The Perfect Picnic

Be a Picnic ProAugust is a great month to head to the park with a few friends and a basket full of fresh goodies. Here are some easy tips and tricks to crafting the best personal outdoor lunch lounge.

  • The venue. Bring a comfortable yet thin blanket to the park or beach incase there are no picnic tables. The thinness allows you to still feel and appreciate the natural earth beneath you but the comfort brings relaxation and a more chill atmosphere to your meal. Our Healthy Living Coordinator says bringing a tapestry with you can add a fun design to the atmosphere and is often a good size for groups because you want to make sure it’s large enough so everyone can fit and feel included! Pick a spot under a tree or umbrella if it’s a really sunny day and bring along a few items from a first aid kit for safety. A trash bag is a good idea to bring to stay environmentally friendly. basket
  • The snacks. Picnics are all about fresh finger foods and delicious snacks. Pack your treats in a basket or tote bag just before leaving so that temperature sensitive foods don’t spoil (2 hours is the magic time before food starts to go bad!). If you pack foods that aren’t going to spoil you can maintain your relaxed attitude by not having to worry about food safety. Remember to bring drinks to stay hydrated and refreshed. Don’t forget your essentials like napkins, plates and silverware. Here are some fun, healthy and safe picnic friendly foods: hard artisan cheeses and crackers, bread rolls, whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruit and dried meat like jerky, jams and jellies, peanut butter and recipes…yum.cucumbersandwiches
      • Tomato, Peach and Red Onion Salad (Serves 4)
        • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
        • 1 ripe peach, diced
        • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
        • 2 tablespoons olive oil
        • juice from half a lemon
        • salt and pepper
        • Combine everything in a large jar or plastic container. Seal the container and shake to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Best made the day of.
      • Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade (Serves 8)
        • 8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
        • 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
        • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
        • 5 tablespoons honey
        • 2 cups water
        • Combine ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
      • Cucumber Sandwiches (Serves 2)
        • 9 tablespoons cream cheese (can substitute goat cheese)
        • 5 tablespoons sour cream
        • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
        • 3 tablespoons dried dill weed
        • Lettuce Leaves, romaine or iceberg recommended
        • 1 Cucumber, thinly sliced about 6 inches long
        • 2 thinned whole wheat bread slices
        • Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic. Spread over slices of bread. Lay lettuce leaf on top of spread.  Lay 3 to 4 cucumber slices onto lettuce. Sprinkle with dried dill. 
  • The entertainment. Plan a few fun outdoor friendly games for the day. Have some activities prepared that can be played in a group either lounging on the blanket or more active games to move around. Games like Heads up!, Apples to Apples or Uno can be fun for the whole family on the blanket or bring a book to relax and read. A volleyball or frisbee is an easy activity to toss around with a group by playing keep it up or just take a walk and enjoy the scenery. marbles.png

Market Mastery

A trip to your local Farmer’s Market in the Summer is a great way to involve the whole family in a fun and holistic healthy living activity! Delaware Farmer’s Markets sell inexpensive locally grown and in season produce as well as other market items like meats, eggs and cheeses from near by farms. As if the delicious local foods weren’t enough, many of the markets also have entertainment and activities that are fun for all ages. Music, crafts, Recipe Demos (shout out to UD Cooperative Extension), and there are even Kid’s Days. Click here for the Delaware Farmer’s Market Guide to find a market near you.

Delaware 4-H wants you to make the most of your market experience by following these three simple tips:

  • Know what’s in season.

When it comes to produce, looking for items that are in season will maximize the quality of the product and help minimize your cost.

Summer Seasonal Fruits

Sweet Summer fruits are a great way to refresh and cool off after a hot day outside. The bright colors also make them fun to eat and to add to salads with Summer Vegetables.

Summer Vegetables

  • Show up early or late.

The market will be less crowded at these times. We recommend arriving at the very start of the market to ensure the best selection of items or arriving later in the market for the best prices. Check the Farmer’s Market Guide (link is above) for times.

  • Plan your recipes ahead of time.

Having recipes in mind when you head to the market will make it easier to select items. Here are some delicious in season chef-developed and kid approved Summer recipes from the USDA.

Chick Peas and Tomatoes

Chicken Ratatouille

Spinach Egg Bake

Easy Zucchini Lasagna

Wild Veggie Mashup

Share your Farmer’s Market experience with us by posting to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #DE4H or #FarmDE




Fall into Health

As the weather gets colder, don’t let your mind and body do the same. We all experience that weird shift in energy when the seasons change. Don’t let it drag you down but rather, see it as a chance to start anew with the new season.

Three ways I love to do this are:

  1. Exercise! Regular physical activity helps to balance out both the mind and the body! When your hormones are in balance, you will have more energy when awake and sleep better at night. Your appetite will increase and so will your mood!
  2. Food! Eating properly is especially important during the changing seasons. As weather changes, our bodies are more susceptible to common illnesses like the cold. Pay attention to what you are putting into your body so that you can have all those vital nutrients to keep your immune system going strong.
  3. Relax! Taking time for yourself to relax and appreciate all your hard work is so important. As we start to experience darker and colder nights, cuddle up with a good book on the couch and a warm cup of tea, or take a nice long warm bath with essential oils. You will feel the difference immediately.

Taking care of yourself is one of the most important lessons we have to learn in life. Why not start now?

Through the Grape Vine…

This is Healthy Habits with Kyle Merritt and today’s topic is Grapes. Grapes, also known as “the Queen of fruits”, are a kind of berry. They have a leathery covering and a fleshy inside, similar to blueberries. With more than 8,000 varieties, grapes are the most popular fruit.  Grapes…

  • Strengthen your bones
  • Reduce chance of heart disease
  • Help with your indigestion system
  • Prevent exhaustion
  • Prevent Diabetes
  • Prevent cavities
  • Improve Blood cholesterol
  • Prevent Breast cancer
  • Prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Wow! Look at all the benefits of the grape. They are delicious, and healthy, so eat your Great Grapes!

1…2..3.. Help!

February is a big month for those in winter sports. Basketball is having it’s tournaments to determine the state champion, swimming and diving will have states, and Wrestling will have there huge tournaments to determine the best in the region, state, and eventually nation. This week is national eating disorder awareness week, and with the end of the month quickly approaching I wanted to address wrestling’s secret.. eating disorders. It is commonly known that wrestlers on a weekly basis will either have to go up in a weight class or down, depending on where there coach want’s them wrestling. If that’s not bad enough if they are over there weight class entirely they will eventually have to lose that weight and quick. Wrestlers will eventually turn to purging or better commonly known as bulimia in order to lose the weight. If that wasn’t bad enough wrestlers have a tendency to binge eat to gain weight, or to stop eating entirely to lose weight (anorexia). They have also been known take diuretics or laxatives to clear the body of the food entirely. All of these are extremely harmful to the body, and puts wrestlers at a serious risk for heath related problems. What isn’t being talked about is that when we develop an eating disorder, if we don’t get the help we need for it we might have that eating disorder for life. We have built an addiction, and our addiction is one that causes us self harm. 4-H wishes you the best of luck in your tournaments but we want you to especially be safe, but we most of all want you to…EAT!


If you think that you or a friend may be suffering from an eating disorder press here. Or if you want more information about wrestling, weight cutting, and bulimia press here.


In a recent study it was said that 30 million people suffer from eating disorders.  Women account for 20 million of that number (2/3) while men take up 10 million (1/3). Eating disorders are “any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa)”. Basically that means the act of eating and then purging (vomiting) or abstaining from eating entirely. Two common ones are bulimia nervosa more commonly known as bulimia, and anorexia nervosa or more commonly known as anorexia. Bulimia is the eating disorder that requires the individual to purge after they eat. By require I do mean the mental need to purge the body of the substance that they just ate entirely. Anorexia is the lack of abstaining from nutrition completely. The person will not eat or drink in order to lose weight. While in some cultures this may be considered as fasting, and is required for some religious holidays, anorexia is the act of eliminating food and drink 24/7. While we may think we look better on the outside, what we don’t see is actually what we are doing to our insides. With the lack of nutrition and water, you begin to not only lose fat but you will lose muscle as well. Your bones will eventually become weak, and brittle. You will feel fatigued, and your  heart rate will slow to a dangerous rate to where heart failure is a major risk. If your body isn’t hydrated, or you haven’t had water for a long period of time you will suffer from severe hydration which will result in kidney failure. While you may think this will not happen to you, the chances that it will are extremely high. The truth of the matter is, is that in today’s society the idea of perfection is painted across all media platforms (social media, magazines, television, movies) but perfection is just that it’s perfection and is always to good to be true. Most of the time those images that we see and aspire to be like are photoshopped or entirely fake. Just recently famous fighter Ronda Rousey came out about a photo shopped photo showing her on a late night television show, and how she was against it showing side by side photos between the real one, and the fake one. If that isn’t crazy enough, the celebrities that we aspire to be are suffering in there own way. Demi Lovato, and Ke$ha have come out and have stated that both had to be treated due to having had bulimia. The fact of the matter is that we are all perfect in our own way. We all have our own talent’s that make us unique. We don’t have to aspire to be perfect because we already are. If you think that you are or a friend are suffering from an eating disorder, the best thing to due is to tell a trusting adult, or to talk to a physician. Don’t keep it inside, because if you do it might already be to late.

For more information on eating disorders click here.


National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Hey everyone, the warm weather is finally here! It’s time to go outside and get some much needed exercise. Everyone should have at least an hour of exercise a day. Here are some kinds of exercises that you can try:

Endurance/Aerobic: Anything where you’re constantly moving. Examples include running, swimming and most sports.

Flexibility: Anything where you’re stretching your muscles. Examples include yoga and quad stretches.

Strength: Anything that builds muscle. Examples include squats and weight lifting.

Being active has many benefits, such as lowering your chances for heart disease as well as maintaining a healthy weight. Speaking of exercise, sports are a great way to stay in shape.  Many sports like basketball and soccer, are not only physically demanding, but can be played with friends and loved ones. If there is a sport that interests you, try to make it a habit to play it as much as possible. It’s all about having fun with the ones you care about.