Friday, August 31, 2018

How to Spot Whole Grains

We all know that it is important to consumer foods that add fiber to our diet. One way to add fiber to our diet is to choose bread, pasta and rice products that are whole grain. However, sometimes it is a challenge to determine exactly which products are whole grain.
Whole grains are not hard to find once you know a few simple facts. First, whole grains are grains that include the bran, endosperm, and germ. There are not that many grains that we consume as whole grains. Look at the food label for clues as to whether the food does indeed contain whole grains. Usually, just looking for the word "whole" is a good start - for example, "whole wheat" or "whole oats." There are several other grains that are whole grains - corn, popcorn, brown rice, barley, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgur, and quinoa. Grains are called “refined grains” when only certain parts of the seed are used. Look at the food label for “100% whole grain," "100% whole wheat," or "100% whole oats.” A phrase like “multi grain," "wheat bread," or "made with whole grain” doesn’t mean the product is made entirely with whole grain. The color of the product is no help either. Sometimes brown coloring is added to a refined grain product to give you the impression that it’s whole grain. Other times, a white variety of whole grain wheat is used, making the whole grain product white.
Another place to look on the food label is the ingredients list. If the first ingredient listed is whole wheat or other whole grain and it’s the only grain or flour listed in the ingredients list, the product is whole grain.
Whole grains lose 25% of their protein along with 17 other nutrients when they’re refined. Experts recommend that whole grains make up at least half the grains we consume. Researchers have shown that whole grains lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and obesity.
Remember that a product made with whole grain may have other ingredients that make it less than ideal. A product can be made from whole grain and also contain large amounts of sugar, unhealthy fats, or sodium.
Be sure to try the following recipe containing whole grains from AgriLife’s Dinner Tonight program.

Chicken Veggie Risotto
4 servings

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound chicken breast boneless, skinless, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon garlic/herb seasoning salt-free
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 (10.5) ounce can chicken broth reduced fat, unsalted
¼ cup water
1 ½ cup instant brown rice uncooked
1 ½ cup grape tomatoes
4 cups baby spinach leaves washed and patted dry

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken pieces with seasonings.
  3. Add chicken pieces; cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until chicken is done.
  4. Add onion and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in broth, water, rice, tomatoes, and spinach.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low and cover.
  8. Simmer about 10 minutes.
  9. Turn burner off and let stand for 5 more minutes or until rice absorbs most of the liquid.

Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories-340; total fat- 8 grams; Saturated fat- 1 gram; sodium- 270mg; Dietary Fiber- 4grams; Protein- 32 grams

Building Character in Children and Youth

For several years now, I have been a part of the Wise Coalition for Healthy Children which is led by Cook Children’s Center for Children’s Health.  The coalition’s vision is that “All Wise County children have the opportunity to grow in a safe and loving environment free of abuse and neglect”.  Objectives to reach that vision are to:  promote healthy family relationships; and engage the community to build healthy families. Taking care to build character in our children and youth is a great way to strive to meet those objectives.
 According to the publication “Building Good Character, Teaching Your Child Positive Values”; good character means having positive values and acting on those values. A person with good character wants to do the right thing.   Teaching your child good values is a wonderful gift for the future.  Children with good character tend to be happier and friendlier and do better in school. And, a child with good character becomes an adult with good character.
Parents can take an active role in helping their child develop good character by providing feedback, direction and being positive role models for their children. Children learn character by observing adults around them.  How adults interact with others both in and outside the home are crucial lessons in your child’s character development.
            Following are just a few tips that you may find useful for building character in your children.
·           Think about how your family already shows good character. Ask yourself, how do we try to be caring, fair, honest, respectful and responsible? How do we try to be good citizens and helpful members of our community?
·           Make a plan for building good character in your family. For example, post a list of family goals in a special place. Goals may be simple, such as: be quiet when someone is using the phone; or be honest if you make a mistake.
·          A regular mealtime gives families a chance to teach good character. This can be a time to share thoughts with each other. Children can also learn about their parents hopes for him or her and about good manners.
·          Point out examples of good character and talk about it whenever you see it in yourself, in your child or in others. Explain why you care about doing the right thing.
It is important to remember that building good character takes time. Working on it as a family can help make it become a habit. Look for opportunities to teach about good character every day. Many school systems teach character skills each week. Some of the character traits which are taught: caring, fairness, honesty, respect, responsibility and citizenship. Discussing with your child which character traits are taught in their classroom would be a wonderful way to assist you with building character at home.
For more information on tools for effective parenting and to obtain a copy of the booklet “Building Good Character; Teaching your Child Positive Values”, contact the Extension office at 940-627-3341.

Wise County Hay Show

The Wise County Hay Show is scheduled for tomorrow, September 6, 2018 at the Wise County Fairgrounds. 
What a year again, last year I started this article by saying “With hay on every corner, and 2017 hay inventory substantially high, producers need to take every opportunity to market their hay to potential customers.”   Well, this year there is not hay on every corner and a matter of fact, it is scarce.    Hence the need for all producers to come to our 2018 Hay Show to start gearing up for next year and recovering from the drought best we can.
Vanessa Corriher-Olson, Ph.D., Hay Show Judge and Associate Professor & Extension Forage Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service will cover “Managing Forage in Drought Conditions - Where Do We Go From Here.”   Also, Jason Johnson, Ph. D., Associate Professor and Extension Economist – Management with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service will talk about “Risk Management – Drought Insurance.”
Specialists from John Deere, Ford New Holland, Kubota and Case will discuss and demonstrate operator techniques with new equipment and how that affects bale quality of the forage you are growing.   The program is set to begin with registration from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.  The registration fee is free.   Lunch will be provided by McMaster, Ag Power, Zimmerer Kubota and Hendershot Equipment.  You will receive 2 CEU’s for renewal of your pesticide applicator license.
Fall Armyworms continue to create problems, so please keep scouting your fields.  I encourage all Wise County producers to participate in the Wise County Hay Show.  Please call the Wise County Extension office at 940-627-3341 to reserve a spot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Start the School Year off Right

Can you believe the kids are already back in school? 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 with separate plastic containers or Pack It Carryall Freezable which is great for perishables
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.

Black Bean and Rice Salad
1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 can (15 ounce) drained and rinsed black beans

1/4 cup white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 chopped garlic clove or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

In a mixing bowl, stir together rice, onion, red or green pepper, and beans.  In a jar with a tight fitting lid, add vinegar, dry mustard, garlic, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.  Shake until dressing is evenly mixed.  Pour dressing over bean mixture and stir to mix evenly.  Chill for at least one hour. Serve cold as a side dish or main dish.

Nutrition Facts per 1 cup serving: Calories-90; Total Fat-7g; Sodium-830mg; Total Carbohydrates-38g; Dietary Fiber-6g; Protein - 10g.