Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 School's Out! Fri, 19 May 2017 08:58:00 +0000 SCHOOLS…OUT…FOR…SUMMER…. Now what? The children are home and they need to be fed. Let's build those healthy food habits so our children can be the generation that changes the health of America! There is a common misconception that children (and others who are not overweight) do not need to make careful choices when eating. I have heard people say—"I can't believe my kids are eating my whole grain crackers—I told them to eat their chips—the crackers are for me because I need to lose weight". Nothing could be further from the truth. None of us need the chips! Chips and other fried salty snacks should be reserved for occasional consumption regardless of your position on the BMI chart. Just because children are not overweight does not mean that we should encourage them to eat unhealthy foods. "Eating behaviors evolve during the first years of life; children learn what, when, and how much to eat through direct experiences with food and by observing the eating behaviors of others. The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), which provided data on the dietary patterns of 3022 infants and toddlers, revealed that 4 to 24 month old children typically consumed significant amounts of developmentally inappropriate, energy-dense, nutrient poor foods. Of particular concern was the finding that 18% to 33% of infants and toddlers consumed no distinct servings of vegetables on a typical day."

Everyday matters, everyone needs to eat healthy, every day.

What does that mean? It means planning ahead, making choices in the grocery store that reflect MyPlate. Having fruits and vegetables, ready to eat, in convenient places for easy snacking. I know you have heard it all before, but with a little planning, eating a healthy snack can be as easy as opening a bag of chips. Keep apples in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Mix up some humus (recipe below). Prep vegetables once a week so they are snack ready. Cut whole grain tortillas into 6 wedges, spray lightly with vegetable oil spray and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes for homemade chips. Make snack mix by combining whole grain cereals with dried fruit and lightly salted nuts. All of these suggestions can be made in advance in large enough quantities to last several days; simply place a single serving into a plastic bag and store.

Easy Humus Dip

1can (15 ounces)garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drain and save liquid, rinse beans

1.5tsp.minced garlic

1Tbsp.ground cumin

2Tbsp.olive oil

3Tbsp.reserved bean liquid


  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
  2. Process together until a smoother consistency.
  3. Serve with whole wheat pita bread, pretzels, or veggie sticks.

Nutrition Facts:6 servings: Calories 100,Fat 6g,Sodium 140mg,Total Carbohydrates 10g,Fiber 3g,Protein 3g

Watch this video from to see what one family does to stay healthy!

source: National Center for Biotechnology Information,U.S. National Library of Medicine

Spring! Sat, 06 May 2017 08:53:00 +0000 Spring is here and the May showers will soon bring flowers …..and fruits and vegetables. According to half of our plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. How can we make that happen?

Here in central Illinois we have rich soils that will produce wonderful fruits and vegetables with a minimal amount of work. Let's plant a garden. Or toss a few seeds into a pot on your patio. The benefits of gardening are twofold; great exercise and healthy food!

If you are unable to garden, visit your local Farmers' Market. Call your local Extension office for location, dates and times. By purchasing fresh food from your local Farmer's Market you not only benefit yourself and your family nutritionally, you benefit your local community.

According to Ken Meter, PhD. Crossroads Research, if each of us spend just $5.00 per week on local foods grown in Illinois we will create $441,000,000 in "new income" for our state. If you would like to learn more about locally grown produce go to .

We all know that we need to eat "better"; the easiest way to do that is to grow your own or buy local. Here is a quick and easy recipe—Spring is a precious and fleeting season—get out there and enjoy it!

Be Smart, Eat Well & Get Healthy

Sautéed Radishes

1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
1 to 2 bunches radishes (about 1 pound with tops), trimmed and each cut into quarters or halves if small
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (optional)

1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt butter or oil. Add radishes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook 14 to 15 minutes or until radishes are fork-tender and lightly browned.

2. Remove skillet from heat; toss radishes with dill and transfer to warm serving bowl.

    (based on individual servings)
    Calories: 45
    Total Fat: 3 g
    Saturated Fat: 1 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 210 mg
    Carbohydrates: 4 g
    Fiber: 2 g
    Protein: 1 g
Bee Well Community Gardens Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:25:00 +0000 Have you always wanted to garden but need space or knowledge or tools? Come join the gardeners in the Bee Well Community Gardens where we learn and grow!

We have 3 locations this year--Paris, Kansas and Hume!

Informational meetings:
Saturday, April 29, 10:00am, Kansas Village Hall
Thursday, May 4, 6:00pm, Paris Bee Well Garden (behind Lake Ridge Church) * seedlings will be available
Hume garden site-contact Joanie at Front Street Market

Here is your chance to grow your own food--it's free, it's fun, it's awesome!!!!

Should you wash raw meat before cooking? Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:02:00 +0000 Spring is here! As our days are getting longer we want to grill out. Nothing tastes better than a juicy steak or pork chop hot off the grill. Should you wash the raw meat before grilling? For years, it was customary and even recommended to wash raw meat prior to cooking. The idea was that bone chips and bacteria could be washed safely down the drain.

The USDA no longer recommends washing raw meats:

" Some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. However, there are other types of bacteria that could splash onto the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas (sinks, counter tops, cabinets, etc.) can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

Always observe these food safety rules when handling raw meat:

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water.
  • Cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops can be sanitized by using a solution of 1 teaspoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.
  • Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator.

Safe cooking temperatures:

Poultry Products

165° F

Ground Meat

160° F

Prime Rib

130° F

Steak, roast, chops

140° F

USDA safe minimum cooking temperatures

To Safely Marinate Foods:

Marinate in a non-metal container in the refrigerator.

Do not marinate more than 24 hours. (Meat will become mushy if left too long.)

Save some unused marinade to baste food during cooking.

Throw away any leftover marinade.


Marinated Lemon Thyme Chicken or Pork

4 skinned chicken pieces (pork chops)

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

2 cloves garlic, minced

Mix oil, lemon juice, thyme and garlic. Place chicken/pork in shallow container and

cover with mixture. Let sit in refrigerator 30 minutes. Preheat grill or broiler. Cook

chicken/pork until tender and reaches an internal temperature of 165o F (chicken) or

140o F (pork). Serves 4.

Mexicali Marinade

1/3 cup oil 1 teaspoon chili powder

2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup cider vinegar 1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup apple juice 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small saucepan, heat oil and cook garlic 2-3 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients

and heat through, stirring until smooth. Cool in refrigerator. Excellent for tenderizing

less expensive cuts of meat, pork or veal. Marinate strips/cubes of meat 2 hours, chops

or ribs 3 hours, and steaks at least 4 hours prior to cooking. Always marinate foods in

the refrigerator turning meat occasionally.

*recipes from Wellness Ways, University of Illinois Extension

EGGS—zactly Right! Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:48:00 +0000  

Eggs! The wonderful protein –cheap, easy to prepare and versatile! You can poach, boil, coddle, bake or fry them. Fold them into an omelet or bake them in a casserole. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack, eggs are a perfect addition to anyone's diet. Why not eggs?

Here are some tips/facts about eggs:

  • Eggs are an important source of protein, vitamins, antioxidants and essential amino acids.
  • Each egg contains six grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat, (1.5 grams saturated /2 grams mono-unsaturated fat).
  • A large egg contains 185mg cholesterol (in the yolk). To eliminate cholesterol, replace each whole egg with two egg whites.
    (Recent studies have shown that the cholesterol in eggs does not always effect cholesterol in our blood)
  • Fertile eggs are no more nutritious than non-fertile eggs.
  • Eggs are very economical! About 18 cents each!
  • To store keep eggs in carton and place on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator (can be kept 4-5 weeks after the date on the carton)
  • To crack: tap egg firmly on flat surface (kitchen counter).
  • Hitting egg on the edge of a bowl will drive bits of shell into the egg.
  • Cracked/shelled eggs can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 1 year.
  • Egg substitute or egg product can be purchased chilled or frozen. These are pasteurized, flavored, egg whites with added color. They do not contain cholesterol.
  • The color of the shell means nothing---it is actually associated with breed of chicken—all egg are nutritionally identical.
  • Food safety concerns: assume all eggs are infected with Salmonella
  • Cook all eggs to 160 degrees
  • Wash all countertops, utensils with hot soapy water
  • Never use the same utensils for raw eggs and ready to eat foods without washing
  • NEVER allow anyone to eat products containing raw eggs, e.g. cookie dough, uncooked eggnog, protein drinks made with raw eggs, etc.
  • Cook eggs on low to medium heat for best results.
  • Do not add salt to eggs prior to cooking as it may cause watery eggs.

This time of year many families like to dye or color eggs. Be sure to follow food safety guidelines when using boiled eggs. Colored eggs must be refrigerated promptly after the color dries. If using real eggs for an Easter egg hunt make sure the eggs are not out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Or simply discard the eggs when the hunt is complete.

Here are some recommendations for dyeing eggs naturally from the American Egg Board:

Making your own natural colors

Simmer uncooked eggs in water for up to 20 minutes with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of water and one of the following materials.

Material Color

Fresh beets or cranberries, frozen raspberries Pinkish red

Yellow onion skins Orange

Ground turmeric Yellow

Spinach leaves Pale green

Yellow Delicious apple peels Green-gold

Canned blueberries or red cabbage leaves Blue

Strong brewed coffee Beige to brown

  • Ever wonder why your boiled eggs have that green ring around the yolk? This is caused by the suphur in the egg white reacting with the iron in the yolk. This chemical reaction is exaggerated when eggs are cooked too long or at too high a temperature or cooled too slowly. Avoid the green ring by following these directions:

The perfect boiled egg

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Cover, bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Let stand 11-13 minutes. Remove eggs from water. Chill by immersing eggs in ice water before peeling.

Healthier Deviled Eggs

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (optional)


Combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Discard 3 yolks. Add remaining yolks; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Spoon about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture into each egg white half. Cover and chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with paprika and black pepper. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Find more recipes and how to videos on our website:

Just click on the youtube icon!

Cook Frozen Vegetables Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:43:00 +0000 April 6, 2017: Recall Frozen Peas, possible Listeria contamination…..

Another recall on frozen vegetables? What does this mean? Do I have to cook the peas for my pea salad recipe? It means that the vegetables were contaminated with Listeria bacteria at some point in processing. Does it indicate that all vegetables have been contaminated? No, but Listeria is a serious pathogen and can cause illness.

According to : "Pregnant women are approximately 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis." According to the CDC: "Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn"34 For the rest of us symptoms can include" headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches."

Listeria has long been associated with raw milk and unpasteurized soft cheeses. It can also be present in ready to eat deli meats and cheeses and most recently frozen vegetables. Listeria is unusual in that it can grow in refrigerated temperatures that would inhibit growth of other bacteria. It can also live in a biofilm layer on surfaces such as drains and processing equipment.

So, what are we to do? The good news is that Listeria is killed by heat, that means you need to cook those peas (or any other frozen vegetable) before adding them to a salad. Heating foods to 155 degrees F will kill the bacteria and render the food safe.

For more information, contact your local Extension office.


Let's Hear it for Potatoes! Thu, 09 Mar 2017 15:45:00 +0000 March is National Nutrition Month and what better way to celebrate than by debunking the great potato myth! In honor of all the Irish, or those who wish they were, we will talk about the lowly, much maligned potato.

Myth #1: potatoes are fattening. In fact, potatoes are delicious and nutritious! Potatoes are fat-free, cholesterol-free and a good source of Vitamin B6 and dietary fiber. They are also high in Potassium and Vitamin C.

Myth #2: Potatoes are just starch. These mighty tubers are much more than "starch". A medium baked potato provides us with 620 mg of Potassium (that's more than a banana) and 45% of your RDA of Vitamin C. How's that for you "dieters"? If that's not enough, they are gluten free. They also contain iron!

The French were on to something when they called potatoes, pomme de terre or "apple of the earth". These wonderful gifts of the soil are a nutritional powerhouse when cooked properly and eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Now for the bad news—frying potatoes cancels out nearly all of the good. So, fries are for "sometimes" and baked potatoes are for "everyday". Baked potatoes give you all of the aforementioned nutrients with the added bonus of filling you up, the satiety factor. If you eat your baked potato with low-fat sour cream you are eating a 155 calorie healthy side dish. Next time you tell the waitress to "skip the potato", think again and do yourself a favor by ordering the potato!

Nutritional data from:

Here is a healthy low-fat version of a popular potato recipe: Garlicky Roasted Potatoes with Herbs


  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds quartered Yukon gold or red potatoes (about 4 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 475°.
  2. Combine garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside. Drizzle remaining oil evenly over potatoes in a large bowl, tossing well to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 475° for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden. Combine reserved garlic, parsley, and lemon rind in a small bowl; sprinkle garlic mixture evenly over potatoes.

Recipe from: Cooking Light