The Dairy Group

Ladies and gentleman, we have made it all around the MyPlate and have come to our final food group:

Dairy!!https://choosemyplate-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/printablematerials/2013-WhatsMyPlateAllAboutInfographic.pdf

What do you know about dairy? Do you know about the health benefits? There are enough benefits to give dairy a place on the MyPlate so lets check it out!

There is an extremely important nutrient that you will find in dairy products. And that is:

CALCIUM

99% of the calcium in our body is stored in the bones and teeth. It helps your keep your bone and teeth strong. As you continue to grow and develop through your teenage years, it is especially important that you eat enough calcium!

So how much is enough? Since you won’t be measuring out the calcium in every food that you eat, just remember 3 a day.

If you eat 3 dairy products a day, you will likely meet the needs of your growing body! So try out a variety of combinations such as:

Can you find a few different types of dairy in the word search that will help you get enough calcium each day?

(Click on the picture to get a printable version)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what are some other benefits of dairy?

Other Benefits
  • Protein: In 1 glass of milk there are 8 grams of protein, which comparable to meat! The great thing about milk, however, is that there is less fat content than meat.
  • Vitamin D: Most people are not out in the sun long enough every day to get enough vitamin D, but companies actually add Vitamin D to milk to help us make it up! Vitamin D will work with Calcium to keep your bones strong!
  • B Vitamins: Dairy products also are a great source of some of the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, etc.)

Dairy has a lot of vitamins and minerals that help with growth and staying healthy, so make sure you are getting your 3 a day!

Now that we have gone through all the food groups, test your knowledge with the following games and fun!

https://www.fns.usda.gov/track-and-field

 

Answer some questions about the different field groups to get higher scores on the different track and field events!

 

 

Watch this short video of a group of adventurers meeting new friends on a hike and how they get everyone back on track with some balanced snacks!

 

 

Think you have a good feel for MyPlate? Print off this menu planner and create 3 days of full MyPlate meals!

Printable MyPlate Menu

 

Good luck and Happy Creating!

 

 

The Power Group

As we go around the MyPlate, the next food group we land on is Protein, or what I like to call- the Power Group. As a recap:

  • Your fruits and vegetables give you the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body healthy, free from sickness, and functioning properly.
    • Tip: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables and eat a variety of colors
  • And your grains have something called carbohydrates that give your body and brain energy.
    • Tip: Make half your grains whole grains

So back to the ‘Power Group’ AKA

Protein

It is good to have a little protein at each meal because not only does it have some important vitamins and minerals, but it also breaks down into ‘building blocks’ to build up our muscles and other tissues.

Before we jump in the details, take this protein quiz to test your knowledge!

 

 

 

How did you do?? Now that you got a little taste of protein facts, lets get some details:

Benefits of Protein:
  • Proteins act as building blocks as I mentioned. They help build muscle, bone, skin tissue, hormones, blood, and more!
  • B vitamins are found in meat protein and help the body produce energy
  • Protein foods contain something called IRON, which helps carry oxygen to your blood when red blood cells are forming. Getting enough iron is especially important during teenage years!
  • Proteins have zinc to keep your immune system strong
  • Seafood contains some healthy fats that help keep your heart healthy, and your mind alert
Types of Protein

Salmon Large

 

Tip: Try to eat a fish protein 2-3 times a week (or 8 ounces) to help keep your heart strong and healthy throughout your life. 

 

Did you know that protein isn’t just hamburgers and chicken nuggets? Check out this list of proteins you can add to your meals:

  • Fish and other seafood
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Edamame
  • Eggs

 

Tip: It is recommended to eat about 5-6 ounces of protein a day, depending on how active you are. Most Americans eat this already, so rather than trying to get more protein, focus on getting a VARIETY of protein with more chicken and fish, and less red meat. 

Practice what you have learned about the food groups so far with a game:

 

Nutrient Machine Madness: Help out the chef put the foods with correct nutrients into the machine before time runs out!

 

 

So if you are ready to add a power component to your plate, try out some new proteins this week and share below what you tried!

 

 

Happy Creating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Energizing’ Food Group

Hello friends! How are those fruit creations and veggie varieties going? How many of you have started eating 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of veggies each day? If you haven’t yet, no worries! Just one step at a time and soon you will have half the MyPlate in part of your daily routine!

So today we get to talk about the next food group on MyPlate:

Grains

Grains are important because they are a main source for many B vitamins as well as carbohydrates (AKA carbs).

Think about your favorite physical activity: running, playing basketball with friends, cheerleading, biking, football, etc. Do you know that you need those carbohydrates to improve your performance in each of these activities?

 

 

www.modup.net/Now think of going to class and doing your homework. Do you know that carbohydrates also help your brain stay focused, energized, remember more, and stay healthy? Say goodbye to falling asleep in class, and say hello to better grades!

 

Why are they healthy?

As I mentioned, grains are made of carbohydrates and carbohydrates are a complex type of fuel or ‘sugar’ our bodies use to function. When broken down, carbohydrates turn into an absorbable form of sugar called ‘glucose’. Glucose happens to be our brain’s favorite source of energy. SO if you would like to have more energy in both your brain and your body, make sure you are getting a grain at each meal.

Whole grains are also full of fiber and vitamins that keep your heart and your digestive tract healthy and strong. But the key word is whole. Sometimes grains are broken down during processing so there are less vitamins, minerals, and fiber- meaning you don’t get the healthy benefits! So check for the words ‘whole wheat’ or ‘whole grain’ when you are getting your grains for the day.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 3.46.14 PM

 Making sure 1/2 or more of your grains are ‘whole grains’ will give you maximum benefits!

 

 

So for our MyPlate champions, try out 1 new whole grain this week and comment below on what you tried! Let’s get our bodies and minds energized with carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals!

 

Happy Creating!

 

 

 

 

Veggie Vibes

If you have been following along with the blog this year, we are highlighting each food group on MyPlate. So our next food group on MyPlate is:

Vegetables

Did you know we should eat abut 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day? 

Veggies are another one of nature’s treats. Most aren’t as sweet as fruit, but the wide variety of colors and flavors can help you become a very talented and healthy chef!

Benefits

PLUS! They are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that keep us energized, healthy, and strong! Ever wonder what each vitamin does? Here is a list of Vitamins and a couple of their functions:

There are even more benefits to Vitamins, but I just want you to get an idea of how much these veggies do for your body!

Online Games

Now lets have some fun with a game or two before we discover some delicious ways to spice up our meals with veggies.

Dining Decisions: Power up and choose which foods will give you the most energy and muscle strength (this is an app you download)

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 12.50.14 PM

Farm Puzzle Story: Farmer’s grow the vegetables we need to stay healthy and strong, so try out these farm puzzles to help out the farmers!

 

Getting Veggie Vibes in the Kitchen!

What are some ways you can make veggies exciting? The great thing about vegetables is that they can be prepared in several different ways. So if you don’t like one, just Vary Your Veggies!

For example: Lets say you don’t like fresh broccoli in salad. Well, try putting broccoli on a baking sheet with a little olive oil and roast them until they are crunchy! It will give you a total different flavor and texture that you might LOVE.

So let’s try finding 3 ways to prepare a few vegetables.

Comment below with your own 1,2,3 of a vegetable. If you are under 18 and live in Utah, your comment could win you a fun kitchen gadget! We would also love to see any pics of fun veggie meals that you prepare!

Happy Creating!

 

Fruity Foods

Now that we have had a little fun with MyPlate as a whole, lets jump into each food group one by one, starting with:

Fruit

Did you know you need about 2 cups of fruit every day? How are you measuring up?

First practice your ninja chopping skills with this Samurai Fruit Game:

Fruit is nature’s dessert with their sweet flavors (sugar from fruit is called fructose). Here are some fun ways to use fruits for breakfast lunch or dinner:

Breakfast:

  • Breads
  • Smoothies
  • Fruity muffins
  • Pancake/ waffle / french toast topping
  • Add to your bowl of cereal
  • Sliced up on the side
  • Fruit Salad (choose 4-5 of your favorite fruits, cut them into bite size pieces, and mix!)
  • Parfait: yogurt + fruit + granola
  • Make your own flavored oatmeal
    • Peaches and Cream: Quick oats+ diced canned peaches + milk
    • Apple Cinnamon: Quick oats + diced apples + cinnamon
    • Tropical morning: Quick oats + pineapple chunks(fresh or can)+ coconut + pineapple juice
    • Fruit cake mix: Quick oats + dried fruit + crushed pecans

Lunch

  • Apple slices & Peanut butter
  • Add to a salad
  • Whole (oranges, apples, pears, bananas, melon etc.)
  • Fruit Salad
  • Greek yogurt topped with berries
  • Peanut Butter and Fruit Spread Sandwich (try to find a jam/spread that is mostly fruit with little to no sugar)
  • Food art (see below)

Dinner/ Dessert

  • Fruit salad
  • Orange rolls
  • Whole
  • Homemade berry sherbert
  • Roasted pears, peaches, or apples (cut fruit in half, place in a baking pan and sprinkle with brown sugar, roast for desired texture)
  • Fruit dipped in chocolate (chocolate covered strawberries, banana, orange slices, watermelon)

There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to use fruits with each meal if you get creative! Since fruits have so many colors and textures, you can also make some fun food art!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fruits are sweet little treats loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that help you stay energized, free from sickness, and strong. How creative can you get with your fruits?

Make your own food art and post in the comment section below! Kids under the age of 18 , and living in Utah are even eligible to win a prize for the best food art!

 

Happy Creating! 

MyPlate Smoothie

Happy Wednesday! I hope you have been able to play around with the MyPlate game and you have the general idea of the 5 food groups.

So let’s put MyPlate in the kitchen with this MyPlate smoothie:

You will need:

  • Fruit: 2 cups  (Frozen fruit is the best, so I used 1 cup of frozen blueberries, and half a banana)
  • Vegetable: 1 cup of spinach
  • Grain: 1/4 cup quick oats
  • Protein: 1 Tb creamy peanut butter (if you are allergic to peanut butter, add a little extra Greek yogurt so you still get a good amount of protein)
  • Dairy: 1 1/4 cup- I used a combo of 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

Step 1: Add to a blender

Step 2: Blend! Yes it’s as easy as that!

IMG_0417

img_0419.jpgimg_0420.jpg

Voila! Now you can start your day off with the perfect balance of ingredients! Feel free to use the same measurements but change up the actual ingredients. Here are some options:

Fruits (Try to use frozen): Peaches, Mango, strawberries, berry blend

Veggies: pureed carrot, avocado, kale

Grain: quinoa, millet, old fashioned oats

Protein: Greek yogurt, nut butter (almond, cashew, etc.)

Dairy: Yogurt, cottage cheese, milk substitutes (aka almond milk, etc.)

**Note: If you switch out the milk, feel free to add in water so that you still get a smooth liquid to drink.

 

IMG_0421Happy Creating!

 

Create MyPlate

I hope everyone is staying warm and having fun with this new year! As things get busy with the end of the school year, sometimes our health gets put on the back burner. But not this year! This year we get to take control and make healthy living fun!

If you are new to the fun, or if you missed the post last year, healthy eating can be made easy with something called MyPlate! For the next several weeks, I will highlight one part of MyPlate each week with some fun games and activities.

So what is MyPlate? MyPlate is the new MyPyramid! An organization called the USDA helped put together the MyPlate diagram to make healthy eating easy. Check this out:

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.01.15 PM

 

What do you notice about the MyPlate? What do you think about it? We will check out each of the food groups (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and Dairy) so you will be the nutrition expert in your family! But first… lets play a game to get the main idea for MyPlate:

Learn the food groups by fueling your rocket! Make the right food choices and you will be ready for take off!

Think you have a good feel for MyPlate? Comment below and tell me what your favorite food is and what food group it belongs to!

Your mission this week is to look at your meals and determine what food groups you are eating. Do you eat more fruits? Dairy? Grains? If you can name the food group for everything you eat, you are well on your way to being a nutrition expert!

 

New Year SMART goals

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays and are ready to jump back into school!

You have probably heard everyone making their ‘New Years Resolutions’. Everyone is excited at the beginning of the year and wants to become healthier, but we also know that most people don’t end up achieving their resolutions!

Why is that? Well, most New Year’s Resolutions are not what we call: SMART goals. If you simply say “I will be healthy this year”, you might push yourself to be active and eat healthy for a little while, but then you burn out because really, what does being healthy really mean? So let’s try something different this year. Let’s make a healthy SMART goals together! Here is what I mean by SMART:

S- Specific 

  • Rather than saying “I will be healthy this year” Try something like, I will start eating at least 3 fruits and vegetables each day, or I will learn trail running, or I will spend more time with my family, etc. Be specific so you know exactly what you are trying to achieve!

M- Measurable

  • In order too see if you are achieving your goals, you need to know what success means! This could be something like, I will be able to trail run for 3 miles, or I will know how to cook 10 new breakfast meals, or I will plan at least 1 family dinner each week, etc. This gives you something to measure with. You If you learn 10 breakfast meals, you achieved your goal, if you didn’t, you still have some work to do, its as simple as that!

A- Achievable

  • If you struggle to run 10 minutes in a row, a marathon might not be a realistic goal for January. You might have the ultimate goal to run a marathon, but start with some realistic goals that will put you on that path while keeping you motivated. There is nothing more discouraging than realizing halfway through that the goal you made was unrealistic.
  • So listen to your body and let your strengths guide you in this choice

R- Relevant

  • When you are in the middle of making a big change, things might be difficult. It is during those times that you need to remember why you started. So write it down now. Why are you doing this goal? Is it to have more energy? Is it so you live a long life? Is it so you feel better about yourself? Your reason can vary, but decide why you are making your goal now.

 

T- Timely

  • Last but not least! Set a time frame. Are you going to learn to trail run by running 3x a week and be able to do a 3 mile run in August, or are you going to learn about and try 1 new fruit or vegetable each month of the year, or will you learn how to make a new snack each week until the end of the school year? Give yourself a time limit so you stay motivated. Remember to keep it achievable/ realistic!

 

So if you can fill this chart out below and send it to lea.palmer@usu.edu, I will send you a New Year’s Resolution prize. (Remember the prizes are limited to youth under the age of 18 and living in Utah). You can also comment below to tell everyone your goal (no age restrictions on comments!)

I look forward to seeing your SMART Goals!

 

My New Year Resolution Printable Version

 

Happy Creating!

 

Christmas in the Kitchen!

With only a couple weeks till Christmas, it’s time to put on our apron and Santa hat and try out some new treats!

Today we have 4 fun Christmas food art. These are all great for your Christmas parties, or even just to have on the table to snack on throughout Christmas day!

1. Ornament Veggie Dish

This one is really simple. You need a round platter or plate, a piece of paper cut into a dome shape, and your favorite veggies (I used carrots, celery, and grape tomatoes).

Chop up your veggies and have fun designing the ornament! I like to leave a space open on mine to put a veggie dip or cottage cheese for dipping when I serve the platter.

 

2. ‘Egg-cellent’ snowman

For this recipe you need two boiled eggs for each snowman, slices, pretzel sticks, carrots, and cream cheese (optional).

First, stack the two eggs with a pretzel stick.

IMG_0762

Then add all of his features: a carrot nose, eyes (use kitchen scissors to make the rice shape)

 

3. Breakfast Candy Cane

This next treat is a great breakfast for the big day! For this you will need your favorite pancake mix, strawberries, and vanilla yogurt.

First, cook your batter into the shape of a candy cane.

Cover your entire pancake with yogurt, and then layer with slices of strawberries

IMG_0757

Breakfast is served!

4. Fruit Christmas Tree

And then last but not least, let’s put a spin on a classic fruit tray! For this tray you need 1-3 green fruits (I used honeydew and green grapes), pineapple, berries, yogurt (or any fruit dip), toothpicks, and 3 small styrofoam cups.

The cups will be attached with toothpicks. Start with prep. Cut, clean and peel the fruits as needed, and then cut the pineapple into a star.

IMG_0736

Start from the bottom, put in a a toothpick and then put on one of the green fruits. Repeat the layers until you have reached the top.

When you make it to the top, use toothpicks to cover the top with smaller grapes and then the pineapple star.

Last, decorate your tree with berries.

IMG_0747

Merry Christmas and Bon Appetite!

IMG_0764

 

Happy Creating!

 

 

Have an ‘Egg’-cellent Day!

We dye them in the spring for Easter, we scramble them in the morning for breakfast, and we use them in our holiday baking! Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients and there is more to them than what meets the eye. Get ready to be amazed by what seems like such a simple shelled ingredient.

Have you ever wondered what eggs look like when they are still in the shell?

First you have several layers of the shell (1,2,3).

Then you have the albumin (AKA egg white)  which is  clear and liquid when raw and then turns white as it cooks. The egg white has a vitamin called riboflavin as well as some protein. (5,6)

The third main component is the egg yolk! (7-12) Egg yolks are where most of the nutrients come from. This part is a yellowish color and is held in the center of the egg with a twisty cord called the chalazae (4, 13).

Lastly, you have the air pocket (14). This air pocket is at the base of the egg and is between the shell and egg white. As eggs get older, this pocket gets bigger.

So if you want to test the freshness of your eggs, try putting them in a bowl full of water!

  • If they sink, it means the air pocket is small and it is really fresh (great for sunny side up eggs)
  • If they float, the air pocket has grown and the egg is older (better used for scrambled eggs)

Did you know? You can buy peewee, medium, large, extra large, or Jumbo eggs depending on what size you want. When a recipe calls for an egg, however, it is standardized to use a ‘large’ egg. 

Health Benefits

Note: There is no nutritional difference between white and brown eggs. They are simply from different breeds of chicken. 

  • Good source of protein: Each egg has 6 grams of protein which is about 10% of what you need each day.
  • Rich in Vitamins: Eggs have Vitamin A, D, and several B vitamins! These vitamins help your body metabolize food, strengthen your bones, help your vision (especially your night vision), and keeps your skin healthy.
  • Source of choline, which is a nutrient that keeps all of your cells strong and breaks down fats in the food you eat.
Creative Creations

As I mentioned before, eggs are EXTREMELY versatile. They can be baked, boiled, poached, fried, scrambled, or put into baked goods! So how are you going to cook with eggs this week? Here are some ideas:

 

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs
    • Place your eggs in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the temperature down to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then take off and put under cold water to cool off. Great for a snack after school!
  • Breakfast Casseroles
    • Combine your favorite chopped veggies, ground sausage, and eggs and pour into a baking dish to cook for a breakfast delight!
  • Homemade custard
  • Deviled Eggs
    • check out my Halloween post under the snacks section for a delicious recipe
  • Muffins & other baked goods
  • Use to fluff up your waffles
    • Before adding the eggs to your waffles, separate the egg and whip up the egg white into a foam. Fold the egg white into your batter right before cooking so you have light and fluffy waffles!
  • Cook and add to salads
  • Mix with veggies, and mayo or yogurt for an egg salad
  • Sunny side up on toast with avocado, tomato, cheese, and black pepper
  • Breakfast burritos
  • Homemade omelets
  • French Toast
    • Whip up a few eggs with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg to dip your French bread into. After cooking I like to add yogurt, berries, and coconut on top
Varieties to Try

Eggs and egg substitutes come in many forms. Here are a few to try if you are feeling adventurous:

  • Different sizes: peewee, small, medium, large, extra-large, or Jumbo
  • Liquid eggs
  • Canned eggs
  • Dried eggs
  • Egg substitutes:
    • soy or milk complete egg substitute
    • Egg beaters
    • Egg ‘Replacers’
    • etc.
Recipes:
20180522_121053
Veggie Omelet Muffins
PUMPKIN & SPIDER DEVILED EGGS

 

 

Happy Creating!