Lunch provides the midday boost that you and your child need for afternoon brainpower. Packing lunch with your child is also a great way to stay connected. What if your child is a choosy eater? This can be a sign your child is searching for more independence. Your child might benefit from packing their own lunch, while you have the opportunity to serve as a model for good nutrition behaviors. Use the five main food groups for you and your child to pack your lunch.
Salad is a popular summer dish. However, it is also linked with foodborne illness. There are ways to prepare salad safely so that friends and family do not get sick. Salad food safety tips include the following:
Wash your hands! Always wash hands before and after preparing any salad ingredient.
Don’t rewash lettuce that is already prewashed in the package. This can introduce contaminants that were already eliminated.
Use a different knife and cutting board for each ingredient. If you intend to keep salad ingredients separate for people to make their own, you won’t have contaminated all ingredients.
Keep salads cold in a refrigerator, in a cooler, or over ice. Don’t leave out at room temperature for more than two hours. Warmer temperatures (40–140 degrees) can cause bacteria to grow on food and promote illness.
Make sure salad is served with a utensil and not bare hands. Hands carry viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. It is best to use clean and sanitized salad tongs or forks.
Visit Produce Basics (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/cook/produce-basics) for tips on how to select, store, and wash many types of salad ingredients.
Put bananas, yogurt, and greens in the blender. Blend until smooth.
Add berries to blender. Blend until smooth.
Add milk to blender. Blend until smooth.
Serve immediately or freeze in individual servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, 4g 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
In the summer, eating several small healthy snacks throughout the day is often more comfortable than having bigger meals. Choose nutritious snacks that give you energy as well as help you with focus and memory. Healthy snacking especially benefits these three groups of people:
Older adults tend to prefer to eat light meals or snacks instead of bigger breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. Choosing nutritious snacks helps maintain their ability to live independently. Snacks high in protein and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, help the immune system to recover from illness and aids in wound healing.
Children need the calories and nutrients from snacks to get energy for summertime play and sports. Snacks nourish their growing bodies and minds. In the fall, snacks will help kids feel full so they can focus on academics. Read Snacks for Healthy Kids, store.extension.iastate.edu/product/4605, for more information.
Pregnant women have varied appetites, depending on the woman and stage of pregnancy. Snacks can provide quick, easy nutrition for both mother and baby. Smaller snacks rather than larger meals may help reduce the nausea or heartburn some women have during pregnancy.
Here are some easy, healthy snacks:
Fruits and vegetables
Whole-grain crackers and cereal
Low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt
Hard-boiled eggs, unsalted nuts or peanuts
Want a cool summer snack? Enjoy a smoothie!
Do you know a child who needs healthy food this summer?
Check out the Summer Food Service Program meal sites in Iowa, educateiowa.gov/pk-12/nutrition-programs/summer-food-service-program#Summer_Meal_Sites. 211, www.unitedwaydm.org/211, is a one-stop source of information for people looking for help. This phone and online referral service can help people find food, housing, clothing, and much more.
We see many video and print recipes on social media. How do you know if a recipe is safe to use? Fight Bac, a partnership of organizations devoted to food safety, has these tips to ensure your meals don’t include a side of foodborne illness.
Wash your hands. Up to 99% of people don’t correctly wash their hands when preparing food at home. You should wash your hands for 20 seconds. If you sing “Happy Birthday” twice, that is about 20 seconds.
Cook the food to the correct temperature to ensure it is safe to consume. Poultry should be cooked to 165°F; ground meat to 160°F; steaks, chops, roasts, and fish to 145°F. Cook all other foods to at least 140°F. Check our “How to Use a Food Thermometer” video and handout to learn more about taking the temperature of food, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video/use-a-food-thermometer.
Don’t cross contaminate. Cross contamination occurs when foodborne bacteria and viruses spread from one food or surface to another.
Wash the cutting board, counter, utensils, and serving plate thoroughly with hot, soapy water immediately after they have touched raw meat, poultry, or fish.
Do not rinse raw poultry or meat. Rinsing meat can cause bacteria on the meat to spread through the air.
Do not use marinades previously used on raw foods for the cooked product.
Leafy greens need to be handled safely just like any other food. Start with washing your hands with soap and water. Cut away any damaged areas on the leaves or stems.
If the label on the leafy greens bag DOES NOT say “prewashed” or “ready to eat,” thoroughly wash the greens under running water just before chopping, cooking, or eating.
If the leafy greens label DOES say “prewashed” or “ready to eat,” use the greens without washing. If you wash leafy greens before storing, you can potentially promote bacterial growth and enhance spoilage.
Wash only what you intend to eat. After washing fresh greens, pat dry with paper towels or a fresh clean towel—or use a salad spinner—to help remove excess liquid. Never wash leafy greens with soap, detergent, or bleach because these can leave residues. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recommend using commercial produce washes because these also may leave residues.