Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Myth: It’s hard to stick to the health goals I set for myself for the new year.

Answer: That's probably true for many of us.

Ever wonder why? Let’s look at some tips to set goals that ‘stick.’

Good intentions aren’t enough when setting goals. How you define your goal can help translate into success. Think S.M.A.R.T. when setting goals.

  • S is for specific. Make your goal specific. How often do you hear someone say, “I’m going to eat healthier this year.” Great idea! Not very specific. Change this to: Three days a week I am going to eat fruit as an after-dinner dessert.
  • M is for measurable. The more specific your goal, the more measurable it is. This makes it easier to track your progress. It can be hard to track the progress of a broad goal like “I’m going to eat healthier this year.” But when you state that you are going to eat fruit three days a week after dinner, now that’s measurable.
  • A is for attainable. Most of us make unattainable goals for the new year in our attempt to erase an entire year of poor health habits. If you aren’t active and then set a goal that you will walk for an hour every day, you are probably setting an unattainable goal. A more attainable activity goal might be to walk 20 minutes three times a week in the morning.
  • R is for realistic. This goes hand-in-hand with a goal that is attainable. It may be attainable for you to walk 20 minutes three times a week but not realistic to do so in the morning if you aren’t a morning person.
  • T is for time-specific. What is the time period for the goal? It probably makes sense for you to choose short periods of time, maybe one to three months. That way you can track your progress and set new goals in the next few months. Most people are only able to think in short periods of time.

Using the S.M.A.R.T. approach to setting goals can help you move forward in good health for the new year or any time of the year.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Monday, December 23, 2013

Myth: There’s no way my family will enjoy healthier holiday dishes.

Answer: BUSTED!

healthier version of traditional stuffing
The folks at the United States Department of Agriculture who brought you MyPlate are sharing holiday recipe makeovers that are fun, healthy and family-tested.

Melissa’s Slow-Cooker Stuffing uses 100% whole wheat bread and light butter along with cranberries and green apples for appealing color. The saturated fat and sodium is less than half when compared to her grandma’s original recipe. Melissa’s family rating? A hit!

How about cranberry chutney instead of cranberry sauce? Julie’s recipe for cranberry chutney is healthier than traditional cranberry sauce with more fruits and vegetables and half the sugar. The chutney has a sweet-tangy flavor. The garam masala and red pepper flakes give it an extra kick. You can use allspice or curry powder if you don’t have garam masala.

These recipes show that small ingredient changes make recipes healthier yet still a family favorite, even during the holidays!

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Myth: Raw cookie dough is always safe to eat if you use pasteurized eggs.

bowl of raw cookie dough
Answer: BUSTED!

Many Americans (including myself) love to bake and eat cookies during the holiday season, as well as throughout the year. I know I am not alone in that I also would love to pop some of the raw dough into my mouth when I am baking. In the past, the general thinking was that if one would just use pasteurized eggs in making the cookies or just buy refrigerated cookie dough, any harmful organisms that might be present in the eggs would be eliminated and thus the dough would be safe to eat raw.

However, an outbreak of E.coli in 2009 that was linked to purchased ready-to-BAKE (not ready-to-EAT!) cookie dough changed this thinking. This dough used pasteurized eggs which appeared to be handled correctly. So what ingredient was making people sick? Although investigators were not able to definitively identify the problem ingredient, it appears that the flour may have been contaminated with E.coli. Many manufacturers of commercial cookie dough now use heat-treated flour, which will reduce the risk of foodborne illness; however, it is still safest to bake the cookies before eating them, as the package clearly states.

Most home bakers do not use heat-treated flour (which is not currently readily available for consumers to purchase), so if you are making cookies at home this holiday season (or anytime), it is safest to bake them before eating. I have found that you also end up with more cookies if you don’t eat the dough! :) If you have a hankering for cookie dough (as I do!), you can safely consume cookie dough ice cream or similar products where the cookie dough has been heat-treated for safe consumption. There are also recipes online for cookie dough made with cooked garbanzo beans and no flour that would be safer to consume.

Enjoy the holiday season safely! No one wants to have foodborne illness over the holidays, so following some simple food safety practices can help ensure that. For more information, see Tips for safe as well as delicious holiday meals.

Contributor: Londa Nwadike, PhD, Extension Food Safety Specialist, nwadikel@missouri.edu, 816-655-6258

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Myth: Energy drinks are a good way to get the energy I need during the holidays.

energy drink
Answer: BUSTED!

Tempted to reach for an energy drink to get that energy rush you need when you are running around during the holidays? There ARE other ways to feel more energetic — see the list below. These options are healthier than energy drinks and some are cheaper, too.

  • Eat as soon as you can after rising in the morning. Your body needs fuel when you wake up. We call this ‘breaking the fast.’ 
  • During the day, consume small portions of healthy snacks that contain protein for staying power and the energy you need. Some examples? Nuts, yogurt with fruit, or carrots with hummus. 
  • Get moving! Being active brings your energy level up. Exercise is a natural stimulant and it makes you feel energized. 
  • Take a break if sitting for long periods. A 10 minute ‘get up and move’ break every hour gives you the energy your body – and mind – need. 
  • Get enough sleep! You’ll wake feeling refreshed and full of energy.

Why avoid energy drinks? They contain caffeine and other ingredients that have caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that may cause side effects like headaches, anxiety and a raised heart rate. Caffeine may negatively interact with some medications such as decongestants and antidepressants. And the sugar in many energy drinks makes them as full of calories as soda. Healthier and cheaper drink choices are 100% fruit juices, low-fat milk and water.

For more information, see Be wary of energy drinks.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Myth: It’s hard to offer healthy choices at Thanksgiving when my family just wants the favorites, some of which aren't healthy at all.

Answer: You’re right, but let’s bust the myth that comfort foods can't be made healthier!

Thanksgiving feast
Lighter and healthier holiday meals don’t have to mean no flavor or enjoyment. Yes, Virginia, you CAN prepare comfort foods so that they taste good but have less calories and fat. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Add low calorie but high fiber to your stuffing. Why high fiber? It fills you up. Veggies like carrots, celery and mushrooms fill you up without a lot of calories. You can also get some tasty sweetness with not a lot of calories by adding apples and butternut squash to your stuffing.

  • Sweet potatoes with marshmallows and maple syrup – the ultimate comfort food! Another way to prepare sweet potatoes that still provides that sweet taste is to cube the potatoes, spray with vegetable cooking spray and sprinkle with brown sugar and black pepper (or other spices like cinnamon). Roast at 350-400 degrees until lightly browned. I enjoy this treat throughout the winter even if it’s not a holiday. Makes a healthy and filling snack when I want a ‘sweet treat.’

  • Is pumpkin pie your holiday tradition? Consider making it without a crust. You cut calories and fat by preparing it this way but you still get the goodness of the pumpkin pie.

  • Mashed potatoes a family favorite? Some recipes suggest pureeing cooked cauliflower and adding garlic and chicken broth for flavoring. Not that adventurous? Try making half mashed potatoes and half pureed cauliflower.

And if you really can’t give up any of your holiday comfort foods, then remember to get back to healthy eating and being active the day AFTER Thanksgiving! Happy holiday!

For more ways to make your holiday recipes healthier (but still delicious), see the Makeover Your Holiday Meals with MyPlate! series on the USDA blog or on the MyPlate Facebook page. You’ll find recipes and other tips in this 8-week series.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Myth: You should always rinse a turkey before cooking it.

Answer: BUSTED!

Roasted turkey
For many Americans such as myself, Thanksgiving would not be the same without eating a delicious turkey! Therefore, we all want to make sure that the turkey is prepared as safely as possible and will not make anyone sick.

For some people, their attempt to make the turkey safer includes washing it before cooking. However, research shows that washing the turkey (or chicken or any other raw meat) before cooking does not improve safety at all, and actually can increase risk of foodborne illness! Any bacteria that is present on the surface of the turkey would be easily killed by cooking it (to the proper minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F).

The risk of foodborne illness is increased by rinsing the bird because when water hits the surface of the turkey, it will pick up any bacteria present and much of it will bounce off and end up on your kitchen counter and anything else that is surrounding your sink. Many times, we have various utensils and bowls, and maybe even foods sitting around the sink, which will also be contaminated with that water. Further, your sink, which you may use later to rinse raw produce or wash dishes, would be contaminated with the bacteria from the turkey as well.

This myth likely originated when most people were preparing turkey that was slaughtered in someone’s backyard and may not have had all the pin feathers removed from the surface. Rinsing was a good way to get rid of those feathers. Today, almost all commercially processed turkey will have all the feathers removed and even if your bird is slaughtered in a backyard somewhere, the pin feathers are likely gone.

More information, including a bacteria simulation, videos and other resources on how bacteria can spread when washing poultry before cooking is available from: http://drexel.edu/dontwashyourchicken/

Other Thanksgiving food safety tips are available from http://missourifamilies.org/features/foodsafetyarticles/fdsfty40.htm or www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/story/Thanksgiving_cooking110513.aspx

Contributor: Londa Nwadike, PhD, Extension Food Safety Specialist, nwadikel@missouri.edu, 816-655-6258

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Myth: Trans fats have already been taken out of our foods.

Answer: BUSTED, kind of...

"Total fat" section of a nutrition label under a magnifying glass
Trans fat allows foods to have a longer shelf life. Partially hydrogenated oil is a source of trans fat in our diet and it is found in many processed foods including desserts, microwave popcorn and crackers. Trans fat raises your bad cholesterol, lowers your good cholesterol and increases your chances of getting heart disease. Because of these health risks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing that all trans fats be removed from foods.

The reason people think trans fats have already been taken out of the food we eat is because, in 2006, the FDA required food labels to list how much trans fat was in a packaged product. This focus on trans fat caused many manufacturers to start changing their products so that their products were trans-fat free or almost trans-fat free. In 2007, New York City banned trans fats in restaurants. Since that time, 15 states and other places have banned trans fat and more than 10 fast food restaurants have eliminated trans fat entirely.

However, current FDA regulations allow manufacturers to label a food trans-fat free if the food has 1/2 gram of trans fat per serving. So, many foods may still have a small amount of trans fat in them. Although 1/2 gram may seem like a very small amount, if you eat several foods with that amount during the day, it starts to add up. The American Heart Association recommends that people should eat less than 2 grams of trans fats a day. The Institute of Medicine recommends keeping the amount of trans fat in your diet as low as possible.

The FDA proposal is the beginning of a long process. There will be a 60 day comment period. After this, the actual process to implement this change will occur gradually to give food manufacturers time to find alternative ingredients for their products and change food labels. This proposal will affect the way that many of our foods are made.

In the meantime, the best advice to avoid trans fat is this: Focus on choosing foods like fruits and vegetables, lean meat and dairy, and whole grain breads and cereals. Read the ingredient list on packaged foods to see if it includes partially hydrogenated oils.

For more information about healthy food choices, visit MissouriFamilies.org

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, Nutrition and Health Education, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Friday, November 8, 2013

Myth: It’s hard to find information or reviews of nutrition and health apps.

smartphone with app icons floating above it
Answer: BUSTED!

There ARE thousands of nutrition and health apps. Which one is right for you? The University of Missouri Extension has a new publication to help you: “Apps to Know from the Nutrition and Health Pros” (free to download). This publication lists apps with several healthy behaviors in mind. Looking for a general food and nutrition app that you can use to track your food intake and physical activity? This publication provides a suggestion for you. Want to find healthy recipes? Two apps are summarized and reviewed for you. Want to manage your diabetes, track your workouts or reduce your stress? Suggested apps are provided. All apps listed on the publication were evaluated by University of Missouri Extension Nutrition and Health Education Specialists.

In addition to the reviews of apps, each app category provides a tip to help consumers as they look to change their health behaviors. University of Missouri Extension programs of interest are included in the publication, including Stay Strong, Stay Healthy (a strength training program for middle-aged and older adults) and Taking Care of You (a program to help deal with stress).

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Myth: It’s so hard to decide which health app I should use.

woman using smartphone
Answer: You’re right!

There are thousands of mobile apps available to help you change or support your health and eating habits. The proliferation of these apps in a few short years makes deciding which one to download and use challenging. If apps are free, cost is not a concern. But you do want to avoid overloading your smartphone with too many apps or else you may not use any of them.

MU Extension has put together a one-page handout to help you ask the right questions before you download a nutrition or health app.

  • What is the SOURCE of the app? See if you can determine who developed the app and their background, credibility.

  • Does the app MEET your needs? Is the database large enough to reflect the kind of foods you usually eat? If you eat out a lot, then you want a database that has nutrition information for the places you go. If the app includes recipes, are they healthy (prepared with minimal fat and sugar? Are the recipes ones that you would likely prepare at home or have the necessary equipment to make at home?

  • What ACTIONS will you take? Make sure the app you choose is one that provides information in a format that is easy to understand and use so that you can change your health and eating habits.

  • What do the REVIEWS say? What do reputable nutritionists/dietitians or other health professionals say about the app? You can Google the app name to find online reviews. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a website with app reviews at eatright.org/appreviews/.

  • Do you have the TIME? Is the app easy enough to use that you will use it regularly?

For MU Extension’s SMART Start to Finding Nutrition and Health Apps one-page handout (downloadable for free from the web) go to extension.missouri.edu/p/N581

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Myth: It’s too hard to make something quick and easy to eat on my way to work.

Answer: BUSTED!

Put down the convenience store sandwich or hand-held breakfast food and make it at home. You’re not alone if you buy your early morning on-the-go food on your way to work. These quick-to-eat and portable foods are popular with those seeking early morning dashboard dining. And the flavors in these products are decidedly making use of more ethnic flavors than in the past.

There are at-home alternatives to frozen or heat-and-go stuffed sandwiches that are more nutritious. Why make them at home? You control the ingredients meaning you can keep the calories, fat and sodium low. And you control the flavors. You can use a particular sauce, spice or herb to liven up your early morning feast.

wraps made with whole wheat tortillas
Here are some ideas to make your grab-and-go breakfast a hit with your taste buds while also boosting nutrition:

  • Make a whole wheat pita pocket the ‘delivery vehicle’ for your filling. Whole wheat adds fiber and other nutrients and it will fill you up. Whole wheat tortillas are another option.

  • Choose your protein. It can be lean, cooked, grilled chicken strips, low-fat shredded cheese, garbanzo beans, nuts or seeds.

  • Add the crunch with foods like diced apples, shredded cabbage or peppers.

  • Now comes the flavor and your creativity. Vegetables such as roasted tomatoes add a smoky flavor. You can mix ethnic sauces with the filling ingredients to keep your taste buds interested: sweet orange sauce, teriyaki sauce or hoisin sauce. Some of these sauces may be high in sodium, so keep the amounts low. You can use herbs and spices such as black pepper or curry instead of these sauces for flavor without the calories or sodium.

So start making your at-home versions of hand-held breakfast foods – you’ll save some money while you’re at it!

For more information about healthy eating, visit MissouriFamilies.org

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Myth: It’s impossible to eat healthy around Halloween.

Candy corns
Answer: BUSTED!

YES, YOU CAN survive Halloween. This time of year is often a challenge for those who try to make healthy choices but feel they are surrounded by an environment that has candy available almost everywhere. At the supermarket you can find large displays or even entire aisles dedicated to Halloween candy.

Think you can escape when you’re at work? Probably not. This becomes even harder after Halloween when leftover candy from trick or treating is toted into offices and workplaces.

Here are some tips for your Halloween survival kit:

  • Be prepared for this time of year. Bring healthy and filling snacks to work such as fruits, veggies, nuts, popcorn, hummus and whole wheat crackers or low-fat yogurt. You will be less tempted to fill up on candy if you have an alternative handy. Eating breakfast or something before you head to work will also fill you up and help you walk right on by those office temptations.

  • Ask officemates if they can place the treats in an out-of-the-way place. Why? Studies have shown that if food is in plain sight it is more likely to be eaten, which is a great idea for when parents want their kids to eat more fruits. It’s not helpful when candy is left out and you pass by it every time you walk through the office.

  • OK, indulge but use portion control. Try this mindful eating approach. This will take a few minutes. Open your favorite small snack-size candy. Notice the color and texture. Smell the aroma of the candy. The purpose of this activity is to pay attention to the entire experience of eating. This is part of eating mindfully. Then, start taking small bites. Try to take as many small bites as possible. Each time you bite and chew, think about what it feels like and what it tastes like. Enjoy the experience! Being mindful when eating helps us to slow down our eating. We can then experience the many aspects of eating. For more information about mindful eating, go to http://missourifamilies.org/features/healtharticles/health79.htm

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Myth: I have all this canned pumpkin puree but I can only use it for baking.

Soup/chili with pumpkin, tomatoes and beans
Answer: BUSTED!

Think pumpkin puree is only for baking? Think again! Pumpkin puree is a versatile product. It’s generally a favorite fall ingredient, when pumpkins are most available. For steps to prepare and freeze your own pumpkin puree, see Many uses for pumpkin.

If you opt for canned pumpkin puree remember that it can be used in so many ways throughout the year when fresh pumpkins aren’t available.

Why find ways to use pumpkin puree? It is low in calories – about 40 calories in ½ cup and it is a good source of fiber and other vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and potassium. Most Americans don’t get enough potassium in our diets but we should because it is important for healthy blood pressure.

Here are some easy – and perhaps surprising ways – to add pumpkin puree to your favorite foods.
  1. Search the web and you’ll find lots of recipes using canned pumpkin puree. The ingredients are simple: canned pumpkin puree, broth, milk, and spices like pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon and nutmeg. Substitute curry powder for the spices for a different flavored soup.
  2. Add canned pumpkin puree to chili to add more flavor, fiber and thickness.
  3. Making a quesadilla or pita pocket filled with veggies? Spreading pumpkin puree on it adds new flavor combinations with the veggies and other ingredients.
  4. Pump up your sweet potato mashed potatoes with pumpkin puree. It will give you a new twist on an old favorite for holiday dinners.
  5. Mix pumpkin puree with cream cheese and add pumpkin pie spice or other spices for a homemade spread.
  6. Add pumpkin puree to yogurt, smoothies or oatmeal along with some spices like cinnamon to make it hearty and sweet.

Can you think of other ways you can add pumpkin puree to your favorite dishes?

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Myth: It’s OK for my child’s teacher to use candy as a reward in the classroom.

Answer: BUSTED!

Boy reaching for candy
It’s likely your child has been rewarded in the classroom with candy. A recent study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 65-70% of classrooms had no restrictions on the use of candy as a reward. Should you, as a parent, be concerned about your child possibly being rewarded with candy in school?

Well, yes. There’s the obvious concerns: candy is not nutritious, and giving candy runs counter to other nutritious food offered at school. But there are other issues to think about as well. Have you ever eaten something just because its being offered, despite the fact that you weren’t really hungry? Giving candy rewards reinforces the idea that eating isn’t a result of how hungry you feel but whether or not food is available. Setting up this relationship doesn’t help children listen to their hunger cues when food is available. This was something I struggled with for a very long time. I now eat when I’m hungry, not when food is available or when the clock says it’s mealtime.

In fact, some health organizations (American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics) agree that using food as reward is something they don’t support. Read more at http://kyhealthykids.com/2013/02/13/food-as-reward-love-and-valentines-day/

There are many no cost or low cost rewards that schools can use. You can find ideas at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/foodrewards_290201_7.pdf

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Myth: Products are not safe to eat after their “sell by” date.

Answer: It depends…

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic recently released a study that says that each year Americans throw out as much as 40 percent of the country’s food supply, worth an estimated $165 billion, much of it as a result of confusion about the dates found on the product. Unfortunately, it is true that how products are dated in the US can be very confusing and can lead to unnecessary food waste. This also makes it very difficult for small-scale food producers and processors to know how to date their products.

On the other hand, food safety people such as myself often tell consumers when considering a questionable food product, “If in doubt, throw it out.” How do we balance these two sides – reducing food waste, but also ensuring food safety? Hopefully, providing these key facts will help consumers protect themselves from potential food safety risks, but also not waste food unnecessarily.

milk jug with "Best Before" date
  1. The only food product on which expiration dates are federally regulated is infant formula. Therefore, you should NOT buy or use baby formula after its “use-by” date, for both safety and nutritional reasons.

  2. Some states do require dating of some foods, but other than infant formula, there is no regulated dating system across the US. However, USDA does provide the following definitions for various terms used on food product labels:
    • “Sell by” date: Tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before that date.
    • “Best if used by (or before)” date: Recommended for best flavor or quality. It is NOT a purchase or safety date.
    • “Use by” date: The last date recommended by the manufacturer for the use of the product while at peak quality.
  3. *Note that these dates generally refer to food quality, rather than safety. However, they can give a general idea of how long the food has been in the market.

  4. The most important thing consumers can do to impact the length of time they can safely keep and use food is to handle it properly. This includes the following:
    • If perishable, take the food home immediately after purchase and refrigerate it (at 40°F or below) within at least 2 hours. Freeze it if you can't use it within USDA recommended refrigerated storage times.
      • Note that once a perishable product is frozen, microbial growth stops, so it will be as safe as it was when it went into the freezer.
    • Store foods at the proper temperature and length of time. Do not leave perishable foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours. For example, if you know that a carton of milk has been sitting on the counter for more than 3 hours, throw it out.
    • Follow the handling and preparation instructions on the product label.
    • Avoid cross-contamination and ensure proper sanitation.
    • If the product does have visible mold, off odors, the can is bulging or other similar signs, this spoilage could be a sign that dangerous microorganisms may also be present, so with such products, use the “If in doubt, throw it out” rule.

Read more on this topic at http://missourifamilies.org/features/foodsafetyarticles/fdsfty44.htm

Contributor: Londa Nwadike, PhD, Extension Food Safety Specialist, nwadikel@missouri.edu, 816-655-6258

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Myth: Drinking water is the only way to stay hydrated.

Answer: BUSTED!

Water infused with fruit
Most of us have grown up hearing these messages: “Keep hydrated!” and “Drink eight glasses of water a day!” Recent data indicates a strong growth in sales of drinks at convenience stores. Many people are opting for sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks or sports drinks as a means to stay hydrated. In fact, we actually get enough fluid from the foods we normally eat, especially when we eat more foods like fruits and vegetables, which are mostly water.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with drinking more water if you enjoy it, but do we need eight glasses of water each day? No. There’s no scientific basis for the “eight glasses” myth.

In order to stay hydrated, try eating more fruits and vegetables or stick with beverages that are good for you. Instead of reaching for the high calorie, high sugar drinks, try one of these healthy, flavorful options:
  • Infuse your water with fruit. Add chunks of strawberries, watermelon, slices of lemon or oranges and place in the refrigerator overnight. To make the flavors disperse throughout the water better, place fruits at the bottom of a pitcher and mash with a wooden spoon (this is called muddling), then add water. Try different combinations of fruit add-ins to water. You can also get a fruit-infusion pitcher, which allows you to keep the fruit separate from the water but allows the flavor to be released into the water. You can also add frozen fruits to your water.
  • Use tea as a base for the flavor in your water. There are many flavors of tea available. Green teas add a nice mild flavor to water. It also has antioxidants which may ward off chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Fruit tea when combined with fresh or frozen fruits, give your water that zip that you may be looking for.
  • Sparkling water may be what makes your water drinking experience fun. You can add fruit chunks (fresh or frozen) to the bubbly too.
  • Pump up your ice cubes! Freeze fruit juice in ice cubes. Add to water to give your water a little splash of flavor.

For more information about water myths go to http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut293.htm

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933   

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Myth: School snacks aren’t a good choice for my child.

Student getting a soda from a vending machineAnswer: Well maybe …

Many schools have started changing the snacks they make available to students to include healthier choices. New proposed federal rules are now available for comment. Any school that receives federal funding for school meals will have to follow these rules when they go into effect.

The proposed new rules apply to competitive foods or foods that “compete” with school meals and are sold before, during, and up to 30 minutes after the school day ends such as vending, school stores and bars and cafeteria a la carte. What foods don’t have to follow these proposed rules? Food brought from home such as lunches and food for parties. Also, foods sold during non-school hours, weekends, off-campus – concession foods, food sold at sporting events and at school plays, after-school bake sales and fundraisers.

In general, snacks will include more nutritious offerings such as fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy or whole grains, and there will be limits to the amount of calories and sodium, fat and sugar they can contain. What about drinks? Caffeinated beverages will be allowed for high school students. For elementary and middle school students, only drinks with small amounts of naturally occurring caffeine will be allowed. We know that portion sizes are a concern especially because they add extra unnecessary calories and in some cases, sugar to students’ diets. Portion sizes for drinks will be as follows: for elementary students, up to 8 ounces; for middle and high schoolers, up to 12 ounces. Different portion sizes are allowed for calorie-free or lower-calorie drinks. You can find a good question-and-answer about these proposed changes at www.healthyschoolfoodsnow.org/7-questions-about-smart-snacks-in-school-standards/ If you want to make comments about these rules you can find more information at www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/legislation/allfoods_flyer.pdf Comments about these proposed standards are due by October 28, 2013.

The rules, if approved, will begin July 2014 with the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Myth: Food allergies are all in your head

Peanut ButterAnswer: BUSTED!

It seems that we are hearing more about food allergies and avoidances these days, from schools banning peanut products to people experimenting with a gluten-free diet. With this increased awareness and exposure, some people may wonder if it’s just part of a trend. Unfortunately, food allergies are real and can cause very serious symptoms, and can even result in death.

A food allergy results when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein (allergen). Eight food items cause 90 percent of all reactions. Those items include milk, soybeans, peanuts, shellfish, fish, tree nuts, eggs, and wheat. Roughly 15 million people in the U.S. have food allergies (including 1 in 13 children). When a person eats something he or she is allergic to, the immune system works to get rid of that protein (allergen) by producing destructive chemicals. Those chemicals can cause reddish, swollen or itchy skin, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, a runny nose, and other similar irritating symptoms. However, those chemicals could also cause trouble swallowing, a drop in blood pressure, or even death from anaphylaxis, such as with 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi .

Part of the confusion about food allergies is that some people may have a food intolerance, which can cause some of the same symptoms as a true food allergy. Other than celiac disease (an adverse reaction to gluten, which is found in wheat), food intolerances do not involve the immune system, but generally affect the digestive system.

September is National Food Safety Education Month, and in 2013, the spotlight for the month is on increasing food allergen awareness. Whether you make food to sell or share with others, work in a restaurant, or are preparing food for you and/or your family, it is increasingly important for all the links in the chain of food from producer to consumer to “avoid a reaction by taking action.” Consumers with food allergies must read food labels carefully to avoid problematic ingredients and also avoid cross-contact of foods containing allergens with those that do not contain allergens. When dining out, ask the restaurant or food service location about the content of the foods, as well as their allergen handling methods.

Read more on food allergens and intolerances at http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut339.htm and on gluten-free foods at: http://nutritionmythbusters.blogspot.com/2013/08/myth-its-impossible-to-find-gluten-free.html

Londa Nwadike, PhD, Extension Food Safety Specialist, nwadikel@missouri.edu, 816-655-6258

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Myth: There are no new ways to help my family eat healthier.

Family DinnerAnswer: BUSTED!

When encouraging your family to eat healthier, try the “nudge” approach instead of the “nag” approach. “Nudges” are small ways to transform an environment and help people make healthier eating choices. These small changes may not be noticed, but they can lead people to adjust their food habits to choosing healthier items. How does this work?

Think like an advertiser! Have you ever looked at a restaurant menu? The titles and descriptions make it hard to pass up anything. Why not try the same method at home? Instead of serving butternut squash, tell your family that they will be having “sweet and spicy slow-roasted butternut squash” (chunks of butternut squash covered lightly with brown sugar and black pepper and oven-roasted until the squash is lightly brown). Research with schoolchildren in New York compared two schools: one that used unexciting menu terms like “carrots” and the other that used the term “x-ray carrots.” Which do you think the children chose more often? The “x-ray carrots,” of course.

Location, location, location! Place healthy snacks like fruit on the kitchen counter so they are in full view and easy to reach. What you see is what you eat. Place cut-up veggies in clear containers upfront in the refrigerator so that is what your family reachs for when snacking.

Rethink your dishes and glasses. When food is portioned on a plate, small dishes make it appear as if you have more food on the dish. Use tall glasses. Studies show that people pour and drink more from a short, wide glass than a tall and narrow one.

For more information go to http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut371.htm

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Myth: School meals aren’t a good choice for my child.

Students in cafeteria lineAnswer: BUSTED!

Good nutrition is important to health, especially for children as they grow and develop lifetime habits. Healthy school meals contribute to your child’s academic success, growth and development. A 2012 USDA study found that school lunches were healthier than those in the average child’s diet. School meals supply one-third of the calories, protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and E that children need. School meals now have more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These healthy food choices help contribute to the prevention of childhood obesity. If children come to school hungry, it is hard for them to concentrate and be successful in the classroom. Participation in the School Breakfast Program makes healthy foods available to children so that they are ready to learn.

There are other benefits of school meals that you may not know about. School meals expose your child to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains. This gives them opportunities to try new fruits or vegetables and other foods they might not have tried. The influence of other children can contribute to the likelihood that children will try new foods. Research suggests that what other children eat at the table influences acceptance of foods. Schools provide health and nutrition classes. Teachers link what is offered in the cafeteria to good health. In a sense, the cafeteria is a “laboratory” for children. They apply what they learned in the classroom as they make healthy food choices when offered school foods.

So, you see, school meals do more than feed children: They contribute to academic success and good health!

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Myth: I need to wash all bagged leafy greens that I buy.

Answer: BUSTED!

Purchasing pre-bagged leafy green salads is a convenient way for many people to eat more healthy vegetables. When buying unpackaged leafy greens or any other fruits or vegetables, it is very important for consumers to wash them (under clear running water) once at home to clean off any bad microorganisms that may be present. However, if you are buying pre-bagged leafy green salads, it is important to read the label to see if it has already been washed. If it is labeled “washed” or “ready-to-eat,” then you do NOT need to wash it at home.

Washing pre-washed leafy greens has not been shown to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, and actually may increase the risk of cross-contamination in your kitchen. The commercial washing process removes 90-99 percent of all microorganisms that may be present, so it will be difficult for any washing at home to remove much more. Also, when washing the greens, any microorganisms that may already be present in your sink, your countertops or on your hands could easily contaminate the greens even more.

The most important things consumers can do to prevent foodborne illness from eating pre-washed bagged salads is to keep them refrigerated at 35 to 40° F, observe the “use by” dates marked on the package, and don’t buy any salad that has excess water in the bag or has not been kept refrigerated. As with any fresh fruits and vegetables, always handle pre-washed greens with clean hands, and make sure cutting boards, utensils and countertops are clean.

An article with more information on this topic, including food safety recommendations for consumers, is available here: http://foodsafetypundit.com/docs/fresh-cut-greens-handling.pdf

Read more at http://missourifamilies.org/features/foodsafetyarticles/fdsfty63.htm

Contributor: Londa Nwadike, PhD, Extension Food Safety Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, nwadikel@missouri.edu, 816-655-6258

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Myth: It’s impossible to find gluten-free foods in the grocery store.

Gluten Free breadsAnswer: BUSTED!

Until now there’s been no standard for how much gluten is allowed in a product labeled “gluten-free.” Manufacturers wanting to sell gluten-free foods will have to follow new standards set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Gluten is a protein found in breads, cakes, cereals, pastas and other foods. It is estimated that 1 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease. They are unable to absorb nutrients and may develop anemia, osteoporosis and other conditions. Others may be sensitive to foods containing gluten.

Foods labeled “gluten-free,” “without gluten,” “no gluten” or “free of gluten” must follow these standards. The amount of gluten allowed in foods is no more than 20 parts per million. Why not use 0 parts per million? Currently, scientists can’t detect less than 20 parts per million in foods. And researchers have found that most people with celiac disease who are affected by gluten are able to tolerate this amount in foods. Other countries use this amount as well when labeling their foods. What does 20 parts per million look like? Picture 2 grains of salt in a piece of bread.

This new rule applies to all foods and drinks regulated by the FDA including dietary supplements. According to the FDA, most products on the market meet this standard. The new rule goes into effect one year from now. For more information go to http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069

And remember, gluten-free products aren’t necessarily low calorie or healthier for you. You still need to read food labels to find out the amounts of other ingredients in foods such as fat and sugar. Read more at http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut420.htm

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Myth: It’s almost impossible to change habits to improve your health.

Woman walking briskly
Answer: BUSTED!

Yes, changing habits is hard work. But almost impossible? No way! It takes time to break old habits and create new ones. Around the first of the year, many articles on establishing good habits such as making healthy food choices and being more active proliferate. No doubt, the influx of health-related articles has to do with the recent holiday memories - all the food consumed and the days missed being active. However, when it comes to changing food and physical activity habits, it seems that summer time might be a good time to start. Why? Summer brings a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are delicious, low in calories and filling. And the longer days allow more time to get out and be active. For example, if you want to add more walking into your daily routine, start by getting up in the morning now so that when winter rolls around, getting up in the morning is already an established part of your daily routine.

Here are some others tips to help establish healthy habits:

  • Set small goals. These are your early and consistent “wins.” Setting and achieving small goals allows you to see progress and keep going.
  • Change your environmental cues. Keep your sneakers and workout clothes in your bedroom (not in the closet) at all times. Seeing them is a daily visual reminder to be active.
  • Plan – it’s not a dirty word! The night before think about when you are going to build activity into the next day’s schedule. Watch the weather and plan accordingly. Add activity to your online calendar. Use the weekend to make a healthy recipe, like stir-fry, so you have something on hand to eat later in the week when you are too busy to prepare something healthy.
These tips can help your healthy habits become easy changes for you to make. For more tips about getting and staying motivated for your good health go to: http://missourifamilies.org/features/healtharticles/health60.htm

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Myth: Fast food is not a healthy choice for my child.

Mother and daughter sharing a fast food meal.Answer: BUSTED but that depends…

Fast food, like other restaurants, is all about what choices you and your child make. Many options are high in fat, salt and sugar. In an effort to offer healthier foods for children, some fast food restaurants provide kids’ meals. However, Taco Bell just announced that they will begin discontinuing their kids’ meals and toys this month, an effort that will be nationwide by January. It’s the first fast food restaurant to do so. Part of the reason is low sales of these meals.

If you and your child are looking for healthy food choices at the fast food restaurant, here are some tips:
  • If the restaurant has kids’ meals, look for ones that include water or fat-free milk instead of soda or juice.
  • Ask for meal options that include fresh fruit or veggies as side dishes instead of fries or onion rings.
  • Choose ketchup or mustard for sandwich dressings instead of mayonnaise-based dressings.
  • Ask for extra toppings like tomatoes and lettuce instead of cheese for sandwiches to keep the fat content down.
  • Eat s-l-o-w-l-y. This may be the hardest tip of all especially if your child wants to get to the play area quickly or you have to be somewhere after eating. Eat too fast and your brain doesn’t have time to signal your stomach that you are full.
  • Probably the best tip of all…your child watches what you eat so remember that you are a good role model. Make healthy choices when eating out.
Visit the MissouriFamilies website at http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut125.htm for more information about making healthy food choices.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Myth: As a parent, the amount of time I spend watching TV doesn’t affect how much TV my children watch.

Family watching TV
Answer: New information may BUST this myth. 

A recently released survey found that the amount of time parents spend watching TV has a strong impact on the amount of time their children watch TV. The study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, found that this influence was seen in all age groups of children, and that it was a stronger influence than having a TV in the bedroom. The online survey, designed to be nationally representative, included parents and kids ages 12 to 17 years of age. Another interesting finding linked children ages 6 to 11 and parents who watched TV together to increased TV time for the children.

Parents can be good media role models. During family meals, turn the TV off and talk about everyone’s day. Keep the TV off when no one is watching it.

Youth spend too much time being inactive, which is time better spent being active. Parents can find screen-free alternatives for the family like gardening, dancing, playing balloon or scarf volleyball indoors. Being active can make bones stronger, improve stress levels and decrease risk of some chronic diseases.

Looking for more ideas? Go to “Play More, Watch Less” at http://extension.missouri.edu/p/F280

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Myth: Food prep takes a lot of time.

Use a mandoline to slice fruits and
vegetables thinly and quickly.
Answer: Busted!

Summer is not the best time to be in the kitchen preparing food. If you want to make your time in the kitchen all about making healthy, quick and easy foods, keep these gadgets in mind.
  • Skillet or wok for stir-fry: Every kitchen should have a skillet to make a quick stir-fry. Stir-fry dishes are easy to prepare, cook quickly and are a great way to get more vegetables in your meals.
  • Oil mister for sautéing in your skillet: This gadget can help you control the amount of oil you use when sautéing vegetables. You can also use it when adding oil or oil-based salad dressings to salads to control how much dressing you use.
  • Blender: Make your own smoothies at home and control what goes in them. Be sure to add some greens to your homemade smoothies like spinach as a way to get more vegetables! An immersion (hand-held) blender is an alternative to a blender.
  • Coffee grinder: This handy tool can be used to grind spices. Spices are a low calorie and flavorful way to add zest to salads and other dishes. Tip: Toast spices briefly in a skillet to bring out their flavor and then grind them.
  • Mandoline (slicer): This tool allows you to thinly slice potatoes and other vegetables when roasting or baking them, instead of making fried chips.
  • Fruit-infuser pitcher: Add flavor to your water by infusing it with the natural flavors from fruits.
For more information about healthy eating go to http://www.missourifamilies.org

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Myth: Colorful veggies are the healthiest to eat.

Answer: Busted!

Red, green, purple and orange veggies (as well as other colors) are known to pack a nutritious punch. They are full of vitamins A and C and minerals such as potassium. Veggies are also high in fiber and low in calories. You may not know they also contain substances called antioxidants, which may have a role in warding off cancer and heart disease.

So what about white veggies? Don’t leave these superstars out. Cauliflower, onions and mushrooms are but a few white veggies that deserve a place on your plate. So go red, white and blue this Fourth of July with some healthy food options:
  • Veggie tray filled with cherry or grape tomatoes, red pepper strips, radishes, mushrooms and cauliflower. Add hummus as a dip.
  • What’s a July 4th without grilling? These veggies make great kebabs for grilling: red pepper, cauliflower, mushrooms and onions.
  • Making a green or spinach salad for your spread? Add some blueberries or strawberries for a pop of color and sweet flavor. Balsamic vinegar goes great with this salad.
  • Here’s a dessert that will be red, white and blue and nutritious too: Layer nonfat vanilla yogurt with layers of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or other berries. Top with granola for crunch.

So celebrate the red, white and blue (and purple, orange and other colorful veggies) this July Fourth!

For more information about healthy eating go to http://www.missourifamilies.org

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Myth: Eating ‘clean’ is healthy.

Woman eating a salad
Answer: Busted

It seems to make sense. Eat "clean" and you’ll be healthier. But is it that simple? Eating "clean" is a popular term now found in popular books, on blogs and in magazines. What does it mean? Unfortunately, there is no clear and consistent definition of "clean" eating. For some, it is a diet and for others it is a method used to make food choices, which reflects their lifestyle.

For some, "clean" eating is choosing minimally processed food. Sounds good, right? For most of us it isn’t practical to eat only minimally processed food because of our lifestyle, the cost of food, our food storage options and food availability. And there is no guarantee that a minimally processed food is healthier for you – it can still contain fat and sugar. For others, "clean" means looking at ingredient labels and choosing foods that don’t contain certain ingredients like sugar or sugar substitutes. If you remove specific foods or categories of foods from your diet in a quest to eat "clean," you run the risk of not getting a nutritionally balanced diet. And rules like this might make eating so restrictive that it’s unrealistic and not enjoyable.

Choosing more fruits and veggies (preferably fresh but frozen and canned are appropriate alternatives), lean dairy and meat with some plant-based options and whole grains provide the wholesome and high-nutrient food choices for good health. And choosing foods with less added sugar, fat and sodium will contribute to your overall good health and well-being.

For more information about healthy eating go to http://www.missourifamilies.org

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Myth: It’s too time-consuming (and hot!) to make dinner at home during the summer.

Answer: Busted!

Chicken and vegetables in a pita pocket
Summertime and the cooking is easy … or is it? During the hot summer months, it can be tempting to forgo cooking at home and take the seemingly easy option: eating out. If visions of sweating over a hot stove while preparing complicated meals are what you think of when summer rolls around, think again. Research shows that food eaten away from the home is higher in calories, sodium and lower in some nutrients including calcium and fiber. These nutritional differences can contribute to poor diets and increase your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. When you prepare food at home, you control what goes into your meal and how much – what portion size – you will eat. Get out your stopwatch and consider these quick, easy and cool summertime dinner options:
  • A whole-wheat pita bread pocket or whole-wheat tortilla filled with veggies, diced tuna, salmon or chicken and low-fat dressing or balsamic vinegar.
  • A super salad made with greens, nuts and fruit with salad dressing on the side to dip your salad greens into.
  • Pasta primavera – whole-wheat pasta and seasonings like basil, garlic and olive oil. Add lots of fresh or frozen veggies to make this a colorful, filling and healthy dish. Or try this summer squash pasta salad at http://missourifamilies.org/nutrition/recipes/SquashPastaSalad.htm.
  • Make an open-faced sandwich with whole-wheat bread and pile lots of veggies on it.
  • Make a quick stir-fry dish!
  • Fire up the grill and make chicken and veggie kebabs with tomatoes and onions. Put the grilled chicken and veggies on top of a bed of whole wheat couscous, which is a quick-cooking pasta.
See, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Myth: There aren’t free online games to teach my child about healthy eating.

Answer: BUSTED!

Summer is meant for fun and being outside. But when you need a game for that ride in the car or a rainy day, choose games that continue to build your child’s nutrition knowledge and skills when school is out.

screenshot of Games page on MyPlate Kids' Place website
MyPlate Kids’ Place is now available online at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/kids/ and it has plenty to offer! There is a games page where your child can find online games that teach them about making healthy food choices. "Smash Your Food," one of the games on this page, is also a free mobile app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod.

Another online game is "Pick Chow" at http://www.zisboombah.com/pickchow. You choose foods to add to your plate and you see the protein, carbs, fat, fiber, sugar, saturated fat and sodium amounts change as foods are added. Your meal also gets a rating.

Two free mobile apps that can also help your child track what foods they eat are "Max’s Plate" and "Count Your Peas."

Being physically active is also an important part of good health. A free mobile app “Eat-And-Move-O-Matic” shows how to balance the calories from food choices with calories burned in physical activity.

And, parents, you may enjoy playing some of these games too. Play them with your kids so you have a chance to talk about making healthy food choices and being active.

So, this summer let the games begin!

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Myth: There isn’t a place to find materials for kids to promote healthy eating.

Answer: BUSTED!

Screen shot of MyPlate Kids' Place website
MyPlate Kids’ Place has arrived at www.choosemyplate.gov/kids/. Kids will find games, videos, songs, activity sheets, recipes and tips to help them eat healthier and move more.

  • On the games page, your child will find a variety of online games that teach about making healthy food choices. Smash Your Food, one of the games on this page, is also a free mobile app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod.

  • The videos (some made by children) promote healthy eating and being physically active, like the Fruit and Veggie Hokey Pokey.

  • Under the ‘Move More’ section, your child can find out how to train like an astronaut. You and your child can also find out what it takes to achieve the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.

  • You and your child can find recipes created and tested by kid chefs (recipes are listed under ‘Topics’ on left side of page).

  • Parents can find new ways to help kids make healthier food and physical activity choices with a series of short tip sheets. Topics like ‘Be a Healthy Role Model for Children’ and ‘Be an Active Family’ are just two of the tip sheets available. Links to other websites that promote healthy eating are also here too.

So start exploring MyPlate Kids’ Place!

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933