Nourishing News with Sara
Eating Right to Reduce Food Waste
By, Sara Laite, MPH, RD, LRD
Ramsey County Extension Agent
It’s estimated that Americans throw out billions of pounds of food each year at home or when eating out. In fact, wasted food in our own homes accounts for up to 40 percent of the total food waste. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to reduce our wasteful ways.
Plan meals based on the foods you already have on hand. Look in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry for foods that need to be used up. Write a list of the ingredients you still need. Buy only the amount of perishable foods that can be eaten or frozen within a few days.
Get creative with leftovers. Transform meals into soups, salads or sandwiches by cutting up leftover veggies and cooked meats.
Master the shelf life of foods. “Use by”, “Best by” and “Best Before” dates are found on foods such as condiments. They usually don’t need to be refrigerated until opened and in many cases are safe to eat after the date as long as they have been stored properly.
“Sell by” dates mean that the store needs to sell the product by that date. It is possible these foods may be used a few days after, as long as they were stored at a safe temperature.
Practice good food safety. Eat leftovers within 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3-4 months. Don’t risk eating or drinking anything you suspect has spoiled. Use the FIFO method of food storage – “first in, first out”. Place foods so that products with closer dates in the pantry and highly perishable items in the refrigerator are up front.
- Be mindful of portion sizes.
- Order smaller sizes of foods. Ask for a to-go container at the start of a meal.
- Learn how to properly can or dehydrate foods at home.
- Donate extra foods that are still safe to eat to a local food pantry.
- Consider composting. Check out our publication, FN1903, at www.ag.ndsu.edu for great tips to get your family composting.
This rainbow cabbage salad is as pleasing on your eyes as it is on your stomach. Loaded with a colorful mix of vegetables and flavors, this recipe is a great way to use up extra produce and is guaranteed to earn a repeat spot in your monthly menu.
Rainbow Cabbage Salad
3 c. coleslaw mix
½ small head red cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 c. carrots, shredded
1 c. edamame, shelled
½ c. almonds, sliced or slivered
½ c. cilantro, chopped
¼ c. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
In a large bowl combine the coleslaw mix, cabbage, pepper, carrots, edamame, almonds and cilantro. Add the dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Pour dressing on top and toss to coat. Makes 12 servings. Each serving has 90 calories, 4.5g fat, 4g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 3g fiber and 115mg sodium.
For more information contact NDSU Extension Ramsey County at 701-662-7027. Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Eating Right and Reduce Food Waste”, 2021.
Family and Community Wellness Agent
NDSU Extension, Ramsey County
North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension FCS Professionals Help Area Residents to “Live Well”
Health is a lot more than how one looks and feels. Conversations about health should include all eight dimensions or areas of wellness—that is mental, social, emotional, spiritual, financial, occupational, environmental, and intellectual. That’s the focus of Living Well Month, a national event in March promoting overall wellness and the education provided by Family and Consumer Sciences professionals to improve the lives of people, families, and communities.
“The NDEAFCS Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences works through the NDSU Cooperative Extension Service to offer information that will help families achieve a positive, healthy lifestyle,” says Sara Laite, Family and Community Wellness Agent in Ramsey County. “Whether you are trying to manage your diabetes through meal planning and exercise, make decisions about health care and insurance, or get tips on effective parenting techniques, Extension FCS has a research-based answer.
To make every month a “Living Well Month,” consider these tips:
- Engage children in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity. Play sports or recreational games, turn on some music and dance, hula hoop, or make an obstacle course. Take a walk or a bike ride in your neighborhood. All movement counts.
- Start planning a garden now to work in the spring and summer. Gardening is great physical activity. This activity could also nurture your mental and environmental wellness.
- Rethink your drink. The average adult human body is approximately 60 percent water. Water regulates every living cell’s process and chemical reactions. It transports nutrients and oxygen. Water also helps to maintain normal bowel habits and prevent constipation. Reduce the amount of soda and fruit drinks consumed daily.
- Eat a variety of healthful foods. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables every day. Most people need to increase their fruit and vegetable intake. Have a sliced banana on cereal for breakfast. Enjoy a sandwich loaded with vegetables at lunch. At dinner, steam some vegetables and prepare a fruit parfait with yogurt for dessert. Try new fruits and vegetables. If there’s a kind you don’t like, try preparing it in a different way. See www.choosemyplate.gov for more information about nutrition for yourself and members of your family.
- Read, read, read. Go to the library and check out books. Keep the mental stimulation flowing throughout the year regardless of your age. This will stimulate your intellectual health.
- Talk to a friend or start a journal to get your thoughts and feelings off your chest. Staying in check with emotional health can be tough, but it’s important.
- Check out parenting, finance, nutrition and/or food preparation classes offered by your Extension office. See https://www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/extension for more information about upcoming offerings.
- Maintain a healthy home. Check that your smoke detector is working correctly and test for the presence of Radon. Help manage allergies and/or asthma by cleaning and vacuuming regularly to reduce allergy triggers in the home. Avoid accidental poisonings by keeping medications locked up, and cleaning agents and other poisons out of reach of children.
- Keep your family finances in check. Track your expenses and update your budget regularly. Eat at home often because meals outside of home usually cost more. Plan your menus and use coupons as a planning tool. Creating and sticking to a budget, along with paying of debt are great first steps to financial wellness.
All eight of the dimensions or areas of wellness are connected and support each other. Evaluate your overall wellness and take small steps to improve your health during Living Well Month and all year long.
Extension Family and Consumer Science professionals are part of a nationwide educational organization funded through the Land Grant University System and United States Department of Agriculture. Local Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professionals provide practical,
relevant, non-biased, research-based information.
NEAFCS is an equal opportunity/affirmative action association. NEAFCS values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation. Membership is not by invitation.
Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Moving Forward
By, Sara Laite, MPH, RD, LRD
Ramsey County Extension Agent
Happy New Year, 2022! Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? Exercising more regularly seems to be one of the most common resolution set. Unfortunately, just 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. If you are one of the many looking to be more fit, check out these tips inspired by ideas from the Mayo Clinic.
Set simple, doable goals. Take small activity steps because it can add up to a big change in your behavior. Choose a realistic goal, like exercising 20 minutes 2-3 times a week.
Allow yourself time. Research indicates that 3 weeks of maintaining a new activity are needed for it to become a habit. Sometimes it can take much longer. Be patient with yourself!
Make it fun. Find an activity you like the most. Exercise does not have to take place in a gym. In the winter, try walking indoors, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
Make physical activity part of your daily routine. Try to move naturally without having to think about it, such as taking the stairs at work.
Track your progress. Whether it’s online or in a paper fitness journal, track your improvements to keep you going. Brief entries can be logged into your daily planner or on one of the many fitness tracking apps available.
Find people, whether it is your family, friends, coworkers or neighbors, who will encourage you to stay on track. Ask them to hold you accountable!
Reward yourself. Treat yourself with whatever you enjoy, such as a massage or tickets to a concert. Try to avoid decadent food rewards.
Be flexible – life happens! Get back on track as soon as possible. Don’t guilt yourself!
Focus on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone faster, fitter, or more flexible than you.
Break it up. Try doing more mini-sessions during the day instead of one long workout.
Make it convenient. If time is an obstacle, use exercise videos at home. If you are too tired at the end of the day, try an early morning exercise routine.
Remember, physical activity is important for good health. While it may not always be easy, finding ways to make physical activity a regular part of our lives is worth the time and effort.
If you’re looking for a healthy snack to have around while you’re working on your fitness goals, try these energy bites. Full of whole grains and healthy fats, they are sure to give you the boost of energy you need to keep moving forward!
1 cup oats
½ cup nut butter
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
¼ cup dried fruit
¼ cup nuts
2 T. flaxseed
2 T. chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up. Roll into tablespoon-size bites. Per serving: 70 calories, 3.5g fat, 2g protein, 9g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 35mg sodium.
For more information contact NDSU Extension Ramsey County at 701-662-7027 or check out the NDSU Extension website at www.ag.ndsu.edu.
Source: NDSU Extension, Nourish, 2022.
We were recently invited to an outdoor potluck. After hearing of all the delicious and decadent items already planned to be brought by the other guests, I couldn’t help but think that we were missing something on the menu. I immediately offered to bring a veggie tray with a variety of low-fat dips and hummus.
Although we still plan to indulge a bit, it will be nice to have a healthy option available to curb the chance of going overboard and having a stomach ache by the end of the day.
When planning a spring/summer event, try to incorporate at least three different food groups into the menu. If it’s a potluck, don’t be afraid to give guests potential options, including healthy items.
MyPlate includes five food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, protein and dairy. When deciding on your menu, think how you can include at least three of these food groups. Here are a few ways to add nutrition and variety to your menu:
- Have a sandwich bar that includes whole wheat bread options, colorful veggie toppings, and low-fat condiments.
- Include a colorful veggie tray or incorporate them into salads.
- Try fruit parfaits instead of cake and other goodies for a sweet treat.
- Replace higher-fat sour cream and mayo with plain yogurt in dips and condiments.
- When baking, swap half of the flour for whole wheat flour and half of the oil for applesauce.
Make food fun. Get the kids involved in the event planning. They can make the fruit and yogurt parfaits or make the good ole “bugs on a log” for a fun treat. A trail mix bar would be a fun addition!
Remember to stay active. Plan an outdoor scavenger hunt for the kids, have a corn hole tournament, or go for a walk while visiting with family and friends.
Here’s a refreshing treat made from seasonal fresh strawberries. When fruits and veggies are “in season”, they are at their best quality and often best price.
Strawberry Italian Ice
¾ c. thawed 100% apple juice from concentrate
1-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Fresh mint, optional
In a blender, combine the apple juice concentrate, lemon juice and strawberries; cover and process until blended. Pour into an ungreased 8-inch-square dish. Cover and freeze for 1 ½ to two hours or until partially set. Spoon into a large bowl; beat on medium speed for one to two minutes. Return to dish; freeze for two to three hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with mint if desired.
Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings. Each serving has 45 calories, 0g fat, 0g protein, 12g carbohydrate, 1g fiber and 0mg sodium