www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Law enforcement works to further decrease fatalities -4/20/2014, 5:48 PM

Roadwork to begin in Phillips/Smith counties -4/18/2014, 4:45 PM

Enjoying high school memories -4/16/2014, 10:27 AM

New ponies, warmer weather welcome in spring -4/15/2014, 8:47 AM

Coping strategies, including healthy eating, can reduce stress -4/13/2014, 9:46 AM

Winners chosen for Hays art exhibition -4/10/2014, 12:12 PM

Putting parent burn-out into perspective -4/10/2014, 11:08 AM

-4/8/2014, 8:35 AM

Many factors can cause stress in families, including divorce, death -4/4/2014, 9:23 AM

God brings life to dry bones -4/4/2014, 8:27 AM

Aging issues addressed in April Extension programs -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Quilting, eighth-grade activities make up Eicher family time -4/1/2014, 9:15 AM

Many stressors exist in several types of families in United States -3/31/2014, 10:11 AM

Power of vegetables and fruits -3/27/2014, 8:46 AM

A few more expensive pinot noirs, but ones well worth the cash -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Early start to morning leads to busy day for Eicher family -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Families need to find proper ways to deal with stress -3/23/2014, 9:20 AM

Birthday -3/19/2014, 9:19 AM

Trichomoniasis in cattle herds increasing -3/15/2014, 12:07 PM

Wines and consumer behavior -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Propane refill hits budget; hog butchering on tap -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Workplace, workforce sees changes through decades -3/10/2014, 9:56 AM

The Church is called to reflect Jesus outside of church -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Extension workshop features estate planning -3/6/2014, 3:49 PM

Enhance employee wellness with Walk Kansas -3/5/2014, 3:49 PM

Change your clocks, smoke alarm batteries -3/4/2014, 3:49 PM

Winter blues continue for Eicher family -3/4/2014, 1:53 PM

KDOT announces approved February bids -3/3/2014, 4:28 PM

K-23 pavement replacement project to begin -3/3/2014, 4:19 PM

Celtic guitarist Barlow performing at library -3/2/2014, 4:10 PM

Walk Kansas program offers health benefits -3/2/2014, 12:08 PM

Reflections on my 5 years in Hays -2/28/2014, 7:54 AM

Preserving the Family planning event March 14 -2/27/2014, 3:49 PM

Nex-Tech hosting Tech Edge Conference in June -2/27/2014, 4:28 PM

-2/27/2014, 7:54 AM

Student graphic designs featured in exhibit -2/26/2014, 3:49 PM

Remembering snow days -2/25/2014, 8:26 AM

Adjustment period can take time in step-families -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Birthdays -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Extension offers financial planning programs -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

FHSU alum to host pitch fundraiser -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Program to focus on parenting teenagers -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Snow continues to pile up for Eichers as they hope for warmth -2/18/2014, 4:44 PM

Business Briefcase (Feb. 16, 2014) -2/16/2014, 2:53 PM

To strengthen relationships, celebrate success -2/14/2014, 10:04 AM

Sternberg Museum to offer summer camps -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Natoma girl promotes state program -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hansen Museum displays students' artwork -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Symphony showcases 3 young artists -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Eagle Scout earns award -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

'The Lego Movie' has all the right pieces -2/11/2014, 10:23 AM

Cold makes for long days for Eichers -2/4/2014, 4:23 PM

Divorce can have dramatic effect on children -2/3/2014, 10:13 AM

Whitetail agent has message -2/2/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays native wins award at bioscience symposium -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Be aware of earned income tax credit -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Learning to make the most of every day in 2014 -1/29/2014, 10:00 AM

'I, Frankenstein' a monstrously bad movie -1/28/2014, 10:15 AM

Snow still piling up for Eicher family; vacation time extended -1/28/2014, 8:54 AM

Adaptability, self-regulation key for divorcing parties -1/27/2014, 9:59 AM

God gives us gifts, wants us to share with others -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

Celebration Church announces new series service -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

'Jack Ryan' lays new foundation -1/21/2014, 10:01 AM

Eicher family rings in New Year in style -1/21/2014, 8:48 AM

Seeding to begin on I-70 in Sherman County -1/17/2014, 5:39 PM

The memories behind a bottle of wine -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Eichers gather as one big family for holiday -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Process of divorce can leave families in limbo at times -1/13/2014, 10:15 AM

KDA creates easy-to-follow guidelines for farmers, ranchers -1/8/2014, 3:34 PM

Eichers busy during holiday season -1/7/2014, 8:18 AM

Kansas online tax filing now available through KS WebFile -1/6/2014, 4:22 PM

Rep. Huelskamp announces military academy nominations -1/6/2014, 2:42 PM

Traveling Lincoln Exhibition coming to Hays library -1/6/2014, 2:24 PM

Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart? -1/6/2014, 2:24 PM

Divorce, remarriage can have drastic outcome on development -1/6/2014, 3:41 PM

Commerce Bank names O'Connor market president -1/3/2014, 2:02 PM

Fatalities on Kansas' roads hit all-time low in 2013 -1/3/2014, 10:15 AM

Dreams abound for a happy, peaceful new year in 2014 -1/1/2014, 12:45 PM

Kansas ends 2013 on target -12/31/2013, 3:02 PM

Remarriage, divorce can change family structure significantly -12/30/2013, 9:08 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 29, 2013) -12/29/2013, 1:56 PM

Reflections on all that made my Christmas merry -12/25/2013, 11:37 AM

'American Hustle,' 'Anchorman 2' worth seeing -12/24/2013, 9:10 AM

Instability in many forms can hamper family development -12/23/2013, 9:39 AM

Bridge replacement project to start on K-27 in Wallace County -12/23/2013, 8:30 PM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 22, 2013) -12/22/2013, 11:19 AM

Management minute -- Mentoring 101 -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Hibbett Sports prepares for new location -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Another year's FHSU graduates find 95-percent rate of success in jobs, advanced study -12/20/2013, 11:42 AM

Public record, Dec. 20, 2013 -12/20/2013, 10:42 AM

What the Bible says: Is it really OK to OMG? -12/20/2013, 10:05 AM

FUMC to host night service -12/20/2013, 10:04 AM

Nex-Tech Wireless hosts annual holiday toy drive -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Holiday traditions build strong families -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Public record, Dec. 18, 2013 -12/18/2013, 10:42 AM

'The Desolation of Smaug' shows improvement -12/17/2013, 11:28 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 15, 2013) -12/15/2013, 3:20 PM

Chamber schedules events -12/13/2013, 8:50 AM

Utility, bank establish training program -12/11/2013, 8:07 AM

Excerpts honoring America's veterans -12/11/2013, 8:46 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Rethinking special-occasion food

Published on -5/9/2013, 9:50 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Within the next week, my family will celebrate Mother's Day, my dad's birthday and my son's college graduation. Each celebration will provide an occasion to share a meal together.

Sharing food with others is a way of expressing love and kindness, and food plays a key role in many of our special celebrations.

The problem is most people get plenty of sweet or high-fat treats -- "empty calorie" foods -- on a regular basis. U.S. children and teens consume nearly 40 percent of their calories from foods high in solid fats or added sugars -- at least twice the amount recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

To change this trend, maybe it's time to view celebration foods in a different way. If you truly care about family members and friends, do you want to load them down with empty calories that create a host of health concerns?

Here are a few ideas to rethink special-occasion food:

* Focus on fruit. Fresh fruit can be a healthful treat instead of a sweet dessert or snack. Most of us fall short of eating recommended amounts of vegetables and fruits every day.

* Offer smaller portions. Make smaller quick breads, cookies and muffins. Cut cakes, brownies and bars into half the usual size.

* Take a vote. Decide as a family or group how often empty calorie treats can be shared and make an agreement to provide healthful treats more often. Those watching their weight or with health problems such as diabetes will be grateful that they can participate more often.

* Make it more healthful. When baking, an easy (and very tasty) way to include more fruits and vegetables -- and get the benefits of their nutrients -- is by adding vegetable or fruit purees to baked goods. How can you do this? Buy plain canned pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce or baby foods, which already are pureed. Or, mash soft fruits, such as canned fruit, over-ripe bananas or dried fruits that have been softened in hot water.

Decrease the amount of fat or oil called for in the recipe by half, and replace the other half with pureed vegetables or fruits.

* Substitute whole wheat. Replace half of the white flour called for in your recipes with whole wheat flour. This will increase the nutrients and fiber.

* Cut sugar. When making baked goods, you typically can cut the sugar called for in your recipe by about one-third and not notice a difference. To boost the sweet taste in reduced-sugar foods, you could add a half-teaspoon of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg or a flavoring such as almond or vanilla extract.

* Cut salt. Except for recipes that require yeast, you can eliminate the salt in most recipes completely. Yeast products need enough salt to prevent the dough from rising too quickly and for good texture.

* Choose beverages carefully. The largest category of empty calories is sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, fruit drinks, punches and sports drinks. Offer an unsweetened beverage choice for gatherings and celebrations. Drink milk at meals and water when thirsty.

These suggestions will make your special occasions more healthful, and knowing you're keeping everybody healthy will make family time more fun. For more ideas, see the USDA fact sheet "Make Celebrations Fun, Healthy and Active" from the 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series at www.choosemyplate.gov.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences. lbeech@ksu.edu

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos