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Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

Celebrating the 4th of July reminds us that we are amid the middle of Summer.   The warm weather and sunny days are a perfect time to think about improving our self-care.  Take a little extra care of yourself and change up your routine to enjoy all this season has to offer.  Here are some suggestions to help you get started, get outside, and enjoy the sunshine:

  • Abandon the couch and relax outdoors.  Take a blanket or lawn chair and something to read and set up a retreat to enjoy being outdoors on a beautiful sunny day!
  • Take a walk. A walk is a great way to clear your head and enjoy a warm summer afternoon.  Invite a friend and get your exercise while catching up.
  • Visit your local farmer’s market. Take advantage of seasonal produce and local vendors. A trip to the farmer’s market can be a great opportunity to try new foods,  incorporate healthier options into your diet and enjoy local produce.
  • Gardening is a great way to meditate, enjoy the outdoors and get some sunshine.   It is an opportunity to spend time with your family and make new friends.
  • Tidy one small space in your home or office.    Organize a drawer or your desktop– even having one space clean and free of clutter helps you feel calmer.
  • Make a summer playlist. There are many great summer tunes to enjoy.   Music is an easy way to improve your mood and motivate you to get moving.
  • Have a picnic. Enjoying a meal outside is an easy way to get fresh air and sunshine. 
  • Try a new exercise.  Try a new outdoor activity.  Hiking, pickle ball or swimming are frequent outdoor activities.  Remember to use sunscreen and bug spray!   
  • Participate in community events.  Search online or in the newspaper for events going on around town. Consider outdoor movies, yard sales, festivals, farmer’s markets, or concerts.  Making fun plans is exciting and gives you something to look forward to.
  • Start a journal. Writing can be a great way to express how you feel and check-in with your emotions. Or create a drawing or doodle journal.  Document summer1
  • Reconnect with someone. Call an old friend – family member or grandparent.
  • Go exploring.  Look into areas you have not visited in your community.  Find a new part of town you have never visited and visit. 
  • Practice mindfulness. Try meditation or create a list of 10 things you are thankful for daily.
  • Complete a needs assessment.   How was last week?  How can you make next week better?  Do you need more sleep?  Prepare some healthy meals in advance and freeze.  Take a moment to reflect and decide what is needed to take better care of yourself. 

Use these ideas to complete your own self-care checklist this summer.  Small changes to your routine can improve your self-care practice and overall mood. Focus on new ways you can be active, get outside and get involved with your community. Have a great summer!

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

References

https://extension.illinois.edu/global/summer-self-care-series

Self-care: 4 ways to nourish body and soul – Harvard Health

Self Care 101 | Psychology Today

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clear glass with a red colored beverage sitting on a pool ledge

As thoughts of summer activities start to fill people’s minds, images of beaches, pool trips, and one’s favorite refreshing beverage are often visualized. As the weather heats up, people all over the world swarm to bodies of water to find a refreshing relief from the hot sun. However, what about our bodies of water? The human body is 55-65% water, and so often, people neglect to replenish themselves, which can lead to dehydration.

What causes dehydration?

            Dehydration happens when water losses from the body exceed water replacement.  Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Dehydration can be caused by a variety of medical issues, but in general, it can be caused by:

  • Failure to replenish water losses.
  • Excessive water loss from the skin due to exercise, heat, or even sunburns.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Increased aging.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

            Dehydration can be fatal, so it is essential to know the common signs and symptoms of dehydration to prevent it from progressing to a deadly point. According to the National Health Service4, common signs and symptoms of dehydration are:

  • feeling thirsty
  • dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling tired
  • a dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • peeing little, and fewer than four times daily

It is important to note that individuals with specific conditions such as diabetes or certain medications such as diuretics are more prone to dehydration.A quick and easy way to access dehydration is with a simple test of someone’s skin turgor, often called the dehydration pinch test. The great thing about knowing this tool is that it is quick, easy, and can be performed by anyone.

How to Avoid Dehydration

            As the weather continues to heat up, consuming the appropriate amount of water is vital for one’s overall health. Adequate amounts for water have been determined for generally healthy people and are based on age and gender. For women, the amount of total water is about 11.5 cups per day, and for men, about 15.5 cups. Basic tips to help meet your recommended daily fluid intakes and avoid dehydration are:

  • Eat foods with high amounts of water like fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid or limit drinks with alcohol.
  • Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.
  • Carry around a full water bottle with you wherever you go.

Not everyone is a fan of plain water, and if you are one of these people, try one of these recipes to not only spice up your water but help increase your daily water consumption.

If you or your loved one has severe dehydration symptoms, including excessive thirst, fever, rapid heartbeat, fast breathing, little or no urine, concentrated urine with a dark color and pungent odor or confusion, contact your doctor immediately!

Written by: Madison Barker, Guest Author from Middle Tennessee State University, Nutrition and Food Science major with a concentration in Dietetics.

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

References

  1. Taylor K, Jones EB. Adult Dehydration. [Updated 2020 Apr 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555956/
  2. Alcohol use and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  3. Schols JM, De Groot CP, van der Cammen TJ, Olde Rikkert MG. Preventing and treating dehydration in the elderly during periods of illness and warm weather. J Nutr Health Aging. 2009;13(2):150-157. doi:10.1007/s12603-009-0023-z
  4. Dehydration. National Health Service UK. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/. Published August 9, 2019. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  5. Gordon B. How Much Water Do You Need. EatRight. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-much-water-do-you-need. Published November 6, 2019. Accessed April 11, 2021.

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Watermelon… it is almost synonymous with summer. Juicy, sweet, colorful and versatile, this nutrition-packed fruit is the perfect treat on a hot day. Read on to learn more facts about watermelon…

NationalWatermelonDayHeader

Nutrition

Red watermelon is a good source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that gives watermelon its color. Lycopene may reduce the risk of heart disease and a growing list of cancers.

Watermelon is also rich in vitamin C. In fact, just 1 cup of watermelon provides about 20 percent of our daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C may reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

To get the maximum amount of nutrients:

  • Pick melons when they are fully ripe. This prevents losses of vitamin C and carotenoids while waiting to ripen.
  • Consume melons within 5‐7 days of bringing them home.
  • Store melons whole and slightly below room temperature.
    • Once cut, leftover melon needs to be stored in the refrigerator, although storing melons cut‐up decreases vitamin C and carotenoids. Freezing melons preserves vitamin C but causes losses of other vitamins and phytonutrients.

Selection: How do you pick a good one?

Ohio State University Extension offers these tips for Selecting Ohio Melons:

  • “Examine the spot where the melon has been resting on the ground. A yellow-white spot indicates ripeness—white or pale green suggests immaturity.
  • Scratch the surface of the rind with your thumbnail. If the outer layer slips back with little resistance showing the green-white under the rind, the watermelon is ripe. Scratching unripe melons only leaves a darker depressed line.
  • Choose a melon with a smooth surface, dull sheen, and well-rounded ends.
  • Some experts recommend a “hollow” sound when tapped indicates ripeness. Others feel that “thumping” will not necessarily get you a ripe melon.
  • White seeds usually indicate the melon was picked too early.”

Fun Facts from the Watermelon Board:

  • Watermelon is 92% water.
  • Watermelon’s scientific name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is a cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  • According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee in 2013, weighing in at 350.5 lbs.
  • The United States currently ranks 6th in worldwide production of watermelon.
  • By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

For more information and tasty recipes using watermelon, check out these websites:

The Watermelon Board

USDA Mixing Bowl

Sources:

Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Melons (PDF|342KB). Ohio State University Extension.

Recipes with Watermelon. USDA Mixing Bowl.

The Watermelon Board

 

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

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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It can be stressful for a parent to get a tearful phone call from a child at camp. For children who are away from home, it is very common for them to experience homesickness. Ninety percent of all children report experiencing feelings of sadness when separated from their home environment. Most children are able to function at camp and learn to work through homesickness. And it’s worth the struggle when kids return stronger and more independent. Some preparation ahead of time may help lessen homesickness at camp.

camp

Have your child help pack. If your child is picking out his clothes and making sure they he has all that he needs, this will help him start to think about time at camp and taking care of himself.

Be positive when you talk with your child about camp. Remind him how much fun he will have with new activities and making new friends.

Address any concerns your child may have about being away from home. You can create some coping strategies together, or better yet, have him come up with suggestions of what he might do in certain situations. For example, when he feels homesick, or lonely he could write a letter home, find a friend, talk with camp staff, or get busy with an activity.

Back up Plans. Do NOT make a back up plan with your child in case he wants to come home. If a child and a parent have an easy ‘out’ it will likely be taken. Camp staff are usually prepared to help a homesick child. You might, however, talk with camp staff to make sure your child is working through it and still having a positive camp experience. You can encourage your child to stick it out. If the homesickness is severe and your child is not functioning well, decide ahead of time what you will do.

Pack notes in your child’s bag with encouraging words, affirmations, and even some funny jokes or camp mad libs for him to complete.  If you mail letters to camp, be positive and encourage your child that he can do it! Telling your child how much you miss him may not be helpful. Consider sending stamped envelopes and paper so your child can write you back. It will help him feel connected with you, and it’s neat to read the notes even after camp.

Prepare yourself to be apart from your child for the week. Have a friend you can talk with and that can give you positive and encouraging reminders. Click here for more tips for parents to manage their own worries about summer camp.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Sources:

American Psychological Association. “Summer camp blues: Planning ahead to lessen homesickness at camp.” 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp.aspx

American Psychological Association. “Sending your child to camp: Manage your own worries.” 2017. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp-worry.aspx

 

 

 

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sweet corna

 

One of summer’s greatest pleasures is enjoying a fresh ear of sweet corn at a backyard barbecue.   We eagerly await the corn harvest, and now it’s here!  Fresh sweet corn is available in most communities throughout the month of August.

Corn is a nutrient-rich vegetable.  One ear of corn is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and potassium.  Corn is also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin; phyto-nutrients that are linked to a reduced risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.  Corn has about the same amount of calories as an apple, but with one-fourth less sugar.

To reap the full nutritional benefits of corn, cook no longer than 10 minutes in boiling water to minimize nutrient loss. While boiling is the primary way most of us prepare corn, grilling is a popular and tasty alternative. Other ways to enjoy this nutritious vegetable include mixing it into pasta dishes, corn bread, soups and/or salads.

For a different taste, try seasoning corn with lime juice instead of butter.  Or combine cooked corn kernels with chopped scallions, red pepper, hot pepper sauce and lime juice as a quick salsa for meat, poultry or fish.

So what are you waiting for?  In a few weeks corn season will be over. Make plans to visit your local farmer’s market to pick up some sweet corn this weekend!

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

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu
Resources:  Summer Corn – More Than Delicious, Web MD

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summer heat

Massive heat waves are hitting parts of the country and breaking records.  June has been a hot month with predictions that the heat will continue throughout the summer.  Summer heat can be dangerous.  The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention.  Staying cool and making simple changes in your fluid intake, activities and clothing during hot weather can help you remain safe and healthy.

Extreme Heat Safety Tips:

  • Never leave a person or a pet in the car in hot conditions while you run to do a quick errand.  People and animals can succumb to heat exposure and death very quickly in a hot car.  Cars can become overheated quickly and when overheated become like ovens.  It’s never safe.
  • Drink more fluids (avoid alcohol and high sugar drinks which can lead to dehydration)
  • Wear light clothing
  • Never leave persons, infants, young children or animals in a closed, parked vehicle
  • During the hottest hours of the day, stay inside.
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed from morning until the late afternoon to block extra direct heat from sunlight.
  • Supervise children during outdoor play, being sure to monitor them closely and frequently.
  • Stay on the lowest level of your home.
  • Use small appliances like slow cookers and tabletop grills instead of ovens and stoves.
  • Verify that seat belts and car seat restraints are not too hot before buckling yourself or anyone else into the car.
  • Go to a cool place.  Air conditioned movie theatres, malls or community centers.
  • Call and check on family, friends and neighbors.
  • Seek medical care right away if you become nauseous, start vomiting or experience cramps.

Protect yourself and your family from exposure to the sun and reduce your risk of sunburn, skin cancer and heat stress.

Source: emergency.cdc.gov

Written by:  Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD,LD.  Ohio State University Extension Educator, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Joanna Rini, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County, Western Reserve EERA, rini.41@osu.edu. Donna Green, BS, MA, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

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summer road trip

Summer is here and it’s time for the American road trip. There is no better way to escape the daily routine than to hit the open road. There is nothing like a short road trip to refresh the mind, body and spirit. Before you break out the cooler and hit the open road, plan in advance to avoid the pitfalls of open road trips. Here are some healthier ideas while on the open road:

• Make rest breaks active- pick a road stop or park and get the family out of the car to take a brisk 10 minute walk and move around. This helps to burn off some energy and helps the driver feel rejuvenated and more alert.
• Pack to play – plan to include regular physical activity in your daily routine while you’re away from home. Pack a football, Frisbee, paddle balls or a soccer ball so you can be physically active during your down time.
• Bring plenty of water. Sitting in the car for long periods of time can make it tempting to drink soda. Pack water or small portions of juice to quench your thirst.
• Pack healthy snacks in the cooler. Bring celery or carrot sticks and hummus for dipping, apple slices, fresh berries, grapes, low fat cheeses, healthy sandwiches, whole grain breads, pretzels, bags of dry cereal and whole grain crackers to snack on.
Safe travels this summer!

Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD. The Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Susan Zies, M.Ed, The Ohio State University Extension, Wood County.

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Now is a great time to eat locally grown vegetables. Depending upon where you live, there may be an abundance of vegetables such as zucchini, tomatoes and peppers.  Now is a great time to buy local fruit and vegetables and to support your local farmer’s markets.   Zucchini Stir Fry is a recipe that is tasty, easy-to-make and inexpensive.  Using fresh basil in this recipe just adds to the flavor.  For maximum flavor, remember to add fresh herbs towards the end of the cooking time.zuchini

Just in case you need a reason to eat more fruits and veggies, look at the Top 10 reasons listed below.  An easy way to increase your fruits and vegetables is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.  Now is a great time to enjoy the bountiful produce of summer!

Zucchini Stir Fry  Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion
1 yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1 red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
  Instructions:
1. Peel the onion. Cut it into thin slices.
2. Slice the yellow squash into thin round pieces.
3. Slice the zucchini into thin round pieces.
4. Chop the red pepper into small pieces.
5. Heat the oil in a frying pan or stir-fry pan. Add the onion slices.
6. Cook over medium heat, stirring quickly for 1 minute.
7. Add the spices and stir a few times.
8. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes till vegetables are just tender.
  Cost:
Per Recipe: $ 1.93
Per Serving: $ 0.48
Adapted from:
Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network Website Recipes
The Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program 
TOP 10 Reasons to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

  • Color and Texture-Fruits and vegetables add color, texture and great taste to your plate.
  • Convenience- Fresh, frozen, canned or dried- fruits and vegetables are portable and easy to fix.
  • Fiber- Fruits and vegetables provide you with fiber which fills you up and keeps your digestive system happy.
  • Low in Calories- Naturally low in calories, they make a great choice if you are watching your calories.
  • May Reduce Disease Risks-Eating fruits and vegetables may reduce your risks of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and some cancers.
  • Vitamins and Minerals-Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.\
  • Variety-Fruits and vegetables are available in many varities, you have many to taste test.
  • Natural snack-Fruits and vegetables are nature’s treat and make a quick and easy snack.
  • Fun to eat-Some you peel, crunch or squirt making eating fun.
  • Tasty and Delicious-Fruits and vegetables are nutritious and delicious.   Try a new one today.

Source: Produce for Better Health   www.fruitsandvegetablesmorematters.org

Author:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences

 

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