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Drinking a smoothie is an easy way to sneak in a serving or two of fruits and veggies towards your daily goal. A smoothie is great for breakfast, on the go meal, or a snack. Here’s how to blend a fruit- and veggie-packed smoothie that’s nutritious, satisfying and energizing.

 kalesmoothie

  1. Choose a Base Start with a liquid base such as low-fat milk, soymilk, or nonfat Greek yogurt that delivers protein, vitamins, and minerals with a sensible amount of calories. If using juice, choose 100% grape, orange, apple, or cranberry varieties and try adding just a splash of it to a milk base so you don’t miss out on the protein. Remember juice adds extra sugar and calories so watch portion sizes.
  2. Add Fruit When adding fruit, most fresh, frozen and canned fruits shine in smoothies. For calorie control and to cap added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened frozen fruit and drain canned fruit packed in water or light syrup to reduce excess sugar. Slicing bananas and freezing them works really well.
  3. Yes…you can add veggies! Even vegetables can be added to smoothies. Just remember to use mild-tasting veggies so their flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. If using a standard blender, you may need to chop them very finely or add a little water to help the blending process. Cucumbers, spinach, kale, and beets are popular options.
  4. Nutrient Boosters Super-charge your smoothie with flavorful and nutrient-packed blend-ins such as flaxseed, chia seeds, quick oats, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger), unsweetened cocoa powder, or powdered peanut butter.
  5. Less is More Remember to keep smoothie ingredients simple and take a ‘less is more’ approach. The more ingredients in a smoothie, the more calories it contains.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana

1/2 cup coconut milk, skim milk, soymilk, nonfat Greek yogurt, or almond milk

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)

1 ripe banana, chopped

Water for desired consistency

  1. Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
  2. You can add a few almonds for extra protein if you would like!

For a great beet smoothie click here https://foodhero.org/recipes/un-beet-able-berry-smoothie.

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

Sources:

www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

www.realsimple.com

www.foodhero.org

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power up your salad

Choose colorful vegetables and greens for a nutritious meal.  Lettuce and greens vary in levels of nutrients.  Although paler lettuces, such as iceberg, have some nutritional value, it’s best to choose the deeper, brighter ones – these contain the cancer-fighting antioxidants. Mix and match a variety of colors and textures, such as crunchy romaine tossed with soft, nutrient rich spinach leaves or peppery arugula leaves and add red leaf lettuce.   Spinach contains almost twice the amount of iron of most other greens and is an essential source of nitric oxide which helps dilate the arteries and deliver oxygen.  Arugula is rich in cancer fighting phytochemicals.

Add in tomatoes which are loaded with lycopene- great for your skin and bones.  Black beans, chickpeas or a hard-boiled egg all are good sources of lean protein.  Toss in carrots (great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C) and artichokes, which aids in digestion.

Add fruits in season, mixed berries, oranges, apples or pears.  Toss with a healthy option salad dressing that is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat.  Olive oil and vinegar may be a simple tasteful choice.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD,  Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  stefura.2@osu.edu

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

Sources:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199

 

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The holidays are a wonderful time of year, especially for those of us who enjoy food! Traditional holiday food is tasty but often high in calories, sugar, fats and sodium. This can present a challenge to those who have diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, or other chronic conditions that need to be managed with healthy meal plans.

 

Many people equate healthy food with poor taste: dry texture, aftertaste, and overall bland flavors. Traditional foods can be prepared healthfully without sacrificing taste. OSU Extension offers some healthy cooking guidelines (not rules!) that one can use to modify traditional recipes:

 

  • Fats can be reduced in baked products by ¼ to 1/3. For example, if a cookie, quick bread or muffin recipe calls for 1 cup oil, use 2/3 cup instead (this method should not be used for yeast breads and pie crusts). Fats and oils add flavor and moisture so decreasing any more than 1/3 could result in poor products.
  • Use vegetable oil instead of solid fats such as lard, shortening, and butter. Solids fats, also know as saturated fats, can be detrimental to your cholesterol levels. When substituting vegetable oils for solid fats in recipes, use ¼ less than what is called for in the recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of butter, use 3 tablespoons of oil instead.
  • Use plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream. If replacing 1 cup of sour cream with 1 cup of yogurt, you can save up to 44 grams of fat!
  • Use skim or 1% milk instead of whole or half and half in recipes. By replacing 1 cup of half and half with 1 cup of skim you save 25 grams of fat.
  • Replacing ¼ to 1/3 of sugar in baked goods with artificial sweeteners or flour can help lower carbohydrates (do not use this method for yeast breads). Adding spices such as cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla will also enhance sweetness.
  • Add fiber such as whole grains instead of highly refined products. Fiber aids digestion, slows absorption of carbohydrates, and can lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Use whole wheat flour, oatmeal and whole corn meal. Whole wheat flour can be substituted up to ½ of all purpose flour.

 

Please be aware that diabetic individuals can eat any type of food as long as it fits into their diabetes management plans (balancing carbohydrates, medication, and exercise). Therefore, when preparing holiday meals and snacks for diabetic individuals it is especially important have information on serving sizes and associated grams of carbohydrate or calories. Keep in mind as well that many products labeled as “sugar-free” still have carbohydrates and can raise blood sugars!

 

Source: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5543.pdf

Author: Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, remley.4@osu.edu

Reviewer: Joanna Rini, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Medina County

 

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Schools in your area may be assessing students’ health, collecting BMIs, or providing nutrition and physical activity education. What does all this mean and why is this becoming more common?

So what exactly is a BMI?

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a method to measure body mass based on a person’s weight and height. Weight and height are plugged into a standard formula which can then be compared to a range or norm. The Center for Disease Control states that a BMI calculated result is a reliable body fatness indicator for most teens and children. Although BMI does not measure body fat directly, it can be used as an indirect measure. An example of a direct measure of body fat would be underwater weighing or the Bod Pod (air displacement plethysmography). BMI is useful as a screening tool to help identify weight concerns and implement prevention education.

After the BMI number is obtained, the number is plotted on the boy’s or girl’s BMI-for-age growth chart. A percentile ranking is determined and this percentile is used to assess growth patterns of the individual child. Comparison is done with children of the same sex and age. Four different categories of weight status are used to categorize the child or teen. These include underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control recommend the use of BMI to screen children beginning at the age of 2.

Why BMI in Schools?

BMIs in schools vary per state and district. According to a comprehensive study in Preventing Chronic Disease, 20 states were requiring BMI or body composition screening with 9 additional states recommending the screening as of 2010. BMIs are designed to provide information and initiate conversations regarding ways to make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices.

Many factors must be taken into consideration with BMI and it is crucial to remember that BMI calculations are not perfect. Age and gender are important to consider in this assessment. The healthy level of the child or teen varies for age month by month and as his or her height increases.

Expert organizations still recommend using BMI surveillance as an effective screening tool. Although there needs to be more studies evaluating the effectiveness of these programs, with the proper use of guidelines and resources, BMI screening could become a more common, accepted, and useful tool in assessing and triggering interventions for obesity among children.

The BMI can be most useful when it is considered one additional tool in the toolbox. It is not the only tool, but one that can be a starting point for healthy conversations. BMI’s may be effective in evaluating the effectiveness of health programs.

Knowledge is power toward healthy behaviors.

girl on scale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html

Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinold C, Thompson D, Grummer-Strawn L. BMI Measurement in Schools. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 2009. 124;589:597.

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/diet-weight-loss/should-body-mass-index-be-measured-in-schools-115934 (photo)

Written by: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic Intern/ Liz Smith, MS, RD, LDN, Ohio State University Extension, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, smith.3993@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu.

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Increases in blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease. People from very young to seniors can take steps each day to keep blood pressure levels normal.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthfully can help keep your blood pressure down.  Eat many  fresh fruits and vegetables of varying colors which provide nutrients such as potassium and fiber. Also, eat foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.  Avoid sodium by limiting the amount of salt you add to your food. Be aware that many processed foods and fast foods are high in sodium.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can raise your blood pressure. Losing weight can help you lower your blood pressure!
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help lower blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate physical activities for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Move more!
  • Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the body. High levels in the blood can lead to heart disease and stroke.
  • Saturated fats come largely from animal fat in the diet, but also from some vegetable oils such as palm oil.  Studies1 have shown that people who eat a healthy diet can lower their blood pressure. For more information on healthy diet and nutrition, see CDC’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Web site

Sources:

  • NIH: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)
  • NIH:, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2003. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure

Author: Marie Economos, Ohio State University Extension Educator,  Family and Consumer Sciences.

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