Okra – you either love this vegetable or hate it or haven’t tried it. But, it IS a healthy food. Okra is in season typically from July through October. It’s most commonly green but there are other varieties such as red. Depending on how you cook it – okra can produce a slimy texture but not always. Deep frying or grilling or pan frying okra gets rid of that slime. Okra boasts a number of essential nutrients.
Katie Pratt is a family farmer in Illinois where they grow corn and soybeans and seed corn. She says farmers DO listen to consumers’ concerns and want them to keep coming. In this Healthy Living, Pratt says the U.S. has among the most stringent ruless and regulations on food safety.
Consumers today want to know how their food is produced and who produced it. Katie Pratt is a family farmer in Illinois and reminds consumers that 95% of farms are family farms. Pratt says there are sound reasons for growing food the way farmers do. Others may disagree with her but Pratt says she does not subscribe to the conspiracy theory that foods produced by companies are harmful or bad.
I asked that questions of Jenneane Schweihofer, Michigan State University meat quality extension educator, who tells me there is no standard for dating on fresh meat packaging. In this healthy living, she explains the reason for those dates and what it can mean to consumers.
Farmers feed their kids, too. Illinois Farm mom Katie Pratt says farmers use antibiotics to keep their animals healthy but there should be no fear that those antibiotics are in your kids’ lunch meat. Pratt takes on other consumer fears from the farmers perspective in this Healthy Living program about safe and healthy lunches for kids.
When it comes to vitamin supplements some of them can be toxic and make us sick if taken in large amounts. The main culprits are the fat soluable vitamins, D and A, and to a lesser degree vitamins E an K. Ruth McDonald, a nutritionist with the University of Iowa, says we need to pay attention to those especially if we are consuming more foods that are enriched and/or fortified with extra vitamins and minerals.
A nutritionist says we should consider the supplements in our foods so we aren’t getting too much of a good thing. Ruth McDonald is Professor and Chair of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. She says the numbers of foods fortified and enriched with vitamins and minerals are increasing and our overall intake of those foods plus any supplements should be considered carefully so we don’t take in too much.
Sell by and Use by dates are only regulated on one food product and that’s infant formula. So, what do they mean on other foods? Londa Nwadike, an extension food safety specialist with the University of Missouri and Kansas State, explains. She says infant formula is the only food regulated by the federal government that must be dated for safety and nutrition.
A Missouri farm mom says there are many healthy foods available for children’s lunches – no matter how they were produced. Chris Chinn is a fifth generation farmer and in this program she explains “organic” and “GMO”s to try and demystify them when it comes to choosing healthy foods for your kids.
Moving beyond canned foods at food pantries. For the Food Pantry Gardening program at the University of Missouri – sharing seeds and starter plants with food pantry recipients is a way to help them grow fresh produce of their own. Bill McElvey is project coordinator for the Grow Well Missouri Project and says there’s a lot of growing going on.