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Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

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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Overwhelming words for many at the end of the day!  We are busier than ever, and outsourcing grocery shopping and meal preparation is quite appealing.  Home delivered meal services are popular and offer quick, tasty, and convenient meals.  Are these meals nutritious and worth the extra money?

These meal kits are a lifesaver for many busy families or those who have limited cooking experience.  The meals are delivered ready to cook, saving time at the recipe planning stage, the grocery store, chopping food items and prepping the meal.  Many meal kits are ready in 30 minutes or less and save time to spend on more fun things!

Consider meal prepping on your own.  The advantages are healthier options, cost and time saving strategies.  Getting organized is the first step in meal preparation.  Choose favorite recipes for the week.  There are three stages of meal preparing.

  1. Batch cooking.  Make large recipes on one selected day (weekend) and freeze to use later in the week.
  2. Individually portioned meals.  Prepare meals in individual portions ahead of time for a gran and go meal.
  3. Prepped ingredients.  Chop, peel. Slice or roast beforehand and use these prepare ingredients in recipes.

Meal prepping saves time and money with buying and preparing home cooked food ahead of time.  Most people shop and cook on the weekends.

Here are guidelines to start meal prepping at home:

  • Take inventory of your storage containers.  Use reusable airtight containers.
  • Select meals you want to prep for: breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Choose a shopping day.  Sunday and Wednesday are two popular days.
  • Determine how many meals  you want to prep.  Experiment with prepping for two to three days before attempting five or more.
  • Consider using a meal prep cookbook.  There are several available and check with your local library.
  • Meal preparation Apps are available to use on your smartphone.
  • Prep afternoon snacks of cut up vegetables with a yogurt dip.
  • Prep your recipes and put together in containers.  Refrigerate or freeze.  Prepared foods can remain refrigerated for 2-5 days or frozen 3-4 months depending on the ingredients.

Meal prepping does not need to be complex.  Basic steps help cut back on cooking time and increasing time for activities that matter most!

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

Reviewed by:  Margaret Jenkins, OSU Extension Educator, Clermont County, jenkins.188@osu.edu

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In our family we joke about our 2-year-old son having two belly buttons, when he has a feeding tube. When he was born, he struggled to learn how to breath, suck, and swallow a bottle due to a medical condition, and has had some sort of feeding tube since birth, and two years later he has what is called a G-Tube that is placed in his stomach to help supply him with nutritional foods.

Did you know that February is not only heart health month, but also feeding tube awareness month? There are almost 500,000 people that are on a feeding tube, and almost 200,000 of them are children in the United States. There are many medical complications that can lead to a person requiring a feeding tube, including ones that are often called “invisible illnesses” or ones that people cannot visibly see. In my son’s case it is his heart condition, that from birth caused him to struggle with learning to eat.

Common myths surrounding why children require feeding tubes:

  • They are picky eaters. Most children have had their feeding tube since birth.
  • If you wait long enough your child will eat. Many children will starve themselves due their complex medical condition before they learn to eat.
  • Your child looks too healthy for a feeding tube. The children with feeding tubes are healthy due to having a feeding tube providing them nutrition.

Education is key in raising awareness and support for those with feeding tubes. I often worry about my son’s future when his peers see him being fed through his feeding tube if he has it when he starts school. There are a few things one can do to support others.

  • Ask questions when you see someone using a feeding tube. As a mom to someone whose child has special needs. I wish more people would come up and ask questions instead of staring at us.
  • Research online more about the different types of feeding tubes like G-Tubes, NG Tubes, GJ Tubes, and J-Tubes, and understand how they work.
  • Be supportive and patient with friends and family who may have a tube fed child or family member. Learn more information about feeding tube awareness. It will mean the world to them.
  • Remember how important it is to instill kindness, love and support for others. Especially if someone has a disability or a feeding tube. We want the world to be a place where our child feels accepted in school so when tube fed children go to school, we are not worried about how others will perceive our child.

Written by: Bridget Britton, OSU Extension Educator, Carroll County, britton.191@osu.edu

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

References:

https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/invisible/

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2016-12-21/life-with-a-feeding-tube

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picture of fruits, vegetables, and meat and poultry foods.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were just released! While much of the information they contain has been carried over from previous guidelines, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) continue to review research and present evidence-based recommendations for a healthy life. Below are the main themes and takeaways from the 2020 guidelines.

“Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.”  This guideline emphasizes the importance of healthy eating at every stage of life to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. For infants to 6 months of life, the guidelines recommend the exclusive consumption of human milk. If human milk is not an option, it is important to choose an iron-fortified infant formula. Regardless of human milk or formula, infants should also be given a vitamin D supplement. At 6 months, infants can begin to eat nutrient-dense foods. When introducing new foods, do so one at a time in case there is an allergic reaction. From 12 months on, the guidelines recommend eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods and establishing a healthy dietary pattern that can span one’s lifetime. This will help meet nutrient needs, maintain a healthy weight, and ultimately reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and obesity.

“Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.” The current American population is vastly diverse and culture extends to the plate. The current document welcomes this diversity and looks to customize the guidelines to fit an individual’s cultural background.

“Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages and stay within calorie limits.” Throughout the document, the phrase nutrient-dense comes up quite a few times. What is the difference between nutrient-dense and calorie-dense? Simply put, nutrient-dense food contains many nutrients with minimal added sugars, saturated fat, or sodium. Calorie-dense foods, on the other hand, tend to be high in added sugar, fat and sodium with limited vitamins and minerals. Filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods to meet your caloric needs will result in a healthier life.

“Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.” The guidelines recommend individuals age two and older limit added sugars and saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day. Sodium intake should be less than 2,300mg per day. Men should limit their alcohol intake to two beverages a day and women to one drink per day.

two hands holding a beverage in glass

Modifying one’s diet can be daunting, but there are tools to make it easier to eat better. MyPlate can help you visualize your plate, and the new MyPlate planning tool can help you customize it! Eating better for one’s health does not have to be a difficult endeavor, or one you embark upon alone.

Written by: Emily Beasecker, BGSU Graduate Student interning with Ohio State University Extension, Wood County Extension, and Susan Zies, Extension Educator , Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, Zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County, Lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Home | Dietary Guidelines for Americans [Internet]. Dietaryguidelines.gov. 2021 Available from: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/

MyPlate | U.S. Department of Agriculture [Internet]. Myplate.gov. 2021 Available from: https://www.myplate.gov/

American Heart Association (2018). How can I eat more nutrient-dense foods? https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-can-i-eat-more-nutrient-dense-foods

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A bowl of raspberries

It’s 3 pm – a few hours since lunch but not quite time for dinner. Your stomach starts to rumble a bit and you are low in energy. You open the fridge and cannot find anything you want so you turn to the cupboard and end up mindlessly snacking.

I know I am not alone when I say this: I often need a snack in the afternoon! However, a snack can turn into an additional meal if you do not have the right snacks on hand. On average, about one-fourth of daily calories are provided by snacks.  In fact, snacking more times in a day has been found to be associated with consuming more calories. For this reason, it is important to have healthy snacks available so that when you do get hungry between meals, you have something nutrient-dense ready. Follow these three simple tips to improve your snacks and avoid mindless snacking:

Plate of Hummus, sliced vegetables and pita chips

1. Plan your snacks

Next time you go to the store, make sure to add your snacks to the grocery list. Preparing single-serving snacks can help you have just enough to satisfy your hunger. Some staples that I keep on hand in the fridge are baby carrots and hummus or guacamole. Rather than eating out of the tub of hummus or the bag of carrots, portion some out onto a plate or cup. This will help you avoid excessive snacking.

2. Make healthy shifts with snacks

Try different fruits and vegetables to find the perfect snack for yourself. Foods and beverages that contribute the most calories for snacks are not the most nutritious options. By opting for a more nutrient-dense snack, you are making a healthier choice for your body and can improve your health. Rather than opting for chips and nacho cheese, try cowboy caviar and fresh veggies. Instead of opting for a granola bar with added sugar, try eating fresh fruit. Switch any refined grains to whole grains. Transition beverages with added sugars to no-sugar-added beverages. These small changes can make a big difference over time.

Plate of bean, corn and veggie salsa

3. Keep temptations out of sight

Keeping tempting foods out of sight may help you avoid choosing them as snacks. It may also be helpful to keep them out of the house altogether! If you don’t have them in your house, you cannot have them unless you go to the store to get them.

What changes can you make to enjoy healthier snacks? Are there any Healthy Snack Hacks you will try?

Written by: Miriam Knopp, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University.

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

Sources:

USDA Choose MyPlate (2016). “10 Tips: MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents.” www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-snack-tips-for-parents.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020, 8th Edition. “Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.” https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/DGA_Shift-to-Healthier-Choices.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). “NHANES – What We Eat in America.” www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/wweia.htm.

UCSF Health. “Behavior Modification Ideas for Weight Management.” www.ucsfhealth.org/education/behavior-modification-ideas-for-weight-management.

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picture of an apple

No it won’t, but it might help if you get infected, and over time might help your overall quality of life. I saw an interesting post on social media suggesting that following a healthy diet might protect us from coronavirus in addition to social distancing, wearing masks, etc. Science right now doesn’t support the idea that there is one “super-food” or special diet that can protect us from viruses, bacteria, and or other pathogens. Rather, having good dietary patterns, in addition to other healthy habits gives us better chances for positive health outcomes if we do get infected.

At the heart of immunity is the chemical process of inflammation that occurs in the body after exposure to a foreign pathogen. The response is complex involving white blood cells, antibody and antigens, clotting factors, and chemical signals that increase blood flow and blood vessel permeability. Nutrients we get from foods that are critical to this process include Vitamins C, D, zinc, selenium, iron and protein. Following the dietary guidelines and eating a variety of nutrient dense plants, meats, and fish ensures that you would get enough of these vitamins and minerals to support the immune response.

The gut microbiome is also important to the immune system. Bacteria in the colon break down fiber into substances that are helpful to your immune system. These bacteria are supported by prebiotic foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Probiotic foods such as yogurt can also be helpful. Alcohol, highly processed and fatty foods like sweets, chips, fried foods, and red meats aren’t helpful to colon bacteria thus weakening the immune system.

Following the dietary guidelines is one of the best ways to ensure that your immune system can succeed. Some high-risk groups though, such as the elderly, pregnant women, the critically ill, and low-come households may be at risk for dietary deficiencies and therefore should consider vitamin supplements in consultation with a physician. Multi-vitamins have not been proven to be effective in otherwise healthy individuals and are not a substitute for healthy eating. There is some evidence however that Vitamin D supplements might be especially helpful to many to promote immunity and protect against chronic disease.

Other factors that can improve your immune system include:

  • Avoiding too much alcohol
  • Getting 7-9 hours of sleep
  • Getting 150 of moderate physical activity every week
  • Quitting tobacco products
  • Practicing mindfulness techniques when stressed

Wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands frequently as recommended might prevent the coronavirus. Adopting one or two new healthy habits will also give you better chances of positive health outcomes in case you get sick, as well as give you a higher quality of life.  Consider setting a SMART goal to improve your health. Now is the time to get healthy!

Author: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD, Associate Professor and Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Fairfield County, OSU Extension

Sources:

Harvard School of Public Health. Nutrition and Immunity. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity

United States Department of Agriculture. Choose Myplate. Retrieved on 8/3/20 from https://www.chooseMyplate.gov

Harvard School of Public Health. Vitamin D. Retrieved on 7/30/2020 from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/

BeWell Stanford. Setting A SMART goal. Retrieved on 7/30/2020 from https://bewell.stanford.edu/achieving-your-smart-health-goal/

 

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We have all been impacted one way or another by the Coronavirus pandemic. During a health crisis, taking preventative measures is important. The CDC has listed precautions people should be taking right now. These include washing your hands, staying away from people who may be sick, and protecting your nose and mouth with an appropriate mask. Another way to protect yourself from sickness is keeping your immune system strong, which is your body’s defense against illnesses.

The Cleveland Clinic notes 3 vitamins to boost your immune system:

Vitamin C: found in many fruits especially melons, berries, and citrus, bell peppers, and dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, anFresh Vegetablesd spinach.

Vitamin B6: found in chickpeas, green vegetables, chicken, and fish.

Vitamin E: found in spinach, seeds, and nuts.

Additionally, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states these nutrients listed will also help boost your immune system:

Vitamin D: found in fortified milk and juice, eggs, and fatty fish.

Zinc: found both in animal and plant sources such as meat, beans, tofu, and nuts,

Beta carotene: found in plant foods such a potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and mangos.

Probiotics: found in cultured dairy and fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.

Protein: both animal and plant-based sources, such as nuts, eggs, meat, beans, and fish.

Eating healthily during a pandemic can be tough but having long-lasting food on-hand is a great way to ensure you and your family are fed when practicing social distancing. There are also ways to focus on consuming the food listed above to keep those immune systems in tip-top shape. Before you stock up on all the frozen and non-perishable foods you can find, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Frozen meals: Be sure those frozen meals include some of the foods listed above, for example fruits and vegetables.

Pasta: Add some razzle dazzle to pre-packaged pasta meals such by adding vegetables to the dish or pair it with your favorites on the side. You can also try this stir fry recipe that includes meat and vegetables with packaged ramen noodles for a yummy twist.

Canned goods: great way to add some fruits, vegetables, and beans to any meal. And make sure your canned soup has vegetables in it for extra nutrients, and always look for the no-salt added version.

Smoothies: Make a smoothie with your favorite frozen fruit and be sure to use a little yogurt and orange juice for some added nutrients.

Snacks: Snacking is inevitable! Snack on things such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, hummus, raw veggies, and more!

Below are two family fun snack and meal recipes that are sure to give you those nutrients that could give your immune system that extra boost!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Fruit and Veggie Snacks

All in all, you eat your way to a stronger immune system. Note that supplements are not recommended unless necessary. And always consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian first. We will get through this uncertain time together!

About the author: Carmen Bell is a senior Nutrition and Food Science-Dietetics student with a Health and Human Performance minor at Middle Tennessee State University. She is a part of the MT Nutrition Team where she works to provide nutrition education to children, students, faculty, and staff on campus. Beginning summer 2020, she will be an Iowa State University Dietetic Intern and upon completion of the program will continue her process of becoming a registered dietitian. In the future, she will obtain her master’s degree in Leadership in Nutrition and wants to work will all ages on their health.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

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