Words on Wellness

Guest Column
Kelsey Salow
Human Sciences Specialist, ISU Extension & Outreach

Lunch and Learn

     Working and homeschooling at home this fall?

     The structure of school and work can help limit our eating to designated meal times. When we’re all at home all day, though, we may graze on less-than-healthy choices. What to do?

     Involve the whole family in planning meals and menus. Family members can suggest weekly menu items, including something new. The ISU Extension and Outreach Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/) has planning tips and a five-day meal planning worksheet (tinyurl.com/yyhaf3w2).

     Get the family involved in preparation and cooking. They may be more inclined to help if the menu was their suggestion. Children will learn colors, shapes, reading, math, and science as they cook, without realizing they are “learning.”

     Prep meals in advance. Learn how to cook now, enjoy later (vimeo.com/419747928).

     Make snack bins in your fridge and on your kitchen table for both perishable and nonperishable snacks.

     Non-refrigerated snacks: peanut butter; washed fresh food such as pears or bananas; individual bags of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole-grain crackers, or trail mix; individual applesauce or fruit cups.

     Refrigerated snacks: low-fat yogurt; precut vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, and celery; high-protein foods such as cottage cheese, cheese sticks, hummus, or hard-cooked eggs.

     Keep sweet and salty snacks out of sight.

     Everyone “starving” right before a meal? Set cut-up raw vegetables out while the meal is being prepared.

     Remember you don’t have to be perfect at this. Do your best as a family and have fun.

Take a Hike

     Hiking is great for physical health. It also improves mental health!

     It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

     According to a Stanford study, walking for 90 minutes in nature, instead of an urban setting, decreases activity in the brain linked to depression.

     Looking for an Iowa hiking destination?

     Travel Iowa lists “Nine Hiking Trails” (tinyurl.com/yxfydsnw).

     The Iowa DNR recommends “Great Escapes: 7 of Iowa’s Best Hikes” (tinyurl.com/yygg8na6).

     Grab your hiking boots and enjoy being active on Iowa’s trails.


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