Cooking for One or Two

Cooking for One.jpgTry these strategies for planning balanced, nutritious meals when cooking for just one or two people. Stay tuned for more tips on this topic next week!


It can be tempting to think that it’s too much trouble to plan and cook a balanced meal for just one or two people, but think of maximizing your nutrition as part of your self-care routine. You deserve it! Here are some helpful strategies.

Use MyPlate to plan balanced meals.                                      

MyPlate is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provides evidenced-based recommendations for nutrition and health for Americans ages two and older. Key strategies to maximize nutrition include the following:

  • Fill half your plate with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose different kinds of colorful vegetables to provide a greater variety of nutrients.
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products for calcium and other important nutrients.
  • Eat a variety of lean, animal-based protein sources, such as lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish (including fatty fish), and plant-based protein sources, including nuts, seeds, beans, peas and soy products.
  • Choose whole fruits, including fresh, frozen and canned in 100 percent  juice, over fruit juice most of the time.
  • Aim to eat whole grains for at least half of your daily grain servings. Whole grains include 100 percent whole wheat products, brown rice and ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and whole corn.

Create a grocery shopping plan to allow for nutritious meals, while eliminating food waste.

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Shop with a list. (A good guideline for everyone!)
  • Choose fruit according to ripeness based on when you plan to eat or use it. (I.e., buy ripe fruit only if you will eat it in the next day or two.)
  • Check the back of the grocery display for fresher produce.
  • Choose frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, which will keep longer.
  • Rethink buying in bulk. Yes, the unit price can be lower, but is it really saving money if part of it goes to waste? Sometimes, buying a smaller quantity (i.e., a 6 oz. container of yogurt) that you will actually use is less expensive.
  • Buy meats and poultry in larger quantities, prepare one portion, and immediately freeze the rest in individual portion sizes.

This article was written by Brittany Bingeman, Extension Assistant Professor FCS, Washington County

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2015). 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. Retrieved October 5, 2017, from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
  2. Henneman A. (2012). Planning Healthy Meals for One or Two – A Checklist. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Retrieved from https://food.unl.edu/documents/Cookingfor1or2.pdf
  3. Allen R. Cooking for One or Two. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Retrieved from http://www.frontierdistrict.k-state.edu/health-nutrition/food-preparation/docs/Health%20Nutrition%20Cooking%204%20One%20Or%20Two.pdf
  4. Henneman A. Reducing the Size of Recipes. University of Nebraska Lincoln. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved from https://food.unl.edu/reducing-size-recipes-0
  5. McEntire JC. (2011). Handle Leftovers with Care. FoodSafety.gov website. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/leftovers.html

6.   FoodSafety.gov. Storage Times for the Freezer and Refrigerator. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html




Fun and Games to Make Grocery Shopping Easier

Fun and GamesMaking shopping fun for your kids will make shopping more fun and easier for you too! Check out these 11 entertaining and educational activities to keep kids busy at the grocery store!


In our last article, “10 Tips for Surviving Grocery Shopping with Kids,” one of our tips was to give children age-appropriate activities to do during shopping trips. To help you do this, I’ve collected a variety of of parent-proven activities for all age ranges. While some of these take a little planning and preparation, it is worth laying the groundwork to transform shopping with your family from dreaded and stressful to enjoyable and painless!

(Although the activities are grouped in specific age categories, many can be used for a wide range of ages.)

 

Shopping with little ones

  1. When young children get to help pick out produce and other items, it makes them feel like part of the team, and they are more likely to eat what they pick out, too! Make sure you give them choices you can live with, such as, “Broccoli or cauliflower?” You can also combine this activity with the matching game (#7 below) to make it more exciting.
  2. You can help your children feel important by asking them to help carry things, either while walking or while riding in the cart. They can have items they are in charge of until checkout.
  3. If you feel crafty, you might enjoy making a “grocery game” for your child to take on each shopping trip. This can be used with toddlers as well as preschoolers, or pictures can be replaced with words for beginning readers. You can find the tutorial here.

 

Shopping with preschoolers

  1. Play “I Spy.” Before entering the store, let children pick out a specific color, shape, number or letter and see how many of the object they can find while shopping. Compare from trip to trip to see what things are most common in the store.
  2. Play alphabet or letter scavenger hunt. Write out letters of the alphabet (or draw shapes or colors for younger children) on a paper, and let children cross off each one they find. If this doesn’t last long enough, you can have each letter, shape or color listed multiple times.
  3. Play a matching game. Put pictures of products your family often uses on cards (you may want to laminate these for use on other shopping trips). Good sources for pictures are store ads and coupons. Let children match these cards to the products at the store. Each time they find a match, they turn the card into you. It’s fun to see how many they can match each time.
  4. Play a guessing game. Give hints about what you are going to get next and see if the kids can guess what it is before you get it off the shelf.

 

Shopping with school-aged kids

  1. Put them in charge of the shopping list. Make a shopping list on your tablet, phone or on paper, and put your child in charge of crossing items off as they are put in the cart. For younger kids you can use pictures for the shopping list instead of words.
  2. Have your child sort the groceries as you put them in the cart. They can sort by category, such as by food group (fruits and veggies, grains, protein, dairy/calcium), by color or by size. Let them choose categories to put things into.
  3.  If you have multiple kids to wrangle, play grocery bingo! Each child gets a board and they mark off items they see as you walk around the grocery store. The first to mark off five in a row wins! Below are several options to make your own bingo cards or download free cards to print.

If you laminate the cards or put them in sheet protectors, you can use dry erase markers to mark off items and they can be used again and again.

 

Middle school and above

  1.  This is a great time to guide your children in learning to shop for the best deals at the grocery store. Have them help create your shopping list, using store ads and coupons if possible. Teach them how to look for unit pricing on the shelf tags at the store, as well as how to figure it out for themselves so they can do the calculations if unit pricing is missing on the shelf or not shown in equivalent units. Find a simple child-friendly explanation of how to figure out unit pricing here

 

These activities, along with ideas from our previous article, can make your trips to the supermarket more pleasurable for the whole family. Have fun, and maybe enjoy singing a song in the car on the way! 


This article was written by Alissa Weller, Healthy Family Fun Box Elder County Coordinator, and Carrie Durward, PhD, RD, Assistant Professor and Extension Nutrition Specialist




Ask an Expert // Food Recalls

 

Food Recalls.jpgWhat do you really need to know about food recalls? Find out what they really mean, what to do if you have a recalled product in your pantry or fridge, and how to keep your family safe from food-borne illnesses.


Another recall hits the news: is any of the food we eat safe?

Not to worry! These recalls ensure our national food supply continues to be the safest in the world. To put it into perspective: There was a massive cheese recall in February of 2017, of cheeses made in a plant that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The recall affected all cheeses produced in the plant from November 10, 2016, through February 9, 2017.  

Roughly 3,640,000 pounds were recalled. However, nearly a BILLION pounds of cheese is produced in the United States per month. So, out of the 3 billion pounds of cheese produced during the same time period, only 0.1% (or, 0.001213) of the cheese was recalled.

Recalls occur for several reasons:

  1. Something is missing or incorrect on the label, such as an allergen alert.
  2. A manufacturer reports a problem they have found in their own product.
  3. Government inspections uncover contamination of some sort in a food product of a food processing facility.
  4. Someone reports a foodborne illness to the Centers for Disease Control (the CDC) that is then traced back to its source.

Our government takes food safety very seriously. Manufacturing plants have long lists of “Critical Control Points.” These are steps in the manufacturing process where a specified time and temperature must be regulated. They are checked frequently. Batches of foods are labeled for tracking, and records are kept as to what batches went where in the world and nation.  Quality assurance scientists have chemical tests to run on each batch to ensure safe food. When a recall does occur, there are records that trace the entire physical pathway of the food product so the “bad” food can be found.

What can we do to be a savvy consumer in the face of these recalls?

Be aware of recalls. If it is something you typically purchase, check your pantry and throw away or return the product.

Practice basic, practical food safety: clean, separate, cook & chill.

  • Clean: keep you, your food, and your kitchen clean.
  • Separate: keep raw meats and poultry separate from ready-to-eat foods—in your grocery cart, on your counter preparing food, and in your refrigerator.
  • Cook: cook food completely. The internal temperature for poultry and ground products is 165 F; whole cuts of meat and pork internal temperature should be 145 F.
  • Chill: Keep foods out of the “danger zone” of 41 to 135 F. Bacteria develops rapidly when foods are left at normal room temperature longer than 2 hours. During the summer months in particular, don’t wait even an hour before getting things refrigerated!

So, what should you “recall” about food recalls? That we have government regulations protecting us, and companies doing their best to follow the law and ensure their product is safe!

 


By: Cathy A. Merrill, FCS Assistant Professor, USU Extension, Utah County

References:

Thielking, M. (2017, March 9). Why is so much cheese being recalled? Stat. Retrieved from: https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/09/cheese-recall-sargento-indiana/

Barry-Jester, A.M. (2016, April 12). The US produces about a billion pounds of cheese every month. The Digest. Retrieved from: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-u-s-produces-about-a-billion-pounds-of-cheese-every-month/

White-Cason, J. (2013, August 12). Understanding Food Recalls: The Recall Process Explained. Food Safety News. Retrieved from: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/




2017 Farmers Market Roundup

Farmers Market Graphic

Looking for fresh, local food? Find a Farmers Market near you and support the people in your community producing food. Quick tip:  bring cash and a few reusable grocery bags so you can shop to your heart’s content. 


9th West Farmers Market*
Sundays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
June through October, International Peace Gardens, 1060 S. 900 W., Salt Lake City
http://9thwestfarmersmarket.org

25th Street Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
June through October, 475 E. 2500 N., North Logan
http://www.northloganmarket.com

Ashley Valley Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
July through September, 225 E. Main St., Vernal
http://avfarmersmarket.wix.com/avfarmersmarket

Benson Grist Mill Historic Site
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
July through October, 325 State Rd. 138, Stansbury Park
www.bensonmill.org

Bountiful Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3 p.m. –  8 p.m.
June 11 through October 15, 100 S. 100 E., Bountiful
http://www.bountifulmainstreet.com

Brigham City Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
June 17 through September 30
Bill of Rights Plaza and Box Elder County Courthouse
http://www.historicbrigham.org/farmersmarket/43-farmersmarket

BYU- LaVell Edwards Stadium Farmers Market
Thursdays, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
August through October, 213 E. University Parkway, Provo
http://dining.byu.edu/farmers_market.html

Cache Valley Gardeners Market*
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
May through October, Logan Historic Courthouse, 199 N. Main, Logan
http://www.gardenersmarket.org

Cedar City’s Downtown Farmers Market*
Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
July through October, Hoover & 100 W., Cedar City
https://www.facebook.com/ccdowntownfarmersmarket

Downtown Farmers Market*
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., June through October
Tuesdays, 4 p.m. – dusk, August through October
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., November through April
Pioneer Park, 350 S. 300 W., Salt Lake City
http://www.slcfarmersmarket.org

Downtown Farmers Market at Ancestor Square*
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon
May through October, 2 W. St. George Blvd., St. George
http://www.farmersmarketdowntown.com

Farm Fest Market – Sevier County
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
June through October, 370 E. 600 N., Joseph

Farmers Market Ogden*
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
June 25 through September 17, Ogden Historic 25th Street, Ogden
http://farmersmarketogden.com/

Gardner Village Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
July 8 through October 28 , 1100 W. 7800 S., West Jordan
http://www.wasatchfrontfarmersmarket.org

Harrisville City Summer Farmers Market*
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – dusk
August 3 through September 21, Harrisville Main Park, 1350 N. Hwy 89, Harrisville
https://www.cityofharrisville.com/farmer-s-market

Happy Valley Farmers Market*
Fridays, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
June through October, 100 E. Main Street, Orem
www.happyvalleyfm.com

Heber Valley Farmers Market
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
June 8 through August 31, Main Street Park, 250 S. Main St., Heber City St.
http://www.ci.heber.ut.us/community/events/farmersmarket

High Desert Growers Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
July 15 through October 31, 100 E. Main Street, Price
http://extension.usu.edu/carbon/home_family_food/farmers_markets

Long Valley Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
Mid May through Mid October, 475 N. State St., Orderville
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Long-Valley-Farmers-Market/1397811127154513

Mapleton Farmers Market
Saturdays 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
July through September, Mapleton City Center, 125 E. 400 N., Mapleton
http://www.mapletonmarket.org

Moab Farmers Market*
Fridays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
May 5 through October 27, Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 W., Moab
http://www.moabfarmersmarket.com/

Murray Farmers Market*
Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
July 29 through October 29, Murray City Park, 200 E. 5200 S., Murray
https://www.utahfarmbureau.org/Agriculture/Farmers-Markets

Park City Farmers Market
Wednesdays, noon – 6 p.m.
June through October, 4000 The Canyons Resort Drive, Park City
http://www.parkcityfarmersmarket.com

Park Silly Sunday Market
Sundays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
June 8 through September 21, 900 to 200 Main St., Park City
http://www.parksillysundaymarket.com

Provo Farmers Market*
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
June through October, Pioneer Park, 500 W. Center St., Provo
http://www.provofarmersmarket.org

Richmond Harvest Market
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
June through Mid-October, 563 S. State, Richmond
http://richmond-utah.com/harvest.html

Roosevelt Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
June 22 through September 28, 130 W. 100 N., Roosevelt
facebook.com/groups/101217766689683/

South Jordan Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
August 6 through October 29, 10695 S. Redwood Road
http://www.southjordanfarmersmarket.com

Spanish Fork Famers Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
End of July – November, 40 S. Main St., Spanish Fork
http://www.spanishforkchamber.com

Sugar House Farmers Market*
Wednesdays, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
June 8 through October 26, Sugarhouse Park, 1500 E. 2100 S., Salt Lake City
http://www.sugarhousefarmersmarket.org

Syracuse City Farmers Market*
Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – dusk
July 5 through September 27, Founders Park, 1904 W. 1700 S., Syracuse
facebook.com/SyracuseCityUtahFarmersMarket

Thanksgiving Point Farmers Market
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
August through September, 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi
http://www.wasatchfrontfarmersmarket.org

USU Botanical Center Farmers Market*
Thursdays, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. (dusk)
July through September, USU Botanical Center, 920 S. 50 W., Kaysville
http://www.usubotanicalcenter.org/events/farmers-market/

University of Utah Farmers Market*
Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mid-August through Mid-October, Tanner Plaza, 200 S. Central Drive, Salt Lake City
http://sustainability.utah.edu/resource-center/get-involved/farmers-market.php

Urban Farm & Feed
Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Open year round, 8737 South 700 East, Sandy
http://www.urbanfarmandfeed.com

VA Farmers Market
Wednesdays, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
August 2 – September 6, VA Medical Center, 500 Foothill Drive
Lawn and patio outside the Building 8 Canteen.
https://www.saltlakecity.va.gov/SALTLAKECITY/features/vaslchcsfarmersmarket.asp

Wayne County Farmers Market
Saturdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
May through October, Center and Main Street, Torrey
http://www.facebook.com/WayneCountyFarmersMarket

Wheeler Farm Market
Sundays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
June through October, 6351 S. 900 E., Murray
http://www.wasatchfrontfarmersmarket.com

Year-Round Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon, Year-Round
Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., May through October
50 W. Center St., Cedar City
http://yearroundmarket.weebly.com/

Zion Canyon Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
Late April through Mid-October, 1212 Zion Park Blvd., Zion Canyon
http://www.zionharvest.org


*Markets marked with an asterisk utilize electronic benefit transfer (EBT) machines, allowing Food Stamp participants to use their benefits to buy fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets.

Did we miss a market? Let us know in the comments!




Welcome Farmers Market Season // Tossed Salad with Citrus Dressing

farmers market seasonWarmer weather means it’s farmers market season. Read up on some of the great benefits of shopping at a farmers market, and don’t miss the recipe  at the end!


After an especially long and snowy winter, the opening of farmers markets around the state is certainly a welcome sight. There are many individual, community and environmental benefits associated with shopping at local farmers markets. Markets often offer a wide variety of reasonably priced, high quality fruits and vegetables that are at the peak of their nutritional value. If you receive SNAP benefits, many markets offer a matching incentive program called Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB). For every $10 in SNAP benefits used at the market, you will receive up to $10 in DUFB tokens to spend on fruits and vegetables, making them even more economical.

The produce at farmers markets is often harvested within a couple of days or hours of the market, so the consumer has more time to use it before it spoils. Shopping at farmers markets also helps support farmers in your area, as well as the local economy. On average, food in the United States travels about 1,500 miles to get to your dinner plate, which can have various negative impacts on the environment. Fruits and vegetables sold at farmers markets have generally travelled just a few miles, which means savings in both your wallet and your environment. In addition to these benefits, farmers markets are a fun place to spend a few hours. Many offer free music, games and events for children and tasty food samples. The opening day of farmers markets varies around the state. Check with your local USU Extension office to find the farmers market in your community.

Here’s a great recipe for some of the first items to show up at Utah’s farmers markets. This is a great recipe to add any other fruits or vegetables that look good at the market.

Tossed Salad with Citrus Dressing

Yield: 8 servings.

From eatwellutah.org

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. torn fresh spinach
  • 4 c. torn leaf lettuce
  • 2-11 oz. cans mandarin oranges
  • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. thinly sliced radishes

Dressing:

  • ½ c. orange juice
  • ¼ c. lemon juice
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • ½ t. seasoned salt
  • ¼ t. paprika (optional)
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

Toss spinach, lettuce, oranges and radishes in salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and whisk together until blended. Serve with salad. 


This article was written by Heidi LeBlanc, Food $ense State Director, and Casey CoombsRD, CD; Policy, Systems, and Environments Coordinator, Utah State University Food $ense




Six Exotic Fruits to Try

exotic fruits

You don’t have to go on a tropical vacation to get a taste of exotic fruits. Look beyond the apples and bananas next time you’re at the grocery store, and give these exotic fruits a try.


Unusual Fruits Play

See USU Extension’s Jaqueline Neid-Avila introduce some of these exotic fruits on Fox 13’s The PLACE.

When you go to the grocery store, the first thing you typically see are fruits. Most of them probably look familiar— bananas, apples, peaches, pears, melons and more. However, you may see a few fruits that look a bit unusual, if not exoctic.

These fruits could be kumquats, passion fruit, or dragon fruit, among others. While you may be able to find some of these fresh fruits in your regular supermarket, they are more widely available and affordable at Asian, Latin, and gourmet supermarkets. You can even buy them online! Like more common fruits, these unusual varieties are good sources of Vitamin A, C, potassium and fiber. Since they are not something that you would normally buy, they can be seen as a treat.

So next time you are out buying groceries, check out the unusual fruits selection. Even if their curious appearance may turn some people off from purchasing, remember that mangos and kiwis were once considered to be exotic.

Here are some exotic fruits we recommend, and some ways to eat them:

Longan

market-1270281_1920

Longan have a white, soft pulp that surrounds a large black seed. When cut in half, the fruit  resembles an eyeball. It is a small relative of Lychee.

Rambutan

rambutan-fruit-19699_1920

Rambutan have a single seed surrounded by flesh that is grape-like in texture, with a delicate flavor. This is also a relative to lychee, but sweeter and not as juicy.

Longan, rambutan and lychee are all very similar. There are mild differences, so try each one to see which one is your favorite. They can be used to make jams and jellies, or a light refreshing juice.

Dragon Fruit

fruit-2100692_1920

This is a member of the cactus family and it has a leathery exterior ranging from yellow to bright pink with lime-green spiny tips. Flecked with tiny black seeds, its juicy flesh can be white or red and has a refreshing and light flavor.

The skin is inedible, so peel the dragon fruit or scoop it out of the skin. Dragon fruit tastes refreshing cold. Pair it with banana, berries, and kiwi in a smoothie, or make fruit kebabs, alternating kiwi and dragon fruit. Try broiling kebabs in an oven for 3 minutes.

Passion Fruit

tropical-1501212_1920

This edible fruit has a sweet-tart flavor and strong tropical scent. The seeds can be eaten with the liquidy center or strained out if you just want the juice.

Since there is only a small amount of golden, jelly-like filling, passion fruit is often used as a filling or flavoring.

Guava

guava-537060_1920

Several varieties of guava are available in varying sizes (they can be as small as an egg, or as large as an apple). They can be round or pear shaped, and have rough or smooth skin. Guava can be  yellow, green, red, or purple-black on the outside, with flesh that is pale yellow to bright red. Some guava have small edible seeds, while others are seedless. To eat fresh, guava should be very ripe.

Enjoy fresh, in salads,  or juiced to make jelly or syrup. Guava can also be cooked with meat.

Kumquat

kumquats-357881_1920

Kumquats look like oval shaped miniature oranges. The skin of the kumquat is sweet, while the inside has a sour, citrus tang. This creates a surprising clash of flavor when the fruit is eaten whole. Nibble the end of the kumquat to taste the rind first. Once you encounter the mouth-puckering juice, you can either continue nibbling cautiously, or pop the whole fruit in your mouth.

Kumquats can be sliced and added to salsa, made into marmalade, pickled or added to meat dishes.


This article was written by Jaqueline Neid-Avila, RDN, CD with USU Extension in Davis County




Menu Planning Around Farmers Market Selection

Menu Planning Farmers MarketHow do you plan your weekly menu and shop at your local farmers market, without knowing what exactly you might find there? Follow these tips to help you plan a more flexible menu, and and take advantage of the fresh local produce at the farmers market.


Farmers markets are known for offering an ever-changing variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Although variety is a benefit of shopping at local farmers markets, it can be difficult and overwhelming to come up with a menu for the week without knowing beforehand what will be available. Yet, being flexible allows you to choose the produce that looks the best and is offered at a good price.  Below are some tips for planning meals around the unpredictable availability at the farmers market.

  1. Reverse your menu planning schedule. Shop at the market first, then build a menu for the week based on what you purchased. This will also help ensure that you use what you bought, reducing food waste.
  2. Plan the non-vegetable portion of the meal, and then add the vegetables after seeing what looks best at the market.
  3. Have a general sense of when different fruits and vegetables are usually in season and  available. Plan your menu with at least two different options and then buy the one that is offered at the best price.
  4. Bring your menu to the market. If there is something that looks great, but isn’t in your plan revise your menu on the spot to incorporate it.
  5. Include some meals that use a wide variety of produce in like stir-fry, soup, or omelets.
  6. Be open to making last minute substitutions to your favorite recipe. Here are some ideas of fruits and vegetables that are good substitutions for each other.
Recipe calls for Try this instead
Apples Pears, grapes, cherries
Beets Radishes, turnips, rutabaga, potatoes
Blueberries Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pitted cherries
Broccoli Cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts
Cucumbers Zucchini, celery
Zucchini Yellow squash, patty pan squash, eggplant
Potatoes Carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, turnips
Spinach Kale, Swiss chard, bok choy
Onions Shallots, leeks, scallions
Peaches Nectarines, plums, pears

This article was written by Heidi LeBlanc, Food $ense State Director, and Casey CoombsRD, CD; Policy, Systems, and Environments Coordinator, Utah State University Food $ense, 




10 Tips for Surviving Grocery Shopping with Kids

Grocery Shopping with KidsGrocery shopping with children can be stressful, but with a little planning and preparation, it can be a great experience for you as a parent and for your children. 


Sometimes it’s in the produce section, sometimes in the middle of an aisle, and often in the checkout line: a young child melting down in the grocery store. The screams of an overtired, hungry or begging child are annoying to everyone in the store but especially exasperating for the parent trying to deal with kid drama in public. The common wisdom is to do all grocery shopping alone to save money and make healthier choices, but this isn’t always practical. When I was a young mother with multiple kids to wrangle, my husband was either in college while working full-time or working two jobs, so I had to take little ones with me to the store if we were going to have any food in the house. Through my experience and learning from other moms, I’ve gleaned some tips for making grocery store expeditions survivable and even fun! Read on for 10 tips for enjoyable and stress free shopping with your kids

Always, always plan ahead for your shopping trip!  It’s vital to go into it prepared!

  1. Make a list, and arrange it as much as possible to match the layout of the store. Be like Santa and check this list twice.  Find more information about planning menus and preparing to shop here
  2. Schedule your shopping for a time when your children will not be getting tired and cranky. For most kids this is in the morning, but go with what you observe is their happiest time of day.
  3. Allow enough time to shop without rushing. This helps you make better choices and keeps the kids from feeling your stress and getting themselves worked up.
  4. Make sure everyone has eaten, and perhaps even pack a healthy snack to take along.
  5. For young kids, let them take a favorite toy or book if they’ll be riding in the cart.

Make the kids part of your shopping team. You’re all in this together!

  1. Before entering the store, go over your expectations for their behavior and make sure they understand. This is best done as a positive pep talk. Be sure to include a reminder about your treat policy. Some parents let kids put a treat on the list to be included in the shopping, some let the kids select something in the checkout line if they’ve done well during the shopping, some let the kids know that there will be no treats. It’s important to be clear with the kids about what will happen with treats ahead of time, since they’ll be bombarded with temptation in the store. 
  2. Give kids age-appropriate tasks to do. Kids of all ages can help look for products by matching what you’re looking for to the store ad or coupons (organize this ahead of time), or they can play “I Spy” and look for certain colors, letters or items.  Elementary age kids and older can learn about unit pricing and help you find the best deals. Young children love to help pick out produce, for example: “Which squash should we get?” Kids can also help you carry small items. Watch for our next article for more detailed information on age-appropriate tasks children can help with in the grocery store.
  3. Use the self-checkout if it’s available, and let your kids help scan and bag the groceries. Reusable grocery bags are the easiest for youngsters to use. Self-checkout is also a good way to avoid the kid’s-eye-level candy that causes so many grocery store meltdowns.

  Safety first!

  1. Never allow a child to stand in the grocery cart. I learned first-hand how easily a toddler can fall out of the cart when you turn your back for a second! We were lucky and my daughter wasn’t hurt, but according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission an estimated 19,800 children under five years old were treated in emergency rooms for shopping cart injuries in 2012 in the United States (cpsc.gov). Also make sure the safety belt on the cart you choose is in working order and buckle your child in securely.
  2.  Children who can walk can learn early on to hold on to the cart lightly so that they don’t wander off and get lost. My children learned this lesson so well that even after they were grown and moved away from home, a couple of them caught themselves holding onto the cart when we went shopping together! Consistent reminders to hold onto the cart works for most children. Stubborn ones might need incentive to stay in contact with the cart, and you can make a game of this.

 Sometimes tantrums just happen. Despite your best-laid plans, sometimes tantrums still happen. Don’t panic if your child has a meltdown in the store. Every parent has gone through it so most people will be sympathetic to your plight. If you are unlucky enough to get a comment from a grouch, feel free to ignore it—you are there to help your child not to impress random strangers. It’s one of the hardest challenges of parenting, but it is very important NOT to give in to a tantrum. You don’t want to teach your child that tantrums work to get what they want or to get you to leave the store before you’re finished with your shopping. Simply take the child aside and let them know that you are taking a little time out until they are ready to try again. If necessary, you can ask a store employee to set your cart aside while you take the child to the car to calm down. Once they are ready you can return to the store and finish shopping.

When your shopping trip goes smoothly and the kids maintain good behavior, don’t forget to reward them! This can be as simple as giving them a sticker or as elaborate as a special trip to the park. It’s best to avoid food or “treats” as rewards so that you don’t put children on the road to emotional eating or learning to value sweets over healthier foods. The grocery store experience can be difficult and overwhelming for kids, so when they do well be sure to reinforce that good behavior.

Finally, if possible, shopping alone can be a good choice, especially if you are in a hurry. Most people are able to make more thoughtful purchasing decisions without the distraction of another person going along, but grocery shopping can be low stress and even enjoyable with children when you are prepared. It also provides a great opportunity for children to learn about nutrition, planning, resisting impulses and  how to behave appropriately in public.

Check our calendar for Healthy Family Fun events in your area, and join us for a good time with your family learning about healthy lifestyles and relationships.


By Alissa Weller, Healthy Family Fun Box Elder County Coordinator and Carrie Durward, PhD RD Assistant Professor and Extension Nutrition Specialist




How to Afford Fresh Produce // 10 Tips

fresh-produce-costHow do you balance eating healthy with your grocery budget? We’ve got ten tips to help you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables without breaking the bank.


Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet because they provide essential vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fiber and water while low in calories, so they can help us feel full longer on fewer calories. The USDA MyPlate Guidelines tells us to make ½ of our plate fruit and vegetables, but many people find it difficult to put this into practice.

The three main reasons people give for not eating more fruits and vegetables are cost, time, and taste. This week we’ll talk about how to eat fruits and vegetables on a budget, and we will cover how to make fruits and vegetables more convenient and tastier in following weeks.

Many people think that fruits and vegetables are too expensive. However, it depends on how you think about it. Fruits and vegetables do tend to be more expensive per calorie, but less expensive than less healthy foods per gram or per portion eaten. This is because fruits and vegetables are higher in fiber, water, and vitamins and minerals, while being lower in calories. If you think about all of the nutritional benefits you get from fruits and vegetables, it is hard not to see them as a deal!

Here are 10 great tips to include fruits and vegetables in your diet at a lower cost:

  1. Shop in season! Fruits and vegetables are often on sale when they are in season, and usually taste better then too. Find out what vegetables are in season. 
  2. Some vegetables are available for a low cost year round, including potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. Look for recipes online to find new ways to use these staples: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/main-recipes
  3. Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables when they are on sale. Frozen is just as nutritious as fresh, and they can keep 8-10 months in the freezer. Choose those without added sauces, fats, or sugar.
  4. Plan your meals ahead of time so fresh fruits and vegetables get used before they go bad. Learn more about meal planning
  5. To reduce waste, you can freeze leftover vegetables to add to casseroles or soups later, and overripe fruit is great in smoothies or baking.
  6. Canned vegetables are a great option, and are much more affordable than fresh or frozen. Choose fruit canned in 100% juice and vegetables that are low in sodium or have no sodium added. Stock up when they are on sale!
  7. When buying canned or frozen vegetables, try the store brand. The store brand is the same or a similar product at a much lower price.
  8. Check out your local farmer’s market. You can often find great deals on seasonal produce.
  9. If you find a great deal on fresh produce, try freezing or canning it for later use. Learn how from USU Extension
  10. Another way to reduce cost might be to grow your own produce. A backyard garden or patio planter can provide super-fresh produce all summer long. Visit garden.usu.edu for great resources.

Stay tuned for more tips on how to make fruits and vegetables more convenient and tasty.


This article was written by Carrie Durward, Extension Nutrition Specialist




What’s App with That? 7 Apps to Help You Save Money and Eat Better

What's App.jpg
Have you used a food, grocery or coupon app? We’ve got the lowdown on of some of the top apps in these categories to help you decide whether or not they are worth a download.


Grocery and Coupons

FavadoThis app is pretty awesome. You start off by entering your zip code or allowing location access so that the app can search for stores near you. From there, you pick stores of your choice. You can either view the ads for those stores, or better yet, compare the prices for the stores you picked. For instance: I chose Smith’s, Winco, and Costco. I could compare their ads in their entirety, or search for a specific item like broccoli. Smith’s broccoli was $0.79 per pound, while WinCo broccoli was $0.98. By doing this with all my grocery list items I could see where to get the most bang for my buck. You can also add the items you searched for or saw in coupons to a list by store.

Walmart– This app has a great feature: Savings Catcher. You can scan your Walmart receipt and the app will search prices of competitors in the area for advertised deals on the items you purchased. If a lower advertised price is found, Walmart give you the difference on an eGift card. This app also lists the weekly ad and current prices in store. You can order non-grocery items from this app and pick them up at the store, and refill prescriptions from this app. To order groceries, use the Walmart Grocery app, where you are able to select non-perishable foods to be delivered to your front door or complete all of your shopping and have it hand delivered to your car in the parking lot.

*Note: other stores also have their own apps to help with grocery shopping lists, couponing, etc. Smith’s grocery store app allows you to add coupons directly to your Fresh Values card, which eliminates the hassle of cutting and turning in paper coupons. Target’s Cartwheel app allows you to scan items in the store to see if there is a coupon or sale in addition to weekly ad prices. Check to see if the stores at which you typically shop have apps, and then see what they have to offer.

Grocery IQ or Grocery Pal – The best feature on these apps is that you can scan a barcode or use a voice search to find coupons. When you scan a barcode or search for an item, coupons from stores around you will pop up, then you can add the coupons and items you want to your list. This could be handy if you are in a store and want to quickly check prices elsewhere.  You can also view the weekly ads for stores in your area.

Nutrition Tracking

MyNetDiary –  This easy-to-use app is a classic nutrition tracker. You enter your personal information and select if you want to gain, lose or maintain weight. The app then tells you how many calories you should eat each day to achieve your goal. It tracks the amount of the fat, carbs and protein in the foods you enter, and calculates your allowed amount remaining in each category for the day. Perhaps the best part is that you can enter in your own recipes. With many other nutrition trackers, there are preset meals to choose from. With this app, you can select the ingredients that actually made up your lunch for the day, and it will calculate the nutritional information. You can also log exercise, water intake and add personal notes in the app. Using an activity monitor like a Fitbit, you can also track your steps and how many calories burned in the app.

Nutrition Education

Eat and Move -0- Matic – This is a great nutrition education app for families and children, produced by the National 4-H Council. Its designed to be like a game and is geared toward children. Your children may not find it the most exciting game to play on their own, but it is a good educational app for you to go through with your children. The app teaches how food and exercise work together. For example, it would take 27 minutes of jumping rope to burn the calories contained in an 8 ounce glass of chocolate milk.  It has dozens of food and exercise selections to choose from and lists the calories for each food. This is great for helping parents understand how much physical activity their children should be doing for the food they are eating, and it can teach children that they need to exercise to stay healthy and balance what they eat with physical activity.

Recipes and Cooking

Cooking Matters – This app’s focus is healthy, affordable and delicious meals. While it doesn’t have as many recipes as Pinterest, the recipes this app does have are healthy, simple and look very appealing. Many of the recipes use few ingredients. It also lists the serving size of each recipe and has a nice conversion feature to tell you how many ounces are in a pound or how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon, etc.

Do you use any of these apps? Are there any you love that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!


This article was written by Sarah Hepworth Warner, Food Sense nutrition program intern, Utah County, and Melanie Jewkes, Utah State University Extension associate professor, Salt Lake County