Monthly Archives: March 2021

Food Hero’s Gardening Challenge helps kids grow with dairy and plants

Join ODNC and Food Hero with Food Hero’s Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge this spring. 38,000 free seed packets, donated by Bi-Mart, will be distributed by Food Hero to Oregon state residents as part of the program which aims to inspire kids to grow their own gardens and eat a healthy diet.

You can register to pick up a seed kit with Food Hero while supplies last. The seed packets will be available in 4 different seed kits: cool-weather vegetables, warm-weather vegetables, herb or edible flowers and flowers that attract pollinators, like bees and birds. Or you can join in with your own seeds, says Halie Cousineau, OSU Extension Food Hero state garden education coordinator.

The Food Hero Facebook page will hold weekly office hours when gardeners can ask questions, post photos and share their accomplishments, Cousineau said. Once they harvest their produce, gardeners can find more than 300 recipes using vegetables and fruits on the Food Hero website.

Children are a big part of the program. Beginning April 1, digital lessons will be released every Thursday through June 10 when school ends. The lineup includes Growing Healthy Kids with OSU Master Gardeners and a four-week lesson plan in partnership with the Oregon Bee Project. Kids will learn about how bees help make healthy food and how to identify several of Oregon’s bees.

Kids can upcycle their yogurt or milk containers and use sleeves provided by ODNC to help track the care and progress of their plants. Download yours here!

Throughout summer and into fall, participants will receive a monthly Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge email with gardening information, harvest recipes and storage tips. Challenge information will also be available in English and Spanish on the Food Hero gardening page. For more personalized interaction, participants can email challenge leaders or email or call the Master Gardeners in their area.

“We’re trying to make the program accessible to anyone, children, elders, people with special needs and the diversity of cultural populations in Oregon,” said Cousineau. “We’re encouraging people anywhere to join. We want to make a community.”

Make Every Bite and Sip Count, New Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Make every bite and sip count! This is the call to action in the 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).  Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) update the DGAs, which are a framework for healthy eating patterns throughout life, aimed to promote health, prevent disease, and meet nutrient needs.  

The 2020 – 2025 DGA provide suggestions for healthy eating patterns throughout all stages of life, including specific recommendations for women during pregnancy and lactation, and for infants from birth to 23 months. 

The dietary guidelines have four main points:

1. Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.

2. Customize and enjoy nutrient dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.

3. Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits.

4. Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.  

The USDA MyPlate and MyPlate website guide all Americans to discover a healthy eating routine that is just right for their individual needs.  MyPlate highlights five food groups (dairy, fruit, vegetables, protein, and grains) and suggests ways you can add more foods packed with vitamins and minerals, called “nutrient-dense foods,” to your diet. Examples of nutrient-dense foods are low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.  Nutrient-dense dairy foods are low fat milk, cheese and yogurt.

One healthy tip to help you meet your food group needs is to include two to three food groups with each meal and, watch your portion size to stay within calorie limits. To learn more about portion size and how much you need from each food group, go to MyPlate.gov.  

Healthy eating should be enjoyable!  Picking foods that sound good to you will also help make changes easier to stick with long term. Try to swap healthier foods into your diet, like low fat yogurt and fruit instead of a donut or Danish, or simply choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread. 

It is recognized in the DGAs that milk, cheese and yogurt are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, iodine, and vitamin B12. These nutrients provided by dairy products are important throughout your entire life. 

  • Starting at 6 months old, dairy foods like cheese and yogurt  are important first foods that help form the foundation for healthy eating. 
  • At 12 months,  toddlers can drink whole milk instead of breastmilk or formula as a t critically important source of 13 essential nutrients important for healthy growth and development. 
  • From pre-school to teenage years, dairy foods provide high-quality nutrients that help kids grow, thrive and stay healthy. 
  • Adolescence is a critical time for good nutrition. Teen girls especially fall short of Vit. B12 and bone-building nutrients.  Dairy foods have more bone building nutrients per calorie than any other food group. 
  • For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, dairy foods provide vitamin B12 as well as iodine which are important to brain health.
  • Older adults benefit from protein and minerals in dairy to support bone health and maintain muscle. 

Healthy eating is important throughout all stages of life for growth, prevention of disease, and overall wellness. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate are helpful guides to help you make every bite and sip count. 

Learn more about the DGA here

Investigate How Dairy Helps People Thrive Across the Lifespan (Download Here)

Makenna Stafford, is currently a Master’s student in the Dietetic Nutrition Program at Oregon State University. She recently worked as a Dietetic Intern for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council in 2021.

Resources:

HEALTH BENEFITS OF DAIRY

HEALTHY DAIRY PRODUCTS AND THEIR NUTRITIONAL POWER

EATING CHEESE MAY PROVIDE HEART HEALTH BENEFITS

IMPROVING NUTRITION, HEALTHCARE OUTCOMES IN OLDER ADULTS

learn more about healthy eating at MyPlate.gov

MyPlate is a guide for Americans on healthful eating that includes five major food groups, fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. MyPlate has recently been updated to reflect the newest edition of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Click for a video on the new USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Each person needs different amounts from each food group based on their height, weight, gender, and age. It doesn’t have to be complicated, because MyPlate has an app for that!   Easily calculate your daily dietary needs in less time than it takes you to catch up on TikTok. Find the new app by searching for “Start Simple with MyPlate” in your app store.

What to explore on MyPlate.gov

Myplate.gov helps you eat healthier by including specific nutrition guidance for all stages of life! This includes nutrition for pregnancy and lactation, infancy, toddlers, preschools, kids, teens, young adults, adults, and older adults.  

Another new aspect on the MyPlate website is a quiz to help you make sure you’re getting in all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. The quiz will ask you about your regular food intake, what your goals are, and what aspects of healthy eating you want to learn more about. Once the quiz is complete, you can find out if you should increase your intake for certain food groups. You will also be provided links to resources on topics you indicated you wanted to know more about.

Besides these updates, there is a lot more to explore on the MyPlate website. If you are looking for more recipe ideas, the website has a robust recipe section where you can search by type of cuisine, kitchen equipment, food groups and more. It even has tips for eating on a budget and printable nutrition education materials in Spanish and English.

All about the MyPlate App

Once you know what food groups may be lacking in your diet, the app also helps you create goals and holds you accountable. And, it even goes one step further to generate ideas to complete these goals. There are tips on easy ways to add the food groups based on your goals, and it will link you directly to recipes that include the food groups you need. 

If your goal is one more serving of dairy in your day, the app could suggest you “start your day with dairy.” Tips include mixing sliced bananas with yogurt, preparing a fruit smoothie, or cooking oatmeal in low-fat milk. Goals for increasing vegetable intake could be “snack on vegetables” with recipes like Caprese veggie skewers to keep mealtime fun or have veggies with a bean dip or hummus. Recipes have also been gathered for SNAP recipients, featuring an array of healthy options.

If you are motivated by a friendly competition, the app could encourage you to keep up with your goals when you join challenges or earn different badges. Get the whole family involved!  

You’ll eat healthier when you let MyPlate help you implement new and fun foods into your day. And it doesn’t cost a thing, so what are you waiting for? Check out MyPlate and start today!

Liz Davitt, MS is currently a Dietetic Intern at Oregon State University. She completed her community rotation with the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council in 2021.

Resources:

MYPLATE.GOV

USDA DIETARY GUIDELINES 2020 – 2025

STAY HOME, STAY SAFE, STAY HEALTHY

DASH DIET EATING PLAN

Score Big with School Breakfast!

National School Breakfast Week is a weeklong celebration of the School Breakfast Program, which provides millions of children a nutritious morning meal each school day. Milk is an important part of those balanced, nutritious breakfasts in schools, providing a rich source of protein, calcium, and other minerals to start the day. Former NFL player and Fuel Up to Play 60 Spokesperson Anthony Newman knows the importance of eating a healthy breakfast:

“Your school day is like a big football game; it takes energy,” said Newman, “you need to start the day with fuel for your body for your big game each morning.”

Even with most students attending classes from home this year, eating breakfast is an important part of the day and a great way to fuel learning and participation. 

Children who participate in school breakfast programs show decreased anxiety, less depression and less hyperactivity. A recent study showed that the breakfasts offered by these programs can improve a child’s overall nutrition by providing her/him with necessary vitamins and minerals and can reduce the risk of obesity. There is an especially big need for these programs in Oregon, since 1 in 4 children come from low-income, food insecure homes and are at risk of hunger.

Due to Covid-19, most schools are choosing to offer students grab and go meals at locations throughout Oregon. To find out more, check with your local school or school nutrition program, or visit the Oregon Department of Education’s School Meal Resource Page

Additional Resources:

IMPROVING SCHOOL MEALS FOR OREGON STUDENTS

WHAT WILL THE SCHOOL LUNCH OF THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?

MEET CHEF JESSICA: SERVING UP FRESH IDEAS FOR STUDENT MEALS (VIDEO)