Posts Tagged ‘snacks’

oranges lemons limesWhat do the above fruits have in common?  Yes, they are a great source of vitamin C!  Most of us know this, but do we get enough?  Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps the body to heal wounds and cuts.  Citrus fruits are also rich in flavonoids which have anticancer properties and may also help with cardiovascular and other diseases.  All fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C but the highest amounts are found in citrus fruits.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg for adult men and 75 mg for adult women.  A medium orange contains about 70 mg.

The orange tends to be the most popular of the citrus fruits.  And, my favorite this time of year.  You can keep oranges at room temperature for about a week.  Keep them in the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks.  They are easy to take with you for lunch or a snack. Try some of these favorites:

Cara Cara Orange:  It is a navel oranges that looks like a regular orange on the outside but it has a pinkish color on the inside.  They are very sweet with a hint of a cranberry taste.

Blood Orange:  It is smaller than an orange with a red to maroon inside.  They have a strong orange flavor with a hint of raspberry.

Pomelo:  This type of orange looks like a grapefruit but taste sweet and is less acidic.  It has a thick yellow skin and is white to deep pink inside.

Add an orange each day to boost your consumption of fruits and vegetables.  They are high nutrient, low-calorie options for meals and snacks.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu.

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, Program Specialist, Snap-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Source:  National Institutes of Health, Medline Plus, Vitamin C, updated Jan 12, 2015.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm

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Need more energy? Have this energy drink. If you are playing a sport, you need a sports drink. Really, do we need sport or energy drinks, vitamin waters, or fruit flavored drinks? The advertisers claim we need them. What is truth and what is hype? sports beverages

• Sports drinks are not necessary unless you are engaging in continuous, vigorous activity for more than 60 minutes in hot weather. Most sports drinks have lots of sugar and calories. Most of us don’t need the extra nutrients, electrolytes and/or protein as your diet usually provides what is needed. Water is the best drink for rehydrating, which is what your body needs. Sports drinks increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease. Low-fat or fat-free milk can be a better option to drink when engaging in sports or physical activity to regain what you have lost.

• Energy drinks are not needed and may over-stimulate the cardiovascular and nervous system causing some detrimental effects. Most energy drinks have high amounts of caffeine and other stimulates. Energy drinks can be dangerous for people with unknown heart issues. Energy drinks are not safe for youth. In fact, studies have shown youth who drink energy drinks are less able to concentrate and may have a slower reaction speed. Extra vitamins in energy drinks do not really help your body. Energy drinks have been associated with many health concerns such as increased blood pressure, sleep problems, seizure activity, heart arrhythmia and others. Avoid powdered caffeine which is very dangerous.

• Vitamin waters have added vitamins which are better obtained by eating vegetables and fruits. These drinks also contain added sugar and sodium. Don’t pay the high price tag for these which also increase the risk of obesity. Eat a healthy diet and drink water.

• Fruit flavored drinks tend to be high in added sugar and other ingredients. Some of the herbal fruit flavored drink ingredients have not been researched on children. These drinks also increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease.glass of iced tea

• Sweetened teas and coffee drinks have added sugar and carry the same health risks as sports drinks. They also can cause sleep disturbances and nervous problems in youth and adults.

Beverage manufactures are trying to convince us that they are providing us with “ready-to-go” attractive beverages. Most of the health claims on the bottles cannot be proven true and the added sugars increase the risk of diabetes and obesity.

Drink water!
It is the best drink. Other recommended choices include nonfat or low-fat milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juice in small amounts. Eat a healthy diet, and you will have the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

Writer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Center for Weight and Health, (2014). Hiding Under a Health Halo, University of California at Berkeley, Available at: http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/healthhalo.html
Nelson, J. and Zeratsky, K. (2010). Milk Joins the Roster of Sports Drinks, Mayo Clinic, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/sports-drinks/bgp-20056125
Nutrition Action, (2014). Caffeine in Food – Caffeine Content of Drinks Revealed! Available at http://nutritionaction.com/daily/caffeine-in-food

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Tis the season for chocolate. Most of us love chocolate anytime of the year but from Halloween to Valentine’s Day, chocolate seems to be all around us.Chocolate

Is dark chocolate really good for you? Do the flavanols in chocolate really help you?

Chocolate or cocoa powder does have flavanols. The cocoa bean is a rich source of flavanols which are a group of phytochemicals in food.

However, depending on how the cocoa bean is processed many flavanols can be lost. Flavanols tend to be bitter tasting, so manufacturers roast, ferment, pulverize, and sometimes alkalinize the cocoa bean to improve taste. Thus, it is hard to know how much benefit is in that chocolate piece.

• Consuming a large amount of cocoa flavanols has produced benefits including improved endothelial function (dilation of the artery). This helps blood flow through the arteries and may help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Some promises of lowering blood pressure and improving brain function have been seen with consuming large amounts of chocolate.
• Sorry, but chocolate does not help you lose weight. Studies show the more chocolate you eat the more weight you gain.Cocoa

So, how do you get the benefits of the cocoa bean without gaining a lot of weight? Using or eating cocoa powder is your best source. Two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder will provide you with 200 mg of flavanols and about 20 calories. You could try adding it to your coffee, warm milk, oatmeal or yogurt. That is unsweetened, so if you add sweetener the calorie content will jump. To get 200 mg of flavanols you can choose baking chocolate (unsweetened) providing about 70 calories; 1-1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips providing 200 calories or 2 ounces of dark chocolate (at least 65%) with 320 calories. Forget milk chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate syrup as they have few flavanols and lots of calories.

Enjoy chocolate in moderation, yes benefits, but also calories.

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

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Schardt, D. [2013]. How bittersweet it is, Nutrition Action HealthLetter, December 2013. 40(10). 8-11.
Zeratsky, K. [2012]. Can chocolate be good for my health? Available at http://mayoclinic.com

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With a range of medications available to help the 50 million Americans suffering from arthritis many may not know that what you eat can influence your symptoms and alsoartritis hands how the disease progresses.

Rather than supplements in the form of pills, food with certain nutrients can help.

·         Vitamin C about the amount in two oranges (152 milligrams a day) has been found to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis.  Vitamin C plays a role in the formation of cartilage, collagen and proteoglycans.  It also is an antioxidant which helps limit the free-radical oxygen compounds that can damage cartilage.

·         Vitamin D was shown to cut the progression of arthritis.  Living in the northern attitudes especially in the winter, makes it difficult to get enough Vitamin D.  This is the one vitamin that you may need to  supplement.  Vitamin D not only plays a role in bone building it seems to affect the production of collagen.

·         Beta-carotene reduced the progression of arthritis when 9,000 IU were consumed daily.  This was not seen when people consumed 5,000 IU.  Most Americans only get 3,000 to 5,000 IU a day of beta-carotene.  However, you can easily increase your amount by using orange vegetables and fruits.  One medium sweet potato contains 21,909 IU.  fruits-vegetables

·         Vitamin E – In a study with people who had knee osteoarthritis those that consumed 6-11 milligrams of Vitamin E daily (from food) saw a 60% reduction in the progression of the disease over 10 years compared to  those getting 2-5 milligrams daily.  Due to the increased risk of lung cancer, smokers should not take extra Vitamin E or beta-carotene pills.

·         Vitamin K is being studied now.  So far, the study suggests that Vitamin K may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.  Good sources of Vitamin K are spinach, broccoli, leaf lettuce, kale, asparagus and olive, soybean and canola oils.

·         Omega-3 Fatty Acids suppress inflammation in the joint.  This is what causes so much stiffness and pain.  Eating two or more servings of fish (baked or broiled) per week reduced the chance of developing arthritis.   Other sources of omega-3 are flaxseed and nuts.  Canola, soybean and olive oil have some omega-3s.   Best to avoid omega-6 fatty acids found in safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and corn oils.  These are usually also in processed foods and fried foods, so limit your consumption of them.

·         Limit consumption of sugar.   More inflammation has been linked with higher sugar consumption.

· Drink more water         Drink Water.  Water  helps all around from moisturizing, giving support to joints, carrying nutrients and removing wastes from the body.  Some medicines used for arthritis also change your thirst level.  Be sure to drink plenty of water, preferably 8 cups or more a day of liquids.

Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein along with oils rich in omega-3s.  Limit sweets and other fats and oils.  Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains will increase your fiber intake which the Arthritis Foundation says may keep inflammation down.

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

Reviewer:  Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


Tufts University, [2013]. Eating Right for Healthy Joints, Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter Special Supplement, June 2013.

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Tired of drinking just water? Are you a tea drinker? Do you enjoy iced tea in the summer? Well, pour a cup of tea and enjoy. It’s good for you.cup of tea

Benefits from tea include:

• May lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some other chronic diseases.

• May lower your blood pressure as drinking just one cup of black tea daily lowered blood pressure levels in men in one study.

• Drinking green tea helped increase bone formation in postmenopausal women.

• Green tea increased activity in the part of the brain used for memory processing showing promise that it may prevent the formation of amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

• The caffeine plus L-theanine in tea helps reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

• Encourages healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Most of these benefits come from the “flavonoids” in tea. Flavonoids provide beneficial antioxidant and biochemical effects.

Considering there are little to no calories, a tea leaf is very high in flavonoids. Using hot water to steep the tea will provide you with the most flavonoids. Other methods of tea such as cold-brewed glass of iced teaand powdered mixes don’t usually obtain the same flavonoid levels. Sun tea brewing is not recommended as molds or bacteria on the tea leaf are not destroyed as they would be with using hot water. Tufts University recommends using 175⁰ to 185⁰ Fahrenheit (F) water to brew green tea, 195⁰ F to brew oolong tea and 212⁰ F (boiling water) to brew black tea. Adding some lemon or other citrus juice adds little calories and reduces the risk of flavonoids loss through the digestion process.

One caution: Although tea has only about half the caffeine of coffee, if you are caffeine sensitive you may have to be cautious. If you can’t handle caffeine try the decaffeinated teas or herbal teas that don’t contain caffeine. Most of the flavonoids are still intact in the decaffeinated teas.

Calorie Caution: Some sweet teas have as much added sugar as a soda. Try unsweetened tea with fruit or juice added.

Enjoy tea or iced tea this summer and don’t be afraid to try some of the new flavors of tea. There are many different teas with additional flavors that make delicious iced tea. I really enjoy brewing my own flavored iced green tea to sip on during the hot days of summer.

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

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension


Tufts University, [2013]. Drinking Tea Protects Your Head, Heart and Bones, Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, April 2013, Vol. 31 (2) p 4-5.

Tufts University, [2013]. Green Tea Protects Brain Cells, Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, June 2013, Vol. 31 (4) p 7.

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Are you in charge of planning for your child’s school Valentine Party? It used to be pretty easy – bake some cupcakes, buy some pop or punch, open a bag of chips and maybe add some ice cream. Today, many schools are asking that primarily healthy foods be included in class parties. This doesn’t mean that cookies, cupcakes or candy are permanently banned from these celebrations but we really should think about including healthy foods as the star of the party!

What are some choices you could include that are healthy and also delicious? Think of MyPlate and try to include something from two or more sections. Be sure and check with your school on any restrictions they may have on parties and talk to the classroom teacher to see if there are any children with food allergies in the class.

  •  Fresh fruit is always a good  idea. Fruit could be cut up and placed on small skewers to make kabobs. These are fun for adults or children. Dried fruit or frozen fruit can be a  sweet treat!kabobs
  • Cut veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, or broccoli can be served with a low fat dip or dressing. Maybe introduce something new such as hummus as a healthy dip for the veggies.
  • Cheese served on whole-grain crackers is a great source of both the dairy and grains that our bodies need every day. Yogurt smoothies or parfaits that those at the event can make for themselves are fun and nutritious.
  • Pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers or low fat granola bars are tasty treats and also provide whole grain goodness for your body.  Trail mix is another great choice – it could be prepared ahead of time or those attending could measure and mix their own!
  • For drinks, why not have water, milk or 100% fruit juice as the choices.  The best choice for the milk would be low-fat or non-fat plain milk but low-fat flavored milk is also a healthy choice. You can make water more exciting by providing slices of fruit to add to the glass – lemons, strawberries, oranges and even apples add just a hint of flavor!

When you are planning the party, you might shift some of the emphasis from the food to other fun activities.

  • Children love to move – dancing, active games, and other activities get everyone moving. If you  join in the fun you are setting a great example for the children! It is  recommended that children be active at least 60 minutes most days and      adults 30 minutes.
  • Plan some quiet activities. Crafts and puzzles are sure to be crowd pleasers. Make sure you have all of your supplies and plenty of helpers. A treasure hunt can be a great group activity with non-food prizes awarded at the end.

Here are a couple of healthy, delicious, simple recipes that you could have the children help make.

Fruit Smoothie

1 cup low fat milk

1/2 cup apple juice

1 6oz container low fat plain yogurt

1 medium banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

Add all ingredients to a blender or food

processor. Cover and blend on high

speed until smooth (about 30 seconds).

Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Fruit Log

1 whole wheat tortilla

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1 medium banana

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Spread Peanut butter on tortilla.

Drizzle syrup on peanut butter. Roll banana up in the tortillas.

Cut into 4 equal pieces.

Serves 2

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

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


Healthy Celebrations   http://www.ohioactionforhealthykids.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/OAFHK-Healthy-Celebrations-at-School-1.pdf

Create Healthy, Active Celebrations http://www.fns.usda.gov/eatsmartplayhardhealthylifestyle/quickandeasy/celebrations.pdf

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MP900182724[1]In addition to Christmas or other holiday dinners, many of us also host or attend bowl game parties or New Year’s Eve events during late December and early January. What do you have planned? I am a college football junkie, so snack foods that my family can eat during the bowl games are a necessity. In addition to things that are quick and easy to prepare, I also need to keep in mind ways to make them healthier for everyone.  The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has come up with a set of tips for healthy eating during winter gatherings that are lessons we can all use. Here are a few modifications of their suggestions:

  • If you are going to someone else’s party, eat a healthy snack before you go. This is a great time to have a vegetable, fruit, or dairy. Even a half of a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread.
  • Make sure the dish you bring to share is a healthy one. Bring the vegetable or fruit tray, a modified side dish (one you have cut the fat, calories or sodium in), or a dip or spread with reduced fat ingredients. Don’t forget to get whole grain corn chips or pretzels to serve your dip with.
  • When you get to the party, check out everything they have to eat and think about how it will fit into your diet. Don’t forget to visualize half your plate being vegetables and fruit, and only a quarter protein, and a quarter grain (hopefully whole grain). It is always good for a snack to have at least 2 food groups in it – think vegetable, fruit, protein, dairy, or grain.
  • Once you fix your plate, move away from the buffet to avoid grazing. It is easy to continue snacking on cookies, if there is a plate right in front of you. You will probably think twice about it, if you have to get up and go to another room to get it.
  • Savor the flavors and take your time eating. You have probably heard the research that it takes time for your stomach to tell your brain you are full, but you may not have heard that there are also hormones at work in the digestive system that let the brain know you are satisfied. By eating more slowly, most of us will eat less and give our brain and body time to work together.
  • If you plan on drinking punch, soda, teas, or an adult beverage at the party – make sure you are also getting in your water. It is a good idea to alternate a glass of water then your glass of punch and back to a glass of water before you can have more punch. We often eat when we are really thirsty.
  • Last but not least – Enjoy your party! Remember why you came or got together, it was probably to enjoy time with family, friends, or an activity like New Year’s Eve or a Bowl Game – not really to eat food. Participate in board games, card games, dancing, or those active TV games. If you are watching a sporting event, use half time or the time between periods to take an exercise break rather than refill your plate. Dance to the half time music, walk the dog, or let the kids try out their new bike for 15 minutes.

So what ideas do you have for snack foods besides the common vegetable and fruit trays? Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County has a nice online database of Healthy Recipes – http://go.osu.edu/snacks.   I thought they had several ideas that would be good for parties or during games (Zippy Vegetable Dip, Frozen Fruit Cups, Fruit Kabobs, Spinach Dip Rollups, and the Black Bean Dip Rollups all look good). Another idea would be to put a big batch of soup in your slow cooker, many of them are low fat, and full of vegetables or beans. Whatever you decide to do – don’t forget to make your party meals part of your daily plan for healthy meals.

Writer:  Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewers: Elizabeth Smith and Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialists SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.


National Diabetes Education Program, http://ndep.nih.gov/media/NDEP_Healthy_Eating.pdf.

Harvard Medical School, Health Blog, http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605.

Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County, http://wayne.osu.edu.

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With Halloween and Harvest festivities right around the corner, it’s time to pick out costumes and get ready to go Trick or Treating (or Trunk or Treating).  Traditionally, most people handout goodies that the kids love to eat including candy and other sugar products.  While it’s okay to indulge in these on occasion, the truth is that rates of overweight and obese children are on the rise.  It’s time to start taking responsibility for what our youth are putting into their bodies.  One way to do this would be to start choosing healthier ‘treats’ when we hand out to the children.  Now we don’t have to go to the extreme of only handing out tooth brushes and pennies, but instead of just buying whatever candy is on sale this year compare food labels and determine what a good choice is.  Halloween isn’t just limited to food, kids love to get little gifts in their treat bags.  Below are some fun ideas that you can use this holiday.

Food Options:

Use the MyPlate as your guide as you choose individually wrapped snacks that will be easy to handout and provide some type of nutritional value.  For example, from the fruits and vegetables food groups hand out sealed containers of carrot and celery sticks, apple sauce or fruit cups.  Another option would be 100% fruit or vegetable juice boxes.  For the grains and protein food groups you could hand out bags of cheese and crackers, trail mix, pretzels, or mixed nuts.  Keep in mind that some children have nut allergies so it’s best to check with the parents if you are giving them anything that has been in contact with peanuts and other nut products.  For the dairy group you could hand out low-fat milk jugs or pudding cups.  *Please keep in mind that all of these items should be packaged and sealed.  If you handout homemade treats chances are that parents will throw these away, so it’s better to just purchase something that’s already made.

Non-Food Items:

Kids don’t love JUST candy.  Often times it’s exciting to receive some type of gift.  You can get these at your local discount or bulk store at a pretty reasonable price.  Items that promote physical activity are a great idea because after they eat all of their candy they can get some exercise as well.  These would include: balls, Frisbees, chalk for drawing hopscotch on the driveway, and jump ropes.  You can also choose items like pencils, little notebooks, yoyos, silly bands, small coloring books, crayons, pencil toppers, toy cars or play jewelry, fake tattoos, etc. These are fun, inexpensive items that you can buy in bulk and pass out to the children.    Be careful handing out very small items to young children because of choking reasons.

Whatever you choose to give out this year please think about how it will affect the children.  A treat once in a while is perfectly okay, but most of us remember stuffing themselves full of candy at the end of the night.  We need to face childhood obesity head on and give our children some healthier options.

Written by: Dana Brown, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Morrow County, http://morrow.osu.edu, brown.4643@osu.edu.

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County


Burnett, N [2012].  Alternatives for a healthy Halloween.   Available at: http://www.johnson.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=1281

Hunter, J [2008].  Celebrate Halloween the Healthy Way.  Available at:  http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/hot_topics/2008/10halloween.html

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One of the hardest issues to deal with when you’re trying to lose weight is achieving satiety (how “full” you feel after eating). It has been a problem for me for decades because I am a very fast eater. Anyone else out there like that?? I can inhale a meal in literally five minutes. This is problematic because it takes 15-20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you have had enough food. Because I eat so fast, I used to still feel hungry after one plate of food. Then I would go back to the kitchen for seconds. Unfortunately, after a second round of food, I didn’t feel very good. I felt stuffed the way most of us do on Thanksgiving Day. I finally hit rock bottom a couple of years ago. I knew I was probably not going to eat more slowly, so I had to learn to control the amount of food I ate.


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Are you interested in making a health change this fall?

If so this challenge is for you!

For six weeks this fall we will focus on increasing your physical activity levels as well as focusing your awareness on one health habit per week.  Examples of behaviors we will be encouraging include drinking more water, watching portion size, eating more vegetables and fruits and consuming low fat dairy products.  We will share tips, recipes and researched based information through emails and blog posts.  We also have a facebook page to encourage participants on their journey.

The on-line email challenge will run from September 17th to October 29th.

There is no charge to participate and any adult with an email account can register to participate.

Participants will sign up for the email challenge and complete a consent form to participate in the challenge.  During the challenge, participants will track their daily progress on a 6 week log.   We will have an anonymous pre and post on-line survey for you to complete. 

What is included: Twice weekly educational messages, tracking log for progress, Facebook account for group interaction, weekly drawings from participants for wellness and fitness prizes.

Why: To improve your overall health and well-being while providing valuable research as to the effectiveness of social media as a means of disseminating educational information.

How do I sign up? – Contact Dana Brown at Ohio State University Extension, by email at brown.4643@osu.edu or phone 419-947-1070 by September 10, 2012.

Sponsored by: Ohio State University Extension and County Commissioners

OSU Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, age, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or veteran status. Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agriculture Administration and Director, OSU Extension. TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio Only) or 614-292-1868.

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