Get Moving in Your Community

September 23rd, 2015

young kids bike summer active fitnessStudies show that individuals are more physically active if the environment provides them with opportunities to do so. Examine your neighborhood, workplace, or school to identify ways to make your surroundings more inviting for walking or exercise. Here are four ideas to consider:

  • Start a walking group in your neighborhood or at your workplace.
  • Make the streets safe for exercise by driving the speed limit and yielding to people who walk, run, or bike.
  • Participate in local planning efforts to develop a walking or bike path in your community.
  • Share your ideas for improvement with your neighbors or local leaders.

Source: Opportunities Abound for Moving Around, May 2015,

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Superfoods: More than Kale and Quinoa

September 16th, 2015

Though there is no legal or medical definition for “superfoods,” the term is typically used to describe foods that are high in nutrients and antioxidants and low in fat, sugar, and sodium. Eating these foods may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. The following “superfoods” are packed with vitamins and minerals and are versatile in recipes.

Cruciferous Vegetables – This category includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage, which are good sources of fiber and vitamin C and are easily added to a stir fry or a casserole. Substitute shredded cabbage for iceberg lettuce on tacos. Broccoli is also great for snacking raw with a low-fat dip.

Citrus Fruits – Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, tangerines, and the ugli fruit are included in this group. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. These fruits can be enjoyed as a snack or tossed in a fruit salad or a leafy green salad. Squeeze the fruit to make fresh juice and to replace the flavor of salt in recipes.

Green, Leafy Vegetables – Spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, watercress, arugula, and other dark green lettuces are nutrition powerhouses. They are packed with fiber and are a high source of vitamins A and C. Enjoy these greens shredded in a salad, sautéed with olive oil and garlic, or added to soup or casseroles.

Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are good sources of fiber and vitamin C. Add them to cereal or oatmeal or enjoy them for a snack. Try adding them to a leafy green salad for a different twist.

Beans – Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, and navy beans are a few of the more popular bean varieties. Beans are fat free, high in dietary fiber, and a good source of folate and potassium. Enjoy them in bean burritos, black bean burgers, bean salads, or bean soups.

Source: Fruits and Veggies More Matters,

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Broccoli Salad

September 9th, 2015
broccoli-saladNote: The food safety tips from last weeks blog have been added to this recipe
Serving Size: 1 cup | Serves: 7
seperate-imageKeep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery store and in the refrigerator.
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons cider or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced (1/2 medium onion)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
cleanWash hands before preparing food and frequently throughout for 20 seconds with soap and running water.
  1. Cut seperate-image  clean 1/2″ off bottom of the broccoli stem seperate-image clean and discard. Peel the outer layer of the stem. Chop cook seperate-image clean the tender inner portion of the broccoli and florets.
  2. Mix sugar, salt, mustard, and mayonnaise together in a large bowl. clean Add vinegar and stir with a wire whisk or fork.
  3. Add the broccoli, red onion, seperate-image clean and raisins.
  4. Stir until mixture is coated with dressing. Serve salad immediately or store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Store salad for up to 4 days.
chill Enjoy your leftovers! Refrigerate them at 40ºF or below within two hours.
clean  Wash surfaces and utensils after each use. Wash fruits and veggies before preparing food, even if you plan to peel them.
 seperate-image  To prevent cross-contamination, always use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
 cook  Always use a food thermometer to ensure cooked food reaches a safe internal temperature (165ºF for poultry; 145ºF for fish, pork, beef, veal, and lamb; 160ºF for ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb).

Nutrition information per serving: 130 calories, 4g total fat,0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 200mgsodium, 22g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 15g sugar, 3g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’sSpend Smart. Eat Smart. website,

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Recipe for Safe Food

September 2nd, 2015
couple cooking in kitchen mealsMost recipes do not include proper food safety precautions.The online Recipe Tool automatically adds the critical food safety steps into favorite recipes or those found online. The tool was developed by the USDA, in partnership with the FDA and the CDC, as a reminder to keep food safe.
To use the Recipe Tool:
  1. Access the link at
  2. Type your favoriterecipes into the boxesor insert the recipeURL from a popularcooking website intothe tool to get foodhandling reminders.Food handling remindersinclude clean, separate,cook, and chill.

Source:, Keep Food Safe Blog,

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Microwave Safe Containers and Wraps

August 26th, 2015

To keep food safe, only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics that are safe to use are usually labeled for microwave oven use.


• Heatproof glass (such as Pyrex, Anchor Hocking, etc.)
• Glass-ceramic (such as Corning Ware)
• Oven cooking bags
• Baskets (straw and wood) to quickly warm up rolls or bread; line the basket with napkins to absorb moisture from food
• Most paper plates, towels, and napkins; for optimal safety, use white, unprinted materials
• Wax paper, parchment paper, and heavy plastic wrap; do not allow plastic wrap to touch food—vent it to allow steam to escape.


• Cold storage containers like margarine tubs are unsafe for cooking
• Brown paper bags and newspapers
• Plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store
• Anything made with metal such as metal pans, china with metallic paint or trim, Chinese “take-out” containers with metal handles, or metal twist ties
• Foam-insulated cups, bowls, plates, or trays

Source: United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service

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Are You Sitting Too Much?

August 19th, 2015

Most adults spend half their waking day sitting behind a desk, in front of a computer or TV, or riding in a car. Sitting is linked to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Research shows a 14 percent higher risk of these chronic diseases among those who sit for eight or more hours daily. Everyone who engages in prolonged sitting can be at risk, even those who are physically active each day. Prolonged sitting is a lifestyle risk factor that can be addressed by changing lifestyle habits. See the list below for ways to get more activity into your day.

Source: American College of Cardiology; Study Bolsters Link between Heart Disease, Excessive Sitting; March 2015

3 Ways to Move More:

1. Sit less. Notice the time you spend sitting and break up long stretches with movement. Pace while talking on the phone. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk during lunch.

2. Engage in aerobic exercise about 30 minutes each day. Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (activity that causes your heart rate to increase).

3. Do resistance training at least two days a week. This type of exercise challenges major muscle groups to near exhaustion in 8–12 repetitions.
Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new physical activity routines.

Walk Your Way to Fitness

This publication includes a sample walking program, a “talk test,” and tips on comfortable clothing.

Download at:

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Quick Fruit Dessert

August 12th, 2015

fruit dessertServing Size: 1/2 cup | Serves: 8

8 vanilla wafers
2 cups low fat or nonfat milk
1 box (3.5 ounces) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup fresh fruit (peaches, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, etc.)

1. Place one vanilla wafer on bottom of a small paper or plastic cup or a small bowl. Do the same for each vanilla wafer.
2. Pour milk into a bowl, add pudding mix, and prepare pudding according to the directions on the box.
3. Top each vanilla wafer with 1/4 cup vanilla pudding.
4. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 8 hours.
5. Top with washed and cut up fresh fruit just before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 19g total carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 17g sugar, 2g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website,

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Orthorexia: An Obsession with Eating Pure

August 5th, 2015

When obesity is a national emergency, a serious dedication to a healthy diet hardly seems like a bad thing. But, for some, a fixation on healthy eating develops into an obsession. If someone refuses to eat food that is not “pure,” starts skipping family meals or dinners out, rejects food they once loved, or can’t bring themselves to eat a meal they haven’t prepared with their own hands, they may be suffering from an emerging disordered eating pattern called orthorexia.

What is Orthorexia?

Orthorexia — an unhealthy fixation on eating only healthy or “pure” foods — was originally defined as a disordered eating behavior in the ‘90s, but experts believe it has been gaining steam in recent years, fed by the number of foods marketed as healthy and organic, and by the media’s often conflicting dietary advice. Like anorexia nervosa, orthorexia is a disorder rooted in food restriction. Unlike anorexia, for othorexics, the quality instead of the quantity of food is severely restricted.

If someone is orthorexic, they typically avoid anything processed like white flour or sugar. A food is virtually untouchable unless it’s certified organic or a whole food. Even something like whole-grain bread — which is a very healthy, high-fiber food — is off limits because it’s been processed in some way.

Orthorexics typically don’t fear being fat in the way that an anorexic would, but the obsessive and progressive nature of the disorder is similar.

Orthorexics may eliminate entire groups of food — such as dairy or grains — from their diets, later eliminating another group of food, and another, all in the quest for a “perfect” clean, healthy diet. In severe cases, orthorexia eventually leads to malnourishment when critical nutrients are eliminated from the diet.

Orthorexics often have misunderstandings about food or nutrition. People with eating disorders know a lot about food and food science, but they don’t always have accurate information. Sometimes their sources are magazines and blogs that might not be reputable.

For more information about eating disorders, visit the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders,

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,

healthy living

Fitness for People with Disabilities

July 22nd, 2015

Everyone age 2 years and older should be physically active. However, sometimes our activity is restricted by physical limitations. The key is to focus on what you can do.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that if a disability is limiting your ability to achieve 150 minutes of weekly activity, take part in any regular physical activity as you are able. It’s important to avoid inactivity.

There are many ways to be physically active, so finding an activity you enjoy even with a disability is possible.

Water sports offer a weightless, low-impact option for those with knee, back, or foot problems. Examples include swimming laps, water aerobics, water jogging, or water walking.

Use alternative machines that mimic sports but remove the physical barrier. For example, if you love riding a bike but can’t due to paralysis or a leg injury, try a hand cycle. For runners with leg, hip, feet, or back issues, try a weightless treadmill. Local physical therapy offices or hospitals may have these machines available for use.

Chair exercises are another great option if you have difficulty standing. The National Institute on Aging has a free chair exercise DVD you can order
( or try this free online 5-5-5 Chair Workout video (

Always consult your health care provider before beginning any physical activity routines.


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Eggs and Poultry: Safe to Eat

July 15th, 2015

brown eggsAvian influenza has been in the news recently as it spreads throughout poultry flocks in Iowa. Avian influenza does not impact the foods eaten by consumers and cannot be contracted from properly cooked and prepared meats by consumers. The disease is caused by an influenza virus that can infect poultry such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks, and geese, and it is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese, and shorebirds. It’s possible that humans could be infected with the virus only if they were in very close contact with sick birds.

Following safe food handling and cooking practices for poultry foods will keep
you safe.

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw eggs and poultry.
  • Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep poultry or eggs from contaminating other foods.
  • Sanitize cutting boards using a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Consumers can cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preferences.
  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Casseroles and other dishes should be cooked to 165°F.
  • Use pasteurized eggs or egg products for recipes that are served using raw or undercooked eggs, such as Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream. Commercial mayonnaise, dressing, and sauces containing pasteurized eggs are safe to eat.

The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has additional information for consumers at

Source: Angela Laury Shaw, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

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