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Posts Tagged ‘Grocery’

Most of us are aware of the benefits of healthy eating – plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and low fat dairy and lean protein. However it is easy to forget the “rules” as we hurry through the grocery store to purchase food for our family.

The Food Marketing Institute estimates that a large grocery store may carry over 79,000 different items.  That is a lot of choice! Fortunately there are some guidelines that we can follow to help us navigate through the bountiful offerings in today’s grocery stores.

Let’s start in the produce section. The US Dietary Guidelines recommend that ½ of our plate should be fruits and vegetables.  Look for a variety of colors and textures as you make your choices. Bright yellow peppers, red tomatoes and dark leafy greens provide valuable nutrients.  A dessert of ripe red strawberries and bright blueberries with just a dollop of whipping cream should satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.  Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are canned or frozen can also provide healthy meals for your family – just remember to watch for added salt or sugar.

Now, let’s move on to the grain aisle.  Remember to aim for at least 50% of your grains being whole grain.  When making your choices, don’t be fooled by items that are brown in color but do not have a whole grain as the first item on the ingredient list.  This can apply also to bread, rice, pasta and other grain products. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice. Since cereal is a staple in many households, look for those that are higher in fiber and lower in added sugars.

As you shop in the dairy aisle, think about the guidance of choosing low fat dairy. Fat free or 1% milk should be the staple for most adults and children over the age of 2.  Don’t forget that fat free milk provides the same amount of calcium and other important nutrients for our bodies as whole milk but without the fat! The same rules apply to cheeses and yogurt – the lower in fat the better.

As you make that final stop for protein foods, many think only of meat as the source of protein.  While lean cuts of meat can provide the protein that our bodies need, there are other sources that eliminate the fat that is associated with meats. ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends that we vary our choices for protein. Some good sources are eggs, dried beans and peas, fish, nuts, cheese, tofu, peanut butter, milk, and yogurt.

If you have noticed, we have shopped the perimeter of the grocery store, avoiding many of the processed products that we encounter up and down some of the center aisles.  By choosing mostly fresh, whole foods, we are providing our bodies with the healthy foods we need for a healthy lifestyle.

 

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Food Marketing Institute (2017). Supermarket Facts. https://www.fmi.org/our-research/supermarket-facts

US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2017). Dietary Guidelines. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2016). All About the Grains Group. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains?source=Patrick.net

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2017). 10 Tips: Vary Your Protein Routine.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-with-protein-foods-variety-is-key

 

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refrigerator

Did you know that November 15th is National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day?  Seems like there is a day for almost everything anymore, but this one does come at a good time! Many of us will soon be filling our refrigerators and freezers with more food than usual as the holidays approach so it is the perfect time to take a good look inside.

The first step may be to decide what is safe to keep or what you should toss.  Here is a quiz that might help you get started.  Also, Ohio State University Extension provides information on safe refrigerator and freezer storage on Ohioline.  Many people do not realize the dangers involved in eating food that has been kept too long or stored in a refrigerator or freezer that is not kept at a safe temperature – under 40⁰ for the refrigerator and under 0⁰ for the freezer.

strawberryRemember, when in doubt, throw it out!  Never taste food that looks or smells strange. There could be bacteria that are not visible to the human eye, but they could cause food poisoning.

Once you have decided what needs to be thrown out, you can start cleaning!

Follow the steps below to thoroughly clean the refrigerator:

  • Remove everything – place perishable food in a cooler while you are working
  • Any old or spoiled food should be discarded.
  • Take out shelves, drawers, etc. and wash with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry.
  • Wipe out the inside of the refrigerator – don’t forget the door seals. Some recommend using a mixture of 2 TBS. baking soda/1 qt. hot water.
  • Replace shelves and drawers.
  • Wipe off jars and containers as you return them to the refrigerator.
  • Check the interior temperature to be sure that it is below 40⁰.
  • Dust and wipe the exterior of the refrigerator.

Now that your refrigerator is sparkling clean, make it a habit to wipe up any spills as they occur to keep it fresh and clean. This might be a good time to invest in new refrigerator and freezer thermometers. Keep it in the body of the refrigerator – not on the door.

Get into the habit of storing your food and leftovers properly. Securely wrap foods or store in airtight containers. Check expiration dates on products – remember that once you open them, the expiration date on the item is no longer effective! In that case, follow the safe food storage charts mentioned above.

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County

References:

http://food.unl.edu/november-food-calendar#pb_love

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/clean-refrigerator

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/features/spring-clean-your-fridge-and-freezer#1

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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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