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Planning a Road Trip? Try These Healthy Eating Tips

Many people have road trips on their agenda this summer. It’s not always easy to eat healthy foods while on the road, or on any vacation for that matter, but with a little planning and effort, it can be done. Consider these tips.

  1. Pack a small cooler with easy-to-eat, healthy snacks such as:

* Apples (Be aware of agriculture check points that won’t allow fruit to pass through, including the border into California and other locations. Buy fruit after passing through.)

* String cheese and whole-grain crackers

*  Pre-packaged yogurt tubes

*  Trail mix and dried fruit

*  Hummus and pre-cut veggies, such as carrots, radishes, snap peas and bell peppers

*  Celery and small individual-sized containers of peanut butter (check the peanut butter aisle for the small 1-2 tablespoon packages); pretzels also can be dipped in peanut butter for an easy snack

*  Whole-grain bread with peanut butter and jam, or cheese and lunchmeat

*  Wet wipes and garbage bags for easy clean up

2. Take refillable water bottles to save cooler space and to avoid spending money on sugary beverages. Refill the bottles each time you stop for gas and restroom breaks. 

3. When eating out, seek healthier options such as fruit cups or slices, milk, wraps, salads, rice and veggie bowls and whole-grain options of breads, tortillas and rice. 

4. Use a navigation app on your smartphone to look for restaurants near you beyond the ones connected to the gas station when stopping to refuel. Consider non-burger fast food restaurants for variety and possibly healthier options, such as:

* Sandwich restaurants where you could split a larger sandwich with a family member and load up on the veggies options.

*  Chinese restaurants, which often have more vegetable options than other fast food restaurants.

*  Mexican restaurants where you can look for beans, rice and veggies, but remember to eat less of the high-fat fried foods.

* Pita and wrap restaurants, which also offer fresh veggie options, but beware of high-calorie sauces.

5. Make farmers markets a destination around meal times. This is a great way to literally taste some of the local foods and culture. Most markets have more than just produce, so enjoy many other vendors selling fresh breads, homemade tamales, side salads and more. Plus, you’ll get to move and stretch your legs after all that driving. 

6. Visit grocery stores or local bakeries at your destination to buy meals and/or replenish your healthy snack cooler. Consider whole-grain muffins, fruit and small milk containers for breakfast or instant oatmeal packets you can make with hot water from gas stations or hotel room coffee makers. 

7. Plan moving time. Search for places along the way for walking, hiking, biking or swimming adventures to break up driving time and get your body moving. It might take a little extra time, but together with choosing varieties of fruits and veggies, moving your body will help you feel more energized, help you sleep better and help keep you “regular.”

8. Make gas and restroom breaks a physical activity break—walk, run, dance or do yoga or stretches. You could even have races with the family. Consider ordering your meals take-out and head to a picnic spot at a local park to enjoy fresh air and more opportunities to move your body. 

9. Save treats for events and special destinations of your trip. This will save your car from sugary, sticky spills and melts, and also help reduce calories consumed.

10. Plan non-food activities in the car to pass time and to avoid the snacking-from-boredom syndrome. Listen to audio books the whole car can enjoy, make videos of the family rocking out to a favorite song, sketch Picasso-like portraits of each other without looking at the paper, play “I Spy,” bingo or read books and articles about the history of places you’re going to visit. 

 By: Melanie Jewkes, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences faculty, melanie.jewkes@usu.edu




Be a Responsible Recreator in Utah’s Outdoors

A report released by the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation touted that outdoor recreation in Utah contributes more than $12.3 billion to the economy and provides jobs from more than 100,000 people. Utah outdoor recreation also generates over $737 million in state and local tax revenues and provides over $3.9 billion in wages and salaries.

Major contributors to this impact are activities often referred to as “quiet recreation.” These include camping, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing and biking. Quiet recreation is generally non-motorized activity that excludes off-highway vehicle use, power boating, snowmobiling or driving for sightseeing. A report released by the Bureau of Land Management suggests that over 75 percent of outdoor recreation on public lands in Utah is quiet recreation.

As more people recreate in the outdoors, the chance of encountering wildlife also increases. By camping, hiking and biking irresponsibly, you may endanger yourself, your family and future visitors. If a wild animal receives a food reward from a human source, it can become food-conditioned.

This behavior can lead to the removal or death of the animal and increased risk of human injury. A recent issue of the journal, “Human-Wildlife Interactions,” published by the Utah State University Berryman Institute, featured case studies and research from around the world that reported on increased conflicts between humans and bears as a result of people acting irresponsibly.

Consider these tips to help you enjoy Utah’s great outdoors and wildlife.

1. Store food carefully.

* Do not leave food out. If an animal can see or smell food inside your vehicle, it may try to break in.

* Secure food and trash in odor-free, bear-proof containers.

* Keep food and strong-smelling toiletries 100 yards away from your sleeping area.

* Hang trash or food 10 feet above the ground and 10 feet from the trunk of the tree or pole.

* Do not leave pet food or dishes outside.

* Do not put trash in the fire pit, and do not burn it.

* Do not set food out to deliberately attract animals to your camp or picnic site.

2. Hike and bike with safety in mind.

* Stay alert at dawn and dusk when animals are most active.

* Always hike, jog or bike with a companion, and make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.

* Keep children safe when hiking. Keep them within the group or in sight ahead of your group.

* Avoid wearing ear buds or headphone, which can prevent you from hearing approaching wildlife.

* Stay away from animal carcasses. There could be an unseen predator guarding its prey.

* Stay on designated trails, and do not toss food or trash.

* When hiking with pets, keep them supervised and under control. Dogs off leash can chase, injure or kill wildlife. Do not allow dogs to “play” with, harass or chase wildlife, as it is against Utah law.

3. Avoid wildlife on the trail.

* Stay at least 50 feet (approximately three car lengths) away from wildlife. Always give the animal a clear escape route. A crowded animal could become  stressed and unpredictable.

* Snakes hide well on open trails and dense grasses. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep pets leashed.

* Don’t let children or pets play with snakes. Look carefully where you set your hands and feet and where you sit. Always stay on paths and cleared areas, and wear closed-toed shoes while hiking.

* For more information on how to recreate responsibly in Utah’s great outdoors, visit WildAwareUtah.org.

By: Terry Messmer, Utah State University Extension wildlife specialist, 435-797-3975, terry.messmer@usu.edu




How Does Your Garden Grow? Tips for July

How does your garden grow? It can be a challenge to keep it growing well as summer heats up. Utah State University Extension’s Gardener’s Almanac provides a checklist of tasks to help your garden, grass and plants grow well in July. Also included are links for tips and further information.

July Checklist

·Start enjoying the tomato harvest.

·Side dress (fertilize) potatoes in the garden with nitrogen in early July.

·Harvest summer squash and zucchini when they are still small and tender.

·Deep water established trees and shrubs about once per month during the heat of summer.

·Deadhead (cut off) spent blossoms of perennial and annual flowers.

·Divide crowded iris or daylilies once they have finished blooming.

·Visit alpine areas for wildflower displays.

·Remove water sprouts (vertical shoots in the canopy) of fruit trees to discourage regrowth and to reduce shading.

·Renovate perennial strawberry beds by tearing out old crowns (mother plants) and applying fertilizer to stimulate new runners.

·Turfgrass only needs 1 ½ to 2 inches of irrigation per week. Click here to learn about irrigation needs in your area.

Pests and Problems

·If tomatoes are not producing, it could be due to hot weather (95°F and above), which causes flower abortion.

·Blossom end rot  (black sunken areas on the end of tomatoes) is common and is caused by uneven watering.

·Check under leaves of pumpkins, melons and squash plants for squash bugs.

·Treat corn for corn earworm.

·Spider mites prefer dry, hot weather and affect many plants. Treat for spider mites by using “softer” solutions such as spraying them with a hard stream of water or by using an insecticidal soap. Spider mites can be identified by shaking leaves over a white piece of paper. If the small specs move, you have mites.

·Control codling moth in apples and pears to reduce wormy fruit. For specific timing, see our Utah Pests Advisories.

·Historically, control of the greater peach tree borer in peaches, nectarines and apricots occurs the first of July.              However, for specific timing, see our Utah Pests Advisories.

·Click here for instructions on how to submit a sample to the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab.

·Watch for symptoms of turfgrass diseases.

·Monitor for damaging turfgrass insects.

To see a video on the July Gardener’s Almanac tips, click here.