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Did you know that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month?

According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 American children have obesity. Obesity in children cause a larger risk for health issues later in their lives. Although there are several health risks associated with childhood obesity, parents and caregivers can provide the framework to help their children live a healthier life.

Why is Childhood Obesity Important?

National childhood obesity awareness month is important because it promotes healthy eating habits, encourages parents to be role models for their children, and it educates parents.

Risks Associated with Childhood Obesity

There are many contributing factors with childhood obesity, including genetics, eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. Children who are overweight or obese have a heightened risk for asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Children with obesity are at higher risk of becoming an adult with obesity. Those adults are at a higher risk for stroke, cancer, premature death, and mental illness.

Prevention

Parents and caregivers play an important role in the prevention of childhood obesity. Parents and caregivers can model a healthy eating pattern, get the family to move more together, set consistent sleep routines, and replace screen time with family time. By modeling a healthy eating pattern, a family can help children maintain a healthy weight as they grow up. Parents and caregivers can help their children rethink their drink by choosing water, 100% juice, or plain low-fat milk. Moving more as a family could be more fun and attainable. This could be walking the family pet or active chores. Children aged 6-17 years of age need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Consistent sleep routines are important in preventing type 2 diabetes, obesity, injuries, and problems with attention and behavior. Reducing screen time can free up time for family activities. It can also remove signals to eat unhealthy food. Practicing these methods from the CDC can help prevent childhood obesity.

MyPlate

MyPlate is a great resource for healthy eating for different age groups. There are several recipes included on MyPlate.gov.

MyPlate diagram to show serving sizes.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, August 29). Preventing childhood obesity: 4 things families can do. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/childhood-obesity/index.html

Life stages. MyPlate. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://www.myplate.gov/life-stages

National childhood obesity awareness month. National Today. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://nationaltoday.com/national-childhood-obesity-awareness-month/#:~:text=National%20Childhood%20Obesity%20Awareness%20Month%20%E2%80%93%20September%202022

Written by: Megan Zwick, Family and Consumer Sciences & 4-H Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Union County, zwick.54@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jessica Lowe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Pickaway County, lowe.495@osu.edu

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I absolutely love a great road trip. There is something so precious about being in the car with family or friends with the radio blaring and the country rushing by. And yet, my good intentions for eating healthy on vacation go out the window as we stop to refill the gas tank and the candy bar displays and fast food restaurants seem to be calling out for me to eat.

There are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years taking both short and long road trips that have helped me to eat healthier on-the-go. With a little bit of preparation and intentionality, it is possible to make healthier choices than the candy bars and fast food options, just by taking a few minutes to pack a small cooler and prep items like fruits, veggies, and cheese sticks.  

MyPlate.gov reminds us to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy or fortified soy alternatives. Remember each day to make your plate colorful and choose nutrient-rich choices to make every bite count. By pulling over to the road side rest stop and having a picnic, you will also be able to stretch your legs and enjoy some fresh air.

There are many options for healthy packing. Here are a few of my family’s favorites:

  • Dairy: cheese sticks, yogurt pouches, travel-sized milk
  • Vegetables: celery sticks, carrot sticks, peppers, salsa
  • Fruits: strawberries, blueberries, grapes, pineapple cups, applesauce pouches, apples
  • Protein: sliced meats, nut butter, hummus, nuts, hard boiled eggs
  • Grains: whole wheat bread or crackers, oatmeal energy bars, air-popped popcorn, rice cakes
  • Hydration: water first for thirst

TO PREPARE FOR SUCCESS

Anything worth doing takes a little more time. This is true for healthier eating on a road trip. Usually the week before a trip is busy, busy, busy and you want to not add one more thing to your schedule.  However, everyone will have a better trip if there is a healthy snack or meal option on the road.

  • Schedule time on your calendar for buying and prepping healthy food options. Don’t forget to purchase take-along storage containers or baggies if you do not have any.
  • Look ahead to the route you will be taking and plan stops where you will be able to stretch your legs and refuel your body (and not just your vehicle). 
  • Clean the kitchen before you head to the grocery so that when you come home you can prep the food right away.  
  • Plan your trip menu using a printable template like the one below, or design one of your own. This will also help you stay within your food budget for the trip.  
  • Give everyone in the family money that they can use for “sometimes foods” when you stop to refuel.  When my kiddos were younger, giving them each $5-10 to use on the whole trip for snacks usually sent them to the cooler instead of purchasing sodas or candy bars.

Just like anything we do, being proactive and planning ahead will help your road trip be more successful and you will arrive at your destination without the bloating and sugar overload that changes in diet can cause.  Best of luck and safe travels!

Written By: Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed By: Jenny Lobb, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County

RESOURCES:

U.S. Department of Agriculture. What is MyPlate? https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/what-is-myplate 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2021). Healthy snacks: Quick tips for parents. My Healthfinder. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-snacks-quick-tips-parents

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Are You Stuck in a Cooking Rut?

I usually like to cook. In fact, I would cook more often if someone else always did the cleanup. At times I can feel like I get stuck in a rut with lack of inspiration leading to the redundancy of the same few recipes. This boredom leads to ordering more takeout and delivery, which often costs more time and money and increases the consumption of less healthy food. If you are finding yourself “stuck in a rut” and lacking inspiration here are a few ideas to shake up your everyday food routine.

A bowl of cereal with berries and nuts

Breakfast
Let’s start with breakfast, do you always eat the same thing? I like having cereal but after a few days it can become monotonous, and I find myself skipping this important meal or grabbing something unhealthy on the way to work. Try adding hot or cold cereal to the routine; include berries or other fruit in your meal or even on your cereal. Did you know adding more protein to breakfast will help you feel fuller longer? Easy sources of protein include eggs, yogurt, or milk. If you are looking for vegetarian or vegan friendly options, you can add a dairy alternative milk, seeds or nuts to your cereal or breakfast smoothie, or beans to a breakfast burrito.

Lunch
Lunch time meal shake ups may depend on your situation and if you have access to kitchen equipment, including a microwave. Salads can be a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet and shake up your meal ideas. Check out this recipe for Mason jar burrito bowl salads, another idea is to plan for leftovers. For example, you can, cook a little more of a main dish at dinner to ensure leftovers for lunch. For changes to your sandwiches try a new ingredient, make it a wrap, or turn your sandwich into a salad. One of my favorite lunchtime meals is to utilize healthy snack items as my lunch, such as hummus with veggies and pita chips, a yogurt parfait with granola and fruit, or crackers with cheese and nuts.

A tablet with recipe

Dinner
One the best ways to change up your dinner routine is to find new recipes. If you search recipes online, you can quickly become overwhelmed with all the possibilities. To reduce the fatigue of shifting through millions of recipes look for certain main ingredients or protein or, try to stick to staple ingredients that you already have in your pantry. The Ohio State University SNAP-Ed team has a great recipe website with many easy, low-cost recipes, check them out at CelebrateYourPlate.org

Still need inspiration? You can also try these ideas:

  • Have a recipe swap with friends.
  • Refresh a traditional family recipe.
  • Try cooking once and eating twice.
  • Pick one or two new recipes to try per week and have your family vote on their favorites.
  • Involve the rest of the family by having them choose a new recipe (this is a great way to involve your kids in learning to cook).
  • Explore a cuisine from another culture.

Whatever you decide to do, remember making small changes can benefit both your health and your wallet.

Written By: Laura Halladay, NDTR, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Greene County

Reviewed By: Laura Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Warren County

Sources:

Harvard Health. (2018, December 1). Extra protein at breakfast helps control hunger. Retrieved January 3, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/extra-protein-at-breakfast-helps-control-hunger

Healthy meals: Low cost recipes. Celebrateyourplate. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2022, from https://celebrateyourplate.org/

Henneman, A. (2019, October 14). How to cook once and eat twice. UNL Food. Retrieved January 3, 2022, from https://food.unl.edu/how-cook-once-and-eat-twice

Oliver, V. (2020, December 8). Make a week’s worth of lunches with Burrito Bowl Mason jar salads. Make a week’s worth of lunches with Burrito Bowl Mason Jar Salads | UK Human Resources. Retrieved January 3, 2022, from https://www.uky.edu/hr/thrive/12-08-2020/make-week%E2%80%99s-worth-lunches-with-burrito-bowl-mason-jar-salads

Photo Credit:
Sarah Cervera via Unsplash – Breakfast bowl with berries, nuts, and grains.
Jeff Sheldon via Unsplash – Recipe displayed on tablet.

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The holiday season is here!  Holiday celebrations often center around food.  We plan to manage our healthy meal plan during the holidays and avoid weight gain yet find ourselves in the office breakroom with a tray of cookies, opening the door to your neighbors’ famous peanut butter fudge or get an invite to go out with friends.   Here are some tips to help maintain weight over the holidays:

  • Eat your fruits and vegetables.  Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits.  They will satisfy your appetite and induce fullness.
  • Keep moving.  Manage your daily physical activity.  Be active daily!
  • Treat yourself just once a day!  Enjoy that one item daily.  Take a smaller serving.  Cut out an extra 100 calories later in the day.
  • Control the risk of temptation.  Clear your home and office of tempting holiday goodies. Share any gifts of foods.
  • Balance protein intake.  Holiday meals tend to be higher in carbohydrates and low in protein. Include protein with every meal.
  • Never go to a party hungry.  Eat a serving of fruit, yogurt, or raw nuts before you leave for the party. Don’t linger over the buffet table.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  Those who do not sleep adequately tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and exercise less. 
  • Manage stress.  Holidays are often stressful and stressed individuals have higher cortisol levels which is linked to increased hunger and weight gain.

Socialize with friends and family at holiday gatherings and limit access to buffet and dessert tables.  Choose from the crudities tray. Happy Holidays!

Written by Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:Michelle Treber, OSU Extension Educator, Pickaway County  treber.1osu.edu

References:   

Holiday Eating – Today’s Dietitian Magazine (todaysdietitian.com)

https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1215p20.shtmlMay Your Holiday Season Be Light: How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (todaysdietitian.com)

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This time of year is prime for a tasty cup of cold cider… or even a steaming mug of hot mulled cider. Did you know that cider can be good for you? That’s right, apple cider is packed with nutrition and contains compounds that have many health benefits.

Basket of apples with mug of hot cider

What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? While both apple juice and apple cider come from juiced apples, cider has bits of apple pulp in it and may or may not be pasteurized. Apple juice has been filtered and pasteurized to kill bacteria.

Cider is packed with nutrition. At only 120 calories in an 8 ounce glass, it has several vitamins and minerals, such as: Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Apple cider contains antioxidants in the form of polyphenols, a plant-based compound. These antioxidants can lower the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease by helping the body to fight against free radicals and cell damage. Polyphenols may also help to decrease inflammation in the body.

Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Cider contains health-promoting phytonutrients that can  slow the oxidation process of bad cholesterol. This cholesterol contributes to buildup of plaque in arteries which increases the risk for heart disease.

Improve regularity. Because apple cider is not filtered like apple juice, it still contains a good amount of pectin. As a soluble fiber, pectin can help improve regularity and help with constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.

Hydrate. Apple cider is comprised mostly of water so it is easy to drink. You can dilute cider with water to reduce your sugar intake.

There are risks associated with drinking cider that has not been pasteurized. Unpasteurized cider could possibly contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli., especially if the cider was made from apples picked off the ground. Be sure to check the package label for pasteurization. If you are still unsure, you can heat your cider on the stove to a gentle boil, stirring to distribute heat.

For hot spiced cider, see this recipe from University of Illinois Extension:

  • 1 gallon naturally sweet apple cider
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon whole allspice

Tie cinnamon, cloves and allspice together in cheesecloth or use a coffee filter tied with string. Combine cider and brown sugar in a large pot. Add spices. Bring mixture to a slow boil. Then turn heat down and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove spice bag from pot. Serve hot cider in mugs. Spiced Apple Cider may be kept warm in a slow cooker on low setting. Yield 18 servings.

Try a glass of cider and drink to your health!

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

Sources:

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In a couple of weeks, my family and I will be sitting down to feast on sweets, side dishes, and TURKEY! To ensure everyone stays healthy and happy, I am going to debunk some turkey myths.

Myth #1 – You must rinse your turkey before cooking. According to the USDA, don’t wash the bird! Rinsing off the turkey increases the risk of cross-contamination. As water splashes, bacteria can be spread to your sink, countertops, and to already prepared foods. The exception to this rule is brine. If you are brining your turkey and need to rinse it, please make sure to remove all food items from the surrounding area before starting. After rinsing, be sure to wash the countertops and sink with hot soapy water and wash your hands for 20 seconds. To be extra careful, you can sanitize your surfaces with 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. It’s important to allow the surface to air dry completely before moving on to your next task.

Myth #2 – Those plastic pop-up thermometers are 100% accurate. Consumer Reports found that not all the 21 pop-up thermometers they tested in whole turkeys and turkey breast were accurate. Food experts at USDA recommend using a food thermometer instead. Make sure your food thermometer registers 165 ºF or higher in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast. You can be assured that the turkey is ready and safe to eat.

Myth #3 – Always choose white over dark meet because it is healthier. Turkey is a great source of protein. It has a low glycemic index, which means it won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike and it helps increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in your body. There are some nutritional differences, white meat (breast and wings) has fewer calories and fat than dark meat (legs and thighs) per serving, while dark meat has higher levels of zinc and iron. Depending on your current health, if you are cutting back on fat and calories, then white meat might be the better option. Otherwise, choose whatever type you like and enjoy!

Myth #4 – Turkey makes people sleepy. Turkey meat contains a lot of an amino acid called L-tryptophan. The brain changes L-tryptophan into serotonin, which helps calm us down and helps us sleep. However, scientists at Johns Hopkins think it isn’t just what we eat that makes us so sleepy on Thanksgiving (after all my turkey sandwich any other time of the year has no impact), it is the quantity. Consuming a large meal increases blood flow to our stomach and decreases blood flow to our brain. The increased intake of carbohydrates (which may impact our glycemic index), alcohol consumption, and the hustle and bustle of the day can lead to a desperate need for a nap. To decrease your fatigue you might choose to eat smaller portions/meals, decrease the intake of carbohydrates, limit alcohol consumption, and delegate holiday preparations as you are able.

Turkey time can be a happy and healthy time if you debunk these myths. If you are looking for tips on ways to cook a turkey and a guide on how to roast a turkey (frozen or fresh), the USDA has several resources available for free.

For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline – (1-888-674-6854), E-mail: mphotline@usda.gov

Happy turkey day!

Written by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Ph.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Perry County

Photo by DONALD COOK from FreeImages

Sources:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (N.D.). Does Eating Turkey Make Me Sleepy? Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/Patients-Families/Health-Library/HealthDocNew/Does-Eating-Turkey-Make-Me-Sleepy

Mayo Clinic. (2020, August 25). Nutrition and healthy eating. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/glycemic-index-diet/art-20048478

Rehman, A. (2021, July 6). What Is Tryptophan? Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/what-is-tryptophan

Umansky, D. (2016, November 22). Holiday Turkey: Should You Rely on a Meat Thermometer or a Pop-Up Timer? Consumer Reports. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/meat-thermometers/meat-thermometer-or-pop-up-timer-for-turkey/

University of Illinois Extension. (N.D.). Turkey for the Holidays – Nutrition. Retrieved from https://web.extension.illinois.edu/turkey/nutrition.cfm

University of Illinois Extension. (N.D.). Turkey for the Holidays – Using a Thermometer. Retrieved from https://web.extension.illinois.edu/turkey/thermometer.cfm

USDA. (2017, February 17). How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/11/22/how-cook-thanksgiving-turkey

USDA. (2015, September 28). Let’s Talk Turkey—A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/poultry/lets-talk-turkey-roasting

USDA. (2021, August 3). Tips and Resources for a Bacteria-Free Thanksgiving. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/11/22/tips-and-resources-bacteria-free-thanksgiving

USDA. (2017, February 21). To Wash or Not to Wash… Your Turkey? Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/11/21/wash-or-not-wash-your-turkey

USDA. (2019, October 22). Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/poultry/turkey-basics-safe-cooking

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (N.D.). Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/cholesterollevelswhatyouneedtoknow.html

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This fall has presented many challenges for my family with eating a nutritious dinner as one of them. With back-to-school, work, homework and my kids extra-curricular activities, we found ourselves hitting the drive-thru more times than not. While discussing my troubles with a co-worker, they recommended I dust off my slow cooker and put it to work. Duh! Why didn’t I think of that? I decided to take full advantage of my slow-cooker and gain back my nutrition, time, and sanity.

Collection of slow cooker recipes graphic

As humans, we want tried and true recipes that we know others enjoy. What better way to get that than to team up with your co-workers and turn it into a project! At the beginning of the month, my office teammates and I started a Facebook campaign of slow cooker recipes for the month of October. Every day we have been posting a slow cooker recipe that our families enjoy. Not only did we want to share recipes, we wanted to share educational information with them.

Prior to the recipe posts we started with some slow cooker safety tips:

1. Make sure everything is CLEAN.

2. Keep food COLD until it’s time to assemble.

3. DEFROST meat first. Never put frozen meat into your slow cooker.

4. Cut meat into SMALLER pieces.

After that information was posted on social media, I received a lot of comments related to thawing meat prior to slow cooking. You can find additional information on this topic in one of our previous blog posts: “Using Your Slow Cooker Safely”.

We’ve also been keeping all the recipes on our county website to make it easier for people to find and print them. The great thing is you will find a mixture of recipes! We have a collection of breakfast dishes, soups, drinks, desserts, appetizers, and entrees. With the month coming to an end, we are sad to see this project come to an end, but excited to start working on the next one!

Sources:

Goard, L. (2011, October 18). Using your slow cooker safely Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2011/10/18/using-your-slow-cooker-safely/

Jeffers, M.K. (2021, August 3). Cook slow to save time: four important slow cooker safety tips Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/10/24/cook-slow-save-time-four-important-slow-cooker-food-safety-tips?fbclid=IwAR31cTEAHJQ06p-sUCtrU4Ca2KkSNuPfHMBiBWTR7CqgQ_oy8oSQ_olhrlI

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

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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This fall I want to encourage you to do something you may have been scolded for at the dinner table as a youth; play with your food! Don’t worry, playing with your food as an adult won’t look the same.  We can sometimes get stuck in a rut when it comes to our food choices or find ourselves on autopilot eating the same foods or using the same recipes over and over. We want to remind you; it is possible to have fun with food even as an adult!  Just adding a few new twists can have you exploring new foods and having fun. May we suggest:

Play with a Cuisine: build some play into the types of cuisines you are trying. Start with creating a list of foods you enjoy or that sound interesting to you. Do you have a curry dish that you love from a local Indian restaurant? Look up a similar recipe online and try it at home. Been wanting to try a new cuisine? Ask around or look online for a restaurant that offers what you’re wanting to try. Adding new cuisines to your food routine can be a great way to include new flavors and textures, and those are NEVER boring!

Play with a Group: Food can be fun to enjoy at parties, or with friends and family. Food is often tied to great memories, family traditions, and other meaningful experiences. Invite a new group of people to join you to play with your food by trying a new restaurant or invite them over to enjoy a meal in your space. Connecting food to meaningful experiences and making new friends is an enjoyable way to play with your food. . . and make a new connection!

Play with a Seasonal Food: Using seasonal food is a great way to save money and try foods when they are showing off at the peak of their freshness.  This list can be a great way to help you know what is in season. Try playing with fresh fruits and vegetables in your favorite season.  Wander the produce section of the grocery store and make a point of picking out something you’ve never tried.  Finding a new food you love will pay off in a fun way for a long time.

Play with a Style: There are so many ways to prepare foods. If you’ve passed on food before, consider trying it again in a new way. Not a fan of steamed squash? Try it roasted in the oven with some fresh herbs. Didn’t love a cut of meat at first taste? Try it in a soup, stew, curry, or pasta dish. You could even play with a new cooking method or technique.  

Now that you are inspired to PLAY with new foods, techniques, and cuisines, we hope you find something new that you love!!

Resources:

Healthy Cooking Techniques: Boost flavor and cut calories. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-cooking/art-20049346

Seasonal Produce Guide. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County  barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

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pumpkin spiced drinkAre you a pumpkin spiced lover? Do you flock to the local coffee shop or bakery to pick up the latest pumpkin spiced treat? You are not alone, in 2019 the pumpkin spice market was worth over half a billion dollars in the US alone.  Some of the popular additions to the trend this year are candy, hot or cold drinks, baked goods or mixes, ice cream or cold treats, breakfast foods, and even alcoholic beverages.

True pumpkin, not just the flavoring, is packed with fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C. Just one cup of pumpkin can provide 50% of your daily recommendation for vitamin C and 450% for vitamin A in only 50 calories. The beta-carotene in pumpkin has been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and heart disease.

If you love pumpkin flavors and want to add a few pumpkin foods or treats to your diet, consider making them yourself. Not only will you save money, but you can also have better control on the calories, sodium, fat, and sugar. A typically Pumpkin Spiced Latte has anywhere from 170 to over 400 calories, but if you make this version from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach you can make a low-fat, natural sugar version for about 120 calories. The recipe even ends up being a good source of vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. Other pumpkin flavor ideas include:

  • Pumpkin Oatmeal – mix your oats with skim milk and ½ cup of pureed pumpkin. Add ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice or some cinnamon.
  • Pumpkin Smoothie – yogurt, pumpkin puree, chopped banana, ice, pumpkin pie spice, and a small amount of honey blended until smooth. Make it into a pumpkin smoothie bowl by leaving your smoothie a little thicker and sprinkling granola and a few other fruits on top.
  • Quick Pumpkin Soup – pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, skim milk, and basil, ground ginger, and garlic powder.  
  • Pumpkin Black Bean Chili – heat your pureed pumpkin, black beans, diced tomatoes, chopped veggies (onion, peppers, celery), with chicken broth and diced or canned chicken, and seasonings. Always look for the no salt added or low sodium versions of canned foods.

If you would like to pressure can your own pumpkin or winter squash my coworkers from the Ohio State University Extension Food Preservation Team recently did webinar full of tips. To access that information, go to: https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-people/food-preservation/office-hours-recordings  and click on Canning Winter Squash.

We can’t wait to hear your favorite ways to include pumpkin in your diet. Be sure to comment or share your favorite recipe or pumpkin tip.

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.

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This year MyPlate turns 10! This important birthday marks ten years of guidance on building a healthy routine. In our family, we have a tradition where we share birth and baby stories with our birthday children. So, in that spirit, let’s look back at the “birth” story of MyPlate.

You may remember a food pyramid or food groups from your school health days.  The first food recommendation came out in 1894 through a Farmer’s Bulletin. These first guidelines focused on diets for males. In 1916, a nutritionist, Caroline Hunt, wrote a USDA food guide and included recommendations for young children. These recommendations were put into five food groups.

Changes were made to these guidelines throughout the years to reflect changes in society. For example, during the Depression, guidelines were broken into income levels to help people shop for food. Recommendations were made during wartime to accommodate limited supplies and rationing that was common in the United States.

The 1950’s brought us the format of the “Basic Four” food groups. This model was used for 20 years and might sound familiar to some of your first lessons on food and nutrition. The five groups were meat, milk, fruits and vegetables, and grain products.

Research surrounding food began to shift its focus from obtaining enough nutrients, like with the Basic Four model, to encourage consumers to avoid overconsumption of foods that contribute to chronic disease. Enter the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992. The pyramid underwent a change in 2005 that included physical activity and added oils at the very top as a food group.

MyPlate was introduced in 2011 as a portioned plate. The plate is a visual reminder of incorporating all five food groups into daily food choices while encouraging personalized choices.

With MyPlate, Americans find practical ways to incorporate dietary guidelines in their daily food choices. MyPlate emphasizes five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. This variety is recommended to build strong bodies and minds. MyPlate encourages “the benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. Small changes matter.”

To help MyPlate celebrate their birthday you may consider:

Get a personalized plan at MyPlate.

Set a small goal for yourself. Try adding a new vegetable or incorporating fruit every morning.

Download and print a MyPlate template and hang it somewhere as a reminder.

For more ideas check out the birthday celebration website for links to the app and other activities.

However, you choose to celebrate MyPlate, have fun doing it! From all of us at Live Healthy Live Well; Happy Birthday MyPlate!!

Sources:

Evolution of USDA Food Guides to Today’s MyPlate. Riley Children’s Health. https://www.rileychildrens.org/connections/evolution-of-usda-food-guides-to-todays-myplate#:~:text=The%20USDA%20introduced%20today’s%20MyPlate,encourage%20personalization%20of%20food%20choices.

MyPlate 10th Birthday. MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/birthday.

What is MyPlate? MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/what-is-myplate.

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shelby Larck, Extension Program Assistant, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Larck.1@osu.edu

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