It’s Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkins are everywhere this time of year, but they are good for a lot more than just decoration! Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting, disease-fighting nutrients, including Vitamin A, C and Fiber. Pumpkin dishes can be a sweet and low calorie treat. Whether fresh or canned pumpkin puree, its versatility makes it a great addition to any recipe.

pumpkin season

For a quick, simple and sweet taste of fall, try this awesome Pumpkin Smoothie recipe!

Ingredients for one serving:

  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ banana
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons agave

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!


It’s Almost Bone and Joint Action Week!

October 12-20 is Bone and Joint Action Week, a week dedicated to raising the community’s awareness around bone and joint disorders, pain prevention techniques, and general bone and joint knowledge.

It is estimated that nearly half of all women above age 50, and around a quarter of men over age 50 will suffer a fracture at some point due to osteoporosis; a common medical condition where bones become brittle due to lack of Vitamin D, calcium, or occasionally hormonal changes. Joint issues, such as Osteoarthritis, can develop slowly and over long periods of time.

It is important to keep in mind that preventative actions can be taken daily in order to keep our bones and joints strong throughout our lives.

This week, we not only want to focus on Bone and Joint Health Awareness, but on ACTION you can take every day! A few key examples are shown below:

  1. Diet – Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Calcium are crucial in maintaining healthy bones and a strong body. While the classic adage may only refer to milk, you can also receive healthy amounts of Vitamin D and calcium from certain foods such as salmon, tuna, white beans, and soy products. Good sources of Vitamin K include greens such as Kale, broccoli, and spinach.
  2. Limit Alcohol use for adults ages 21 and up and Quit Smoking – Studies show subjects that smoke have lower bone mass than non-smokers, and are at a higher risk of fractures. Alcohol abuse increases risk of accidents, falls, and bone mass loss.
  3. Exercise and Spend Time in the Sun! – Exercising and spending time in the sun are great ways to keep your bones and joints healthy. Our bodies are incredible, they produce natural Vitamin D through exposure to the sun. Depending on your skin pigmentation you may receive benefits in as little as 5 minutes! Exercise releases natural endorphins which will make you feel great as well. Just remember to spend time in the sun wisely, and listen to your body and give it a break when it needs.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight – The weight your body is carrying around has a direct effect on the strain your joints (and even bones!) are under. Common everyday activities begin to wear on your joints over time if they are under constant pressure from your weight. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, and the rest should come naturally!

As always, it is important to consult your physician before making any drastic or unexpected changes in your diet and exercise routine.

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Walk to School Month!

October is International Walk to School Month. This global event involves communities from more than 40 countries, walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate. Walk and bike to school day will be on October 10, 2018.

Regular walking can help maintain weight, build strong bones and muscles and put you in a better mood! Walking more is likely, the single most thing people can do to improve their health.


Ten Reasons to WALK MORE!

  1. Helps prevent heart disease
  2. Reduces the risk of some types of cancer
  3. Can help prevent osteoporosis
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Reduces the risk of heart attacks, stroke and diabetes
  6. Makes us happier and more relaxed
  7. Helps us sleep better
  8. Gives us more energy
  9. Improves mental health
  10. Is FREE and FUN!

Celiac Disease Awareness: Overnight Oats Recipe!

Yesterday was National Celiac Disease Awareness Day! Fun fact: September 13th was chosen because it is the birthday of Dr. Samuel Gee who was a research pioneer for Celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where a person’s small intestine is damaged by consuming gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Many food items found in a typical American diet contain some form of wheat so people with celiac disease need to be educated on foods that do not contain gluten and get creative with recipes.

 Untitled design (22)Oats are a great carbohydrate alternative for those that are gluten free (just check the ingredients list to make sure it has no additives that may contain gluten). Have you heard of overnight oats? They are so easy to make and are a great quick grab and go option for breakfast, making them perfect for busy mornings before school!

Try this overnight oats recipe with the family and everyone can make their own fun flavor combination!

  • 1/3 cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (They add protein and healthy fats which help fill you up in the morning)
  • 1/2 mashed banana

The night before, add all ingredients to a jar and stir well. Put jar in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, you can add more milk if you want to make it a thinner consistency. Then everyone can add their own fun toppings to the base. Some good toppings would be fresh fruit, any kind of nut butter, dried coconut, figs or raisins, spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or vanilla extract. Yum!


National Arts in Education Week

artsineducation.pngDid you know that September 9-September 17 is National Arts in Education Week?  The arts are an essential part of a complete education. Students of all ages – from kindergarten to college to creative aging programs – benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking and creativity. National Arts in Education week—September 9-17—celebrates and recognizes the importance of the arts to a well-rounded education.

Passed by Congress in 2010,  National Arts in Education Week is an opportunity to focus on arts education in communities across the country to tell the story of the impact of the transformative power of the arts in education.

    • Celebrate. Host a celebration in your community, whether big or small, an existing event, or a new one. Download and use the shared logo and be sure to register your event on ArtsMeet, a national arts event calendar. You can even purchase #ArtsEdWeek swag in our Bookstore. Be sure to download the 5 Ways to Partner Packet for other ideas of how to celebrate in your community!
    • Participate. Share your story in the social media campaign, #BecauseOfArtsEd, to bring national visibility to the issue of arts education. See below for more information and download the Social Media How To Guide. Also, be sure to attend and invite friends to the Facebook Event.

Wow!  So many ways to celebrate and recognize the importance of the arts in our student lives.   and for our 4-H families to get involved in an important aspect of individual and community health.  Happy Arts in Education Week!

Sources: National Education in the Arts
And Delaware Division of the Arts newsletter

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

According to the CDC, 1 in 6 children in the United States is obese. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is a chance to learn more about this serious health condition. There are ma

ny ways communities can support youth in the journey to good health!

Obesity is influenced by physical activity, sleep quality, and food consumption. Obese youth are more likely to have asthma, diabetes, bone and joint issues and even sleep apnea. They are also at a higher risk for heart disease later in life. It is so important that youth build healthy eating habits at an early age so they can live at their physically best!

Here are some easy suggestions that the whole family can support and join in on to help manage obesity if it already exists or to prevent it from occurring!

  • Make a healthy dessert or snack as a family! Try making baked apples and peaches covered in cinnamon and a little bit of honey, or some healthy oatmeal cookies.
  • Go for a family hike, walk or bike ride. Being in nature has amazing health benefits but the additional physical activity and social support will also help to improve total wellness.
  • Drink lots of water. Making sure water is always available to drink is a great way to maintain a healthy weight. Add fruit like strawberries, vegetables like cucumbers, and even some herbs like mint to your water for some fun color and added flavor and nutrients.
  • Have family meals with no distractions. Have dinner as a family without any cell phones around or technology on. Distracted eating leads to over eating! Try to keep conversation to a minimum and really learn to eat mindfully and appreciate the food.
  • Start a small family garden. Having a small garden outdoors or a container garden indoors is a fun way for families to work together to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Growing them yourself makes you much more likely to want to eat them so this is a good trick to add more fruits and veggies into a child’s diet.

Try one, or if you’re feeling bold, try all of these suggestions for the next month. Practicing healthy behaviors as a family, helps model good behaviors for each other and can help to hold each other accountable for your actions.

Be Kind to Humankind Week

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, understanding, generous and considerate. We can be kind to others, as well as kind to ourselves. While it is important to be kind, each and every day, Be Kind to Humankind Week gives us a chance to take our kindness to the next level.

The energy we give, such as communicating in the form of words, can have a powerful impact on others. Tomorrow is Speak Kind Words Saturday, which is a great chance to set an intention to speak more kindly and lovingly. It is so important to be aware of what you say, as well as how you say it. Being mindful of the words we use and the way we speak allows us to correctly convey our thoughts, feelings and emotions. In the heat of a moment, it may not be so easy to slow down and really process your thoughts before speaking but it is a great practice to improve your mental narrative and your social connection to others.

Your mental narrative is the running dialogue you have going on in your mind. It is the story we tell ourselves of who we are, and what our life is like. Using kind, gentle and loving words in our mental narratives can boost our self-confidence and make us feel good. We then begin to use these words when speaking to others and can help make others feel good too.

Try this self-kindness meditation to start your morning tomorrow and go into the day with the intention to speak kindly!

  • Start by sitting in a comfortable, attentive but relaxed, position.
  • Begin to notice your breath. Notice the physical sensation of the belly pulling in air, and releasing it.
  • Follow the breath for a few moments. Anytime the mind drifts off into a day dream or runs away with a thought, gently bring the attention back to the breath.
  • Say these three positive self-affirmations in your mind, pausing for 3-5 breaths between each one.
    • “I am kind and loving to myself.”
    • “I am worthy of receiving kindness and love from others and from the universe.”
    • “I accept myself as I am, and am grateful for all that my life has provided for me.”
  • Slowly bring the attention back to the feeling of the breath. Notice the breath without changing it.
  • Follow the breath for a few moments. Then when you are ready, open your eyes and gently welcome your surroundings.