some others might. I will make a more concerted effort to choose places that allow me to have a more immersive experience, since one of the main reasons I like to travel is to be expcosta-rica-food.jpgosed to local culture and to learn about the people and the area.

So, whether you are traveling across the state, across the country, or across the globe, challenge yourself to experience at least a little bit of the local culture. You may just learn some things about yourself by experiencing things that are unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable to you.

 

WRITTEN BY: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.417@osu.edu

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

PHOTO CREDIT: Misty Harmon

SOURCES:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cs.html

http://www.tc.columbia.edu/articles/2015/january/the-benefits-of-cultural-immersion/

https://global.upenn.edu/pennabroad/about-penn-abroad/academic-and-cultural-immersion

Click to access Research_Fact-Sheet_Travel-Jobs.pdf

 

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heart

 

Now is the time to review what you know about women and heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. One out of four women in the United States will die from heart disease, while one woman out of thirty dies of cancer. Four out of five women who are 40-60 years of age have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Are You At Risk?                                         heart-rate

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Over the age of 55
  • Smoking
  • Overweight or obese
  • no regular exercise
  • Diet high in saturated fat

 

Some risk factors like age and family history cannot be changed, but all women have the power to make diet and lifestyle choices that can reduce these risks.

Take Care of Your Heart

  • Reduce the sources of saturated fat in your diet
  • Limit or reduce eating fried foods. You can do this by choosing cooking methods that do not submerge food in oil. Use cooking methods like baking, broiling, and steaming instead.
  • Choose low fat or fat free dairy products
  • Remove and discard the skin from turkey or chicken to reduce the saturated fat in your diet
  • Avoid fats that are solid at room temperature. Change to poly or unsaturated oils like olive oil or canola oil
  • Reduce sodium intake by limiting processed foods

 

Smoking cessation is good for your lungs and your cardiovascular system. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage cells and the vessels that carry blood throughout the body.A lifestyle that includes many risk factors like smoking,making unhealthful food choices, remaining overweight or obese,and not getting regular exercise all add to your risk of developing heart disease.  Make a great choice for your health and stop smoking, or reduce the number of times that you smoke, starting today!

Signs and Symptoms

Heart attack symptoms for women can easily be dismissed as stress or the flu. Do not brush off symptoms that may be signs or symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Common signs of heart attack in women include:

  • Sweating, nausea, or feeling faint or lightheaded. Feeling pressure or a feeling of fullness in the chest. This may be consistent, or brief and then returning.
  • Feeling uncomfortable, achy or sore in either or both arms, neck or jaw pain, back pain, or even stomach discomfort.
  • Feeling short of breath, with or without chest pains

Sources:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: The Heart Truth: A Campaign for Women About Heart Disease, HHS, NIH, NHLBI

American Heart Association: Know Your Numbers? | Go Red For Women®

Authors: Laura Brubaker, Dietetic Intern with OSU Extension, Wood County. Graduate Student studying Food and Nutrition at Bowling Green State Universtiy and Susan Zies,  Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Wood County.

 

Reviewer:Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, OSU Extension

 

 

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Did you know $1.8 billion dollars is spent on marketing foods to school-aged youth? Or that the average child sees 12-16 advertisements per day promoting food products high in children-403583_640saturated fat, sugar, or sodium?

These statistics have created public scrutiny on the food advertised to children. In 2006, the Better Business Bureau formed the Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), made of leading food companies in the U.S. and designed to address the poor nutritional content of food advertisements. As a result, The current $1.8 billion dollars spent on child food advertising is actually a decrease from the $2.1 billion dollars previously spent in 2006.

 Yet, the overall landscape of food commercials has shown little improvement since the CFBAI’s inception. Even in 2013, over 84% of all food commercials seen by children and 95% of ads aired specifically during children’s programming featured products high in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and sodium.  These outcomes led researchers to call for increased scrutiny over CFBAI members’ efforts to market healthier products. In December 2014, the CFBAI responded by creating “Uniform Nutrition Criteria” for child food advertising: the results of this still remain to be seen.

 In the meantime, we are left knowing the majority of the food commercials U.S. children watch are for unhealthy foods. But does this really matter? Do food advertisements influence our children? The answer to this is ‘yes.’ Research has shown nyc-944407_640food advertisements directly influence children’s food preferences, nutrition knowledge, purchase behaviors (through parents), food consumption habits, and nutrition-related health. In other words, the food advertisements our children see influence their daily food choices.

Why does this matter to families? In order to promote healthy diets in youth, we must be able to help them overcome this constant marketing of unhealthy foods. One means to help address these unhealthy messages is to work as a family to promote our own healthy messages & themes about food.

Analyses of children’s food commercials have shown that their most common themes include the offer of premiums (toys or discounts), promotional characters (stars, TV characters, and company characters), health-claims, taste, and fun. All of these themes work well to gather children’s interest and to make their products familiar.

Obviously families can’t create their own advertisements on food. But families can harness the themes consistently used across food commercials to promote trying healthy food in their homes.

Consider the discussions you have with your children on consuming vegetables, fruits, or whole grains: How often do you describe the fruits and vegetables as ‘tasty’? Make them fun? Or associate them with a popular character?

If your experiences are like mine, these themes are rarely used to promote healthy food consumption.  But why not? Fruits are diptasty. Dunking vegetables in dips can be fun, and encouraging your toddler to consider what “Captain America” eats can always be used to make foods memorable. The most important step families can take is to talk with kids about healthy foods in a positive, fun light.

Our children are living in a world where they are constantly exposed to product messages—the majority being unhealthy. This is slowly changing. We can help encourage this change and make healthy food messaging more common by using the companies’ proven themes to encourage youth to desire and choose healthy foods when at home.

Reviewed by Michelle Treber, OSU Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences

Sources:

Powell, L. M., Harris, J. L., & Fox, T. (2013). Food marketing expenditures aimed at youth: putting the numbers in context. American journal of preventive medicine45(4), 453-461.

Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) (December 2014). A report on compliance and progress during 2013. Council of Better Business Bureau.

Powell, L. M., Schermbeck, R. M., & Chaloupka, F. J. (2013). Nutritional content of food and beverage products in television advertisements seen on children’s programming. Childhood Obesity9(6), 524-531.

Cairns, G., Angus, K., Hastings, G., & Caraher, M. (2013). Systematic reviews of the evidence on the nature, extent and effects of food marketing to children. A retrospective summary. Appetite, 62, 209-215.

Jenkin, G., Madhvani, N., Signal, L., & Bowers, S. (2014). A systematic review of persuasive marketing techniques to promote food to children on television. Obesity reviews, 15(4), 281-293.

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Having a sandwich for lunch is so common that we tend to get in a rut when it comes to our choices. Ham and cheese, turkey, and/or peanut butter and jelly are staples for a reason—they taste good!  One of my personal favorites is unsalted peanut butter with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey on sprouted grain bread.  Sometimes I even skip the bread and just put my sandwich fillings like turkey and cheese in a large lettuce leaf for a lower carbohydrate “Turkey Wrap”.

sandwich

A sandwich can be a quick, portable, nutritious meal if thought out properly. The first suggestion I would make, however, is to check the nutrition facts label of your usual breads and wraps. Grains are the foundation of a healthy sandwich, and as the foundation, they should provide your body with the appropriate nutrients. Some may be high calorie and/or not the nutrient powerhouses we expect them to be.

In honor of National Sandwich Day on November 3rd, spend a little time this month to “up your game” when it comes to improving your sandwich choices.  This can be accomplished by incorporating some of the following suggestions:

  1. To add crunch and nutrition, try sliced red pepper, onions, snow peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, dill pickles, kimchi, apple or other fruit slices
  2. Instead of high calorie spreads, try hummus, salsa, light mayo, flavored mustards or a small avocado smashed
  3. For the protein source, use water packed tuna or chicken, nut butters (almond, peanut, cashew), diced or sliced hard boiled eggs, or leftovers like fried eggs, burgers, meatloaf, sliced chicken breast, and beans (whole or mashed)
  4. And for holding it all together, think outside the box with low calorie wraps, corn tortillas, flatbreads, whole grain or sprouted grain breads, pita, naan or large lettuce leaves

Feeling bold? Try this Chick Pea Sandwich or Pesto Grilled Cheese. Feeding a crowd? Easy BBQ Pork will be a snap!

Did you know you can freeze sandwiches? This makes prep time even easier. Just grab and go in the morning and enjoy!

Sources:

http://food.unl.edu/#sandwich

http://www.allrecipes.com

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

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

 

 

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Do you follow the “5-second rule” when you drop food on the floor?  If you do, you may want to rethink your actions.

Different factors affect how quickly bacteria will be transferred.  These
include moisture, type of surface, and contact time.  It was found in some instances the bacteria began to transfer in less than one second.  Time to rethink the idea that you can pick up any food off the floor quickly, and it is safe to eat.koli-bacteria-123081__180

Researchers at Rutgers University tested four surfaces:

  • stainless steel
  • ceramic
  • tile
  • wood

Each of the surfaces were contaminated an Enterobacter aerogenes, “cousin” of Salmonella.  The bacteria were allowed to dry before food was dropped.

They used four different types of foods:watermelon-on-tile

  • watermelon
  • bread
  • bread and butter
  • gummy candy

The researchers replicated the scenarios 20 times each checking the bacteria transfer to food samples at less than one second, five, 30 and 300 seconds.  Each food sample was then analyzed for contamination.

Moisture seemed to increase the transfer of bacteria to food the most.  Watermelon contained the most contamination while gummy candy contained the least.  The longer the food was on the contaminated surface the more bacteria it contained. However, contamination from bacteria can occur instantly. 

Surprisingly, carpet had low transfer rates. Tile and stainless steel bread-on-carpethad higher transfer rates than wood which was variable.  Another study with tile found E. coli was transferred to gummy candy in less than 5 seconds with more bacteria transferred from smooth tile than rough tile. 

Next time, you drop some food on the floor you may want to think twice before you put it in your mouth.  Any food that has been on the floor may contain bacteria which may make you sick.  Is the food that important or expensive?   Would you be better off throwing it away?   It is always better to avoid infection or being sick.

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

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

References:

Aston University. (2014). Researchers Prove the Five Second Rule is Real. Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences.  Available at http://www.aston.ac.uk/news/releases/2014/march/five-second-food-rule-does-exist/

Schaffner, D. (2016). Rutgers Researchers Debunk ‘Five-Second Rule’: Eating Food off the Floor Isn’t Safe.  Rutgers Today.  Available at http://news.rutgers.edu/research-news/rutgers-researchers-debunk-%E2%80%98five-second-rule%E2%80%99-eating-food-floor-isn%E2%80%99t-safe/20160908#.V_ZUJvkrKUk

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2003). If You Drop It, Should You Eat It?  Scientists Weigh In on the 5-Second Rule.  College News.   Available at http://news.aces.illinois.edu/news/If-you-drop-it-should-you-eat-it-scientists-weigh-5-second-rule

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3846351163_a4fd09c8da_mIt seems to be a trending topic, and one with real implications.  Now more than ever, we are realizing that when a person is hungry, he or she may have a lesser control on emotions and the actions that accompany the feelings.  #Hangry, and the meaning behind it, is popping up everywhere from candy bar commercials to memes on Instagram and Facebook.

A recent research study posted online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences relays that spouses were more likely to show higher levels aggression towards their wife or husband at times when their blood sugar levels were low.  An interesting model, the anger was measured with pins in voo doo dolls and blasting noise into headphones in accordance with the amount of fury being felt.  Haven’t many of us imaginarily wished we had a voo doo doll once or twice in our lives?

Knowing that communication and the emotions that are involved lead to positive or very negative outcomes that affect many, with guidance from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics here are 5 Tips for Preventing the Hangry Dilemma:

  1. Eat regularly scheduled light meals and snacks that include a variety of protein, fat and carbohydrate sources.
  2. Limit empty calorie foods that are mainly simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, and saturated or trans fats.
  3. Choose whole grains more often along with other high fiber foods like beans, vegetables, and nuts.
  4. Plan ahead by making a shopping list that you will stick to and a weekly menu that will lessen spur of the moment stops for fast-food.
  5. Maintain an active lifestyle replenishing your body with healthy foods such as fruits, yogurt, and low-fat granola and beverages such as water and milk.

Author:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Jamie Seger, Program Director, Ohio State University Extension, seger.23@osu.edu

Sources:  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/diabetes/diabetes-and-diet

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, http://www.pnas.org/content/111/17/6254.full

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Canned_Goods

These days, most food products we buy are produced or packaged by a company that stamps on the food items a “sell by,” “use by,” or “best by” date. These dates are solely managed by industry, with no federal or state laws setting the length of time between when a food can be produced and/or packaged and the date placed on the package. These dates are not necessarily linked to the time by which the food must be eaten in order to be safe, according to a recent Harvard University study (September, 2013).

According to the National Resources Defense Council, as much as 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten due to the confusion of package markings. That’s $165 billion worth of food each year. Thus, salvage grocery stores have sprung up, selling foods past their expiration dates throughout the United States.

Salvage grocery stores, also known as surplus grocery stores, are known for near-expired goods, slightly dented cans, and “closeouts”, thus serving a grocery-shopping market hungry for low prices. According to Kevin Tibbles, an NBC reporter, salvage grocery stores can save you as much as 30-50 percent on your food bill.

Their inventory may consist of the following:
• overstocked items
• slightly damaged, bent, dented, ripped or torn packages or cans
• mislabeled or old labeled items
• items not selling well in regular chain stores and returned to warehouse
• near or at their sell-by or best-used-by dates

Prices tend to be significantly lower than those at conventional stores and big discount stores.

Similar to items sold at food auctions, products sold at surplus grocery stores are guaranteed by the USDA, stating that such items pose no safety hazard or poisoning threat. Excluded from this list is baby food and formula. The sell by dates refer to a product’s freshness, not its safety.

You can save hundreds of dollars and make the money you spend last longer by knowing the real shelf life of the foods you eat. Utilize the website http://stilltasty.com, search the section called “Keep it or Toss it” to determine the real shelf-life of the food, based on information from the USDA, the FDA and CDC.

A trip to the salvage grocery is more like a treasure hunt — what’s available one week may not be the next time around.
Resources/References
http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/foodpolicyinitiative/food-policy-initiative-projects/current-projects/reducing-food-waste/

http://stilltasty.com/
Salvage’ Grocery Stores Offer Wall-To-Wall Discounts – October 22, 2013 10:08 PM – http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2013/10/22/salvage-grocery-stores-offers-wall-to-wall-discounts/

Food waste in America: A multi-billion-dollar loss – By GRANT GERLOCK and KRISTOFOR HUSTED Harvest Public Media 09/23/2014 12:05 PM http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article2210462.html#storylink=cpy

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Smith, Program Specialist, OSU Extension – Human Ecology Extension Administration

Reviewed by: Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clients on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity

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Local fresh strawberries are here!  These delicious fruit annually welcome the arrival of summer with its grand entrance. Eating locally grown fruit in season provides the assurance that the berries are picked fully ripe and will get to the consumer within a day.

Strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants and fiber.  A cup of fresh strawberries contains only 50 calories, 11 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of protein. Strawberries contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

Choose plump and firm strawberries with a bright red color and natural shine.  The size of the berry is not important as the color of the berry. The fragrance is the best indicator of flavor.  Caps should be fresh, green and intact.  Avoid strawberries with a green or white color, wilted, bruised or soft berry.  Strawberries do not ripen after picking. Store immediately in the refrigerator and pick as close to consumption time as possible.

When purchasing strawberries, check the carton for stains, which indicates over ripeness of the berries. Remove the strawberries from the original container and store in a shallow container on a paper towel in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Do not wash the strawberries or remove the caps until you’re ready to eat them or use them in a recipe.   Handle the berries gently as they bruise easily. Immediately before serving, swish in a bowl of cold water.  Do not soak.

Strawberries are a versatile fruit with many options to serve.  Halve, quarter or slice fresh berries and let stand 5-10 minutes to allow juices to form and enjoy.  Mix in a fruit cup, with other berries or add to a fresh garden salad.

Several of the local restaurants are serving delicious seasonal salads with fresh strawberries, roasted chicken, blueberries, and toasted pecans.  Not only are these salads beautiful, they are healthy as well.  For a nice summer dinner, prepare a salad with greens, grilled or roasted chicken, add vegetables of your choice including fresh strawberries and serve with a whole wheat crusty roll and dinner is ready.

Visit a local farm market or grower to pick your own or purchase fresh local grown strawberries this weekend and enjoy!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 4

4 cups spinach or other mixed greens

1 cup fresh strawberries or combination of peaches, blueberries, and kiwi fruit (sliced)

Topping options:

2 green onions, chopped

1 small red onion, sliced into thin rings

½ cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces, blanched and chilled

½ cup toasted almonds or walnuts

2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds, toasted

½ cup cheese, goat or blue, crumbled

1 cup cooked turkey, chopped

Combine with selected toppings.  Top with your favorite salad dressing.

Source:  Edible, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Author:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

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As the bright sun is shining you put on sunglasses to protect your eyes.   Are you eating to protect your vision?  With age-related macular degeneration the major cause of blindness in older people did you know, what you eat may help lower your risk?

Eating a variety of colorful plant foods and fish can help your eyes, as well as, the rest of you.  Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, and Swiss chard top the list for being rich in lutein and its cousin, zeaxanthin.  Other green vegetables like peas, broccoli, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, zucchini and asparagus have lower amounts of lutein.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are the predominant carotenoids in both the lens and retina of your eye, helping you to see clearly.

Having a significant cataract between the ages of 65 to 74 is the number one cause of poor vision.  At least half of us will one or have had one removed by age 75.   Those who consume more lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to have a lower risk of cataracts and advanced macular degeneration.   It is believed that it is the lutein and zeaxanthin providing the protection, but it could be something else in the leafy greens that explain the link to healthy eyes.  Those dark green leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses with lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  In one study of women who had high doses of B vitamins lowered the risk of macular degeneration.

Another group of foods that may provide protection for your eyes are oily fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.  Many studies have indicated that people who eat oily fish are less likely to have macular degeneration.  Some think it is the omega-3s but it maybe the Vitamin D or selenium or both in the fish.

Be sure to avoid smoking, excess sunlight, and refined sugar and starches.  The refined sugar and starches usually indicate a poor diet which means empty calories are replacing nutrient-rich foods.  For example, if you have a 500 calorie cupcake, bagel, or muffin in place of nutrient dense foods (like vegetables and fruits) you will reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals you would get from the healthier foods.  In this case, you could reduce the amount of lutein and zeaxanthin everyday by as much as 75% of what you otherwise would get from the healthy foods.

Keeping your weight under control will also help your eyes.  An increase in inflammation and oxidative stress is seen in those who are obese increasing the risk of eye disease.

To help protect your eyes eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables and oily fish.  Also keep the sunglasses on when out in the sun.

References:

Mayo Clinic Staff, (2012). Macular Degeneration:  Prevention Downloaded at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/macular-degeneration/DS00284/DSECTION=prevention

Nutrition Action Health Letter, (2011).  Eat Smart, Which Foods are Good for What, Center for Science in the Public Interest, December 2011, Vol. 38 (10), p.4-5,7

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Height, genes, metabolism, behavior and environment all work together to make up a person’s weight.  Changes that have taken place in our environment make it harder to make healthy choices.  These chances have lead to an increase in our overall weight.

As adults or children, our daily life does not involve a lot of physical activity.  Make the effort to schedule physical activity with your family. Food is everywhere.  It is too easy to buy food wherever you are.  In addition, portions are much larger than in the past.

ENERGY is another word for calories.  Whenever you eat or drink, ENERGY is coming IN.  Your body is also constantly working, so ENERGY is going OUT.  BALANCE is when the same amount of energy is going IN as is going OUT.

Weight Gain = more IN than OUT

Weight Loss = more OUT than IN

Your energy (calories) does not have to balance everyday, but it does need to balance over time.

Here are a few ideas from the “We Can!” program to help you get your energy IN and energy OUT in balance.

ENERGY IN

  • Choose food portions no larger than your fist.
  • Choose a checkout line without a candy display.
  • Eat a low-fat, high-fiber breakfast – it may make you less hungry later in the day.
  • Cut high-calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into small pieces and eat fewer pieces.

ENERGY OUT

  • Take the long way to the water cooler.
  • Buy a set of hand weights and play a round of Simon Says with your children—you do it with the weights, they do it without.
  • Choose “labor-spending” devices instead of “labor-saving” devices:  wash the car by hand instead of going through an automatic car wash.
  • Go on a family bike ride or hike.

Consuming an extra 150 calories a day can lead to a gain of 10 pounds in one year.  So, get out and move!

Source: http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

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