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Guest Post: Have a Healthy Christmas!

8760623100_c7f6553d6b_bBy Patsy Watkins MPS, CFCS

Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, UT/TSU Extension, Williamson County

Every family has traditional holiday foods. Instead of using the holidays as an excuse for high-fat, high calorie feasting, use these 5 easy tips to remake your holiday favorites with good health in mind.

Holiday Tip #1: Control Portions

Set the holiday table with dinner plates 9 inches or so in diameter. No one will notice a decrease in portion sizes when you use smaller plates and glasses. Cut cake into 18 servings, make 4 dozen smaller cookies instead of 3 dozen larger ones, and use 4-ounce glasses for your favorite sparkling punch.

Holiday Tip #2: Double Up on Vegetables

Serve vitamin-packed, lower carbohydrate vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or broccoli in large bowls. Put higher calorie mashed potatoes and winter squashes in smaller bowls and use a smaller serving spoon. Your family will unknowingly serve themselves smaller portions. Instead of meatballs and cheese logs, feature vegetable appetizers like marinated mushrooms, tomato bruschetta, roasted asparagus, etc.

Holiday Tip #3: Give Healthful Gifts

Give homemade gifts that are made with healthful ingredients. Bake breads that feature whole grains, send a basket of fresh fruit instead of a box of candy, or tie a bow around a bag of nuts instead of cookies.

Holiday Tip #4: Lighten Up

Lighten up favorite recipes. Use fat-free evaporated skim milk instead of cream in custard pies and sauces, boost flavor in casseroles with spices instead of butter or salt, and bake foods instead of frying them. No one will notice the changes!

Holiday Tip #5: Make Fruit the Star

Give colorful fruit a starring role. Serve fresh berries for a holiday breakfast, include fresh fruit such as pineapple, mango, kiwi, and red grapes on bamboo skewers for a holiday buffet. Offer dates and grapes instead of cheese and crackers, etc.

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Guest Post: The Thanksgiving Turkey

By Patsy Watkins MPS, CFCS

Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, UT/TSU Extension, Williamson County

Thanksgiving is a festival harvest holiday meant to celebrate and be thankful for whatever you feel you’ve been blessed with (good health, family, friends, raises, completing a goal, etc…).  And in its current form, Thanksgiving is filled with wonderful (and delicious!) traditions, such as watching the Macy’s Day Parade, or football games, and cooking a giant feast with cranberries, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and the famous Turkey.  4255257070_f1ce2e9dd3_zOne tradition associated with the turkey is the wishbone (which all turkeys and chickens have), where two people each take hold of the ends of the bone, they make a wish, and pull!  Whoever has the larger part of the bone gets their wish. Turkey for Thanksgiving has become such a famous tradition that Thanksgiving is even sometimes called “Turkey Day.”  Each year, the President of the United States pardons a live turkey at a White House ceremony, allowing the turkey to live out the rest of its life on a farm.

Having a cooked turkey is a staple tradition of Thanksgiving but there are some important things to know when cooking your Thanksgiving bird this year.turkey

  • Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds when thawing your turkey in the refrigerator.
  • When thawing in cold water, allow approximately 30 minutes per pound and change the water every 30 minutes.
  • When roasting your turkey, set the oven temperature no lower than 325° A whole turkey is safe to eat when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F measured with a food thermometer.
  • Always wash hands, utensils, the sink, and anything else that comes into contact with the raw turkey and its juices.
  • For fresh turkeys, allow 1 pound of turkey per person, buy your turkey only 1-2 days before you plan to cook it, keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook, and do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys.
  • For frozen turkeys, allow 1 pound of turkey per person and keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it. Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely; however cook within a year for best quality!
  • When storing your leftovers, discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours, 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F. Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate in shallow containers. Eat refrigerated leftovers within 3 to 4 days after initial cooking.

Sources:

Kids National Geographic

www.fsis.usda.gov

Guest Post: Flu Prevention

By Patsy Watkins MPS, CFCS

Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, UT/TSU Extension, Williamson County

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.stop flu

All types of flu have similar symptoms that include:
•A 100°F or higherfever
•Coughing or sorethroat
•A runny or stuffynose
•Headaches and/orbody aches
•Chills
•Fatigue
•Nausea, vomiting,and/or diarrhea

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold and a test can determine whether you have the cold or flu.

Everyday steps that can help stop the spread of germs are washing hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub; avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth; get plenty of sleep and exercise, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy foods; and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Getting Vaccinated each season is the single best way to prevent the flu. The people who should get vaccinated are people who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, pregnant women, and people who are 65 years or older, and everyone 6 months of age or older should get the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get vaccinated as soon as the flu season vaccine becomes available because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

 

Sources:

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