Time to Get Moving!

During the winter months, it can be hard to get enough physical activity in, especially when it’s cold and icy!  But now, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the days are getting warmer.  Spring is finally here, summer is right around the corner and we can finally head outdoors and get moving!

How much physical activity is enough?  30 minutes, 45 minutes, 2 hours?  The recommended amount can vary.  For children, it is recommended that they get 60 minutes a day.  For adults, it is recommended that we get 2 ½ hours a week!  Those numbers may seem like a lot to do at once, but don’t worry, we can spread that time out throughout our day and week.

Choose activities that you enjoy by getting the whole family involved.  Enjoy a walk after dinner or a bike ride to the park.  Replace your coffee break at work with a brisk walk around the office.  Take a yoga class, shoot some hoops or walk the dog.  Clean the house or plant and care for a garden.  Join a wellness challenge or start one of your own!  Get up and dance, who says exercise has to be boring!

Don’t let a physical limitation get in your way of exercise.  There are many activities that can be adapted to our abilities.  Check out health.gov for ideas and more information.

Both nutrition and physical activity work together to increase our chances of living longer, sleeping better at night, having strong muscles and bones and lowering our risk of heart disease and diabetes.  When we add a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we can help our bodies stay even healthier!

If you’re like me, you may need a little push to get started, especially after a cold winter!  OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, is offering a FREE Wellness Challenge to help us jump start our spring!  To join the “Live Simply, Live Well: Refresh Your Wellness This Spring,” sign up at: http://go.osu.edu/ClerSp19

If you would like more information on living a healthy lifestyle, check out the website www.choosemyplate.gov.  For more information on our upcoming class, “Dining with Diabetes,” please contact Margaret Jenkins at jenkins.188@osu.edu.

Now, let’s get moving and make it a part of our everyday routine!


Whole Grains for a Healthy Life!

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day!  We have to agree, especially when it is filled with healthy and delicious whole grain pancakes!

Whole grains are an important part of our diet and provide a number of health benefits.  Grains are packed full of nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and minerals.  Eating whole grains may help with weight management, help reduce the risk of heart disease and help reduce blood cholesterol levels along with helping our digestive system.

When shopping for whole grains check the nutrition label for the word “whole” at the beginning of the list and the whole grain logo.  Try swapping out white rice for brown and whole-grain bread in meatloaf.  Keep ready to eat whole grain snacks, such as popcorn and cereals on hand.  The ideas are endless to help get more whole grains in our diets!

Our group from the Clermont DD learned the importance of eating whole grains and how to make delicious whole grain pancakes!  We started by mixing together a Better Baking Mix and used that to make our pancakes!  They turned out delicious and were easy to make!  This Better Baking Mix can also be used to make muffins, cookies, biscuits and pizza crusts!  YUM!

For this recipe and more, check out the following website: https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov


New Year for a Healthier You!

I don’t know about you, but every year I seem to set the same New Year’s Resolution, to lose weight and get healthier.  I’m sure, this year probably won’t be any different!

We have 365 new opportunities in 2019 for a healthier me and you!  Getting back on track does not have to be difficult, especially when using MyPlate.

Once upon a time, starting back in the 1970’s, we had the Food Pyramid.  This Food pyramid was a nutrition food guide broken up into different sections to look like a pyramid.  Today we have MyPlate.  MyPlate looks like a place setting with a plate and glass.  It is the USDA’s updated guidelines for healthy nutrition to help make smarter choices with every food group.

MyPlate focuses on the 5 food groups: Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, Dairy and Grains.  When can use MyPlate to help us improve our healthy eating styles and sustain us for life!  Here are 10 tips to help us along the way.

  1. Choose from a variety of foods to get the nutrition and calories your body needs to be healthy.
  2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Try fresh, frozen or canned fruits and veggies!
  3. Focus on whole fruits. Enjoy them as a snack or dessert and strive for 2 cups every day!
  4. Enjoy a variety vegetables. Enjoy them raw, steamed or roasted and strive for 2 ½ cups every day!
  5. Make half your grains whole grains. Look for the whole grain logo on your foods and look for foods that list 100% whole grain as the first or second ingredient.  Try for 6 ounces of grains a day.
  6. Switch to low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Replace sour cream and cheese with low-fat yogurt, milk and cheese. Try for 3 cups of dairy!
  7. Vary your protein. Enjoy eggs, beans, nuts, seafood, lean meats and poultry.  Try for 5 ½ ounces a day.
  8. Drink and eat beverages and food with less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.
  9. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Try adding strawberries, lemons, cucumbers, mint or lime to your water for a tasty beverage.
  10. Everything we eat and drink matters. Remember with the right mix of healthy foods we can help build a healthier me and you for now and the future.  Small changes really do add up!

So, with 2019 here, let’s make it a great year, by being healthier versions of ourselves!  Together we can do this!

For more information on this topic, check out the website www.choosemyplate.gov


Healthy Holiday Dinner Plate Make Over!

Tis’ the season for homemade cookies, fruit cake and egg-nog.  The holidays don’t have to be unhealthy.  There are simple tweaks to our plates that can help us stay healthy during the holidays!

Instead of filling up on desserts filled with sugar, try fruit for a naturally sweet treat!  Fruit makes a wonderful dessert and can be enjoyed fresh, frozen or canned!

Baking often is a holiday tradition for many people.  One way to make our baked goods a bit healthier is to use pureed fruits and apple sauce instead of butter or oil.  Look for recipes that use pureed fruit and apple sauce!

Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and use fresh herbs and spices instead of sugar and salt.  Your plate will look appealing and the colors will brighten your meal!

Cut the fat and go easy on the gravy!  Try skim evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.  You can also try swapping low-fat plain yogurt when a recipe calls for sour cream.   Gravy is high in fat, so use sparingly and a little goes a long way!

Swap your white dinner rolls for whole wheat dinner rolls for added color and flavor!  Always look for the whole grain logo on the foods you buy, for a healthier option.

And finally, cheers to good health! Instead of reaching for that sugary beverage, try a nice glass of chilled water!  Add fresh or frozen fruit or cucumber and mint for a delicious low sugar drink!  This is a great way to help manage those extra calories!

Making small changes to our plate, can add up!  Let’s make this holiday a healthy one!

For more information on this topic,  you can check out the website www.choosemyplate.gov

SNAP-Ed and Empower Youth Christmas Wonderland

Santa’s helpers from the OSU Extension SNAP-Ed office, showed up to play last weekend at the Empower Youth Christmas Wonderland!

On Saturday, December 15, hundreds of kids and their families attended the Christmas Wonderland where they enjoyed games, crafts, sweet treats, Frosty the Snowman and a visit with Santa.  Empower Youth is a non-profit organization that serves the children and youth of our community.

At the event, SNAP-Ed, had the opportunity to serve approximately 400 children and youth of our community.  We handed out “Baked Apple for One” recipe cards, from Celebrate Your Plate, along with mugs and all the ingredients to make this special treat!  We were also able to demonstrate how easy the recipe is to make and how tasty it is!

The excitement and smiles were contagious, as it reminded us of the positive impact we can make on our community.  Our office looks forward to working with Empower Youth again soon!

For the recipe, “Baked Apple for One” or other healthy recipes, check out www.celebrateyourplate.org


Serving Empower Youth

This week, the offices of Clermont County OSU Extension, Soil & Water Conservation and Natural Resource Conservation Services, had the opportunity to help serve at Empower Youth in Bethel, Ohio.  While there, we packed 200 weekend food packs full of food to provide enough meals to help get them through the weekend.

Empower Youth was established in 2015 by founding Executive Directors, Lori & Scott Conley.  Empower Youth is a non-profit organization that works with children and youth of the community to help instill confidence and the resources needed to help break the chain of poverty.  The mission of Empower Youth is: “To provide resources for all youth to: build healthy relationships, learn how to live financially independent, become spiritually sound, and instill a desire to serve their community.”

Every week there are approximately 700 weekend food packs that are provided for Bethel-Tate School System, Grant Career Academy, Amelia Elementary, Fayetteville-Perry and Lynchburg-Clay Schools.  The bags are available to help families who may need a little help to make their groceries stretch.

The opportunity to serve at Empower Youth was eye opening.  The resources needed for our community takes a village.  Together we can encourage confidence and help break the chain of poverty for a healthy, thriving community.


Eating Healthy and MyPlate

What does eating healthy mean to you?  Is it a salad for every lunch or fruit every morning for breakfast?  Is it eating only white meat compared to red meet or no meat at all?  Is it only drinking water versus anything else?

Is there only one way to be healthy?  Not really!  At the end of the day, what eating healthy really means is following the MyPlate guidelines and choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and dairy.  This may vary depending on budget, likes and dislikes and personal health needs, but it can still be done!

This month we finished another 6 month series of classes with Inter Parish Ministries.  For the past 5 years we have partnered with Inter Parish Ministries and Emmanuel United Methodist Church.  This year we added a new partner, HealthSource of Ohio.  HealthSource of Ohio provided Biometric and Wellness screenings including; Glucose, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Body Mass Index.

During our 6 month series we discussed a variety of MyPlate lessons and the importance of eating healthy.  The lessons included My Plate and the Power of Planning, Fruits & Vegetables, Food Shopping, Grains, Protein and Dairy.  The participants also had the opportunity to prepare delicious recipes that complemented the lessons that day.

We are grateful for this partnership with Inter Parish, Emmanuel United Methodist Church and HealthSource of Ohio.  We are always looking for new opportunities for partnerships, so if you have a group that would be interested in partnering with us, please call the Clermont County Extension Office at 513-732-7070.  You may also email us at fiscus.22@osu.edu, combs.311@osu.edu or glover.195@osu.edu.

We look forward to working with you!



Lowering our Sodium While Eating Out

When we think of Salt and Sodium, we usually think that the two are the same and we interchange them all the time!  However, they actually mean something different.  Salt is a crystal-like compound that is found in nature.  Sodium is a mineral and is one of the elements found in salt!

Sodium has many purposes when it comes to our food!  We use it for curing meat, thickening, enhancing flavor, as a preservative and for baking.  There are many items that are high in sodium, yet don’t tasty salty at all!  For instance, cereals, donuts and other pastries are high in sodium, but we don’t taste the salt while enjoying them.  But we also have foods that are high in sodium that taste salty.  An example of those items are pickles and soy sauce.  Half of the sodium we consume every day are from foods such as bread, pizza, soup, deli meat and snack foods!

Sodium is a nutrient that our body needs.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we have less than 2,300 mg per day or about 1 teaspoon.  However, the average person eats approximately 3,400 mg per day!  A few tips to cut back on the amount of Sodium we consume are: prepare your own food instead of processed foods, try no-salt seasonings and fresh herbs and spices, rinse canned vegetables & beans, try unsalted snack items and when possible buy fresh meats & vegetables.

This week the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities discussed Sodium and how we can lower are intake especially when eating out!  We were surprised by the amount Sodium found in some of our favorite foods at fast food restaurants!  During class we cooked a homemade Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe using fresh cooked chicken, frozen vegetables and an easy crust.  It was a delicious meal that everyone enjoyed!  If you would like a copy of the recipe, please email Becky at fiscus.22@osu.edu.



How much fat is in your milk?

Pour yourself a glass of refreshing ice cold milk!  Not only is milk a tasty treat, but it also provides a number of health benefits!  Dairy products provide Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin D and Protein.   These nutrients are important for our bones and teeth and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

With all the health benefits Dairy products provide for us, it is also important to look at the fat content!  The fat content in milk can vary, from no fat (skim or low-fat milk)  to 3.25% fat (whole milk)!  Many people think that Skim Milk has water added to it, but that’s not the case at all!  Skim Milk has the fat removed and still provides the same nutrients!  Milk with a higher fat content contains more calories.  Whether you choose whole,  2%, 1% or skim, the milk contains the same health benefits!

So, with all the same health benefits, why not try a lower fat milk?  Not ready to make the switch completely?  Try adding a half of glass of a lower fat milk to you higher fat milk, and slowly start the switch!  Small changes can lead up to big results!

The picture below shows the amount of fat in our milk!  I know I’ll be making the switch!


Knowing Your Whole Grains!

Does trying to pick out a healthy loaf of bread, crackers or pasta sometimes cause confusion while reading the labels?  It certainly can be if we don’t know what to look for!

When reading a label it is important for us to look for the word “whole.”  We should look for items that have the ingredients; whole wheat, whole grain, etc!  Also, look for the Whole Grain label.   To help you out, we have included a sample of that label below!

Eating a diet with whole grains is an important part of eating a healthy diet!  The Dietary Guidelines recommends we eat at 6 servings of grains a day and at least 3 servings be Whole Grain!  If this is new for your, start making these changes slowly to help your stomach adjust to these changes.

This week, at the Hope Community Center for Mental Wellness, we discussed how to identify whole grains with ease and choosing grains with fiber in mind.  We ended class making a Great Grain Salad and a Blueberry Chicken Pasta Salad.  Our salads were full of whole grain couscous and pasta and fresh Kale of the OSU Extension garden!  They were a delicious spin on a fresh summer salad!