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Know How, Know More

Connecting You with Your Food, Farmers and Community
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Top 5 Visits for 2015

The new year brings new opportunities for learning and exploring. This year, get out and visit these top 5 people and places to help you connect to your food, health, and community.

1. Visit a Registered Dietitian (RD)

Registered dietitians are food and nutrition experts. Whether you are looking to lose weight, manage or prevent health conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol, or get your questions answered about eating healthy, an RD is your go-to.

You can meet with an RD through hospitals and clinics in outpatient settings for education and counseling. These appointments are very important in helping you reach your health goals. Since many insurance companies will cover visits, ask your doctor for a referral to see an RD.

You can also informally speak with an RD. Community dietitians (like this author) are a great resource for answering your questions, from health topics to cooking to food safety and more. Many teach classes in the community you can attend.

2. Visit a Farm

Did you know we have buffalo and turkey farms in central Illinois? And we are the top state in the US for pumpkin production.

While corn and soy dominate the fields here in Illinois, this year, discover what farming means in your local community. Illinois grows so much more.

Check out local apple orchards, pumpkin farms, strawberry farms, and other fruit and veggie producers. Meet your local farmers where they are or talk with them at a farmer's market. Get to know your food and your farmer. And join us on upcoming farm tours from UI Extension in 2015.

3. Visit Your Garden

Not only can you buy food from others, you can grow your own. If you have a garden, but have neglected it these last few years, revive it for the spring. Or, have you thought about growing your own food but never got started? This is your year to try! Even if you start with a small container garden, you are well on your way.

Look no further for information and help for your garden than UI Extension. Upcoming classes in 2015 will get you there.

4. Visit Your Fit Self

This is your year to fit in fitness. Getting in shape is a yearly resolution for many, but not often one we accomplish with consistency.

You either make time for it or you don't. Yes, some days your schedule becomes less predictable and you cannot fit it in, but take steps that move you in the right direction. Remember, just like your food choices, missing a day or two of fitness will not make or break your health. The choices you make throughout the weeks and months matter more.

You decide what works for you. Be SMART about it!

  • Buy a set of hand weights to use on Mondays and Thursdays for 30 minutes each time after dinner.
  • Take a walk outside (or on an inside track when weather is bad) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 20 minutes before work.
  • If you work better being accountable to someone else, ask a friend or family member to join you on walks, join a weekly group fitness class, or make an appointment with a trainer.

5. Visit UI Extension

Join us at UI Extension. Come see us in our offices and learn at programs and events. We regularly offer classes on a wide number of topics for youth and adults. And we get out in the community, so say hello if you see us teaching for a local group or business.

Got a question on a particular subject or about an upcoming class? We answer calls, emails, and in-person questions and comments.

For the latest list of classes, call your local office or visit our website:

Recipe Corner

Spiced Beef and Cabbage (Serves 4)

This twist on beef and cabbage adds in warm, smoky spices great for cold weather. While turmeric is a little pricy, you can find many recipes to use it in. If you do not like rice, try this recipe over cooked whole grain noodles or barley.

2 small shallots or 1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 lb ground beef (85% lean)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
4 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1/2 a medium head)
3 medium tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
1 cup dry brown rice, cooked

1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned and crumbled. Drain excess fat from beef and return mixture to pot.
2. Stir in salt, turmeric, and ground red pepper until combined. Spread cabbage and tomatoes on top of beef mixture. Cover pot with lid and cook undisturbed for 5-10 minutes (cabbage will start to wilt).
3. Stir cabbage and tomatoes into beef mixture to combine. Continue to cook another 10 minutes uncovered, or until cabbage reaches desired softness. Spoon beef mixture over cooked rice and sprinkle with peanuts.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 550 calories, 25g fat, 680mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 31g protein

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.

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