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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Stop the Spread of Misinformation!

We all have our pet peeves in life, and I have recently realized that my biggest pet peeve is the distribution of misinformation. It's disheartening to see all of the bogus and simply false information looming on the internet, especially pertaining to nutrition and diet. Much of the information we see and hear today can be confusing and contradicting. It can be frustrating not knowing what is fact, and what is fiction. But the worst part is not those that make up these falsehoods or turn the words of a credible expert, but rather that it is our own selves that often spread these unreliable claims. Social media, including facebook, twitter, and pinterest are pathways of sharing information, both good information and bad information. While it may be unintentional, it can corrupt our thoughts and beliefs and lead to negative outcomes. Use the following tips to help you learn how to judge the reliability of advice, particularly nutrition advice.

· If it is an article online, check to see if it posted on a credible website. News sources with names such as "Poor John Doe's News" or "Huffy Puffy Post" (yes, I made these names up) contradict scientific integrity. Look for credible news sources, including those from educational or government institutions.

· Some web sites will have links to other online sites, which may have supporting data. Check these websites for credibility.

· Look to see when the website was updated last. A reliable website is updated often in order to offer the most current advice.

· Ask yourself who wrote it and why? Look for the author's qualifications. You may be able to identify them as a qualified nutrition expert by reviewing their credentials and their affiliations. Also, look at why it may have been written. There may be an ulterior motive, such as selling a product. Also, some companies may conduct their own research and report only the findings that make them look good, resulting in bias.

· If you are questioning a certain study, you probably should! If the study only includes 40 or 50 people, it may not represent the rest of the population. Also, you should question how many studies have been done on that same subject. It takes numerous studies of repeated findings and years of scientific research to reach a true conclusion. This is why health organizations and governments may appear to be conservative.

Remember, poor research is not just found on the internet but can also be spread through television, newspapers and magazines.  Television reporters and authors of magazine and newspaper articles have limited time and space for their stories and articles. Some of them will report on only bits and pieces of information while leaving out other specifics.  Don't simply believe everything you read; put on your thinking caps and seek out credible, research-based nutrition expertise.  With these tips in mind, you are now ready to spread reliable information, and stop the spread of untrustworthy advice!


You'll love this spread! Try it in a pita with grilled steak and onions or serve with pita chips.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

1 medium eggplant

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup red onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon salt


Preheat broiler. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and slice a few holes in eggplant to allow it to steam. Broil eggplant for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes with tongs. Skin should be charred and flesh should be soft. Transfer to a cutting board. Place lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut eggplant lengthwise and scoop out flesh into the bowl, tossing to prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir until it is absorbed. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with pita chips or as a sandwich spread. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 12 servings


Nutritional Analysis per ¼ cup serving: 75 Calories, 6 grams fat, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 129 milligrams sodium


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