Oatmeal: It’s a Keeper!

 

Jar of oats

Hot cereals, such as oatmeal, are money-saving breakfast foods. Not only do they cost much less than cold breakfast cereals, but they also keep longer on the shelf. A box of oat ring cereal, for example, has a shelf life of 6–8 months. A box of oatmeal can last up to three years! This means that if you’re an oatmeal fan, you can buy it in bulk and not have to worry about it “going bad.”

To ensure the longest shelf life for all cereals, keep them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place where the temperature remains stable. Changes in temperature can cause moisture to condense from the air inside packages. Moisture can cause mold to grow. A dense box of whole grains generally lasts longer than a box of cereal rings, flakes, or puffs because it contains less air.

For more tips on safely storing grains and other dry foods, visit the website www.eatbydate.com/grains/.

Overnight Oatmeal with Berries

Oats

Serving Size: 1/2 cup dry oats | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk (or less for thicker oatmeal)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, fat-free
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup raspberries, frozen

Instructions

  1. Combine milk, Greek yogurt, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a container or jar with a lid.
  2. Add oats and mix well.
  3. Gently fold in raspberries.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.
  5. Enjoy cold or heat as desired.

Tip: Frozen blueberries or strawberries may be used in place of raspberries.

Nutrition information per serving: 311 calories, 4g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 7mg cholesterol, 86mg sodium, 53g total carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 21g sugar, 17g protein

Source:  USDA – What’s Cooking

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oatmeal

When it comes to a quick and healthy breakfast, a jar of “overnight oats” is a great option. This popular instant meal is convenient, nutritious, and delicious. You simply mix raw oats with yogurt and fruit in a jar or other container, and then refrigerate it overnight.

The benefits are plentiful.

  • It’s a whole meal. One serving provides you with food from three of the five MyPlate food groups.
  • It’s satisfying. The fiber in the oats and fruit makes you feel fuller longer.
  • It saves time. It takes two minutes to prepare overnight oats the night before and no time at all in the morning to grab a healthy breakfast.
  • It’s versatile. Overnight oats have limitless flavor possibilities. Ingredients can range from berries and chocolate to peanut butter and bananas. Your oats will never have to become boring.
  • It’s a whole grain. We should eat at least three servings of whole grains daily to reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.

To learn about more tasty ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet, visit the Extension Store.

Source: Michigan State University Extension

Mail Order Food Safety

perishable package

In today’s busy world, one time-saver some individuals use is home delivery of mail order foods. Ordering food through the mail raises concerns about food safety. It is important to know how food and the packaging should look when perishable foods—such as meat, poultry, fish, and other perishable items—arrive.

How to determine if foods have been handled properly:

  • Perishable items should arrive cold or frozen and packed with a cold source, in foam or heavy corrugated cardboard.
  • Food should be delivered as quickly as possible—ideally, overnight. Perishable items and the outer package should be labeled “Keep Refrigerated.”
  • When you receive a food item marked “Keep Refrigerated,” open it immediately and insert a food thermometer in the food to be sure the temperature is below 40°F. Food should arrive frozen or partially frozen with ice crystals still visible or at least refrigerator-cold. Even if a product is smoked, cured, vacuum packed, and/or fully cooked, it is still a perishable product and must be kept cold. If a perishable item arrives above 40°F, as measured with a food thermometer, do not consume or even taste the suspect food.
  • You cannot tell that food has been mishandled or is unsafe to eat by tasting, smelling, or looking at it. Make sure perishable foods are not held at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F for longer than two hours. Bacteria grow rapidly in this “Danger Zone.”

Source: USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

 

Homemade Salad Dressing

Recipes

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup acid (such as red wine vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into an airtight container.
  2. Secure the lid and shake until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Salad dressing can be stored in the airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Tip: The size of this recipe can be adjusted up or down by keeping the same ratio of three parts oil to one part acid.  For example, for a small amount of dressing, use three tablespoons of oil, one tablespoon of acid, and a pinch of each seasoning.

HOW TO VIDEO: Make Homemade Salad Dressing

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

 

Unlock the Full Nutritional Benefits of Veggies

 

Salad vegetablesWendy White, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, led a recent study that suggests eating salad greens and vegetables with added fat—in the form of soybean oil—enhances the absorption of various micronutrients that promote human health. Soybean oil is a common ingredient in commercial salad dressings.

Salad vegetables with added oil aided in the absorption of several micronutrients: alpha and beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene; two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K; and vitamin A. White said better absorption of these nutrients promotes a range of health benefits, including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation.

The study also found that the amount of oil added to the vegetables had a proportional relationship with the amount of nutrient absorption. White said, “The best way to explain it would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption.” This doesn’t mean salad eaters should drench their greens in dressing! White indicates that consumers should be comfortable with the U.S. dietary recommendation of about two tablespoons of oil per day.

The research study showed eating the same salad without the added oil lessened the likelihood that the body would absorb the nutrients.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Why Is It So Hard to Exercise?

 

Anyone can have a difficult time making exercise part of their routine. Often it comes down to motivation! Try these tricks to reach your fitness goals:

  • Become an early bird. Many individuals get in their workouts in the morning, when willpower is at a maximum level and before it dwindles throughout the day.Alarm clock
  • Get other people involved. Think of kid- friendly activities that your children will enjoy with you or find a friend who likes the same things you do, like running or spinning.
  • Set smaller goals. It is much easier to fit ten minutes of movement into your day every few hours than to find a larger chunk of time in your schedule. Take one bag of groceries in at a time from the car, do sets of 10 squats or push-ups in between loads of laundry, or take stairs two at a time to get your heart rate up.
  • Keep equipment front and center. Sometimes a simple thing, like putting your workout gear in your living room, can be key to feeling more motivated.

Source: webmd

 

Staying Active in Wintertime

Father and daughter in snow

Winter months can be a challenge for daily physical activity because the need does not change in cold weather. Adults can ensure children (and they) are moving and developing their muscles by providing large muscle play opportunities. Action rhymes are a great way to get everyone moving. What are action rhymes? These are songs or poems set to motion that tell a story. Some classic action rhymes include “Row Your Boat,” “Ring Around the Rosy,” and “Head and Shoulder, Knees and Toes.”

When winter weather will allow, walking in the snow is a workout in itself; make it more interesting by searching for animal tracks. Pretending to be those animals when there is snow on the ground is a fun new game. Old-time favorite activities like creating a snow angel, dancing the “Hokey Pokey,” or playing the game “Duck, Duck Goose” are also a workout in the snow. Throwing snowballs at a target (a red circle in the snow made using food coloring) will satisfy the throwing urge and no one gets hurt. Following the leader or marching in a circle lifting those legs as high as they can go and swinging arms gets many muscles working.

Source: Posted on December 24, 2012, by Shannon Lindquist, Michigan State University Extension.

Not Always the Last Thing You Ate

One minute you’re fine, and the next you begin to sweat as crippling cramps move wavelike thDefinition of Food Poisoningrough your belly. You vomit or have diarrhea, or both, fearing you won’t live to see another day; then it goes away. You’re back to your old self, maybe after a day or two.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that this scenario, known as an “acute gastrointestinal event,” happens to all of us at least once a year. People tend to blame the last thing they ate, but most likely it could be something from a day or two ago.

It takes the stomach around four to six hours to empty a full meal, and then the small intestine takes about six to eight hours to get out all the nutrients and empty into the colon. The remains linger there for another one to three days.

While this may not be something you like to think about, knowing this information the next time you get sick will help you be able to estimate when you might have eaten the food that made you sick. For example, if you throw up something and don’t have diarrhea, it could be that what made you ill was something you ate within the last four to six hours. If you wake up in the middle of the night with cramps and diarrhea, it’s more likely something you consumed 18 to 48 hours earlier.

Source: www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/

It’s a Meal Strata

 

Serving Size: 4×4-inch piece | Serves 4

IngredientsRecipes

  • 3 cups vegetables (sliced or chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 package (3 ounces) light cream cheese (also called Neufchatel), softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cubed bread (day old, about 1 slice)
  • 1/3 cup cubed ham, cooked
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the vegetables so they are about the same size.
  3. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the vegetables and garlic and cook until tender (stirring occasionally). Turn off heat and pat the vegetables with paper towels to remove the moisture. Set aside.
  4. Beat the cream cheese until smooth in a large bowl. Add eggs and beat well.
  5. Stir in vegetables, bread, cubed ham, and pepper.
  6. Pour into a greased 8 x 8-inch baking dish or small casserole dish.
  7. Bake uncovered for 10–15 minutes or until the egg mixture is set.
  8. Remove from heat, sprinkle on the cheese, and let stand for 5–10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories, 12g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 165 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 11 g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 13 g sugar, 13 g protein

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

 

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