Healthier foods at our nation’s parks? Yes, but what about our favorite things like hot dogs and ice cream? Healthier food standards are being adopted by the National Park Service as part of its Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative. National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis says our hot dogs and ice cream are NOT going away but what is coming to food service at national parks is a variety of healthy food options. Menus will include items such as fish tacos and yogurt parfaits.
Planning for canning will help keep your canned foods safe. This season, fresh fruits and vegetable production from the garden will be delayed because of all the wet weather, but whenever the time comes to can, University of Missouri Extension specialist Vera Massey says it is best to be prepared. Massey says check your canning equipment thoroughly. Under-processing of foods can produce bacteria that causes botulism.
Sometimes simple changes can make a big difference when it comes to transforming our eating habits. Here are some healthy substitutions to consider making: In place of sour cream use plain low fat yogurt, plain non-fat Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream. For Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baking, use half the fat the recipe calls for and use applesauce for the other half. With most substituted foods, you will notice little to no change in flavor. Experiment and find what you like.
A vegetable that looks like a potato is gaining in popularity. Jicama (Hick-uh-muh). It’s not spelled the way it sounds – it’s j-i-c-a-m-a and it is a root tuber from a vine that stems from South America and Mexico.
It looks like a potato but is shaped more like a turnip – Jicama’s coarse, thin skin is brown but is not edible so in that sense it’s not like a potato. It is praised for its low calorie content and high amount of fiber.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday, April 17, highlighted for reporters the benefits of his Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act.
“First it would give a shot to small and mid-size farmers and emphasize stronger ties between growers and consumers,” said Senator Brown. “Second it would invest in local economies by improving crop insurance products for small and diversified family farms, it would invest in infrastructure for farmers to aggregate, store and distribute their products and finally it would improve consumer knowledge and access to fresh, healthy food by providing incentives for seniors and low income families who rely on SNAP (food stamps) and it would remove barrios so schools can more easily purchase local foods.”
The Senator says linking Ohio producers with Ohio consumers is common sense, adding that by increasing fresh, local foods, markets for Ohio’s agricultural products would be expanded while improving health, creating jobs and strengthening the state’s economy.
Potatoes with even more antioxidants are under development. What gives the flesh of plants their color? Carotenoids are natural pigments that are synthesized by plants that give them there color. And those carotenoids are among the many antioxidants in fruits and vegetables that in the body have been linked to chronic disease prevention. The US Department of Agriculture’s research service says it has bred yellow potatoes with carotenoid levels that are two to three times higher than those of the Yukon Gold yellow-fleshed potato variety.
Fiber is among the properties in foods recommended for a heart healthy diet. Food and Family program director Suzanne Stulka with South Dakota State University Extension reminds us about those fiber rich foods – fruits, vegetables and whole grains. High fiber diets are associated with lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other conditions. But how does it work in the body?
What are the best foods and drinks for inducing sleep and what are the worst? Fitness Magazine has a list of the top five best and worst – some of them are obvious and some of them are not.
Signup in the USDA Planting Transferability Pilot Program (PTPP) is underway at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.
The program allows farmers an opportunity to diversify their crop production and better use their base acres under the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) or Acreage Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) by planting approved fruits and vegetables for processing.
The signup deadline for PTPP is April 5. Ohio has 4,000 acres eligible for 2013.
Following healthy diet guidelines may be easier if there are easy to follow recipes that guide you. Not everyone likes to cook but the USDA and the Partnership for a Healthier America have named nearly 20 websites where you can find recipes identified as nutritious and meeting the USDA MyPlate guidelines. They’ve also got a collection of MyPlate based recipes on a new Pinterest page – and at ChooseMyPlate.