Monday, August 31, 2015

Kids Still Not Eating Enough Produce

Recent studies are still showing us that many children still aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. The recommendations for fruits and vegetables vary widely. They depend on children’s daily calorie needs, which relate to their age and activity level. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that:
  • Children ages 2 to 5 should eat 1 to 1.5 cups of fruit and 1 to 2 cups of vegetables a day.
  • Children ages 6 to 11 should eat 1 to 2 cups of fruit and 1.5 to 3 cups of vegetables a day.
  • Children and teens ages 12 to 19 should eat 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit and 2 to 4 cups of vegetables a day.
As you might suspect, most kids don’t eat enough produce. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that while children have increased their overall fruit intake since 2003, most — 6 in 10 — are still not eating enough fruit. What’s worse, 9 in 10 kids don’t meet the recommendations for vegetable consumption.
The findings about vegetables were not as positive. Not only was there no increase in vegetable consumption over the study period, 2003 to 2010, but 30 percent of the vegetables kids consumed were white potatoes, often eaten as less-healthful fried potatoes or even potato chips.
To help your family eat more vegetables try the following recipe from the Dinner Tonight program. It was a huge hit at our recent Kids in the Kitchen Cooking Camp.


1 container of premade, refrigerated pizza dough
1-4 oz. container prepared pesto
1 medium size zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1⁄4 lb sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 425° F. Arrange zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms in a shallow layer on pan. Roast in oven for 20 minutes until vegetables are browned. Remove from oven and increase temperature to 500° F. Spray a 10-12 inch round pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray. Stretch pizza dough to fit one pan. Spread the pesto over the dough. Scatter the roasted vegetables on the pesto and top with mozzarella. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is golden.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: Calories: 290, Total Fat: 11g, Sat Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 320mg, Total Carbohydrates: 25g Fiber: 0g, Protein: 12g

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hay Quality & Wise County Hay Show

For most area cattlemen, hay feeding time is just around the corner.  When supplementing cattle with hay it is important to know the quality of the hay you are feeding and the nutritional requirements of the livestock consuming the hay.  Winter supplementation and hay production are significant production costs for Wise County beef producers.  If your eye is on profitability, you should pay close attention to a cow’s body condition, forage (hay) quality and winter protein supplementation expenses.  Forage quality has a major influence on the type and amount of supplement required to meet a cow’s daily requirements.

What a difference a year makes, last year hay was scarce and producers were taking what they could find or get.  This year we have hay on every corner.  Don’t be fooled by appearance and production history to determine hay quality, the only way to be certain is a laboratory analysis of your hay samples.  Random forage samples should be obtained that represent all harvest dates and all fields.  Use a probe inserted into the bale from the curved side of the bale.  Ten per cent should be sampled to obtain a composite sample.  Classifying hay based on its nutritive value would help you as a producer to know the class of livestock for which a particular lot of hay is suited.  For example a beef cow needs a minimum of 7% crude protein in her diet, while a broodmare needs at least 10% crude protein.

Feed prices don’t seem to be coming down anytime soon if history serves us right.   Cattle feed could get very competitive this fall.  Supplementing protein with marginal quality hay during the winter months is critical to maintaining body condition.

If you are interested in having your hay tested, we have a hay probe and forage testing information here at the Extension office.  By testing now, you have plenty of time to adjust your winter feeding plans.  
       All of the reasons above are why you should become involved in the Wise County Hay Clinic and Show that will be held on September 3 at the Wise County Fair Grounds.   Along with the Hay Show, Hugh Aljoe with The Noble Foundation will be speaking to producers on the results of hay sampling and how to produce quality hay.  We will also have live demonstrations of hay equipment and new technology provided by McMaster New Holland and AG-POWER.  We invite you to be a participant in the event.   Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program will start at 10:00 a.m. and will conclude by 2:00 p.m. The program is free.  Lunch will be sponsored by AG-POWER and McMaster New Holland.   Pesticide license applicators will receive 2 general CEUs.  We will conclude with a hay auction, proceeds will benefit the Wise County Youth Fair. 

 Please contact the Wise County Extension office to reserve your spot or if you have any question 940-627-3341

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dinner Tonight’s Protein Challenge

We hear about protein everywhere now days. It is one of the hottest topics in nutrition due to its increasing popularity in food products and the media. Protein is important for building and repairing muscle tissue and cells within our bodies, but significant research also shows that on average 20-30g of high quality protein at each meal improves metabolism, healthy aging and weight loss and maintenance.
AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight program is teaming up with Texas Beef Council. Last week they kicked off a 30 day protein challenge (one can join the challenge at any time).  Each person who takes the challenge will strive to eat 20-30g of protein at each meal for 30 days.  Each person is encouraged to keep a journal to document how you feel physically when you consume protein rich meals. Think about your energy level and satiety.  To help you through the challenge, sign up at the Dinner Tonight and use great  resources from the Texas Beef Council.

Since the protein challenge was started, the folks at Dinner Tonight report that people indicated they have a hard time meeting the 20-30g for breakfast.  Research has shown a high protein breakfast helps reduce hunger all day long. This breakfast recipe, adapted from the Texas Beef Council, is one you will want to try.  One of these buns will keep your hunger at bay and help you reach your protein goals. Enjoy with a glass of milk or Greek yogurt!

Savory Beef Sticky Buns

1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup onions chopped
1 (13.8) oz. refrigerated pizza crust whole grain
jalapeno jam for serving
cream cheese - reduced fat (for serving)

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and add sage, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and salt until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.  Set aside.  In the same skillet add onions, mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add the meat mixture back to the skillet with mushrooms and onions. Add spinach and let wilt for 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out your pizza dough to a large rectangle. Leave 1/2 inch on the short side and place the beef and vegetable mixture on the dough. Top with 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese.  Roll the dough with the beef mixture.  Cut 8 sections of the roll and place on a baking pan. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with warm jalapeño jam and reduced fat cream cheese. Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories- 201; Total Fat-4g. Saturated Fat-1g; Sodium- 543 mg; Total Carbohydrates-27g; Dietary Fiber-2grams; Sugars-4g; Protein-16g.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Start the School Year off Right

Can you believe kids will be starting school in a few weeks? Summer has flown by and it’s time to get back into a daily routine. Some people think it is impossible to prepare a nutritious lunch during busy mornings but below are a few tricks. A healthy lunch consists of whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, as well as fruits and vegetables. 
Prep vegetables and fruits the night before- This will help save time and research has shown that kids eat more fruits and vegetables when fruits and veggies are already cut up.
Add in healthy sides– Examples: unsweetened applesauce, 2% cheese sticks, flax crackers and salsa, nuts, low-fat Greek yogurt and fruit and veggie cups. A homemade cookie or whole grain fig cookie is an ok as a treat on some days.
Use portion boxes– There are many lunch boxes on the market that help keep portions in check. Get your kids involved in the process of picking out what foods go into each compartment to keep them excited.  Examples: Bentology or Ecolunchbox
Think outside the sandwich- Variety is one of the keys for both kids and adults eating healthy. Try a wrap, pasta salad, black bean tacos, or a PB&C (peanut butter and dried cherries on a bagel flat).

Included below, courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight program is a kid friendly, nutritious lunch or snack idea for any occasion.

Veggie Tots
Servings: 32
  1. Preheat oven to 425F, place oven rack in the middle of the oven and line baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. Steam or microwave the potatoes to the point where a fork is easily inserted but it’s too tough to eat (20 seconds for ready to eat potatoes in microwave)
  3. Once they are cooked, drain them and set them aside to cool down.
  4. Then place 2 cups of thawed broccoli florets into your food processor and pulse it until the broccoli resembles coarse rice. (should yield 1 1/2 cups chopped) Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the finely chopped broccoli and transfer into a large bowl.
  5. Next, pulse the semi-cooked potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the Parmesan cheese; pulse just enough to break up the potatoes and combine them with the cheese.
  6. Place the cheese and potato mixture into the bowl with the broccoli. Add seasoning into the large bowl and fold all ingredients with a large spatula to combine all ingredients evenly.
  7. Then place grated parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs into small bowl. Form small balls with a 1 tablespoon size cookie scoop or your hands and a spoon to form small balls. Once the ball is formed, roll each veggie tot in the grated cheese and bread crumb coating.
  8. Place each veggie tot on the baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Bake 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool for 2-3 minutes and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories- 81; Calories from Fat-36;Total Fat- 4g ;Saturated Fat- 2g;Sodium-232mg;Total Carbohydrates-7g;Dietary Fiber-1g;Sugars-1g;Protein- 5g