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The Gift of Healthy Food

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 14:48

Looking for different gift ideas for this holiday season? Homemade food and cooking ingredients can be great gifts for friends and family. It is also the time of year when local food pantries need additional food items. This season try giving health-related gifts and providing healthier food donations. There are lots of options and here are some suggestions to help get you started.

Healthy holiday gifts & donations:

Finding Time for Fitness Over the Holidays

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:01

Trying to balance holiday parties, shopping, baking, cleaning, entertaining and work may lead to some stressful times. What about eating healthy or physical activity? Finding time for fitness over the holidays may be hard because of the cooler weather and busy schedules. Including physical activity during the holiday season can help you prevent weight gain and release stress. Here are three tips to help you fit in fitness over the holiday season.

Healthy and Fun Holiday Treats

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:11

Healthy snacks fit into the MyPlate food groups and include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Children may get a sizable portion of their daily nutrients from snacks, so the content of the snacks should contribute to their MyPlate recommendations. Here are some ideas to help you create healthy holiday snacks:

Whole Grain Holiday Treats

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 13:56
Newsletter/Program:  Food Fun for Young Children Archive Link: Link: Info: Cami WellsNewsletter Description: 

Our goal is to help parents and caregivers prepare healthy meals and snacks by sharing recipes, tips and ideas that are geared for children ages 2 to 5. This will help children eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods along with reducing the mealtime stress of feeding young children.


  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Wash hands with soap and water. Combine oats and cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Bring brown sugar and syrup to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal, stirring until coated. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in raisins and chips. Make into holiday shapes, or press into 9 x 13 inch pan.
Category:  Desserts Yield: 24 servings Calories: 124Total Fat: 4Fiber: 1.5Sodium: 49Photo provided by Jessye Goertz

Crazy Over Cranberries

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 15:03

Cranberries are a popular fruit, especially in December. They are used in baked items like muffins and cookies, but can also be used in side dishes and drinks. Often, because of their tartness, they are cooked with other fruits or added sugar. Dried cranberries taste great alone as a snack or can be added to trail mix or muffins. Fresh cranberries are fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free and a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

Gifts to Help Families Be Active

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 17:01

What gift do most kids have on their wish list for the holidays or an upcoming birthday? Probably some type of technology - from smartphones to tablets, to the latest video game. Before purchasing a that gift promotes more time in front of a screen, consider some options that can help kids and families stay active throughout the year.

Express Gratitude

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 08:41

November is a wonderful time to think about the many things you appreciate in your life. It is also a great time to create memories with family and friends. Spark special moments in your home with these fun fall ideas.

One of the best things you and your children can do in this season of being thankful is to express gratitude. Here are a few ideas:

Solving Odor Problems in Your Refrigerator or Freezer

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:44

If food has been allowed to spoil in a refrigerator or freezer, the strong odors associated with food spoilage may be extremely difficult to remove.

No-Crust Pumpkin Pie

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 09:58

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber. Pies without crusts may take less time to prepare and also contain lower amounts of added sugars and fats. 

* Substitute 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg for pumpkin pie spice if desired.  Nutrition Education Program (NEP)

NEP helps families on a limited budget make healthy food and physical activity choices.

Archive Link: Info: Jean Ann Fischer


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Crack eggs separately into a large bowl. Wash hands with warm water and soap. Add remaining ingredients except water and mix together.
  4. Slowly stir in water until well mixed. Pour into prepared pie plate.
  5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted 1-inch from the center comes out clean.
Category:  Desserts Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 1/8 of pieCalories: 150Total Fat: 1.5Saturated Fat: 0.5Total Sugars: 23Iron: 8Calcium: 15Protein: 6Fiber: 2Total Carbohydrates: 29Sodium: 140Cholesterol: 65Vitamin A: 180Vitamin C: 4

Pumpkin Pudding

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 10:14

Dairy foods like, milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium, protein and vitamins that help build strong bones and teeth. Calcium keeps your nerves, heart, and muscles healthy and may help regulate blood pressure.  Nutrition Education Program (NEP)

NEP helps families on a limited budget make healthy food and physical activity choices.

Archive Link: Info: Jean Ann Fischer


  • 1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix, regular or sugar free
  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped topping
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix pudding and milk with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add pumpkin to pudding mixture. Stir in whipped topping with a whisk or spoon. Mix well.
  4. Add cinnamon and mix well.
  5. Chill until served.
Category:  Desserts Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: 1/6 of recipeCalories: 190Total Fat: 3.5Saturated Fat: 3Total Sugars: 34Iron: 6Calcium: 15Protein: 4Fiber: 2Total Carbohydrates: 38Sodium: 410Cholesterol: 5Vitamin A: 220Vitamin C: 4

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 13:35

This frozen ice cream pumpkin pie recipe is quick to make, can be prepared in advance and adds some extra vitamin A and calcium to your meal!

Nutrition Software Used: Esha Food ProcessorNotes: 

* If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, for EACH TEASPOON of pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute a combination of:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

NOTE: If you're missing either the nutmeg OR the cloves, you can increase the amount of the other spice to 1/4 teaspoon.

** Soften ice cream by placing the container in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to 20 minutes. Avoid repeatedly softening and refreezing ice cream as it gets icy.


  • 1 can (15 to 16 oz.) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, depending on how spicy a flavor you enjoy*
  • 1 quart (4 cups) of a lower fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened**
  • 1 9-inch prepared graham cracker pie crust
  • Whipped topping, if desired


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Mix the pumpkin, sugar and spice until well blended.
  3. Quickly mix pumpkin mixture with the softened ice cream.
  4. Pour into crumb crust and freeze, uncovered, until firm -- a couple of hours.
  5. When pie is frozen, cover with plastic wrap and then cover with freezer-quality foil or place in a freezer bag and squish out the air.
  6. Thaw pie slightly at room temperature (about 5 to 10 minutes) before serving. Top with whipped topping, if desired.
Category:  Desserts Yield: 8 servings Calories: 190Total Fat: 4.5Saturated Fat: 2.5Potassium: 6Total Sugars: 25Iron: 6Calcium: 10Protein: 4Fiber: 0Added Sugars: 20Total Carbohydrates: 35Sodium: 160Cholesterol: 35Photo provided by Alice Henneman

Thanksgiving Frequently Asked Questions

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:58
What size of turkey should I buy?

Allow 1 pound of fresh or frozen turkey per person.

How do I thaw a frozen turkey?

It is recommended to thaw turkey in the refrigerator. Place the frozen bird in its original wrapper in the refrigerator (40°F or below). Allow approximately 24 hours per each 4–5 pounds of turkey. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1–2 days.

Thanksgiving Food Preparation and Food Safety Tips

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:19

Preparing a Thanksgiving meal can be overwhelming. Check out these resources to help get ready for Thanksgiving and keep everybody safe.

Take a Hike Day

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 09:32

November 17th is Take a Hike Day! Hiking can be defined as walking from a lower to higher elevation, usually by way of outdoor trails or paths. Nebraska's varied terrain offers infinite hiking opportunities for families.

Safety Tips for Walking

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 08:27

Walking is good for your health, and it's good for the environment too. But before you head out on foot for a stroll, power walk, or errand, there are important safety tips to remember. Below are tips and helpful reminders to make your walks both fun and safe.

How to Cook a Turkey the Day before Serving It

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 14:59

Sometimes it may be easier to prepare your turkey the day before you plan to serve it. Here is how to do it safely. 

Thanksgiving Food Safety

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 09:22

Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather and enjoy each other - not suffer from food poisoning! Here are a few tips to keep your family healthy:

Thankful for Health

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 15:58

During the holiday season, we often think about the many things for which we are thankful. It might be family, friends, or a good job. It may also be our ability to keep ourselves healthy by eating good food and partaking in physical activity. Here are a few more ways to think about being thankful for health and physical activity.

Healthy Halloween Party Foods with Popcorn

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 11:11

Candy and sweet treats are a big part of Halloween. Since it only happens once a year, enjoy your candy and sweet treats, but in moderation. They have a lot of calories, saturated fat, and added sugars. Make a switch. Add popcorn with candy to increase nutrients for a healthier treat.

Halloween Bony Fingers

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 10:23
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A simple snack for Halloween parties using food safe plastic gloves with candy corn for fingernails and stuffed with popcorn.


Adapted from Alice Henneman, MS, RDN. Healthy Halloween Party Foods with Popcorn. Retrieved from

  • 1/2 cup of unpopped kernels equals 16 cups of popped popcorn. Enjoy the leftover popcorn (about 1 cup).
  • Prepare popcorn in a microwave according to package directions or on top of the stove.


  • 15 cups air-popped popcorn, unsalted
  • 25 pieces candy corn
  • 5 poly disposable gloves, clear, one size fits most (powder-free and food safe)


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Prepare popcorn according to the air popper directions.
  3. Take 1 food safe plastic glove and place 1 piece of candy corn at the end of each finger for fingernails.
  4. Fill each glove with 3 cups of popcorn. Place some popcorn in fingers first and then add the remaining popcorn to glove.
  5. Tie the end of glove with ribbon or yarn.
Category:  Snacks Yield: 5 servings Serving Size: 1 gloveCalories: 130Total Fat: 1Saturated Fat: 0Total Sugars: 8Protein: 3Fiber: 3Total Carbohydrates: 28Sodium: 20Cholesterol: 0Photo by Kayla Colgrove