Leading an active life is one half of the formula for good health. The other half of the formula is eating properly; making the shift from eating what tastes good to eating what is nutritious and strengthens our bodies. The good news is that nutritious food can also taste good. This section will be updated periodically to provide information related to what food is nutritious, where to buy it and how to prepare it.
MyPlate: Healthy eating starts with what you put on your plate. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Try to fill half of your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Make half of the grains eaten to be 100% whole grains
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat dairy products
For more information, visit the MyPlate website. This was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) using the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. The website helps to explain the health benefit your body gets from eating different foods. It also has serving sizes and much more information and tips. In addition, MyPlate has linked thousands of recipes to help get you started.
Keeping on Track: Trying to find a way to keep track of how much food you are eating? The USDA has also created the SuperTracker, to help you with this. It helps to connect healthy eating with the amount of exercise you are doing. By logging in the foods eaten each day, it will show how many calories were in those foods. It will also provide details of what was in the food like how much fat, dietary fiber, and much more. Lastly, it can keep track of the amount of calories that were burned during each type of exercise that you did. Logging into SuperTracker is free and easy to use.
Eating Healthy on a low budget: Looking for ways to spend less at the grocery store and still eat healthy? USDA has recently added onto the MyPlate website. The Healthy Eating on a Budget helps with many ideas and tips of how to shop for food. It has ideas with how to plan a grocery list. There are tips on how to save money on your grocery bill. There are also tips for shopping down every grocery aisle. It also helps with how to read and understand the shelf price tag, as well as other ideas and tips. Happy shopping.
Food Safety Advice: To keep you and your family healthy, food safety is important. Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill are the four words to keep in mind.
- Clean: wash hands and surfaces often! This will help prevent bacteria from being spread around the kitchen.
- Separate: don’t cross contaminate! Bacteria can easily be spread from raw meat and eggs to fresh produce.
- Cook: cook to proper temperatures! If food is not cooked or reheated to the proper temperatures, bacteria does not get killed.
- Chill: refrigerate promptly! Allowing foods to sit out warm or at room temperature provides bacteria with a place to grow.
Go to the USDA’s Food Safety Advice page to learn more about how to safely handle food.
What is a community-supported agriculture (CSA)? CSA members or subscribers pay a set amount at the beginning of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest. Once harvesting begins, subscribers receive weekly or bi-weekly shares of vegetables. Each grower runs their own CSA a little differently and may include additional products in their subscription. Delivery and pick up vary as well. It is a great way to “know your farmer and know your food.” Winter/spring is typically the time to buy a subscription, but some vendors may be able to add customers during the summer. Here is a list of local farmers who offer CSA subscriptions:
- Bob’s Fresh and Local, bobsfreshandlocal.com
- Trogg’s Hollow Farm, Poplar Grove and Elgin, troggshollow.com
- Enjoy Pioneer Farm, Hampshire; enjoypioneerfarm.com
- Erehwon Farm, Elburn, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Esther’s Place/Lamb of God Farm, Big Rock; esthersplacefibers.com
- Heritage Prairie Market & Education Center, Elburn; heritageprairiefarm.com
- Spring Bluff Nursery, Sugar Grove; springbluffnursery.com