Food, Nutrition & Health

 

The Food, Nutrition and Health program is focused on improving nutrition, physical activity, and food safety outcomes for Nebraskans. The Food Website is a pioneer in connecting all the Extension food-related areas of a university under one umbrella website.

Active in all 93 counties and at food.unl.edu

Food, Nutrition & Health

At the Vernal Equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic. For those of us without a sun dial or a farmer’s almanac, the previous sentence can be simply translated. Spring is here! March 20th marks the first day of spring for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. While some of us may still be covered in snow, spring marks the beginning of warmer temperatures, outdoor activities and spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is opportunity to clean up outdoors, wash windows, or mow your lawn for the first time.

Sticking to a new diet or exercise routine can be challenging. It is even more challenging to put in all of the hard work that goes along with dieting and exercise, and not feel like you are making progress. Whether you are stepping on those dreadful scales, or you are looking in the mirror, sometimes you feel like you are wasting your time. The problem may be the implementation of a diet or exercise program that is not suited for your body type, or the problem could be more biological. A slow metabolism may be contributing to your inability to lose weight.

Properly planned meal preparation can help both your waist line and your budget. Meal preparation means food inventory, recipe research, grocery shopping, cooking, meal portioning, and storing your meals. Most families do the cooking, portioning, and storage on a daily basis. With proper planning, most of the cooking that you do all week long can be done in one day. Saving money, saving time, portion control, and attaining fitness goals can all be achieved by preparing meals ahead of time.

The first official day of spring is March 20th. Mother Nature attempted to fool us into thinking that spring was already here a couple weeks ago when we had almost a week straight of 70 degree days. During that week, people were out walking, running, playing sports, and spending time being active with their families. We were all brought back to reality by Winter Storm Quid and the 9 inches of snow that came with it. While it is true that we have a few weeks left of winter, there are some things that we can discuss in the meantime to help us be our physical best when spring arrives.

Chocolate will be the topic of this week’s article. That’s right, your food, nutrition, and health educator is going to talk about the nutritional benefits of CHOCOLATE! Not all chocolates are created equal (nutritionally that is). Milk chocolate, white chocolate, sweet chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolates all have some nutritional benefits, but dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.

With the holiday season in the rear view mirror, our sights are set forward on exercising and getting our dietary habits back on track. Even with a great plan in place, your healthy living plan can be de-railed by happy hour Friday, a party Saturday, brunch Sunday, movies, and dinners out. While one of these “off days” from your regularly scheduled diet can make you feel terrible, proper hydration and nutrition the following day can put you back in the driver seat.