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    National Nutrition Month® 2017: Put Your Best Fork Forward

    Every March draws special recognition to the importance of healthy eating. National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme encourages everyone to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” and reminds everyone that each bite counts. The emphasis is aimed at making small shifts in our food choices as they can add up over time. So let’s make those choices positive. The overall goal is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, develop sound physical activity habits, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.

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    Oatmeal-icious Whole Grains

    Oats are one of the most popular whole grains in America with seventy-five percent of U.S. households having oatmeal in their cupboards. Many individuals think about oatmeal being served in the form of a hot cereal (porridge), but it’s also found in a variety of baked goods, breads, granola, and muesli (an uncooked cereal consisting of grains, nuts, and fresh or dried fruits).

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    A Busy, Healthy Week

    Life gets busy; it is a (non-scientific) fact. Somewhere in between getting kids to school, working, picking kids up from school, and driving kids to extra-curricular activities you have to figure out what to feed your family. After a long day, convenience is priority. Although eating out or grabbing some fast food may seem like the easiest option at night, preparing meals at home is a healthier and more affordable solution.

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    Beyond the Plate: Using research to guide healthy lifestyle practices

    Our last South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC), “Beyond the Plate” article identified the importance of beef checkoff research like the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study and its impact on healthy lifestyle choices. Supportive research continues to build and expand on the national research through the recent completion of, “Let Them Eat Beef,” a recent study conducted by South Dakota State University’s Dr. Kendra Kattelmann.

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    Beyond the Plate: Research’s role

    Research is the basis of virtually every checkoff program, which therefore makes it very important you know the “why” behind it. Checkoff funded research projects completed to date have likely saved the industry more than once from possible ruin, often brought on by beef information previously based on assumption, rumor, propaganda, and non-scientific studies.

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    Getting Your Five Cups

    “Eat your fruits and veggies!” You have probably heard this saying since you were a little kid and perhaps you are now telling your kids to do the same. There is a reason we are encouraged to eat our greens from a young age; these colorful foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The USDA recommends adults consume two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables per day.

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    Dairy is Undercover Nutrition

    It’s the new year, which means many of us are striving toward New Year’s resolutions. However, that often means seeking “the next best thing” which might be a new product or fad diet. Unfortunately, consumers are often willing to shell out money for the latest and greatest secret. These new fad diets and products are often impractical and in general, might not be very good for us.

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    Health & Wellness Resources for Adults

    The HealthySD website serves as one of the main hubs for South Dakota nutrition, physical activity and wellness opportunities, information and resources. The website breaks information down into 10 separate sectors: Kids, Teens, Adults, Seniors, Parents, Schools, Workplace, Health Professionals, Communities, Childcare so visitors can access material most relevant to their personal or professional interest. Grant opportunities, toolkits, posters, healthy living tips and current research and recommendations are all accessible.

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    iGrow Readers

    To combat obesity among South Dakota’s youth, SDSU Extension developed iGrow Readers. A program which pairs children’s books, like Little Red Hen, Bread and Jam for Francis and Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun, with activities which promote healthy eating and physical activity. Our transdisciplinary team spent five years testing the program, The resulting data showed children who participated in iGrow Readers were more likely to try new foods and ask their parents for nutritional items when they grocery shopped together.

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    Meal Replacements: A long-term solution for healthy weight management?

    Quick, effortless, and convenient are a few ways meal replacements have been described. Meal replacements have been utilized since 1994 and have become a popular choice for weight loss strategies. They are portion-controlled, vitamin and mineral fortified, and prepackaged, usually in the form of a bar or shake. The convenience meal replacements offer is appealing, but do they work for long-term weight management?

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    March is National Nutrition Month®: Smart, nutritious dairy snacks!

    Eating three square meals a day is a thing of the past for many Americans and snacking has gone mainstream. In fact, 94 percent of Americans snack at least once per day, with half snacking multiple times. Additionally, for the average person, approximately 25 percent of total calories come from snacks.

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    Understanding Diet and Inflammation

    Inflammation is a natural healing process in which our body responds to an injury or exposure to a harmful substance. For example, skin healing from a cut; however inflammation can be debilitating. Chronic inflammation is when the immune system attacks healthy tissue over an extended period of time. Inflammation can be associated with several chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, etc.

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    Rethink Your Drink: Healthier Alternatives to Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

    Nearly 1 in 3 adults drink sugar-sweetened beverages such as regular soda, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, or coffee drinks daily. So how do you fight the tantalizing temptation of sugar-sweetened beverages? Try the following tips to ‘rethink your drink’ and choose a healthier alternative to your favorite sugary drink.

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    Sending Students to School on Hot Days

    The month of August, for some parents and students, means back to school in South Dakota. It also means that the hot summer temperatures may still be upon us. As the students head back, not all will experience the comfort of cool air in the classroom as many schools are not equipped with an air conditioning system. Keeping cool when temperatures are high isn't just about comfort. The absence of a cooling system can create sweltering temperatures inside the classroom that can lead to the development of a heat-related illness.

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    Hydrate: Before, During & After

    Staying properly hydrated is a very important aspect to a healthy diet, but is often underplayed as a critical component in nutrition. Athletes, non-athletes, children, adolescents and adults all need to stay properly hydrated to keep the body functioning optimally. One great mechanism to receive adequate intakes of fluids is through consumption of the wonderful nutrient, water.

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    Fighting the Winter Blues

    Daylight savings brings upon early darkness, cold days, comfort foods and busy schedules. These new changes can bring a variety of feelings, one being a feeling of “winter blues”. With this feeling, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. Instead of falling into a winter slump and skipping your work outs, use the winter months as a time to refocus and set new goals for your health.

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    Exercise When You Have a Cold

    It’s that time of year again, sore throats and the sniffles seem to be abundant and hard to avoid. With a change in your normal health status, you may question how being sick influences your physical activity routine. Prevention is key and a great way to decrease the risk of getting sick is engaging in regular exercise. Studies have shown exercise helps our immune system fight small infections, like a cold.

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    Exercising Safely in the Heat

    July and August can be some of the hottest months in South Dakota. Along with a drastic change in temperature, many individuals participate in a variety of different sports and spend prolonged periods of time in the sun during this seasonal change. The human body serves as a great temperature regulator, but without practicing proper safety precautions, it is possible for the body to overheat.

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    Knowing When Pets Are Getting Too Hot: What to do about it?

    This week’s intense heat wave has many people reminding themselves about how to keep themselves safe from the heat and humidity – but people should consider those measures for their pets as well. Heat stress signs serve as an alert to animal owners that their pet’s body is working hard to cool itself down, and that more severe problems – such as heat stroke - may result if help is not provided.

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    Your Core’s Got Your Back!

    The spine is a support structure for the back, and a complex system of muscles that attach to the spine reinforce its strength and stability which keeps our bodies upright and mobile. Back pain is most commonly caused by strains to these muscles. Muscle strain is often induced because of weak core muscles which increases the amount of stress being placed on the spine. Core muscles are comprised of the muscles of the back, abdominals, and obliques. Strengthening these 3 muscle groups assists with alleviating back pain caused by muscle strains.

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    Exercise in the Water

    Many people participate in exercise to improve their health status, reduce disease risk, modify body composition and improve all around physical fitness. In order to receive the best results from an exercise routine, it is important to choose an exercise that uses the large muscles of the body in a continuous, rhythmical fashion, and that is relatively easy to maintain at a consistent intensity.

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    Cooking with Young Children

    Many families with young children are often faced with the challenge of needing to prepare quick, healthy, tasty meals on a pushed schedule. Add to the task that picky eating behavior is common for many children from the age of 2-5 years. They may eat only a certain type of food or refuse foods based on texture or color. Making time to include children in cooking activities can provide many benefits.

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    Revamping Holiday Favorites

    Tis’ the season for enticing winter holiday food to be everywhere we look, including magazines, television and social media. Photos often accompany holiday recipes that leave us with “visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads”. Traditional favorite recipes can help us make the holidays memorable for everyone, but it’s also important to take time to consider your needs as well.

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    Summer Frozen Treats

    The really warm days of summer make me think of the old saying, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” It’s hard to resist the temptation to stay cool with a tasty, frozen treat. While ice cream is a much-loved favorite of adults and kids, it is usually loaded with added sugars and sometimes fat. Homemade frozen snacks are a healthier option when you’re craving something sweet.

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    Berry Nutritious

    Strawberries are the most popular of all berries. Americans eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year, plus 1.8 pounds of frozen berries. Wild strawberries have been around since the times of the Greeks and Romans, but in more modern-day years, a wild meadow strawberry was first discovered in colonial Virginia. Strawberries are now grown in every state of the United States.

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    Seafood Savvy

    Most Americans get enough foods from the USDA’s Choose My Plate Protein Foods Group, but many could make healthier and leaner choices. Seafood is an excellent source of lean protein to include in a healthy eating plan. A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day, while staying within your daily calorie goal. Proteins included in a healthy eating plan include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.

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    Healthy Pizza Choices

    It’s probably safe to say that at one time or another, pizza was your favorite food. Some individuals are so into it they truly believe happiness is a slice of pizza. The average American eats about 23 pounds of pizza annually (that’s about 46 slices). With 1 in 8 Americans eating pizza on any given day, pizza adds pizazz to meal planning.

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