Entertain the Healthy Way
We all enjoy getting together with friends and family for parties, tailgates, and potlucks! These gatherings sometimes offer few healthy choices and may tempt you to overeat. Set yourself up to make healthy choices with these tips:
- Plan for colorful plates. Create a sign-up sheet for your party with categories for dishes from each food group so you have a variety of healthy options. Think about the edible rainbow. Red might be strawberries, tomatoes, or watermelons. Yellow could be bananas or squash. Purple options include figs, eggplants, and grapes.
- Sip up some flavor. Boost flavor in water or unsweetened ice tea with mint leaves, lemons, or frozen fruit. Skip sugary drinks like soda, punch, and lemonade.
- Keep foods safe. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until serving time. Don’t leave food out at room temperature for longer than two hours. After two hours, illness-causing bacteria may start growing.
- Prioritize your plate. Take a quick lap around the food table to see what foods are available before filling your plate. Save calories with smaller helpings.
- Include fruits and veggies. Fill half your plate with vegetables such as beans, broccoli, or mixed greens and fruits like berries or grapes.
Looking for healthy recipe ideas? Check out this yummy Tailgate Caviar recipe from Kentucky Cooperative Extension:
Tailgate Caviar Recipe
Original material sourced from Choose MyPlate. Adapted to print in the October/November 2018 of Healthy Choices for Healthy Families. Edited by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.
Healthy Skillet Enchilada Recipe
Home Cooking Corner
Spaghetti squash is a member of the winter squash family. Summer squash is eaten before the seeds mature, whereas winter squash is consumed after the seeds have matured and outer skin has hardened. Get your sharp knife out, and make this delicious recipe that is calorie and carb friendly.
Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash Casserole Recipe
- 1 small (about 2 pounds) spaghetti squash
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 (4 to 5 ounce) can chopped mild green chilies
- 1 1/2 cups low fat cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the squash by carefully cutting it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scooping out the seeds. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cut-side down and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a sharp knife can be easily inserted into the rind.
- Remove the squash from the oven and cool. Use a fork to scrape out the stringy flesh from the shell and place in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible. Place squash in a medium bowl and keep warm.
- In a skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned. Add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Drain well and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the chopped tomatoes and green chilies.
- Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with non-stick coating. Layer half of the spaghetti squash in the bottom of the pan. Spread half the meat mixture on top of the squash. Layer half of the tomatoes and chilies on top of the meat and top with half of the cheese. Repeat the layers.
- Bake at 350 degrees F until the casserole is hot all the way through and the cheese is bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.
Nutritional Analysis: 140 calories, 4 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 17 g protein
Yield: 9 servings
Did you know that August is National Peach Month? The following Peachy Breakfast Bake recipe uses half whole wheat flour, half all-purpose. Start living a healthier life by making half your grains whole!
Peachy Breakfast Bake Recipe
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in middle position. Place butter in an 8-by-8 inch baking dish and place in oven on the center rack to melt. Add peaches and brown sugar to melted butter in baking dish, stir to coat. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Bake 15 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and egg whites with a whisk, add almond milk and vanilla. Whisk together. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until blended. Remove peaches from oven, pour batter slowly and evenly over baked peaches. Return to oven and bake 20 minutes, until the center of the batter is firm, puffed up, and browned. Serve warm with whipped cream.
Nutritional Analysis: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 17 g sugars, 3 g protein
Yield: 9, 1/2 cup servings
Source: Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud, University of Kentucky Extension
The following recipe printed in the 2018 Summer edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter.
Summer Garden Lasagna Recipe
- 5 medium zucchini
- 2 yellow summer squash
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large eggplants, sliced 1/2
- 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups low fat cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 10 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
Thinly slice zucchini and summer squash 1/4 inch thick and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast in oven at 400 °F for 20 minutes, turn slices after 10 minutes. Slice eggplants, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; place on baking sheet. Roast in oven at 400 °F for 20 minutes, turn slices after 10 minutes. If needed, place under broiler for 5 minutes to reduce excess moisture. Mix together yogurt, cottage cheese, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, diced onion, and chives.
Sauté garlic in remaining olive oil until golden. Add spinach to pan and cook until wilted. Spoon half of roasted zucchini, squash, and sauteed garlic into a greased 9 by 11 inch baking dish. Coat evenly with half of the cottage cheese and yogurt mixture. Place an even layer of eggplants on cottage cheese mixture. Spread a layer of spaghetti sauce on eggplants and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Repeat process for one more layer. Bake at 425 °F for 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped basil and cheese for garnish.
Nutritional Analysis: 240 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 840 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 17 g protein
Yield: 10, 1 cup servings
Source: Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud, University of Kentucky Extension
Summer Squash Pizza
Yield: 4 servings
Crust Ingredients: 1/2 tablespoon rapid rise yeast • 1 tablespoon sugar • 1/2 cup warm water • 1/2-1 cup whole wheat flour • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Topping Ingredients: 2 yellow summer squash, thinly sliced • 1 cup thinly sliced onion • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary • Salt and pepper to taste • 3 tablespoons olive oil • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sliced squash, onion and pepper in roasting pan. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until onions are lightly brown and squash and peppers are tender. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let yeast proof, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup flour, salt and oil. Mix until smooth then rest for 5 minutes. Add additional flour as needed to be able turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into flat 1/4 inch thick crust. Place crust onto a baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes to set crust. Remove from oven and distribute vegetable mixture on crust. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until crust is firm, being careful not to burn. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Cut into quarters and serve.
Nutritional Analysis: 310 calories, 19 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 9 g protein
Recipe from Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud. The Kentucky Proud Project is a cooperation between County Extension Agents for Family and Consumer Sciences and Dietetics and Human Nutrition Students at the University of Kentucky.
Asian Asparagus Salad Recipe
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- 1½ tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar or artificial sweetener
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Yield: 4, ½ cup servings
- Snap off and discard the root ends of the asparagus.
- Wash remaining stalks thoroughly.
- Slice stalks into 1½ inch lengths on the diagonal.
- Blanch asparagus for 1-3 minutes in boiling water, until bright green in color.
- Cool immediately under cold water and drain.
- Combine soy sauce, sugar, olive oil, and sesame seeds in a small glass bowl. Mix dressing until sugar is dissolved.
- In a gallon zip-seal bag, add asparagus and dressing. Turn bag to coat asparagus with dressing and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Turn bag again and chill for an additional 15 minutes before serving.
Nutritional Analysis: 70 calories, 4.5 g fat, .5 g sat. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein
Soup Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1 teaspoon minced garlic • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped • 2 (15.8 ounce) cans of great northern beans, rinsed and drained • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano • 1 (14 ounce) can low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth • 4 cups kale, torn into small pieces • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes or until onion is tender.
- Add beans, tomatoes, and broth to saucepan. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Add kale and cook until tender, for about 2 minutes.
- Mix in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese just before serving. Optional, garnish with finely chopped fresh basil or dried basil.
- Cooked dried beans may be substituted for canned beans. Using prepared dry beans in place of canned will reduce sodium in this dish.
- If you can’t find diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, use regular diced tomatoes and add dried versions of these seasonings.
- Opt for vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make a vegetarian 10-minute bean soup. Make the soup vegan by leaving out the Parmesan cheese.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 4 servings.
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
Cost per recipe: $6.52
Cost per serving: $1.63
Nutrition facts per serving: 400 calories, 8 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 62 g carbohydrate, 15 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 24 g protein, 140% Daily Value of vitamin A, 160% Daily Value of vitamin C, 40% Daily Value of calcium, 30% Daily Value of iron
Source: Caroline Durr, Area Nutrition Agent for Kentucky Nutrition Education Program, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
The following Agriculture & Natural Resources and Family & Consumer Science articles originally published in the 2017 Report to the People and reprinted in the 2017 Winter edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter.
Food Safety in Oldham County
Oldham and surrounding counties are home to many farmers markets, roadside farm markets, and community supported agriculture sites. Additionally, some farms sell to grocery stores and restaurants. A concern for producers and consumers is safe production, harvest, handling, and storage of food to minimize risk of microbial and other contaminant-related sicknesses.
The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and Kentucky Department of Agriculture developed Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) guidelines to reduce the likelihood of produce contamination. It focuses on safe techniques and inputs on all levels of the farm to fork food chain. Farmers that utilize GAP principles in their production proactively take steps to reduce the possibility of producing unsafe food products. County Extension Offices provide GAP training to producers throughout the state.
From 2008 to 2017:
- Oldham County Extension has provided 15 GAP training sessions to 56 producers.
- These producers sell products in at least 44 markets, community supported agriculture sites, grocery stores, and restaurants.
- These producers sell in Oldham, Jefferson, Henry, Shelby, Trimble, and Barren counties.
At a conservative estimate of 500 consumers reached through each market, this represents a minimum of 22,000 consumers purchasing foods that have been safely produced by local farmers. GAP is an ongoing training program offered periodically throughout the year at Oldham County Extension, with training verified through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Oldham County Extension also targets food safety during canning classes. Following Canning Boot Camp in June 2017, twenty-five Oldham Countians reported that they could identify research-based methods for home food preservation, safe methods of canning low and high acid foods, and signs of spoilage in home canned goods. Participants with intermediate to skilled canning experience indicated plans to increase the amount of food that they canned.
Stretching Your Food Dollars
Although Oldham County is one of Kentucky’s healthiest and wealthiest counties, over 5,100 residents live in poverty. Struggling Oldham County residents learn food budgeting tips at the Oldham County Extension office.
Over the past year, the FCS agent taught a series of seven Economical Entrée classes for Extension Homemakers and the general public. This “train the trainer” program reached more than 1,533 people in Oldham and surrounding counties. Post-lesson survey results showed that 99% of participants understood the entrée’s role according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 95% could identify economical proteins, and 94% felt confident planning meals using economical entrees. A six month follow-up survey revealed 89% of participants use new skills to prepare economical entrees at home and estimate saving $25.00 or more on monthly food expenses.
Extension programming emphasizes utilizing available resources to help provide nutritious food for a growing family. In 2013, Sheila N. attended a series of “Cooking on a Budget” classes that were held at the Oldham County Extension office. Her husband being an avid hunter, Sheila was looking for ways to make meals with the wild game that her family would find more appealing. Along with meal planning and money-saving strategies, the FCS agent provided easy and economical recipes that included venison and other wild game. Recently, Sheila reported that her family now boasts that they have the most delicious meals using wild game. Plus, Sheila has been able to be a stay at home mom and provide care for her children.
To help support individuals and families in tough economic times, Oldham County Extension partners with the Dare To Care Food Bank to provide economic cooking and nutrition classes using the foods donated to the mobile pantry. Participants learn about preparing healthy recipes, meal planning, buying vegetables and fruit in season, and other ways to stretch a food budget. Of the 70 plus families that receive supplemental food each month, more than 40% report using recipes and tips to save an average of $20.00 a week.
Inmates Pursue Healthier Lifestyles
The National Institute on Drug Abuse asserts that successful addiction treatment helps an addict become drug-free, stay drug-free, and be productive member of the family. In an effort to address the latter, the Oldham County Extension EFNEP assistant partnered with Roederer Correctional Complex to bring nutrition education to their substance abuse program. Lessons from the Healthy Choices curriculum focus on helping prepare inmates for a healthier lifestyle upon returning to their families.
Since the fall of 2016, approximately 60 participants have learned how to use nutrition labels to find healthy food choices for their families, proper food safety techniques, and stretch food dollars. Extension also provides low-salt, low-sugar versions of common recipes, such as Bean and Corn Salsa for healthier tailgating.
Multiple participants noted the importance in keeping a daily food journal, especially in the case of previous health issues. One man expressed his hope that his diabetic wife could use this strategy to improve her eating habits.
Written by Chris Duncan, Oldham County Extension Family & Consumer Science Agent; Lauren State Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant; Traci Missun, Oldham County Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent; and Sherry Ragsdale, Expanded Food and Nutrition Program Assistant.