Summertime is here—time for children to go outside and play! Whether being active inside on rainy days or outside on sunny days, children need 60 minutes or more of moderate physical activity each day. Families that are active together improve their physical as well as their emotional health.
Most days, include physical activities such as
- playing outside,
- helping with chores,
- taking the stairs,
- picking up toys, or
- walking the dog.
For strength and flexibility, encourage tumbling, swinging, martial arts, rope climbing, pushups, or yoga 2–3 times a week.
For aerobic exercise, activities could include cycling, running, relay races, basketball, swimming, kickball, or soccer 3–5 times a week.
Sources: Designed to Move; Be Active (HS 4)
Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors. Just as their nutritional benefits differ, the way in which you store fresh produce differs too! The required storage temperature and humidity level varies depending on the type of fruit or vegetable. Avoid placing produce in a sealed plastic bag on your countertop. This slows ripening and may increase off-odors and decay. Use the guides below to store your garden bounty.
Store these at room temperature, making sure they are clean, dry, well ventilated, and away from direct sunlight:
- Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, melons, bananas, pumpkins, and winter squash
Ripen these on the counter, then store in the refrigerator:
- Avocado, kiwifruits, peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums
Most other fresh produce keeps best stored in a clean refrigerator at 40°F or below.
- Store fruit in a different refrigerator crisper drawer than vegetables. Fruits give off ethylene gas, which can shorten the storage life of vegetables. Some vegetables give off odors that can be absorbed by fruits and affect their quality.
Source: Amy Peterson and Alice Henneman from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Total time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 1 cup | Serves: 4
- 6 cups Kalettes (about 12 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 475°F.
- Combine Kalettes, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast in the lower third of the oven until just tender and browned in spots, about 10 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving: 108 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115mg sodium, 6g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2mg
potassium, 4g protein
Source: Jan/Feb 2015 EatingWell
It’s not every day a new vegetable is introduced! The newest vegetable to arrive in grocery stores is Kalettes—a cross between kale and brussels sprouts. This new vegetable looks a little like a tiny cabbage with heads that are loose and composed of frilly, green-purple leaves similar to kale (the middle vegetable in the picture). The inspiration behind Kalettes came from a desire to create a kale-type vegetable that was versatile, easy to prepare, and attractive. Crossing kale with brussels sprouts was a natural fit since they are both from the same group, which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. Kalettes combine the best traits of each of its parent vegetables with a fusion of sweet and nutty flavors.
The new vegetable is the product of more than a decade of research by Tozer Seeds, a British vegetable seed house. Kalettes were created by cross-pollinating brussels sprouts and kale through traditional methods. Look for them at local grocery stores and try them in the following ways:
- Sauté in a large pan for 5–7 minutes, covering for increased tenderness.
- Grill whole Kalettes in a grill basket and place on medium heat for 10 minutes or until slightly charred.
- Enjoy them as a salad. Rinse and slice Kalettes into smaller pieces and top with your favorite dressing.
Find more information and recipes for Kalettes online.
Exercise can boost brain health! A recent study by researchers at UC Davis Health System shows people who exercise have better mental fitness. Vigorous exercise increases the level of two brain chemicals: glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, known as GABA. These chemicals help defend against depression.
Richard Maddox, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, states, “Major depressive disorder is often characterized by depleted glutamate and GABA, which return to normal when mental health is restored. Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.”
Although results are preliminary, rigorous exercise may now become an important part of treating major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses because it naturally increases the level of these two chemicals. Maddox, the study’s lead author, calls the findings “very encouraging.”
Shake off winter by doing some spring cleaning. It is a great time to target harmful bacteria that can hang out on kitchen surfaces and even in your refrigerator. You can’t see bacteria, but they are everywhere! They especially like moist environments. A clean and dry kitchen protects you and your family from foodborne illness.
- Always clean surfaces with hot, soapy water. After thoroughly washing surfaces with hot, soapy water, sanitize them with a disinfectant kitchen spray or diluted chlorine bleach solution (1 teaspoon bleach to 1 quart of water). Let the solution stand on the surface for a few minutes, then blot dry with clean paper towels.
- Disinfect dishcloths often. Launder dishcloths and towels frequently using the hot water cycle of the washing machine. Then be sure they are thoroughly dry.
Rid your refrigerator of spills, bacteria, mold, and mildew. Clean your fridge weekly to kill germs that could contaminate foods. Clean interior surfaces with hot, soapy water. Rinse well with a damp cloth; dry with a clean cloth. Some manufacturers recommend not using chlorine bleach because it can damage seals, gaskets, and linings.
- Clean your kitchen sink drain and disposal. Pour a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water down the drain once or twice per week. Food particles get trapped in the drain and disposal, creating the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
Sources: www.fightbac.org and www.foodsafety.gov
Serving Size: 1 Cup | Serves: 8
- 7 cups vegetables (chopped) (carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower)
- 1 pepper (green, red, or yellow), sliced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 tomatoes (red, yellow, or mixed)
- 2/3 cup light or fat free salad dressing
- Wash and prepare the vegetables. (Cut the carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, and pepper in slices. Make the broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Slice or chop tomatoes.)
- Combine all vegetables and salad dressing in a bowl, stirring to coat vegetables with dressing.
- Cover and refrigerate 1–3 hours to blend flavors. Store any leftovers in refrigerator and use within 3 days.
Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 2g protein
This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more recipes, information, and videos, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/.
Growing your own food doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have never gardened, start small using containers or a small plot of land. Plant vegetables you really like to eat.
Several vegetables that grow well in Iowa made it to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach “Top 10 Vegetavcbles to Eat for Health” list. Choose to grow and eat the following vegetables to boost your health:
- Brussels spouts
- Red bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
These vegetables earned their ratings by providing at least 20 percent of the recommended dietary intake for one or more nutrients such as Vitamin A or potassium.
Each vegetable was also rated for its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). This measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. Consuming high-ORAC foods may help protect cells from damage by oxygen radicals. This, in turn, may slow down the processes associated with aging in both the body and the brain.
Numerous publications are available to download and print as you plan and plant your garden. Go to the Extension Store at store.extension.iastate.edu and enter either the title or number of the publication of interest in the search box:
- Planting a Home Vegetable Garden (PM 819)
- Small Plot Vegetable Gardening (PM 870A)
- Container Vegetable Gardening (PM 870B)
If you have further questions, contact your local county extension office or enroll in classes to become a “Master Gardener.”
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) promotes eating smart, moving more, and being at a healthy weight as the three top ways to reduce cancer risk. Cancer prevention research says that you should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day and avoid sedentary habits like too much sitting, TV watching, or screen time.
Survey respondents said the biggest barrier toward meeting this recommendation is TIME! A key strategy to overcome this barrier is to start adding it in your schedule in small increments and slowly build up to 30 minutes daily.
- Take a 5-minute walking break: After every hour of sitting, get up and walk around. Walk down the street, down the hall, up and down the stairs; just move for 3 – 5 minutes, building up to 10 minutes for every 60 minutes of sitting.
- Make it a family affair: Create family activity challenges. Craziest dance moves, most jumping jacks in a minute, fastest running in place—whatever your family would find fun. Let the kids take turns leading an exercise break.
- Try a new activity or get back to that thing you used to do: Maybe you used to bike, hike, or play tennis. Find a like-minded friend(s), join a class, and make it a social occasion.
Source: AICR’s eNews, February 4, 2016.