Is There a Rumble In Your Tummy?

Between the rush of our everyday lives and financial restrictions, it is not always easy to pack lunch let alone a healthy one. However, it is very important to have a nutritious lunch in order to keep our mind alert and body going while we are at school and work.

back to school

Here are a few quick tips on how to pack a healthy, easy, and cheap lunch this school year:

  1. Look at ads to see what is on sale.

  2. Choose foods that are safe to keep at room temperature.

  3. Plan out your lunches ahead of time (try to plan a full week).

  4. Pack food from at least three different food groups.

Below is a list of foods that are healthy and safe to keep at room temperature:

  • Fruits (whole): clementine, orange, grapefruit, peach, nectarine, plum, banana, pear, apple, cherries, vacuum sealed fruit cup, dried fruit, 100% fruit juice in a box
  • Vegetables (whole): baby carrots, baby cucumbers, small peppers, grape tomato, celery, broccoli
  • Grains: whole wheat bread, whole wheat crackers, popcorn, whole grain chips, whole grain tortillas, whole grain bagel, whole grain English muffin
  • Protein: peanut butter, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews
  • Dairy: string cheese, hard cheeses like cheddar, pudding pack, swiss cheese

By: Michelle Ernst Voegele, EFNEP Nutrition Assistant

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?

It’s National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Month. Over the last 15 years, obesity in Delaware has increased over 80% and this includes adults AND youth. In 2007, 13.3% of youth ages 10-17 were obese. That means almost 28,000 youth are at risk for developing serious diseases and medical conditions associated with obesity.

What’s the good news hear?

Childhood obesity is 100% preventable. Up for the Challenge educates youth of Delaware on how to make healthy food choices and how to properly and adequately exercise everyday. Youth learn important healthy skills in school, but it is also the family’s role to be supportive and to encourage a healthy diet and exercise. Make both food and fitness family activities to reinforce good habits. Bring the family to the grocery store and let them help make good choices that everyone will enjoy, or have the kids help you prepare and cook dinner. Take walks at the park, or bike rides with the whole family to encourage time outdoors and exercise. Organized sports are also a great way for youth to be active and to meet new people!

Try to avoid the encouragement of fast and convenience foods or spending too much time in front of the computer of television. We all have the ability to be healthy!