Extension Recognizes Volunteers
Every November, our Extension staff recognizes our valuable team of committee members, Leadership Advisory Board, Youth Board, Master Volunteers, and affiliated committees. The Hopkins County Master Wellness Volunteers alone have contributed 353.85 hours of volunteer work during the first 10 months of 2016. Our Leadership Advisory Board and Youth Board met three times during the year, and our program area committees have met throughout the year to help plan and implement various Extension functions.
Recently, we held our annual Extension Leadership Banquet and had special guests, Judge Robert Newsom and his lovely granddaughter, Hannah (who happens to be very active in her county’s 4-H program), Senator Bob Hall’s staff member – Anna Holt, and guest speaker, Jeremy Dicken. We recognized the Outstanding Extension Supporter of the Year which was a difficult decision because so many of our volunteers were deserving! Recognized as the 2016 Extension Supporter of the Year went to Wendy Johnson for her contributions to Family & Consumer Sciences, Agriculture & Natural Resources, and 4-H endeavors. Johnson was first introduced to Extension when she attended a series of gardening programs. She later completed training for the Master Wellness Volunteer program, followed by completing the Master Gardener training, and she is now a very strong volunteer and Extension advocate.
Johnson has assisted with numerous events, such as “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” series, “Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food, Fitness,” 4-H foods and clothing projects, Holiday Management program preparation, health fairs, event planning meetings, and committee meetings. Congratulations to Wendy Johnson!
Recipe Alterations & Portion Control – Timeless Help
Overeating is as much a holiday tradition as watching football, so Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts have some tips on how to alter holiday recipes and make better food choices for healthier eating. As we are winding down on the Thanksgiving holiday week, the following suggestions will help prepare for upcoming family gatherings associated with Christmas.
Substituting ingredients lower in calories and sugar can help make healthier holiday meals. Many times, the sugar, fat or sodium content of holiday recipes can be reduced without a noticeable difference in taste. In addition, there are several traditional holiday foods you can prepare in ways that don’t have a lot of extra fat or calories.
If a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, try using two-thirds of a cup instead. If reducing the fat content of a recipe is the goal, try using reduced-fat or nonfat cheese, milk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt or mayonnaise versus their higher-fat counterparts. Another recipe alteration is to substitute evaporated milk for cream. For mashed potatoes, try using defatted broth instead of butter. This can reduce both fat and calories.
Modifying recipes may not always produce the desired texture or taste, so it’s a good idea to try the recipe in advance before serving it to others. Remember processed foods typically have a higher sodium content, so people should be vigilant about checking food labels for sodium. If there’s a choice between regular and reduced-sodium ingredients, choose the item with reduced sodium.
Many traditional holiday foods can be healthy and nutritious, as long as they are thoughtfully prepared and not embellished in ways that detract from their nutritional value. If you’re cooking a turkey, leave the skin on to contain the flavor, but then remove it afterward to reduce the fat content. Baste your turkey in its own juice or use a defatted broth. And when steaming or roasting, use just a small amount of oil or cooking spray for the healthiest way to cook your vegetables.
Adding herbs and spices to a recipe can add unique flavors without adding extra sodium, fat or calories. For example, sweet potatoes contain beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidant properties, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. They’re a good source of fiber, are high in vitamins A and C and are a good source of manganese. They are also low in calories. A medium-size baked sweet potato only has about 100 calories, so a baked sweet potato with a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon is a healthier option to one slathered in butter or cooked with a marshmallow topping.
Cranberries are loaded with phytonutrients and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Adding them to salads and baked items such as muffins, cookies and pies can be a way to sneak in some added nutrition and flavor.
Even with healthier preparation, portion control is still key when it comes to holiday eating. The holidays provide more opportunities to eat at family and social gatherings. If you’re trying to avoid holiday weight gain, the key is to plan accordingly so you can keep your calorie intake in check… and don’t forget to engage in a reasonable amount of physical activity to help burn off those extra calories and relieve the stress that often accompanies the holiday season!
Wisdom is the reward for listening over a lifetime – unknown