rotating images of people and food

What's for Dinner

Friday, July 27, 2012 by: Haley Quade

Carbs are not the Enemy

Carbohydrates get a bad reputation when it comes to diabetes and even dieting. I have heard people say “If I stop eating carbohydrates, I won’t have diabetes anymore,” or “I am not eating any carbohydrates because I am trying to lose weight.” What are these people thinking?? Carbohydrates are not an evil source of food. In fact we need carbohydrates to give us energy to walk, talk, work, and do the things we need to on a daily basis. Without carbohydrates, our brain and nervous system cannot function properly. Our bodies use carbohydrates to make glucose (blood sugar) which is what gives us energy. The glucose can either be used immediately or stored in your liver and muscles to be used later. As you may know, carbohydrates are in foods like pasta, bread, rice, and cereal, but some people are surprised to find that they are also in milk, fruits, vegetables, and foods with added sugars. There are two types of carbohydrates that are named for their chemical structure: complex and simple. Complex carbohydrates consist of starch and dietary fiber which are found in whole grain breads and cereals and starchy vegetables. Glucose is stored as starch. Fiber is a substance in plants that slows absorption of sugar and helps manage blood sugar levels which is especially helpful in diabetes. Fiber is also beneficial in making you feel full and preventing overeating. Simple carbohydrates can be added sugars found in processed and refined foods but also include natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and milk products. The simple sugars of refined grains can raise your blood sugar, increase your triglyceride levels and body weight, and worsen dental health. So what’s the deal with carbohydrates? Limit concentrated sweets like cookies, cakes, and soda, and eat more whole grains and natural sugars for beneficial health effects.
Friday, July 27, 2012 by: Haley Quade

Eating on Vacation

It is summertime, and you know what that means…VACATION! Everyone loves going on vacation. You get to relax, enjoy different scenery, and forget about all the stresses in life. One thing you shouldn’t forget when vacationing is following your diet. We are all guilty of wanting to cut loose on vacation and eat everything in sight but completely disregarding your typical eating patterns can easily add back some pounds you worked so hard to get off. There are several tips you can follow to keep from going overboard in the food department while still enjoying meals on your vacation. Try to avoid fast food stops. Instead go to the grocery store and stock your mini fridge up with fresh fruits and vegetables, sliced turkey, low-fat milk, and whole grain bread. Walk everywhere when travelling instead of taking a car, bus, or subway. Burning extra calories is especially helpful if you eat more on vacation than you are used to at home. Take along healthy snacks while sightseeing to avoid making impromptu stops at convenience stores for candy or chips as snacks when you get hungry. Take granola bars, dried fruits and nuts, and bottled water. Avoid eating late, or if you do, make your bigger meal earlier in the day so you do not overeat at night. Research restaurants and their menus in the area ahead of time to pick healthier places to eat. Follow portion sizes that are the size of your fist to keep from eating double what your body needs. Order foods the way you want them in the restaurant, such as requesting no sauce or cheese or having it put on the side. Split a meal with a friend or get an appetizer as your meal. Try to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to get your daily fiber intake and to feel fuller so you do not over-indulge at meals. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel comfortable. The biggest key to following a diet on vacation (and really anywhere in life) is….MODERATION! Sample the foods instead of feasting on them all the time. Remember, you are on vacation, so enjoy yourself! Don’t deprive yourself of something you really want, just be conscious of how much and how often you are stepping outside of your diet. Don’t forget, water can be your best friend and keep you from drinking your calories too!
Monday, July 23, 2012 by: Haley Quade

Picky Eaters

Hi everyone! My name is Haley Quade, and I am a Ball State Dietetic Intern finishing up my internship at Purdue Extension. I am so excited to be here and to learn and teach people about nutrition! I just moved from Indianapolis where I lived with my sister, her husband, and their three children. My favorite part of the day was when we sat down and ate dinner as a family. I always ate everything on my plate because I love food and will eat just about anything. My niece and nephew, on the other hand, are some picky eaters! They love chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese but would not eat fresh, grilled chicken or delicious pasta dishes. Sometimes they would eat a food and love it one day, but the next time we had it, they claimed they did not like it before they tried it. My sister, her husband, and I always thought of ways to convince them to try their food, such as saying their favorite cartoon character eats it, saying they won’t be able to play if they don’t have enough energy from eating their food, and comparing it to foods they already love (“It’s just like macaroni and cheese!”), among countless other examples. I know tons of kids (and even adults!) who are picky eaters, but how do we convince them to try new foods, especially when it comes to not liking foods that are so good for you and your body? How can we “trick” people into eating those important, nutritious foods? Whether you or someone in your family is the picky eater, there are ways to think outside the box. One idea is trying foods more than once. Just because they did not like a certain food the first time they tried it, doesn’t mean they will never like it. Our taste buds are always changing which is why we may like some foods as adults that we despised as kids. From my personal experience, I never liked pineapple when I was a kid. I had tried it several times throughout my childhood and going into adulthood. My third year of college, I decided to try it again at a work party, and low and behold, I loved it! Pineapple is now one of my favorite fruits! I NEVER thought I would say that. Another tip is trying to incorporate foods into recipes where someone might not realize they are in there, such as finely cutting up green peppers and mixing them in your pasta sauce or adding different fruits to a smoothie. Adding these extra nutrient packed ingredients will be helpful in giving you the vitamins and minerals you need to help your body function at its best. I also tried a smoothie at an event one time that was made with greek yogurt, pears, apples, and fresh spinach…yes, I said spinach! It did not sound very appetizing to me, but I tried it anyways and loved it! Everyone else who tried it liked it too! It just goes to show that you don’t always have to be a picky eater, sometimes you just have to get creative!
Monday, July 23, 2012 by: Haley Quade

Exercising Can Be Fun??

We all get to that point. It’s time to go to the gym, and you think of every excuse in the book not to go. “I have too much homework.” “I’ve had a rough day.” “I will do it tomorrow when I have more time.” “I am too tired.” I have been there before, and I still get that way sometimes. Something that has changed drastically in the past year for me, though, is that I actually enjoy working out now. You heard me, I have FUN working out! You may think I’m crazy, but I have made a lot of changes when it comes to exercising that has helped me stay on track. In the past I would do really well for about a month or two with working out but then would get bored with the same routine and quit working out until I mustered up the motivation to get back into it. It was like a vicious cycle that I always repeated. Last year I got a Zumba Wii game for my birthday and instantly loved it. I’ve always loved to dance, so I was not surprised that I liked it but what shocked me was how much more eager I was to exercise and stick with it on a regular basis. My problem has always been getting bored with working out which causes me to stop doing it. By realizing this issue, I have started switching up my workouts and trying some new things to prevent me from falling off the wagon again. When I was in Indy I found a really great deal for workout classes. I could try any type of class that was included in the package. I took tons of live zumba classes, salsa lessons, and also tried boxing. Not only was I excited to be trying new exercises, but I was also working all kinds of muscles in my body I had never worked before. They were some of the most fun and effective workouts I have ever done, and I met some great people who motivated me to do better. I also love playing volleyball, so I got some friends together to play some games. I now realize that I can enjoy working out and that there are so many different options you are bound to find something you like. If the gym isn’t your type of environment, try something else! Go swimming, play tennis, go on walks with your family, or take some exercise classes. The key to success is finding what workouts are the best for you and trying something new if you get bored. Who knows, you may end up loving exercising too!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 by: cjones

Fruits and Vegetables in Season

Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that are great for our health. We all have our favorite but they aren’t always in season year round and eating fresh fruits and vegetables not in season can get expensive. Of course there are other options like getting canned or frozen but sometimes the flavor is the best when eating fresh. So it’s time to branch out and find some fruits or vegetables like you like during each season. This will also help provide you with a variety of nutrients found in different fruits and vegetables and can help cut back on the price. Vegetables in season during the winter are broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, onions, radishes, and winter squash. Fruits in season during the winter are clementines, grapefruit, kiwis, pears, tangerines, and lemons. During the Spring you can try a variety of vegetables like artichokes, asparagus, peas, rhubarb, and spinach. For spring fruits try apricots, cherries, navel oranges, and strawberries. Vegetables to try in the summer are bell peppers, beets, corn, egg plant, and green beans. For fresh in season fruits during the summer try avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, grapes, mangoes, and limes. During the Fall vegetables in season are brussel sprouts, mushrooms, cauliflower, okra, chilies, edamame, pumpkin, and zucchini. For fall fruit ideas try apples, cranberries, pomegranates, or pears. Trying new fruits and vegetables can be fun for the whole family! Get the kids involved by letting them each pick out a new fruit or vegetable each season! Don’t give up on trying a certain vegetable just because you didn’t like it in the past. Try cooking it in a different way! You never know you may end up liking a fruit or vegetable you never thought you would like.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 by: cjones

Eating Healthy on the Go

Everyone is busy these days and convenience has become an important part of daily life. Having the time to eat a home cooked meal with the family around the table is not as common as it use to be. Many people find themselves grabbing an easy to go snack or fast food for a family meal. Along with that many think it’s impossible to eat healthy on the go. For example my husband works 24 hour shifts and is on the road a lot. Sometimes by the time he gets to eat dinner it is very late at night after most restaurants have closed. His major complaint is that he can’t eat healthy because he is always on the go. The reality is that yes, it can be difficult to eat healthy away from home but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips on how to eat healthy when you’re on the go. Plan ahead for times when you have to eat out. Most restaurants have their menu with nutrient information posted online. Think about the restaurants you like to eat at or, in my husband’s case, the restaurants open during the time you are looking to eat. Then check out the restaurants website ahead of time. Become familiar with healthy cooking terms like steamed, grilled, baked, or broiled. Restaurants may offer healthier food options like low fat or fat free dressings, sour cream, or cheese. They may also carry whole grain options for bread or noodles. Keep in mind to ask about these items. When ordering remember to eat a balanced diet from several food groups. Adding a small side salad or apple slices can help create a balanced meal when ordering a sandwich with some type of meat and cheese. Ask if they have a lunch portion. Another option, like I mentioned in my last posting, is to ask for a to go container. Then put half of your food in the container for a later date. When portions are large enough you can also share an entree with a friend. These options can help reduce the portion size. Watch out for sauces on sandwiches or for dipping. These can be both high in sodium and calories. Stay away from the extras. Some restaurants try to “up sell”. This requires the waiter or waitress to ask if you would like to add extras to you meal like sour cream, bacon, and cheese. Not only will you end up spending more money but you will end up eating a lot more calories as well. Finally, take your time to eat. When you eat too fast you don’t give your body enough time to register that you are full. Another trick to eating healthy on the go is making nutritious snacks that don’t need refrigerated. For example, make a trail mix. This can be made out of anything you would like, for an example, Chex cereal , pretzels, raisins, a variety of nuts or seeds, or dried fruit. You can make it in a large batch and then separate it in to individualized serving size bags so they are easy to grab on the go. Have a bowl on the counter full of fresh fruit like apples, oranges, or bananas. These fruits are not only nutritious but easy to grab on the go. Eating healthy away from home is possible and can be made easier with these tips.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 by: cjones

New Years Resolution

Having a hard time coming up with a New Year’s resolution or tired of using the same old resolution every year? Instead of choosing the usual, lose ten pounds or stop eating sweets, try making your resolution to be the healthiest you can be! You’ll find that by setting this resolution you might complete some of the resolutions you’ve set for yourself in the past without realizing it! So now you may be thinking, where do I even begin? For starters eat smart, throw some exercise in to your weekly routine, and think prevention . So let’s start with healthy eating. Keep it simple. First, think about adding variety in your diet. Everyone finds those go to food items that they always choose. Change it up! Try foods you haven’t eaten before and pick foods with a variety of colors. Attempt some different cooking methods, like roasting, steaming, or braising. Add flavor to your foods with an assortment of herbs and spices. Next think about eating smaller portions. Portions served at restaurants are not one serving. So when you eat out ask for a to go box at the beginning of the meal. Take half of the food and put in the box for another day. This will help you control portion sizes and stop you from eating so much food you feel stuffed. Also don’t think about foods as being off limits. Cutting foods you crave out of your diet completely can cause you to over eat these foods if you happen to give in. Instead allow yourself to have the foods you crave every once in a while in small amounts. Just enough to help satisfy your craving. Once you’ve made changes in your diet think about adding some exercise in. Adding exercise to your weekly routine doesn’t have to be a hassle. For instance take the stairs instead of the elevator every chance you get. Park farther away from your destination and take a brisk walk there. Find an activity that you and your family like to do together. Then, pick a time during the week and designate it to that activity. Can’t all decide on one activity? Allow everyone to pick their favorite activity and rotate them weekly. You are never too old to reward yourself; so set a goal and log your exercise. Once you reach your goal reward yourself! Try to avoid food related rewards. You can reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes or a trip to your favorite movie. Rewards don’t have to cost money either. You could reward yourself with an hour of quiet time to read a book or a trip to your favorite park to relax and enjoy the views. Last but not least think about prevention. Eating healthier and adding physical activity in to your life are great starters to preventing many types of disease or health problems. Other ways to help stay healthy is hygiene. Washing your hands often can help prevent you and your family from getting sick. Brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day and flossing daily can help keep your teeth healthy. Take advantage of any preventative services available to you. Look for free health fairs or check your blood pressure at your local store. Check with your insurance to see what free preventive care is available to you each year and make sure you use it! Its free so all it takes is a little of your time. Most importantly if you get off track don’t get discouraged. Just remember it happens to everyone. You can always try extra hard the next few days to make up for it!
Thursday, December 08, 2011 by: CJones

Healthy Eating During the Holiday Season

For some, getting together around the holidays means being with friends, family, and eating lots of food. New Year’s resolutions are then set to try to lose the weight people feel they have gained over that time. Here are some great tips to think about during this season so we don’t over indulge. Ask for or use a smaller plate. By using a smaller plate you can still feel like you are getting lots of food by filling up your whole plate but you will be reducing the amount you are eating. When using a smaller plate you may think that you won’t get to try all your favorite foods that you only get once a year. This doesn’t have to be the case. You will just have to reduce the serving size of each food. Taking a small amount of each food item will allow you to enjoy the taste of your favorite foods without the stuffed feeling afterwards. After you’re done eating your first plate take about a 10-15 minute break. Use this time to visit with friends and family. You may realize you feel full and content without going back for seconds. Still not satisfied, choose a couple foods that are your favorite and allow yourself to have a second helping but remember to keep the second serving as small as the first. Don’t forget to think about drinks. Flavors like peppermint, pumpkin, and gingerbread are just a few of the popular drink flavors during the holiday season. While it’s an exciting time of the year to have your favorite holiday flavored drink, watch out for drinks that could be providing you with excess calories like holiday flavored coffee drinks, eggnog, and hot chocolate. Some of these drinks could contain up to 400 calories in just one serving. Choose a time or two during the holiday season to enjoy your favorite drink. Try to choose a week when you have time to fit in a little extra physical activity. If it’s your year to host the holiday get together here are some tips to help everyone out. Try providing healthy, low calorie appetizers. Snacking before the meal can not only be very tempting but add several extra calories. A couple good ideas are a veggie plate with fat free ranch dip or a trail mix with a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and pretzels. Making healthy foods during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all or your favorite recipes. A few substitutions can be made to make them healthier. Try picking low-fat or fat-free options for thinks like cream cheese or sour cream. Use cooking spray to prevent foods from sticking instead of butter, margarine, or shortening. If a recipe called for one egg replace it with two egg whites or when a recipe calls for all-purpose flour use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. You can find more tips online at Purdue Extensions , Top 20 Healthy Recipe Ingredient Substitutions ( Have a wonderful holiday season with friends and family but remember to keep these tips in mind to make this a healthy holiday season as well!
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 by: CJones

Giving During the Holiday Season

Hi, my name is Cheryl Jones. I am a Ball State Dietetic Intern nearing the end of my dietetic internship and my time here are Purdue Extension. I have learned so much during my time here at Extension as well as throughout my whole internship experience. Currently we are in the midst of the holiday season and it continues to get colder outside. While some people are planning holiday get-togethers and deciding what gifts to get their family and friends, others may wonder what or if they will have food to eat, or how they will pay to heat their home as it gets colder. During this holiday season take some time to think of others and how you can help out. Try donating foods to the food bank. This can help hundreds of families ensure that they will have food during the holidays. Try donating healthy and nutritious foods you would buy for your family. Donate gently used coats to shelters to provide a little warmth to those that may not have any. Some people don’t have friends or family members to spend time with during the holiday season. So be a friend and donate your time. Try volunteering at a shelter, food bank, spend time with the elderly, or disabled. Donate books or toys to toys for tots. This could help provide a child who has nothing with a toy that could not only bring joy to their life but could also encourage physical activity. For example, donate a jump rope, hula-hoop, basket ball, or volleyball. There are many ways to help people out during this holiday season, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Donating your time is free! So take a moment during this busy holiday season to stop and think about what you could do to help others.
Monday, September 12, 2011 by: LHuss

From Bar Codes to QR Codes

They are everywhere: in magazines, on Taco Bell cups, even on your mouthwash container! They are QR Codes. QR stands for Quick Response and these square, black on white barcodes were first designed by Toyota for the automotive industry. Since these little codes are quick and easy for technology to read and have a high storage capcity, they became very popular outside of the automotive industry. So how does this effect us as consumers? Well if you have a smartphone, you can download an app to read the QR Codes! After scanning the code, your phone will automatically send you to the product's website. So if the QR Code is on a food product, you would be able to scan the code and look up nutrition information about the food (for example). So the next time you are out shopping, check the packaging, and you just might find a QR Code.
Thursday, September 08, 2011 by: LHuss

Peeling Red Mangoes

Last year I bought fresh mangoes for the first time. I peeled them myself and they were very ripe and juicy, probably the best mangoes I have ever had! Unfortunately, a few days later, an itchy rash had formed on my skin, commonly known as "poison ivy." It just so happens that mangoes come from the same family as the poison ivy plant, and both contain urushiol, a chemical that causes the itchy rash on people's skin. There are actually many foods that come from the poison ivy family such as cashews, ginkgo biloba, and pistachios. So if you have a history of poison ivy/oak rash, you may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to these foods. Whoever would have thought a food allergy would be discovered by peeling red mangoes.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by: LHuss

Fish for Something

"What's for dinner?" is a common question asked by many, but known by few. Unless we plan ahead, we don't know what is for dinner. If we choose to make a meal plan, the challenge becomes finding meals that taste good, but are healthy too. That is why I would like to share with you my favorite recipe, Peppery Brown Sugar Salmon. I have been using this recipe for the past three years. I love it and so do my family and friends! I have made it for my family, my husband (who wishes I would make it every night!), and my friends, who have asked for the recipe and have made it for their family and friends! Peppery Brown Sugar Salmon Serves 4 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets (bones removed/boneless) 1 tablespoon butter, melted 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 2. Pat the salmon fillets dry, and brush them with melted butter. 4. Combine the seasonings in a small bowl, and mix. 5. Sprinkle the seasonings over the salmon, and press down gently. 6. On a lightly greased baking sheet, bake for 20-25 minutes. Line the sheet with foil for easy cleanup. So now you may ask, "Where did you get this recipe?" Well, one day when I really wanted a delicious salmon recipe, I got online and searched for, lo and behold, 'salmon recipe.' It took me awhile to sift through everything that popped up on my computer screen, but then I came across the website:, a blog created by Rebecca Crump. I do not know her personally, but I love her recipes, and if you go check out her website I'm sure you will find many recipes, like the one above, that you will be eating for years! The best part is, once you have made a collection of recipes that you can use for years, you won't have to go fishing any longer, especially since the fish is right there on your plate.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011 by: MHarter


It’s Mary once again, this time to talk about gardening! I have a very small garden with lots of things packed in it. They all seem to be coming up great and are pretty delicious as well. I was a little worried with all this hot weather and no rain but most of the plants are pulling through, which is more than I say about my flower pots. I have been gardening since before I can remember. My mother put me and my siblings to work planting seeds and pulling out weeds. Her garden was huge; of course it had to be since it feed ten kids. My mom loved being able to grow her own vegetables to feed her family and it was also a much cheaper way than buying all those nutritious vegetables from the grocery. I think it was a wonderful thing that my mom had a garden because it taught me all about where our food comes from and about all the work it takes just to make one tomato grow. It gave me a great respect for farmers and taught me not to be wasteful, when you put so much work into growing the vegetables. I think it was also my mother’s sneaky way of getting us to eat more vegetables. As kids we were more likely to try the fresh pea pods from the garden that we had planted than if they came in a bag from the store. Of course once we tried the vegetable from the garden we learned that it wasn’t as ‘yucky’ as we thought and would eat it next time mom did buy some. I’m excited to use this sneaky way to get my husband to try some beets from our garden. He says he doesn’t like beets but has not tried any since he was a child. I explained that taste buds change over time and he should try them again. He was very reluctant but once we planted some in our garden this year he said he will give it a try! I’m crossing my fingers that he will find them to be tasty. Perhaps you can try getting your kids, spouse or even yourself to eat more vegetables by planting a small garden. Gardening can be very relaxing and a good way to spend some time outdoors. It can help connect your family to the natural cycles of weather, growth and renewal. Gardening provides wholesome activity and lasting memories for your children. I know I’m a little late to talk you into planting a garden this year but it’s never too early to start preparing your garden for next spring. Happy Gardening!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011 by: MHarter

After School Snacks

Hello Once Again! This will be my last week here and boy has the time flown. This summer went by way too quickly as it always does. It feels like the kids just got out of school and now they are starting to head back already! All this back to school shopping, meeting new teachers and figuring out bus routes sure keeps parents as well as the kids hopping. So usually we look for the easiest and fastest way to get things done. This sometimes means swinging through McDonalds or grabbing a bag of chips for an after school snack because you are just too busy. To help avoid this sit down with your kids and come up with some snack options, mostly nutritious treats. Stock up on basic ingredients, such as cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola bars or nuts for instant snacks. Here are ten easy snacks to make afterschool: 1. Cottage cheese and peaches - Chop half a canned peach and mix with ½ cup of cottage cheese. 2. Smoothies – blend 1 cup of milk with 2 cups of any combination of fruit or berries. 3. Fruit and Cheese kabobs – Take a bamboo skewer and thread on their favorite fruit and cubes of cheese. 4. Cherry tomatoes - These are actually good just on their own or you can add in some cubed cheese. 5. Tortilla roll-ups – Spread a tortilla with jam and peanut butter, then roll it up into a log and cut into 1” pieces. 6. Ants on a log – Spread peanut butter in the groove of a piece of celery and top with several raisins. 7. Mini Pizza – Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Put pre-sliced English muffins face up on a cookie sheet. Spoon some pizza sauce on each half of the muffins. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and cheese. Bake for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and bubbles slightly. 8. Chips & Salsa – Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa. 9. Peanut butter Dip and Apples – For dip, in blender place 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Cover and blend until smooth. If necessary, stir in enough milk to make dip of desired consistency. Serve the dip immediately or cover and chill. Serve dip with apple or pear slices. Makes 6 (2 Tablespoon Servings). 10. Frozen Grapes – wash your grapes, place onto lollipop sticks and into a zip bag, then freeze over night. There are many types of after school snacks to choose from. Unfortunately there are a lot of high calorie, high fat, and sugar laden foods that many people think of when they consider snacks for their children. Try to avoid baked goods, chips and other common snacks that offer little nutritional value and a high caloric content. Remember that water, 2% milk and 100% fruit juice are healthier choices for drinks than soda or sports drinks. Afterschool snacks are important for growing children. It helps to make sure that kids get all the nutrition they need to keep growing, gives them energy to play, do homework, grow and mature normally. When kids do not get a snack they feel sluggish or tired, they are more likely to act out and not be alert. So take some time to get healthy snacks around for when your little one gets off the bus!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 by: MHarter


Hello again! This is my second week at the Purdue Extension. I’m learning a lot about their programs and really enjoying it. With this hot summer heat I wanted to remind everyone to stay hydrated! Our bodies are made up of about 60% of water. We need to drink plenty of water in order to keep our bodies going. In the hot summer weather, water allows the body to release heat. This is done by the body sweating, the evaporation of water from the skin surface, cools the body. After playing outside with my puppy I know that we are both over heated and need water. So I fill his bowl and a glass for me. This started me thinking am I really getting all of the water I need? The recommended minimal water requirement for an adult is half their body weight in ounces. For example if I weighed 100 pounds then divide that by 2 and I would need 50oz of water. This is still just the estimated minimum amount needed per day. If you are exercising or being active, you need more water than if you are sedentary. When you are exposed to hot, humid or arid weather your body requires more fluids. Even in the wintertime your body needs more fluid to regulate warmth and dryness from heated indoor air. Travelers also have to be aware that when flying on an airplane your water requirements go up just like the airplane does. It is important to drink water throughout the day even when you aren’t thirst. You don’t feel thirsty until you are already dehydrated and by then your ability to concentrate will already be affected. If you notice that your urine is dark, then drink more water, because the clearer your urine, the more hydrated you are. Some other signs and symptoms of dehydration include: • Mild to excessive thirst • Fatigue • Headache • Dry mouth • Little or no urination • Muscle weakness • Dizziness • Lightheadedness Water is an essential nutrient and it is the preferred drink to hydrate your body. A glass of water helps to hydrate without adding extra calories or other elements into the body. Soda is not a healthy choice for hydration and it will actually make you dehydrate faster. Alcoholic beverages act as a diuretic as well, meaning they encourage the body to loss more water faster. Milk and fruit juice are healthier choices but still add to your calorie intake for the day. A good habit is to sip water all along the day. Remember that some people depend on others to drink such as babies, sick people, the elderly and my puppy. So drink up and stay cool this summer with a nice tall glass of ice water!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 by: MHarter

Food Police

Hello, my name is Mary Harter, I am Ball State Dietetic Intern just starting my rotation with Purdue Extension. Reading Jessica’s last blog on Diabetes 101 got me thinking about my last rotation at a Diabetes Treatment Center. On my first day there I was fortunate to meet one of the class instructors who is a nurse, as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. She also happened to be a Type 1 diabetic, which gave her the upper hand as an instructor. She was able to add in personal stories and pass on helpful tips for dealing with diabetes. One topic that all the clients had frustrating experiences with was “The Food Police”. If you don’t have diabetes you might be asking yourself “what’s the food police?” Have you ever said or heard someone else tell a person with diabetes “You can’t eat that cake, you are a diabetic” or give a dirty look when they eat a cookie? Those are the food police. It can be very frustrating for a diabetic to get pulled over by the food police every time they try to take a bite. If you are lucky your family member or friend with diabetes might be in a good mood when you try to Police them and explain to you that they can have whatever food they want just within moderation (Just like what everyone should do). Of course if you are the hundredth person to tell them not to eat a cookie, they might just throw it at you. The food police may mean well in trying to help their family member or friend but the truth is their ignorance is more annoying than caring. If you really want to help care for a friend or family member with diabetes then the 1st thing to do is to become educated about diabetes, you can do this by researching online. 2nd ~ Learn to listen without offering advice or criticism. 3rd ~ Be supportive, but don’t take the role of caretaker. 4th ~ Know what your loved one’s diabetes health plan includes. In doing these four things you will learn that it’s ok for your friend to have that piece of cake and that listening to your family member will be more productive than dirty looks at the dinner table. Just taking the time to learn more about diabetes will show that you care and really do want the best for your loved ones. Hopefully this will get you thinking before you try to pull someone over for eating a piece of cake and maybe get you looking at your own plate. I’ll be writing again next week but we will change it off the diabetic topic to something new.
Friday, July 15, 2011 by: JBird

Diabetes 101

With the obesity epidemic on our hands, Americans are (or should be!) more concerned about their diet. A poor quality diet can lead to overweight and obesity, which can lead to several chronic diseases. One of these diseases, perhaps the most common, is diabetes. I’m sure everyone knows that diabetes and diet are related, but not everyone realizes just how the relationship works. Three weeks ago, I spent a week at the Diabetes Youth Foundation Summer Camp, learning about diabetes and care for children with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as “insulin dependent” diabetes. These people are unable to produce insulin on their own, and it needs to be physically administered to help their bodies use carbohydrates for energy. These children spent their days just like any other child would- playing outside, running around with friends, swimming, and climbing trees. However, in the midst of all this fun, they constantly had to be thinking about their blood sugar levels. “I feel high.” “I feel low.” These common phrases were spoken by each child several times each day, as they referred to their blood sugar levels, and how it was affecting them physically. If a child felt “funny” they could prick their finger and read their current blood sugar. If it was high, insulin could be administered. If it was low, a high carbohydrate snack could be used to increase their levels. This constant balance of ingesting certain foods to effect blood sugar levels really made me see the correlation between diet and health. I have been asked several questions about diet and diabetes. Below is one of the most common questions I have been asked: Can diabetics eat candy? 1. Many people think that diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar. In reality, this is not the case. However, in Type 2 diabetes, or insulin resistant diabetes, excess fat tissue (caused by ingesting more calories than are burned off, over time) can contribute to the disease. Eating foods high in sugar, or high in calories, can lead to fat tissue growth, thus promoting insulin resistance. However, the disease itself is not CAUSED by eating too much sugar. With that said, I will answer the question at hand. YES, people with diabetes can eat candy. In fact, they can eat anything a non-diabetics eats. Type 1 diabetics, or insulin dependent diabetics, can adjust the amount of insulin they administer to themselves based on the amount of carbohydrates they consume at a meal. These people need to be good at carbohydrate counting, and know how to change their carbohydrate : insulin rations. It is important to keep a healthy weight, however, and eating too much junk can be disruptive. 2. Type 2 diabetics can also eat candy, however it a heart healthy diet is suggested for these people. The severity of Type 2 diabetes is correlated to how the person treats their disease. If they lead a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a healthy diet full of fruits/vegetables and whole grains, their disease can be lessened if not even reversed. This is why keeping the junk-food snacking at a minimum is important.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 by: JBird

Getting to Know MyPlate

Hello again! As I mentioned before, my name is Jessica and I am a dietetic intern through Ball State working at Purdue with the Extension program. A lot of what I have been doing during my internship is promoting the most up to date healthy habits. I’m sure many of you have heard that, starting in early June of this year, the old USDA’s “MyPyramid” is now “MyPlate.” I put together a PowerPoint presentation on the USDA’s new MyPlate initiative. When I first saw the new plate graphic, I could not believe that the simple design was the new graphic to represent what Americans should be eating. If you have seen it, you will immediately notice that the graphic is very elementary. It represents food groups (vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins) by solid shapes on the plate. The grains and vegetable portions are the biggest, suggesting that those are the food groups we should be eating in the highest quantity. When I started reading about why the changes were made, I determined that a plate does, in fact, make the most sense. Although elementary in design, all Americans use plates to set their food on. When helping Americans decide what they should be eating, a plate is the perfect backdrop. MyPlate follows the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are very similar to the guidelines used to create the MyPyramid, which were released in 2005. The more specific messages in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, and those mentioned in MyPlate are: 1. Balancing calories, 2. Foods to reduce, 3. Foods to increase. The MyPlate campaign is designed to be a multimodal approach, and is divided into four categories. The first two categories are coordinated messaging and a communications calendar (both will be referenced later). In addition a “how to” for MyPlate will be released as well as partnership programs to help nutrition educators and corporations to get involved. The plate is intended to be a simple reminder of how you should eat. After watching several TV segments about the plate, it became clear that many Americans openly admit that they do not eat how the plate suggests. So how does the USDA plan to make MyPlate something that Americans can follow? As a student studying to be a Registered Dietitian, I wondered about this very question. Luckily, the USDA has a clever dietary messages calendar. Over the next several years, the USDA will work with First Lady Michelle Obabma’s Let’s Move! initiative and public and private partners to promote MyPlate, as well as supporting nutrition messages and “how-to” resources. A multi-year campaign calendar will focus on one action-prompting message at a time starting with, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables” from September – December 2011. The following message will promote eating less calories. “Enjoy your food, but eat less,” will be the advertising slogan from January – April 2012. A lot of questions from the American public have been addressed by the USDA. Below are a few of the most common questions and answers: 1. Will there be materials and guidelines for kids? a.MyPyramid materials are still efficient, available, and can be used. b. Updates for kids are to come. 2.Does MyPlate REPLACE MyPyramid? a. Educators are still nouraged to use MyPyramid materials. b. On the web, going to will automatically send you to c. MyPyramid is still relevant, with minimal changes. 3.Where is the Physical Activity Component? a.Not on MyPlate- USDA only wanted to focus on food. b.New interactive tools will provide physical activity materials (Fall 2011). Overall, I think that MyPlate is an excellent tool for the American public to use to remind themselves not only what they should be eating, but how much. I am happy, for the most part, with the new MyPlate initiative. I am excited to learn about how this tool will help Americans eat more healthily.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 by: JBird

Non Calorie Sweeteners

Hello! My name is Jessica, and I am a Dietetic Intern with Ball State. I am currently wrapping up my Community Dietetics rotation with Purdue University Extension. I have enjoyed this portion of my internship and have learned a lot about what it takes to educate the community about health. While working with a news-savy public, I have had several questions about the newest findings in nutrition. I will attempt to answer some of these questions in this and future blogs. Non-calorie sweeteners have been a hot topic lately. There are several old favorites, Splenda, Equal, and Sweet n’ Low, but there are also newer products being released. I’m sure you have heard of Stevia, but what is this hype about the sweetener? Well, to start we must realize that Stevia is not a synthetic or chemically made sweetener. It actually comes from a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener in Paraguay for hundreds of years. The sweetness comes from the small leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Similarly to other artificial sweeteners, Stevia is much sweeter (about 100x) than sugar. For years, there have been questions about the safety of Stevia. Some studies have shown that Stevia reduced sperm count and increased infertility in rats. Another study showed the babies of Stevia-fed female rats were much smaller than non-Stevia-fed rat’s babies. However, none of these studies have been proven, thus urging some countries to consider this a safe sweetener. In fact, Stevia has been used as an artificial sweetener in Japan for over 30 years. In the United States, Stevia has recently been considered generally recognized as safe “GRAS” by the FDA as a food additive and table-top sweetener. Stevia does not contain calories nor carbohydrates and can be used by diabetics in moderation on a daily basis. This sweetener will appear on shelves under the brand names Truvia and PureVia. Baking with Stevia: Because Stevia is not the same as sugar, use with caution when baking. My suggestion would be to find a baking recipe that already incorporates Stevia. Other sweeteners approved by the FDA for use in foods: •acesulfame potassium (also called acesulfame K) •aspartame •saccharin •sucralose •neotame
Friday, July 01, 2011 by: JBird

The Benefits of Running

Hello! My name is Jessica and I am a Ball State Dietetic Intern finishing up my internship program here at Purdue Extension. I completed my undergraduate degree at Purdue and it is wonderful to be back. I have decided to write a blog about something that I love to do, and that is to run. Some people think it is crazy to enjoy strenuous runs, but I believe that I would GO crazy if I wasn't able to get my run in for the day. There are several obvious health benefits to running including: better heart health, weight control, decrease risk for disease yada yada but in all honesty these are not the main reasons that I choose to run. I run for my mental stability. What I mean is that at any time of the day, for as long as I want, I can go for a run and shut my brain off. We all live stressful, and extremely busy lives. Going for a run (even if it is a 10 minute jog!) is the perfect stress release. Another reason I love to run is because I can make it a competition...with myself. I dare myself to reach a certain landmark in faster amount of time from the day before. I feel a subtle victory when I beat my time. These little tests put me in a stellar mood, post run. Ever hear of a "runner's high"? A feeling of accomplishment for doing something good for yourself and becoming destressed from the day make a "runner's high" desirable to attain. I am by NO MEANS a fast runner. But running at a steady enough pace that I am breathing harder than usual seems to do the trick. I encourage anyone who has never considered a running program to just go outside and try it. Even if it is for 5 minutes down to the end of the street. The next day, go for 7 minutes, and so on. I guarentee if you stick with it, you will soon fall in love with running, as I have done. Any activity that gets your heart rate up can have this same effect. Do not think it can only be running. Take a long walk, or a bike ride. Maybe even a pick-up game of basketball! Think you're too busy for something like this? A few years back I was walking past a NIKE store in downtown Chicago. I was in a hurry to get to a meeting when I glanced at the advertisment on the window that stated, "Someone busier than you is running." For some reason, that quote has stuck with me for years. Whenever I would think that I had too much homework, too many meetings, and not enough time to get a workout in, I remember this quote and think of people who have much more on their plate, and still find time to run. The message I am trying to project in this long rant is, find something active that you love to do, whether it be running, walking, or sports, and make it a priority. Just like work, school, and church can be priorities, making time to take care of yourself is can be vital to your wellbeing.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by: kvosburgh

The New MyPlate

Hey there! My name is Katelyn and I’m a student working in the Purdue Extension office and a fun part of my job is getting to write some blogs! This is my first one and I’m excited to talk about the newly released MyPlate that replaced the well known food pyramid. When MyPlate was released on June 2 of this year, I was a little skeptical just because I had only ever known the food pyramid and was used to it. But after checking out MyPlate at, I quickly became a fan! It is very simple to use and understand. The new “plate” is a great visual so people can look at their own plates or their kids’ plates and see if they have the correct portion of each important food group. If you visit the website, you can also learn more information about each food group. For example, MyPlate shows that grains are an important part of our diets, but if you click on the food group, you can learn how to make half your grains whole, and which foods are great sources of whole grains. So far, I have heard lots of positive feedback about MyPlate and I am super excited to see some positive results in our diets!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by: CDPease

Family Meals

Hi all! Christina Pease again. I am loving life right now with my hubby! We have made several meals together and it is really fun! I recommend getting the family, especially the kids, involved with cooking. Veggies that seem really foreign and scary seem to become more acceptable when you touch, prepare, and then eat them. Even my 22 year old husband was more willing to try some green stuff because he helped me chop! It might seem like your child can’t handle tasks in the kitchen, but they can. And other times, you might feel like it would be easier if they didn’t help. But what’s the worst that can happen! They might spill and make a mess, but all you have to do is wipe it up. The benefits to them helping outweigh the potential clean up. Not only will they be more willing to try what you have prepared together, it is quality time you get to spend with them. There are many ways to get kids involved in food prep. Some tasks include pouring ingredients into a bowl, stirring mixtures, washing fruits and vegetables, and helping count the amount of an ingredient you need. So, next time you are in the kitchen, get your family involved!! A fun dish to try is tostadas. They are very easy, involve veggies, and the best part is they can be made with many different toppings!! Items you need are 1 can Mexican corn, 1 can refried beans, 4 tortillas, chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded Monterey jack cheese. The lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese are toppings. All you have to do is broil your tortillas for a few minutes so they are at the crispiness level you like. Meanwhile, heat up your beans and corn according to the directions on the can. Then, put the beans on first so they can help hold on to the rest of your ingredients, add the corn next, and then add the rest on top!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 by: CDPease

Fitting in Physical Activity

Hi there! My name is Christina Pease. This is my first day as a Purdue Dietetic Intern!! It’s so exciting :). I have new projects and experiences all lined up! For example, I am creating a newsletter, but I am still researching nutrition topics that are fresh and fun. Another new and really exciting thing going on in my life is that I just got married! Being a newlywed is really fun. Lately, I have a lot going on like being a new wife, getting my apartment together, and beginning my internship. Like you, all of my responsibilities keep me really busy. With my busy schedule, it has been very hard to fit in my physical activity. Being active is very important to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic disease. There are a few guidelines you can follow if you are wondering how much exercise you need. You need at least 30 minutes of physical activity, on most days of the week to reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood. Around 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week will prevent gradual, unhealthy weight gain. Finally, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity a day will result in weight loss. The guidelines are really useful, but the idea of going from “zero to sixty” with your exercise routine can be very overwhelming! Don’t forget to start small. Begin exercising around ten minutes per day, and work your way up. Other tips when trying to get more physical activity are parking your car far from the door when you go shopping and take the stairs instead of the elevator!
Monday, June 14, 2010 by: LCass

Exercising in the Heat

So I don’t know about everyone else, but I definitely lack motivation to work out when it is so hot and humid outside, as it has been for the last week. I actually avoid going outside as much as I can in the summer months, as to avoid excessive sweating from just sitting in my car. Don’t get me wrong, I like to work up a good sweat when I am exercising, but I do not like to be dripping from head to toe simply from driving with no air conditioner on. However, just because it is hot outside doesn't mean that you shouldn't get your physical activity in! Your “core” body temperature is regulated by functions within your body, but adding high heat tends to throw off normal functioning. So, during these hot summer months, here are some tips for exercising in the heat and alternative options which will help us stay hydrated (another problem during the summer for many people!): •Begin exercise gradually: it takes a week for your body to get used to a new climate. •Watch the kids: children sweat less than an adult, which means that they release less heat. It is very easy for them to get overheated in hot summer months. •Wear light colored clothes: better release of internal body heat •Drink extra water: at least 4-6 ounces (1/2-3/4 cup) of water every 15 minutes if sweating, more if you are a heavy sweater. •Watch the heat index: exercise at times with lower heat indexes •Incorporate water into exercise: go swimming or set up a water obstacle course! •Exercise inside: use workout tapes, DVR’d or recorded exercise shows, or just climb the stairs or walk around inside your house. Just remember, even though it’s hot outside, that’s no reason not to get physical activity in! So stay moving!
Friday, May 21, 2010 by: LCass

4M: Meat,Marinara,Mozzarella, Mushrooms

Hi! My name is Lauren, and I'm currently a Ball State Dietetic Intern working at the Purdue Extension for my first rotation, and now...a first-time blogger as well. I've never written on one of these before so please bear with me while I get the hang of this! Anyhow, speaking of "whats for dinner," on this particular Friday afternoon I will be heading back to Muncie to pack up my apartment and am trying to figure out what I have there to make for dinner. If you are anything like me, it is pretty typical that I didn't plan ahead, but in my defense I haven't been back there in a week! My boyfriend will be joining me, and he is a big eater. Which has me hoping that there's enough food in the apartment for dinner! After some debate, I think that I have decided on a recipe which I recently came across in the last year. It is simple and requires just a few ingredients... I call it the 4M: Meat,Marinara,Mozzarella, Mushrooms-YUM! Think of it as lasagna without the noodles! (and if you want some of those go ahead and throw those in there too!) So here's the recipe: 2 60 oz packages of lean ground beef 1 jar marinara sauce (one with added basil is my favorite) 1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese 1 pack cleaned mushrooms (you can also used canned, but be sure to rinse them to get rid of some of the sodium!) *also feel free to add whatever other vegetables you like! 1) Heat oven to 375 degrees. 2) Spray cooking spray into two loaf pans. 3) Take 1/2 the ground beef and press half into the bottom of the pans. (If you want to spice it up a bit, try mixing the meat with an egg and some oatmeal-similar to meatloaf-before putting into the pan) 4) Take 1/2 the marinara sauce and cover meat. 5) Place the mushrooms on top of the marinara sauce and then sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese on top. 6) Take the half of the beef that you have not yet used, and press down another layer of ground meat on top of the mozzarella. 7) Add the marinara and mushrooms as in steps 4-5. Don't add another layer of cheese yet though! 8) Place in oven for 40-60 minutes. 9) About 5 minutes before it is supposed to come out, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of both loafs. Makes about 8-10 servings. Enjoy!