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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Simple Snack Solutions for the Whole Family

Snacks are an important part of any plan to eat more nutritious foods. Children need snacks for healthy growth and development. Adults need snacks for an energy boost between meals. Following are seven tips for smart snacking—snacking that involves satisfying options with less fat and sugar, and fewer empty calories.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Enjoying Minnesota Berries

By Mary Schroeder, Extension educator and registered dietitian

Summer in Minnesota would not be complete without enjoying delicious berries. Minnesota-grown strawberries are at their peak in June, but are often still available the first part of July. Blueberries and raspberries are at their peak in July.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Saving Money on Food This Summer

Ahh, after a long winter, summer is finally here! Children are excited to be on summer vacation and adults are ready to enjoy the warmer temperatures. Even with the summer excitement, parents and childcare providers may be nervous about how their food costs will increase when children are home over the summer months.

Families may see an increase in food expenses during the summer for several reasons:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Canned Food: What to Watch For

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, registered dietitian

Canned food can be a great way to save money or time on items that are more expensive to buy or labor-intensive to prepare when fresh. The nutritional value of canned foods is often similar to fresh or frozen foods, but there are some things to watch out for.


Canned is a great way to enjoy fruits when they're not in season. Fruit is packed in water, juice, or syrup. Syrup adds a lot of unwanted calories from sugar. A cup of pears in heavy syrup has 33 grams of sugar, even when drained. That's more than two tablespoons of sugar! Compare that to a cup of pears in water, which has 15 grams sugar.

Bottom line: Choose fruits packed in water or juice, and drain fruits packed in syrup.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Keeping Teens Safe: The Village Approach

By Ellie McCann, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

About a month ago, I came across a parenting concept called the X-plan. You may have seen this blog post written by Bert Fulks, founder of Empty Stone Ministry, called X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out.

With the X-plan, you and your child create a secret code, such as an “X,” that they can text to you or anyone else in the family if they are feeling uncomfortable for any reason. When the receiver gets the text, they call the teen’s phone and tell them something like, “Something has come up and I need to pick you up right now!” The teen may ask what happened. The parent can respond with, “I’ll tell you about it when I pick you up, but I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

As a parent, I used a similar strategy with my three teenage girls, even though they were not the ones out at parties on the weekends. They were good kids who treated others with respect and kindness. They were not huge risk takers, but… they were teens.

Monday, April 3, 2017

5 Steps to Cleaner Cabinets

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, registered dietitian

When was the last time you went through your kitchen cupboards? Are there some items on the top shelf that need to be used? Have other items worked their way to the back and been forgotten?

Follow these five steps to keep your kitchen cupboards fresh and healthy.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Try 'SuperTracker' to Lose Weight in the New Year

By Mary Schroeder, Extension educator and registered dietitian

Did you make a New Year's resolution to lose weight? If so, this should interest you: Research shows that people who track what they eat and their physical activity are more likely to lose weight.

As a dietitian, I have found this to be true. People who track what they eat and drink lose weight easier than those that don't. This is true, in part, because the act of recording something raises awareness, which usually leads to action.

You can record everything you eat and drink, as well your physical activity, the old-fashioned way by writing things down on paper — in a notebook or on a calendar, for example. Or you can use one of the many online tools or apps that help you track your food and activity.
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