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Monday, November 7, 2016

Stay on Track When Cooking for the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! For some individuals and families, that means extra spending for gifts, food, and entertainment. This extra spending can be burdensome for many as it is often beyond their usual spending. Unfortunately, many find themselves with additional debt at the end of the holiday season.

Just as with gifts, preparing special and traditional holiday food can be costly and push an individual or family beyond their typical spending. Mary Jo Katras, program leader for family resiliency, shares the following ideas for staying on track.

About Our Programs: I CAN Prevent Diabetes

By Sara Van Offelen, Regional Coordinator — Health and Nutrition, SNAP-Ed

One in three adults in the United States are at risk for type 2 diabetes, and most don’t know it. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in people with prediabetes when they make simple changes to increase physical activity and lose weight. University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition staff teach Minnesotans who are at risk for diabetes how to make these simple changes through the program Individuals and Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes© (I CAN Prevent Diabetes).

Acerca de nuestros programas: YO PUEDO Prevenir la Diabetes

Por Sara Van Offelen, SNAP-Ed Coordinator Regional

Uno de cada tres adultos en los Estados Unidos corre el riesgo de tener diabetes tipo 2 y la mayoría de ellos no lo saben. Las personas que tienen prediabetes pueden prevenir o demorar la diabetes Tipo 2 por medio de hacer cambios sencillos para incrementar su actividad física y perder peso. El personal de Salud y Nutrición en la Extensión de la Universidad de Minnesota enseñan a los residentes de Minnesota que corren el riesgo de tener diabetes cómo hacer estos cambios sencillos a través del programa YO PUEDO Prevenir la Diabetes (El título completo en inglés es Individuals and Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes©).

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Stress-Free Holiday Cooking Tips

By Jodi Nordlund, SNAP-Ed Educator

Cooking for family and friends during the holidays doesn't have to be stressful or expensive. Here are some suggestions to cook up your best holiday meals yet.

  • Keep things in perspective. Spending time with family and friends is the important thing — not how fancy or expensive the meal is.
  • Use what you already have and what’s on sale. Look in your cupboards, pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for food you already have. Look at advertised sales at your grocery story and clip coupons for items you might need.
  • Write down a plan. Write down your proposed menu for holiday meals, remembering to maximize your leftovers from previous meals. Write down your grocery list, including just the items that you don’t already have on hand and things on sale.
  • Round out meals with less time-intensive, less expensive dishes. If you are making one menu item that requires more time to prepare or cook or is more expensive, select other quicker-to- prepare, less expensive dishes to round out your menu. Use low-cost, easy-to- prepare recipes. Make dishes ahead of time to freeze or refrigerate for later use, and use a slow cooker if possible.
  • Host a potluck. Ask guests to bring a dish to share. This is a low-cost option for everyone involved, and — more important — sharing meal preparation enhances the feeling of togetherness.
  • Stay mindful of food-related illnesses. Nothing puts a damper on your holiday like a bout of food poisoning or food-related allergic reaction. Use good food safety to keep your family safe and healthy.
For more information on minimizing stress while cooking, staying within your budget with meals, using good food safety, and more, visit Cook Up a Delicious Holiday on a Budget.

Consejos para cocinar sin estrés de fiestas

Por Jodi Nordlund, SNAP-Ed Educadora

Cocinar para la familia y los amigos durante las fechas festivas no necesariamente tiene que ser estresante o caro. Aquí le damos algunas sugerencias para que haga las mejores comidas festivas que jamás haya hecho.
  • Mantenga las cosas en perspectiva. Sea más importante pasar tiempo con la familia y los amigos que cuán elegante o cara sea la comida festiva.
  • Utilice lo que ya tiene y lo que está en oferta. Vea qué alimentos ya tiene dentro de sus alacenas, despensa, refrigerador y congelador. Vea qué ofertas está promoviendo su almacén y corte cupones para los artículos que quizás requiera.
  • Anote un plan. Anote el menú que propone para las comidas festivas, recordando cómo maximizar las sobras de las comidas anteriores. Anote su lista de compras, incluya solamente aquellos artículos que no tiene ya a la mano y las cosas que están en oferta.
  • Complete sus comidas con platos menos costosos que requieren menos tiempo de preparación. Si está haciendo un plato que requiere más tiempo para preparar o cocinar o es más caro, seleccione otros platos más rápidos de preparar y menos caros para completar su menú. Use recetas de bajo costo, fáciles de preparar. Planifique platos que puede hacer de antemano y refrigérelos o congélelos para usar después, y prepare algo en una olla eléctrica de cocido lento, si es posible.
  • Auspicie una cena de platos para compartir. Pida a sus invitados que traigan un plato para compartir. Esta es una opción de bajo costo para todos los involucrados y – lo que es más importante – al compartir la preparación de las comidas realza el sentido de unidad.
  • Esté consciente de las enfermedades relacionadas con la comida. Nada puede arruinar su feriado como un ataque de intoxicación por o una reacción alérgica a la comida. Tenga buen cuidado con los alimentos para mantener segura y saludable a su familia.
Para más información sobre cómo minimizar el estrés al cocinar, mantenerse dentro del presupuesto con las comidas, tener buen cuidado con los alimentos y más, visite Cocine una deliciosa comida festiva quedando dentro del presupuesto.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Remember to Renew Your ITIN

By Sara Croymans, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues an Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN) to those who have a filing or reporting requirement but don’t have and are not eligible to get a Social Security number.

Some ITINs will expire at the end of 2016. Not sure if your ITIN is set to expire? Visit the IRS’s ITIN Expiration Frequently Asked Questions web page.

If you need to renew your ITIN, you should submit a complete application this fall to avoid delays.

No se olvide de renovar su ITIN

Por Sara Croymans, Educadora de Extensión — Resiliencia familiar

El Internal Revenue Service (IRS) otorga los números de identificación de contribuyente individual (Individual Taxpayer Identification number – ITIN – en inglés) a aquellos que tienen el requisito de declarer sus impuestos pero no tiene y no son elegibles para obtener un número de seguro social (Social Security number en inglés).

Algunos ITIN vencen al final del 2016. ¿No está seguro si su ITIN está por vencer? Visite ITIN Expiration Frequently Asked Questions del IRS.

Si necesita renovar su ITIN, usted debe entregar una solicitud completa este otoño para evitar retrasos.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

When Is Gambling a Problem?

By Sara Croymans, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Gambling has become a popular activity for many people. According to the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance, 75 percent of Minnesota adults participate in some form of gambling in any given year.

Gambling is usually a fun, leisure-time activity, whether it’s playing bingo at church, buying lottery tickets or pull tabs, or participating in an office pool. For some individuals, however, gambling can change from an entertaining pastime to a harmful addiction. It’s important to know the signs of problem gambling and how to get help dealing with it.

Problem gambling, also called compulsive gambling, is defined as the urge to gamble despite harmful consequences or a desire to stop. Besides harming themselves, problem gamblers behave in ways that can have harmful effects on their families. And yet, starting a conversation with loved ones about problem gambling so they can get help can be challenging.

Whether you’re struggling with problem gambling yourself or worried about a spouse, family member, or friend, help is available through a number of treatment programs and online resources, such as the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance. For more information about problem gambling and resources for dealing with it, see When Is Gambling a Problem?

El juego se está convirtiendo en un problema?

Por Sara Croymans, Educadora de Extensión — Resiliencia familiar

Para muchos, el juego se ha convertido en una actividad popular. Según la Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (no fecha) durante el año pasado el 75 por ciento de los residentes en Minnesota han participado en alguna forma de juego.

Generalmente el juego es una actividad divertida en el tiempo libre, ya sea jugar bingo en la iglesia, comprar boletos para la lotería en una tienda de conveniencia o jalar las lengüetas, o participar en una recolección en la oficina. Para algunas personas, sin embargo, el juego puede cambiar de un pasatiempo divertido a una adicción nociva. Es importante conocer las señales de problema con el juego y cómo conseguir ayuda para tratarlo.

El problema con el juego problemático, llamado también juego compulsivo, se define como la necesidad de jugar a pesar de las consecuencias negativas nocivas o el deseo de parar. Además de lastimarse a sí mismos, los jugadores problemáticos se comportan en maneras que pueden tener efectos nocivos en sus familias. Empero, iniciar una conversación con seres queridos acerca problema con el juego problemático para que puedan conseguir ayuda puede ser un reto.

Ya sea que usted mismo esté luchando con problemas de juego problemático o esté preocupado por un cónyuge, miembro de su familia o amigo, hay ayuda disponible a través de varios programas de tratamiento y recursos en línea, tales como la Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance.

Para más información acerca problemas con el jugo y los recursos para abordarlo, véase nuestra página web, ¿Cuándo es problemático el juego?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Protect Against Lead Exposure

By Heather Lee, Educational Resource Development and Support Manager

Is your family at risk for lead poisoning? Any amount of lead in the blood is considered dangerous. Too much lead is considered “lead poisoning.”

Lead is a heavy metal that is not normally found in our bodies. When lead does get into our bloodstream, it can cause serious, long-term health problems, such as brain, kidney, and liver damage.

Lead can be digested or breathed in through dust. If a mother has lead in her bloodstream, she can also pass the lead to her baby during pregnancy.

You can protect yourself and your family from potential sources of lead exposure — and possible lead poisoning — by following these 10 tips:

Cómo protegerse contra la exposición al plomo

Por Heather Lee, Administradora de desarrollo de recursos educativos y apoyo

¿Su familia corre el riesgo de envenenamiento por plomo? Se considera que CUALQUIER cantidad de plomo en la sangre es peligrosa. Demasiado plomo es considerado como “envenenamiento por plomo”.

El plomo es un metal pesado que normalmente no se encuentra en nuestros cuerpos. Cuando entra el plomo en nuestra corrientes sanguínea, puede causar problemas de salud serios, a largo plazo, tales como daños al cerebro, los riñones y el hígado. El plomo se puede digerir o inhalar a través del polvo. Si una madre tiene plomo en su corriente sanguínea, puede pasar el plomo a su bebé durante el embarazo

Usted puede protegerse a sí mismo y a su familia de las potenciales fuentes de exposición al plomo – y posible envenenamiento con plomo – siguiendo estos diez consejos.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

FAFSA: First Step for Paying for Higher Education

By Antonio Alba-Meraz, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Do you know where you can get help paying for your children’s higher education? The first step to obtain financial assistance for post-secondary education is for you and your child to fill out and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You should complete a FAFSA form whether your child plans to attend a four-year college or university, a two-year community or junior college, or an eligible career school — a technical, vocational, or trade school.

FAFSA: primer paso para pagar por educación superior

Por Antonio Alba-Meraz, Educador de Extensión — Resiliencia familiar

¿Dónde pueden conseguir ayuda para pagar por la educación superior de sus hijos? El primer paso para obtener ayuda financiera para una educación post secundaria es que usted y su hijo completen y presenten un formulario Solicitud Gratuita de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (Free Application for Federal Student Aid — FAFSA — por sus siglas en inglés). Usted debe completar un formulario FAFSA ya sea que su hijo planifique asistir a un colegio de cuatro años o una universidad, un colegio comunitario de dos años o un colegio menor, o una escuela de cortas — una escuela técnica, vocacional o de comercio.

Yes, You Can Prevent Diabetes


By Mary Schroeder, Extension educator and registered dietitian

November is American Diabetes Month, the perfect time to find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

About 1 in 10 people in the United States have diabetes, and more than 1 out of 3 adults have prediabetes. The 84 million Americans with prediabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 adults who have prediabetes don't even know it.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Importance of Family Mealtime

By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

Family meals give parents and children an important opportunity to create close bonds and lifelong memories. Family meals also allow parents to be good role models for their children regarding eating habits. As a parent, when you make healthy food choices and regularly try new foods, your children are more likely to eat healthy foods and explore new foods, too.


Try these easy ways to make family meals a pleasant part of your family routine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Give Your Kids Healthy and Tasty Snacks

By Beth Labenz, SNAP-Ed Educator — Health and Nutrition

Sometimes parents hear the words “snack foods” and think of expensive, sugary, fattening, or salty treats that aren’t needed for a healthy diet. But giving your child healthy, filling school-day snacks that also taste good is easy — and cheaper than you think!

Besides being low in calories and full of fiber and vitamins, fruits and vegetables cost less than typical unhealthy snacks. For example, the average cost of a serving of fruit is 25 cents, while a single serving bag of chips or a candy bar can cost 69 to 80 cents. Wash, slice, and bag veggies and fruit in individual portions, and then toss one or more into your children’s school lunch boxes or backpacks on busy mornings when time is short.

Low-fat dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese sticks can be purchased in ready-to- eat portions that make healthy, filling, tasty snacks. Yogurt and cheese are packed with calcium, which is great for growing bones. Buy yogurt with the least amount of sugar.

Wrap high-protein, low-fat, low-sodium deli meat around a cheese stick for a tasty, filling snack during the school day. Cheese slices and apple wedges also make a flavorful, protein-filled snack. Or try hard boiled eggs or unsalted nuts.

Déle a sus hijos meriendas sabrosas y saludables

Por Beth Labenz — Educadora del programa SNAP-Ed


A veces los padres escuchan la palabra "merienda" y piensan en golosinas caras, azucaradas, altas en grasa o saladas que no se necesitan para una dieta saludable. Pero darle a su hijo meriendas escolares saludables que lo dejen satisfecho y que tengan buen sabor es fácil — y más barato de lo que usted cree!

Además de ser bajas en calorías y llenas de fibras y vitaminas, las frutas y verduras cuestan menos que las típicas meriendas que no son saludables. Por ejemplo el costo promedio de una porción de fruta es de 25 centavos, mientras que una bolsita individual de papitas o una barra de dulce pueden costar entre 69 a 80 centavos. Lava, corta y embolsa las verduras y frutas en porciones individuales. Usted tendrá meriendas saludables listas para meter en las loncheras escolares o mochilas de sus hijos en esas mañanas ocupadas cuando el tiempo es corto.

Se pueden comprar lácteos bajos en grasa, tales como yogurt y palitos de queso, en porciones listas para comer y son meriendas saludables y ricas que satisfacen. El yogurt y el queso tienen mucho calcio, lo cual es ideal para los huesos en desarrollo. Compre el yogurt que tenga la menor cantidad de azúcar.

Apply for College

By Antonio Alba Meraz, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Is your son or daughter planning to apply for college? Now’s the time to learn about the application process so you can help your child in the effort. Both 2-year and 4-year colleges require filling out an application form. This form is different than the one used to apply for federal student financial aid.

Most high school students start the application process in the fall of their senior year and apply to five to eight different colleges. Students can speed things up by completing a common application form for several colleges through the Common Application website.

Each college has specific requirements for application and its own deadline. Along with a completed form, most colleges require submitting the following:

Aplicación para el colegio o universidad

Por Antonio Alba Meraz, Educador de Extensión — Resiliencia familiar

¿Su hijo(a) piensa inscribirse en un colegio o universidad? Ahora es el momento de aprender acerca del proceso de inscripción para que pueda apoyar a su hijo(a) en ese esfuerzo. Tanto los colegios de 2 como de 4 años requieren que complete un formulario de inscripción. Este formulario es diferente del que se usa para solicitar ayuda económica al estudiante del gobierno federal y/o estado.

La mayoría de los estudiantes inician el proceso en el otoño, en su último año de preparatoria, y aplican a entre cinco y ocho colegios diferentes. Los estudiantes pueden agilizar las cosas por medio de completar un formulario de solicitud general para varios colegios a través del sitio web llamado Common Application (sólo en inglés).

Cada colegio y universidad tiene requisitos específicos para solicitar el ingreso y su propia fecha tope. La mayoría de los colegios y universidades requieren lo siguiente junto con el formulario completado:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pay With Cash the Right Way

By Antonio Alba Meraz, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Paying with cash is a common practice that people choose for a variety of reasons, including the desire to enjoy the benefits of using cash or the lack of a bank account due to low income or other personal circumstances. For example, recent immigrants may hesitate to open bank accounts due to unfamiliarity with the U.S. banking system, mistrust of banking systems (because of negative experiences in their former homelands), or lack of English language skills.

Whatever reason you may have for paying with cash, you should know how to conduct financial transactions in order to keep your money safe.

Pague con dinero en efectivo en la manera correcta

Por Antonio Alba Meraz, Educador de Extensión — Resiliencia familiar

Pagar con dinero en efectivo es una práctica común que las personas eligen por una diversidad de razones, incluyendo el deseo de disfrutar de los beneficios de utilizar dinero en efectivo o la falta de una cuenta bancaria debido a sus ingresos bajos u otras circunstancias personales. Por ejemplo, inmigrantes recientes quizás titubeen en abrir cuentas bancarias debido a su falta de conocimiento sobre el sistema bancario en los EE.UU, falta de confianza en los sistemas bancarios (debido a experiencias negativas en sus anteriores países), o falta de destrezas en el idioma inglés.

Cualquiera sea la razón que tenga por pagar en dinero en efectivo, debería saber cómo realizar transacciones financieras para así mantener seguro su dinero.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Keep Your Home Safe from Fire

By Jose Lamas — Financial Capability Educator

With fall upon us, here are some tips for keeping you and your family safe from fire at home.

Electrical Fire Safety
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (like a coffee maker or toaster oven) into a wall outlet at a time.
  • Never use extension cords with heating or air conditioning equipment.
  • Do not use damaged electrical cords or power overload outlets.
  • Turn off and unplug space heaters when you leave the room or go to bed.

General Fire Safety
  • Make sure that items that could catch fire — such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, trash, and plastics — are not too close to heating registers, space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Avoid smoking in bed or near furniture that can catch on fire easily. Make sure cigarettes and ashes are completely out.
  • Do not let children play with matches or lighters.
  • Remind your children regularly about the dangers of fire.
  • Place fire extinguishers for every level of your home and install smoke alarms.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Mantenga su hogar seguro de incendios

Por José Lamas — Educador de capacidad financiera

Con la llegada del otoño, aquí hay algunos consejos para mantener seguros a su familia de un incendio en el hogar.

Seguridad contra incendios eléctricos
  • Enchufe solamente un aparato que produce calor (como una cafetera o un horno tostador) a la vez en una toma de corriente en la pared.
  • No utilice nunca cables prolongadores con equipos de calefacción o aire acondicionado.
  • No use cables eléctricos o prolongadores que estén dañados o raídos.
  • Apague y desenchufe los calentadores cuando sale de la habitación o se va a dormir.

Seguridad contra incendios en general
  • Asegúrese que cosas que podrían incendiarse — como madera, papel, tela, goma, basura y plásticos — no estén demasiado cerca a calefactores, cocinas y chimeneas.
  • No fume nunca en la cama o cerca de muebles que se incendian con facilidad. Asegúrese que los cigarrillos y las cenizas estén completamente apagados.
  • No deje que los niños jueguen con fósforos o encendedores.
  • Recuerde regularmente a sus hijos acerca de los peligrosde los incendios.
  • Coloque extinguidores de fuego en cada nivel de su hogar e instale detectores de humo.
Para más información, visite los siguientes sitios web:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Parents Forever™ Courses Earn High Marks from Participants

By Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor — Center for Family Development

Working through a family transition like divorce, separation, or custody change can be difficult. University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development has developed Parents Forever™ to improve coparenting outcomes and ease some of the difficulties that come with these transitions.

Parents Forever™ is a research based curriculum developed in the 1990s and has recently been revised and tested. The course is offered in-person or online in order to meet the needs busy parents. It focuses on the whole family — children and parents.

Los cursos Parents Forever™ ganan un alto puntaje de los participantes

Por Mary Vitcenda, Editora en jefe — Centro para el Desarrollo Familiar

Al atravesar por una transición familiar, tal como un divorcio, una separación, o un cambio de custodia, puede ser difícil. El Centro de Extensión para Desarrollo de la Familia de la Universidad de Minnesota ha desarrollado el Parents Forever TM para mejorar los resultados de la co-paternidad y facilitar algunas de las dificultades que vienen con estas transiciones.

Parents Forever TM se ofrece en persona o en línea para poder cumplir con las necesidades de padres ocupados. Se enfoca en toda la familia – hijos y padres.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fall Is a Good Time for Parents to Strengthen School Connections

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

The start of the school year in the fall marks a new beginning for students and families. If you’re a parent, now is a good time to think about what you can do to support your children’s learning and commit to taking those actions all year round.

One big thing you can do as a parent is strengthen connections with your children’s teachers and school staff. Cooperation and shared responsibility between parents and teachers are necessary to foster learning and students’ success in school. As a parent, your responsibilities call for you to:

El otoño es buen momento para que los padres y madres fortalezcan sus conexiones con la escuela

Por Silvia Álvarez de Dávila, Educadora de Extensión — Resiliencia familiar

El inicio del año escoblar en el otoño, marca un nuevo comienzo para los estudiantes y sus familias. Si usted es padre o madre, ahora es un buen momento para pensar acerca de qué puede hacer para apoyar el aprendizaje de sus hijos y comprometerse a tomar esas acciones a lo largo de todo el año.

Una cosa importante que pueden hacer como padres o madres es fortalecer las conexiones con los maestros y el personal de la escuela de sus hijos. La cooperación y la responsabilidad compartida entre padres y maestros son necesarias para fomentar el aprendizaje y el éxito de los alumnos en la escuela. Como padres, sus responsabilidades los llaman a:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A New Look at School Lunches

By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

Have you eaten a school lunch lately? Most adults have not eaten school meals since, well...since they were in school.


Meals served in schools today include a larger variety of fruits, vegetables, and entrées than when most of us were kids. Many schools also provide fruit and salad bars bars to encourage students to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Passport to Flavor: Native American Traditions

This month, we continue our Passport to Flavor series that explores different cultures and their food traditions. We hope you find this information useful in your work with children and families from various cultures, as well as a source of ideas on how to teach children about other cultures.

Our third guest blogger is Deanna Beaulieu, a SNAP-Ed educator with University of Minnesota Extension who will be sharing her perspective on the Native American culture and foods.


Aaniin (Hello). My name is Deanna Beaulieu. I was born and raised in Minneapolis and am an enrolled member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation. While I was growing up, I enjoyed spending summers with my grandmother by Leech Lake. My grandmother would tell me, “It doesn’t matter where you are from. It’s what’s in your heart that matters.” Although I live in Minneapolis, I belong to the land up north — that is where my heart lives.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Here's How You Can Help Reduce Food Waste


By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

Did you know that 90 billion pounds of edible food in the United States goes to waste each year? That's the weight of 123 Empire State Buildings!
Image credit: ChooseMyPlate.Gov

The amount of food waste is a growing concern. Wasted food items make up the single largest component of items going to landfills, but many foods tossed out are still safe to eat.

Fortunately, people are making system changes in producing, processing, storing, and preparing foods to reduce waste. And there are things you can do to cut food waste at home, too! Here are six tips on cutting your food waste.

Friday, July 8, 2016

How to Keep Fit All Year

By Milena Nunez Garcia — SNAP-Ed Educator

When the weather warms up, people cannot hide extra pounds with layers and layers of clothing as they do in winter. As a result, when summer begins people start dieting and exercising to lose weight. But even if people succeed in shedding some pounds, many of them see the weight come back when summer ends. Then they ask, “How can I lose weight and keep it off?” If this sounds familiar to you, here are some tips to maintain a healthy weight all year round.

Cómo mantener un peso saludable

Por Milena Nunez Garcia — Educadora del programa SNAP-Ed

Cuando el clima es más calido las personas no pueden esconder las libras extras con capas y capas de ropa como lo hacen en el invierno. Como resutado, cuando comienza el verano las personas comienzan a hacer dieta y ejercicio para bajar de peso. Pero aún si las personas tienen éxito en perder algunas libras, muchas de ellas ven que el peso vuelve al finalizar el verano. Si esto le resulta conocido, aquí le damos algunos consejos para mantener un peso saludable todo el año.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Use su tarjeta SNAP-EBT en los mercados de agricultores en todo Minnesota

Por Laura Perdue, Educadora de Extensión — Health and Nutrition, Urban

¿Recibe usted los beneficios del programa de asistencia nutricional suplementaria (por su sigla en inglés SNAP)? Si es así, usted puede usar su tarjeta SNAP-EBT en más de 80 mercados de agricultores en Minnesota y puede hacer estirar su dinero con el programa Market Bucks. Entre el 1ro de mayo y el 31 de octubre del 2016 por cada $1 SNAP/EBT que gasta en los mercados participantes se beneficia con $1 que le iguala los cupones Market Bucks — hasta $10!


Hay tres pasos fáciles a seguir para usar la tarjeta SNAP-EBT en el mercado de agricultures.
  1. Compre fichas en el estand de EBT. Obtenga los cupones Market Bucks para igualar dólar por dólar (hasta $10).
  2. Use las fichas (y los cupones Market Bucks) para comprar alimentos elegibles con la tarjeta SNAP con los vendedores del mercado.
  3. Guarde las fichas sin usar para las futuras compras o devuélvalas en el estand de EBT. 
Para mayor información o para encontrar el mercado de agricultores más cercano a usted que acepta SNAP-EBT,visite el sitio web http://z.umn.edu/mercadodeag.

Use Your SNAP-EBT Card at Farmers Markets Across Minnesota

By Laura Perdue, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition, Urban

Do you receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits? If so, you can use your SNAP-EBT card at more than 80 farmers markets in Minnesota, and you can make your money go further with the Market Bucks program. Between May 1 and October 31, 2016, every $1 of SNAP-EBT benefits you spend at participating locations will be matched by $1 in Market Bucks — up to $10!


There are three easy steps to using a SNAP-EBT card at a farmers market.

  1. Buy tokens at the EBT booth. Get Market Bucks to match dollar-for- dollar (up to $10).
  2. Use tokens (and Market Bucks) to buy SNAP-eligible foods from market vendors.
  3. Keep unused tokens for future visits or return them at the EBT booth.
For more information or to find a farmers market near you that accepts SNAP-EBT, visit http://z.umn.edu/farmersmarkets.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cómo construir el crédito

Por Jose Lamas, Financial Capability Educator

El construir su crédito es un paso importante si usted está interesado/a en pedir prestado dinero para su primer carro o casa. El estado de su crédito afectará en la adquisición de unpréstamo y en la cantidad de interés que usted tendrá que pagar. Aquí tiene algunos consejos para construir o reconstruir su crédito.
  • Pague sus cuentas a tiempo, todo el tiempo. Podría ponerse recordatorios para las fechas de vencimiento en un calendario de papel o en teléfono. Otra opción es establecer pagos automáticos con su banco pero necesita asegurarse de que usted tiene suficiente dinero en su cuenta corriente para que este método funcione.
  • No se acerque demasiado a su línea de crédito. Preste atención al límite en sus tarjetas de crédito. Usted no debería “pasarse,” exceder el límite de su tarjeta de crédito. Los expertos aconsejan usar no más del 30 por ciento or menos de su línea de crédito y algunos sugieren usar menos en lo posible.
  • Si usted no reúne los requisitos para una tarjeta de crédito normal trate de conseguir una tarjeta de crédito asegurada. Usted puede solicitar una tarjeta de crédito asegurada de una unión de credito local o de un banco. Los emisores de tarjetas de crédito asegurada normalmente requieren un depósito que sería su límite crediticio. Use la tarjeta y pague el saldo todos los meses para construir un buen crédito por primera vez o para reconstruir el crédito previamente perdido.
  • No solicite mucho crédito en poco tiempo. Su puntaje crediticio se verá afectado si usted abre varias líneas de crédito a la vez. Note que el obtener una tarjeta de una nueva tienda o el transferir el saldo de otras tarjetas a una nueva tarjeta cuenta como si estuviera abriendo una línea de crédito.
Para más consejos sobre cómo construir o reconstruir el crédito visite los siguientes sitios web:

How to Build Credit

By Jose Lamas — Financial Capability Educator

Building your credit is an important step if you are interested in borrowing money for your first home or car. Your credit status will affect whether you get a loan and the amount of interest you will pay. Here are some tips for building or rebuilding credit.
  • Pay your bills on time, every time. You may want to set up reminders for due dates on a paper or phone calendar. Another option is to set up automatic payments with your bank, but you need to make sure you have enough money in your checking account for this method to work.
  • Don't get too close to your credit limit. Pay attention to the limit on your credit cards. You do not want to “max out,” exceeding the limit on your credit cards. Experts advise using no more than 30 percent of your credit limit, and some suggest using less if you can.
  • If you can’t qualify for a regular credit card, try a secured card. You can apply for a secured credit card from a local credit union or bank. Secured credit card issuers normally require a deposit, which would be your credit limit. Use the card and pay the balance every month to build good credit for the first time or to rebuild previously lost credit.
  • Don't apply for too much credit in a short time. Your credit score will suffer if you open several lines of credit at one time. Note that getting a new store card or transferring balances from other cards to a new card counts as opening a line of credit.
For more tips on building or rebuilding credit, visit the following websites:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Nunca es demasiado pronto para planear el regreso a clases

Por Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Educadora de Extensión — Resiliencia familiar

Estamos a mediados del verano y probablemente lo último que se le ocurre es pensar en el próximo año escolar. Pero aunque usted esté disfrutando del calor del sol no es demasiado pronto para pensar en el regreso a clases de sus hijos al final del verano. La planificación anticipada y prepararse para el nuevo año escolar ahora, aliviará el estrés que se siente al comenzar las clases a fines de agosto o principios de septiembre. Aquí tenemos una lista de cosas para hacer para que la transición al regreso a clases sea más tranquila para sus hijos— y para usted.

It’s Never Too Early for Back to School Planning

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

It’s the middle of summer, and the upcoming school year is probably the last thing on your mind. But even as you soak up the sunshine, it’s not too early to think about your children’s return to school when summer ends. Planning ahead and preparing for the new school year now will eliminate a lot of stress when school starts in late August or early September.

Friday, July 1, 2016

It's Fun to Eat Outdoors in the Summer, but Keep Food Safe

By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

From Foodsafety.gov
Summer is a great time to get together with family and friends and enjoy food outdoors. But hot weather poses special challenges to keeping food safe. You need to be sure your next outdoor summer gathering is remembered for fun and not because everyone got sick from the food! To do that, follow these simple tips to keep germs away from your outdoor party.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Growing Tomatoes, Even When You Don't Have a Garden

By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

With summer around the corner, I'm thinking about the joys of the season, including the tantalizing taste of fresh, home-grown tomatoes. But what if you don't have access to a garden? Don't worry! You can still grow tasty tomatoes in a container.

Here is what you need to get started.
  • A growing pot. Look for a pot that holds between 2 to 5 gallons of soil. The shape of the container does not matter, but you should give some consideration to the type of pot you use. There are several container options to choose from, including clay, plastic, or even wood. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but each works for growing tomatoes, as long as the bottom of the pot has holes to allow for water drainage. (For more information on types of pots to use in container gardening, check out University of Minnesota Master Gardener and University of Illinois Extension and resources below.)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Los pros y los contra de trabajar en la adolescencia

Por Jose Lamas, Asociado del Programa Comunitario

A medida que los hijos llegan a la edad de la adolescencia, muchos comienzan a pensar en trabajar y ganar su propio dinero. Para los adolescentes, las ventajas del trabajar son:
  • Crea un sentido de responsabilidad, buenos hábitos de trabajo y habilidades organizacionales.
  • Desarrolla las habilidades del pensamiento independiente y de la toma de decisiones.
  • Ahorra dinero para lograr las metas educativas a largo plazo.
  • Se obtienen referencias para futuros trabajos.
Por otro lado, hay dificultades dificultades de trabajar que su hijo debe evitar, incluyendo:

Los beneficios de participar en un huerto/jardín comunitario

Por Antonio Alba Meraz — Educador de Extensión

Existe en su comunidad un programa huertos/jardínes comunitarios? La Ciudad de Minneapolis define huerto/jardín comunitario al terreno que un grupo de personas usa para cultivar alimentos o plantas ornamentales para uso o consumo personal o para donar.

Según la Gardeners in Community Development (sólo en inglés), los participantes y la comunidad entera reciben muchos beneficios de los huertos comunitarios, inclusive:

Mantengase activo en primavera

Por Milena Nunez Garcia — Educadora de SNAP-Ed 

El comienzo de la primavera no sólo es el tiempo en el que se derrite la nieve, las flores florecen y los pájaros cantan. Después de un largo invierno dentro de la casa, la primavera es también el tiempo ideal para salir afuera y ponerse en movimiento.

 El mantenernos saludables por medio de la actividad física debería ser una parte fundamental de nuestro estilo de vida. Hay dos tipos de actividades físicas y cada una de ellas ofrece importantes beneficios para la salud.

Detenga la caída del verano

Por Silvia Alvarez de Davila — Educadora de Extensión

Los padres se quejan constantemente del verano porque es el tiempo más dificil para mantener a los hijos ocupados. Los maestros también se preocupan por la “caida del verano” que sufren los estudiantes. Esta es la tendencia de los hijos a olvidarse durante el verano de cómo leer y de otras habilidades que aprendieron en la escuela. A veces los hijos pierden el equivalente de habilidades aprendidas durante todo un grado en el verano haciendo que tengan que dedicar tiempo extra en el otoño para ponerse al día con los compañeros.

Llamamiento a la acción: Empecemos a hablar sobre salud mental

Por Silvia Alvarez de Davila — Educadora de Extensión
No hay salud si no se tiene salud mental. La salud mental comprende nuestro bienestar emocional, psicológico y social. Las condiciones mentales como la depresión, la ansiedad y la adicción son reales, comunes y tratables. Pero no todos pensamos lo suficiente en nuestra salud mental y los latinos no son diferentes en cuanto a la prevalencia de los estados de la salud mental.

Todos tenemos nuestros altibajos causados por diferentes situaciones en nuestras vidas. Pero los trastornos de la salud mental van más allá de estas reacciones emocionales. Los trastornos mentales son condiciones médicas que afectan la manera que sentimos y pensamos. Estos pueden también alterar nuestras vidas y hacer que sea difícil relacionarnos con los demás y funcionar de la manera en la que estábamos acostumbrados.

The Pros and Cons of Teen Jobs

By Jose Lamas, Community Program Associate

As children reach adolescence, many of them start thinking about working and earning their own money. For teenagers, the advantages of working include:
  • Building a sense of responsibility, good work habits, and organizational skills.
  • Developing independent thinking and decision making skills.
  • Saving money for long-term education goals. Gaining references for future jobs. 
On the other hand, there are pitfalls to working that your teenager should avoid including:
  • Working in an unsafe or stressful environment. Teens might not be sufficiently developed physically, intellectually, or emotionally to perform certain tasks. 
  • Working too many hours for their age. Studies have found that teenagers who work more than 20 hours a week are more likely to experience detrimental effects in their school, family, and personal lives.Ÿ
  • Letting the job become a distraction from school and the goal of graduation. This is mostly true for after-school jobs, rather than summer jobs. 
If your teenage child is talking about getting a job, the best thing to do is have a serious conversation with him or her about the advantages and disadvantages of working.

For more tips on talking with your teen about this topic see our I Need to Get a Job web page.

The Benefits of Being Involved in a Community Garden

By Antonio Alba Meraz — Extension Educator

Does your community offer a community garden program? A community garden is defined by the City of Minneapolis as land used by a group of people to grow food or ornamental plants for personal use or consumption, or for donation.

Keep Moving in Spring

By Milena Nunez Garcia — SNAP-Ed Educator

Spring is not just about melting snow, blooming flowers, and singing birds. After a long winter spent indoors, spring is also the ideal time to get outside and get moving.


Staying healthy through physical activity should be a fundamental part of our lifestyle. There are two types of physical activities, and each one offers important health benefits.

Aerobic activities strengthen and improve the performance of the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Moderate intensity aerobic physical activities include walking briskly, water aerobics, gardening, and others. Vigorous intensity aerobic physical activities include running, team sports, aerobic dancing, and others. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activities per week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activities per week — or an equivalent combination of the two.

Stop the Summer Slide

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila — Extension Educator

Parents consistently complain about summer because it is the most difficult time to keep their children busy. Teachers are also concerned about children suffering from the "summer slide." That's the tendency for kids to forget reading and other skills they learned in school during the summer. Sometimes children lose a whole grade-level's worth of skills in the summer, requiring them to put in extra time in the fall to catch up with their peers at school.

What can you, as parents, do to prevent the summer slide?

Call for Action: Get Talking About Mental Health

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila — Extension Educator

There is not health without mental health. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well being. Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and addiction are real, common and treatable. But not all of us think about our mental health enough, and Latinos are not different when it comes to prevalence of mental health conditions.

We all experience emotional ups and downs caused by different events in our lives. However, mental health conditions go beyond these emotional reactions. Mental disorders are medical conditions that change the way we think and feel. They also can alter our lives and make it hard to relate to others and function the way we are used to.

Spend Less Time in the Kitchen and More Time Outdoors

Spring is here! If you're like me, you want to spend as much time outside as possible. Here are three steps to spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the outdoors.

Step One: Plan
Writing a menu for the week is a helpful way to streamline kitchen tasks. A menu allows you or another family member to shop ahead of time to ensure the foods needed are in the kitchen at mealtime. It also helps prevents the frustration of hearing "What's for dinner tonight?" and not having an answer.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Creating Healthy and Active Celebrations

Spring is here! And so are celebrations such as graduations, weddings, birthdays, and family gatherings. These celebrations are a great opportunity for families and friends to get together. If you are hosting a party this spring, there are several things you can do to create healthy, active, and low cost celebrations.


Plan It Healthy

Food is a big part of any celebration. The foods you serve at a party can be healthy, without your guests even knowing it. Here are a few simple, low cost ideas:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Passport to Flavor: Hmong Traditions

This month, we continue our Passport to Flavor series that explores different cultures and their food traditions. We hope you find this information useful in your work with children and families from various cultures, as well as a source of ideas on how to teach children about other cultures.

Our second guest blogger is Shirley Vang, a SNAP-Ed educator with University of Minnesota Extension who will be sharing her perspective on the Hmong culture.


Hello, my name is Shirley Vang. I have worked for Extension for two years. I was born and raised in the United States, but my parents are from Laos and Thailand. Growing up, I ate foods from their homeland as well as American food. I grew up eating the best of both worlds!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Eating Wisely Away from Home is as Easy as Telling Time

When you're away from home, eating wisely can be an extra challenge. With a little thought and planning, however, choosing healthy foods and keeping portions under control when you're on the go can be as easy as telling time.

The first step to avoid overeating away from home is to choose the smallest plate size available. This will guide you to take smaller portions, while making you think the portions are bigger. (Actually, this trick works when you're at home, too.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Meet the EFNEP Team

Simple addition tells us that the staff of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has over 170 years of experience. Let’s meet the talented community nutrition educators that make this program possible.



Back row, from left: Jennifer Ogren — 17.5 years; Takayla Lightfield — 7 months; Roberto Martinez — 6 months; Yoha Christianson — 4 years; Michael Stratten — 7 months.

Middle row, from left: Tou Yang — 9 months; Alicia Perales-Esparza — 7 years; Jaime Harris — 8 months; Dawn Montgomery — 15 years; Joyce McGee-Brown — 17 years; Chee Yang — 27.5 years; Karen Kulus — 8 years.

Front row, from left: Cassandra Silveira, Extension Educator — 14 months; Christine Navarro, Program Coordinator — 15 years; Fay McLain, Program Coordinator — 27.5 years.

Not Pictured: Roger Dahmen — 32 years.

For more information on EFNEP, see Just What is EFNEP? And subscribe to Health and Nutrition News to get to know our individual team members, their backgrounds, what community agencies they are partnering with, and more!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Passport to Flavor: Mexican Traditions

This month, we’re kicking off the new Passport to Flavor series that will explore different cultures and their food traditions. We hope you find this information useful in your work with children and families from various cultures, as well as a source of ideas on how to teach children about other cultures.

Our first guest blogger is Maria Paez-Sievert, a SNAP-Ed educator with University of Minnesota Extension who will be sharing her perspective on the Mexican culture.


Hola (hello), my name is Maria Paez-Sievert. I was born and raised and Mazatlán, Mexico, and came to live in the USA 21 years ago. Prior to working for Extension, I worked at Head Start for 14 years. My favorite food from Mexico is called “Mole Poblano.” It contains about 20 ingredients, including chili peppers and chocolate, which helps give the sauce its dark color.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

Kids have more taste buds
than adults, so food may taste
stronger to them.
Did you know that you have about as many taste buds in your mouth as Minnesota has lakes? Give them a treat by mixing things up and trying some new foods. March is National Nutrition Month® and a great time to "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right."

Here are some ideas and recipes to try:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Wake Up to School Breakfast


By Mary Schroeder, Extension educator and registered dietitian

Mornings with children at home can be hectic. One or both parents are probably getting ready for work while also dressing young children for day care and corralling older ones for school. Teenagers may be leaving earlier than other family members for a morning sports practice. With such busy schedules, it is nice to know that most schools offer breakfast.


Breakfast Helps Kids

It is important that children start the day with breakfast. Children who eat breakfast reach higher levels of achievement in reading and math, concentrate better, are more alert, retain more of what they learn, and have fewer behavior problems.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pizza Can Be Nutritious and Delicious

If you're like most people, pizza is one of your favorite foods. But pizza can be unhealthy if made with too many high-fat ingredients, such as cheese and sausage. Fortunately, you can enjoy pizza that's both nutritious and delicious if your make your own. And what better time to make your own pizza than during Great American Pizza Bake Week, starting February 14. Here are some tips for creating a tasty and tempting pizza you and your family will like.


Craft the Crust
The base of any pizza is the crust. You can make the crust more nutritious by substituting whole wheat flour for part of the white flour. For example, if your favorite pizza crust recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, use 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of white (all-purpose) flour. Try this easy to make whole wheat pizza crust, which contains both whole wheat and white flour.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Released

By Laura Perdue, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

As many of you probably know by now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

One change you might notice is a shift in focus from food groups and nutrients to eating patterns. This change reflects recognition by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that people do not think in terms of food groups or single nutrients when they eat, but rather eat according to regular habits, or patterns. The change also reflects a growing body of research examining the relationship between eating patterns and health.

The latest guidelines also outline the changes Americans will need to make to move from what they are currently eating to adopting eating patterns that meet the guidelines.
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