Plant-based diets are growing in popularity. Eating plant foods may protect from chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
The goal of a plant-based diet is to consume more whole plant foods—like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains—that will provide adequate nutrition overall.
Some people may choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, while others may just eat one meatless meal a week. Eating a vegetarian diet means not eating flesh foods (meat, poultry, seafood, wild game) and may or may not exclude eggs or dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all flesh foods, eggs, and dairy products and may also exclude honey.
There are many plant-based foods that make eating a plant-based diet easy. Check out this list of meat alternative products, www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1021p42.shtml, on the market.
Be a smart shopper, though! Choose mostly whole and minimally processed food from a variety of food groups to have a well-balanced diet.
Food prices are on the rise, and food pantries are serving more people than ever before. This means food pantries and food banks are in need of donations. If you want to donate to your local food pantry or food bank, here are a few ideas to help get started:
Ask the food pantry what they need.
Before donating fresh produce, check to see if refrigeration is available.
Double check the expiration dates because food pantries will not accept expired food.
Consider donating your time and/or money.
For more donation tips, check out these two great Iowa State University Extension resources:
Storing food correctly helps prevent food waste. The refrigerator is the most important kitchen appliance for keeping food safe. Refrigerators should be kept at 40°F or below while the freezer needs to be set at 0°F or below.
Where food is stored in the refrigerator is just as important as keeping it at the correct temperature.
Door shelves are good for storing condiments and salad dressings since that is the warmest part of the refrigerator. Do not store eggs or milk here.
Sealed crisper drawers provide an optimal storage environment for fruits and vegetables. Vegetables prefer higher humidity and fruits lower humidity, so adjust drawer controls accordingly. This will help the produce last longer.
Middle shelves are good places to put ready-to-eat foods like salads, desserts, or leftovers.
Lowest shelf is where you should place raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Place them in a sealed container or wrapped securely to prevent meat juices from dripping and contaminating other foods.
2 medium tart apples (Granny Smith, Braeburn, Cortland, Jonathan, Fuji)
1 teaspoon white or brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons oatmeal
2 tablespoons (total) raisins, sweetened dried cranberries, chopped walnuts or other nuts
6 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
Cut apples in half lengthwise. Use spoon to remove cores and hollow out a space 1” or more deep. Arrange apple halves, cut sides up, in microwavable dish. Cut thin slices off bottoms to keep from tipping.
Combine sugar, cinnamon, oatmeal, raisins, cranberries, and nuts. Fill each apple half with sugar mixture.
Cover with plastic wrap. Fold back one edge 1/4” to vent steam.
Microwave 3–3 1/2 minutes or until apples can be easily cut. Remove from microwave. Let sit a few minutes.
Spoon yogurt over the top.
Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories, 1.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 25g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 15g sugar, 2g 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
The nutrition facts label got an update this year! The new label was changed because of new nutrition research, updated science, and consumer input. The four big changes are the following:
Serving size is now how much is typically consumed in one sitting. For example, a 20-oz soda is now 1 serving instead of 2 1/2 servings.
Calories are now in larger and bolder font to make the information easier to find and use.
Daily values (DV) for nutrients have been updated. As a general guideline, 5% DV and less per serving is deemed low and 20% DV and more per serving is considered high.
Added sugars, vitamin D, and potassium information is also now included.
The nutrition facts label is a great tool to support your dietary goals. Select foods and beverages that reduce the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and anemia. Choose foods that have more of the nutrients you need and less of the nutrients you may want to limit. For example, use the updated nutrition facts label to choose foods high in dietary fiber and lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
To learn more about the updated nutrition facts label, watch this Spend Smart, Eat Smart. video, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 to 300 minutes (30 to 60 minutes, 5 days weekly) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, biking, or hiking each week.
Did you know there are more than 1,800 miles of trails in Iowa available to explore on foot or by bike? Iowa by Trail is a resource from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. It is available as an app or on the Iowa by Trail website, go.iastate.edu/XOJQ8I. Search for trails by location and find information on distance, surface, and accessibility. The app allows users to track the trails they completed and the distance they traveled.
To download the app on a cellular device, open the App Store. Search for the app using the Search tab. Tap “download” to install the app. Check out this resource to learn why Iowa is referred to as the “Trail Capital of the Nation.”
1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup prepared instant brown rice (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
Mix the tomatoes, black beans, corn, chili powder, and chicken in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until heated through.
Add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
Nutrition information per serving: 330 calories, 7g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 680mg sodium, 38g total carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 4g sugar, 29g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s SpendSmart. EatSmart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu
Screens are part of daily life. Many people spend hours each day on computers, on phones, on tablets, and watching television. Too much screen time can lead to negative health effects.
Watching television for hours leads to sedentary activity and increases the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Spending time on social media decreases social connections with others, raises feelings of loneliness, and increases risk of depression. Too much screen time also causes eye strain due to long periods of blue light exposure, which may cause headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, and lower melatonin levels. Melatonin helps the body feel tired and ready for sleep.
We can’t get rid of all screens, but we can take steps to limit our time on them. Use these tips to reduce your screen time.
Limit screens outside of work or school to 2–4 hours or less per day. Consider using time limit controls on your devices.
Take frequent breaks from screens throughout the day. You can download a free app, tek.io/3NaMKEz, to remind you to do so.
Make time to be active and spend time outside when Iowa weather is nice.
Avoid screens during mealtimes.
Shut off screens for at least an hour before bedtime.