Have a Happy Food-safe Holiday Season

Slow cookerHoliday season is right around the corner. Finding time-saving ways to have home-cooked meals is important when our schedules are full. Slow cookers help us save time but offer home-cooked meals.

Follow these slow-cooker food safety tips:
• Use slow-cooker recipes that include a liquid.
• Ensure that internal temperature of the food prepared reaches 160°F.
• Thaw ingredients like meat and poultry before cooking them in the slow cooker.
• Vegetables take longer to cook, so give them a head start before adding the Meat thermometermeat.
• If reheating, the contents must reach a temperature of 165°F, then they can be kept warm in the slow cooker at 140°F for serving.

Sources:
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

 

Aquafaba…The Magical Bean Juice

Think about the last time you made your favorite recipe using canned dried beans. You likely strained the beans and rinsed the juice down the drain. Have you ever wondered what else you could do with the liquid?

Chickpeas in strainer

Aquafaba (Latin for water and beans), the liquid from canned dried beans, is a popular vegan egg substitute for meringues, mousses, and whipped creams. It has also been touted as a useful alternative for individuals with egg allergies, allowing them to enjoy some recipes that they traditionally would not be able to.

Aquafaba’s ratio of starch and protein makes it work like a binding agent, thickener, and emulsifier. A food safety benefit of aquafaba is the reduced risk of foodborne illness. It does not need to be baked and has a lower chance of contamination in contrast to traditional egg-containing recipes where Salmonella would be a common bacteria of concern.

Here’s what you need to know to try this new food trend:
• 3 tablespoons of aquafaba = 1 whole egg
• 2 tablespoons of aquafaba = 1 egg white
• As a binding agent, be sure to slightly whip the aquafaba until it is foamy before using.
• In meringues and mousses, whip with 1 teaspoon cream of tartar for 5–10 minutes until stiff  peaks form.
• Look for low-sodium or no-salt-added beans if you plan to use the aquafaba to decrease sodium content.

Although the amount of aquafaba in most recipes will be minimal, you may experience gastrointestinal distress or flatulence if you are sensitive to bean sugars. You may want to take a test run to see how you will respond to the product.

Source: Today’s Dietitian

 

 

Fall into Physical Activity

Fall is upon us. Out with the humid scorchers and in with the crisp fall air. Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the weather with some fun seasonal Walking in leavesactivities. Being active increases your ability to prevent simple infections, just in time for cold and flu season! As you enjoy fall and prepare for winter, give these seasonal fitness activities a try.

• Plan a backyard holiday football game.
• Sign up for a 5k walk or run.
• Grab a friend or family member and go for a brisk walk.

Don’t like the cold? Explore some inside activity options like a spin (cycling) class or a new aerobics class at your local fitness center.

For more information, visit Healthy for Good.

Feeling Queasy? Call, It’s Easy!

 

To get more peoplGerms in mouthe to report foodborne illness or “food poisoning,” the Iowa Department of Public Health recently launched the IowaSic Hotline. Now when you think you ate something that made you sick, you can call 1-844-IowaSic or 1-844-469-2742. A trained specialist will ask you about your symptoms and all the foods you ate recently. If your illness seems related to a food you bought, the Iowa Food and Consumer Safety Bureau will investigate.

By calling IowaSic, you may save others from the misery of foodborne illness—and worse. A food “bug” that makes you only queasy could possibly kill other, more vulnerable people, such as young children and the elderly.

To find out more on what to do if you think you have a foodborne illness, watch this video.

 

Source: Food Safety News

Indulging in Physical Activity

 

What do you think about when you think of being physically active?Woman with water

Did you know that thinking positively about physical activity can actually change the way you experience it? According to a study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people tend to enjoy physical activity much more if they already believe that the exercise will make them feel better.

Start thinking of physical activity as a treat instead of a chore:

  • Remind yourself of times when physical activity was fun! Recall how you felt playing  softball or racing your bike as a kid.
  • While engaging in physical activity, be mindful of the pleasant effects it’s having on your body. Think: “I’m breathing more deeply!” “It feels good to be using my muscles.”
  • Enlist friends and family as cheerleaders. Celebrate your small successes on Facebook or Twitter—“Just walked two miles in 40 minutes. Not out of breath!”
  • Pair physical activity with the things you already enjoy. If you’d like to spend more time with family or friends, take a group hike with them. If you’d like more time for yourself with a good mystery, get an audio version of the book and listen to it on the treadmill.

For more tips on indulging in the luxury of physical activity, visit food.unl.edu/fitness-indulgence.

Sources:
Psychology Today
Esquire

Red Beans and Rice

Serving Size: 1/2 cup vegetables and 1/2 cup rice | Serves: 8

Ingredients
• 1/2 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
• 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 2 medium tomatoes (finely diced)
• 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 2 ribs celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 can (15 ounces) red beans (rinsed and drained)
• 4 cups instant brown rice, cooked

Instructions
1. Place oil in large skillet and heat. Add onion and cook until soft.
2. Add garlic powder, tomatoes, green pepper, celery, and oregano.
3. Cover and simmer until vegetables are crisp tender (about 5 minutes).
4. Add beans and simmer. Stir mixture every once in a while until heated through.
5. Cook rice according to package directions.
6. Spoon the vegetable and bean mixture over rice.

Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg
cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 49g total carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 2g sugar, 9g protein

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

“Instant Pot” might help you eat healthier

bowl of chili

The electric programmable pressure cooker, popularly known as the “Instant Pot” or “Insta-Pot,” has become a best-selling kitchen appliance.

Like a pressure cooker used on stovetops, it can cook beans and whole grains quickly as well as tenderize tough cuts of meat. Unlike a traditional pressure cooker, though, you don’t have to watch this pot. Just program it—then walk away.

The Insta-Pot does not cook all dishes equally well. Its moist heat is great for stews and pork shoulders, for example, but not for making chicken legs crisp. Still, if you believe that shorter cooking times would motivate you to make more meals at home, the Insta-Pot could be one way to improve your diet. Studies show that meals made at home are likely to be more nutritious (and lower cost!) than processed foods or restaurant meals.

Before you buy, however, be sure to read independent product reviews to get the right brand for you. Learn more about choosing an electric pressure cooker.

Sources:
New York Times
Today’s Dietitian

 

“Exercise is Medicine”—A Worldwide Fitness Trend for 2017

The American Medical Association and American College of Sports Medicine partnered on a global initiative called “Exercise is Medicine.” The vision encourages primary care physicians and other health-care providers to assess every patient’s level of physical activity at each clinic visit. This means the health-care provider will determine whether or not the patient is meeting the U.S. National Physical Activity Guidelines. A treatment plan is then designed to meet recommended physical activity guidelines. A patient could also be referred to additional health-care or other qualified community-based professionals as part of the continuum of care.

Sources:

Exercise is Medicine – exerciseismedicine.org

Health & Fitness Journal – doi: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000252

Food Safety: It’s in Your Hands

When preparing food, one of the most important ways to avoid spreading germs is to wash hands correctly and often. This may seem like common sense; however, many individuals don’t wash their hands for the recommended length of time, nor do they wash their hands each time they’re contaminated. Did you know handwashing should take approximately 20 seconds overall?

Steps to Wash Hands:

  1. Wet hands. Use warm running water.
  2. Apply soap and lather hands.
  3. Scrub hands for 10–15 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice or watch the second hand of a clock. Focus on scrubbing between fingers and under fingernails.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  5. Dry hands with a paper towel or air dry. Bacteria numbers increase in damp cloth towels.

We can become less aware of the many times our hands become contaminated. Remember to wash hands after using the restroom; coughing; sneezing; running your fingers through your hair; touching or scratching a wound; petting your dog or cat; changing a diaper; handling money; working with raw meat, poultry, or seafood; and anytime hands touch something that may contaminate them.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/handwashing/fact-sheets.html or search for “5 Myths of Handwashing” and “Wash Your Hands” at the Extension Store, store.extension.iastate.edu

After School Hummus

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced) or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Use a blender or food processor to combine all the ingredients except yogurt. Blend on low speed until beans are mashed.
  2. Stir in yogurt with a spoon.
  3. Refrigerate several hours or overnight so flavors blend.
  4. Serve with pita chips, crackers, or fresh vegetables.

Tips:

  • Mash the beans with a fork, chop garlic finely, and then stir ingredients thoroughly before adding to the blender.
  • Store hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 2 to 3 days.
  • Add 1/3 cup chopped red peppers

Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 3g protein

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