Living Well In The Panhandle

August 8 : Sneak some zucchini on your neighbor’s porch day!

Can you believe it is that time of year already to sneak some zucchini on your neighbor’s porch! Honestly, it is a day to celebrate. And celebrate we should! It is the lucky neighbor who profits from the gardeners abundant harvest. Nonetheless, what can one do with all that zucchini?

The late, Julia Child bestows the virtue of ratatouille in many of her books yet it seemed to take an animated rat in the award winning Pixar film to suggest ratatouille might be something to try. Really! Ratatouille, a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice is a mostly Mediterranean fare, however, we too have all the local produce to adapt this delicious dish.

How? What do you need? Ratatouille can be made just the way you like it but start with the basics: onions, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, red, green or yellow peppers, mushrooms, and fresh or dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Ratatouille is typically served as a side dish, but may also be served as a vegetable soup, or a meal on its own accompanied by pasta, rice or bread. Ratatouille is good as a topping for your favorite grilled meat or fish, or as a filling in a simple omelet. Did I mention it can be added to quiche? Or stuffed into a pita pocket?

There is as much deliberation on how to make a traditional ratatouille as there is about how you eat it. Do you layer it and bake it? Is it sautéed? Is it simmered? Is it eaten as a side dish, a main dish or a sandwich filling? I’ve tried them all and even found success using a slow-cooker.

Try your hand at this simple yet elegantly adaptable vegetable dish.

The provided very basic recipe can be adapted to suit your personal/regional taste. Don’t like eggplant? Leave it out! Have a lot of okra or yellow squash? Add it! Like olives, nuts or raisins? Add them to your portion. Rather not use vegetable oil? Don’t! Want to cover it in your favorite spicy olive oil? Do you have some extra zucchini? I think you get the picture.

Ratatouille does not have to look like the vibrant Pixar version yet, it is still going to garner up gracious comments and acknowledgements from those you love and cook for. Whip up your version to savor today!



2 Tablespoons any kind of oil

4 medium onions, chopped – any color, any kind

2 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

4 garlic cloves, minced

6 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 large green, red or yellow bell pepper seeded and cut in 1” cubes

8 to 10 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded coarsely chopped (or use a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes)

3 fresh thyme sprigs (or to taste)

1 fresh rosemary sprig (or to taste)

1 dried or two fresh bay leaves

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper



In a BIG pot over medium heat, warm the oil. When it is hot, reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until the eggplant cubes are slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the zucchini and bell pepper and sauté, stirring and turning, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and stir and turn for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and have somewhat blended together, about 60 minutes. (slow cooker at least 4 hours on high)

Remove from heat. Garnish with minced fresh basil. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot, at room temperature or cold. Serves at least 10.


Author: Heidi Copeland –

Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Leon County Florida Educational Program Focus: •Food, Nutrition and Wellness •Child Development and Parenting

Heidi Copeland

Permanent link to this article:

Keep an Eye on Your Eye Health – August is National Eye Exam Month

Most of us are willing to go to the doctor or the dentist, which are both part of taking care of our health. However, do you go to the eye doctor? If not, you definitely should add it to your healthy lifestyle regime. Eye exams at every age and stage of life can help you keep your vision strong. August is National Eye Exam month; this is the perfect reminder to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

The Vision Council of America reports that 12.2 million Americans require some sort of vision correction, but do not use any. Nearly 50% of parents with children under 12 have never taken their children to an eye-care professional.

Many people think their eyesight is just fine, but then they get that first pair of glasses or contact lenses and the world becomes much clearer – everything from fine print to street signs. Improving and/or maintaining your eyesight is important – about 11 million Americans over age 12 need vision correction, but that is just one of the reasons to get your eyes examined. Regular eye exams are also an important part of finding eye diseases early and preserving your vision.

Eye diseases are common and can go unnoticed for a long time. Some diseases have no symptoms at first. A comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist (a medical professional with a focus on regular vision care who can prescribe eyeglasses and contacts) or ophthalmologist (a medical eye doctor with a focus on the complete eye health) is necessary to find eye diseases in the early stages when treatment to prevent vision loss is most effective. During the exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested. Eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye doctor can see inside your eyes and check for signs of health problems.

How often should you have an eye exam?

  • A child’s eyes should be checked regularly by an eye doctor or pediatrician. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children at least once between age 3 and 5 years to detect amblyopia or risk factors for the disease. Amblyopia is when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye. This condition is sometimes called lazy eye.
  • People with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam every year.
  • People with a family history of glaucoma should have an eye exam every year.
  • Adults with good health should have an eye exam at least every 2 years.

Some people are at higher risk for glaucoma and should have a dilated eye exam every 1 to 2 years:

  • African Americans, ages 40 years and older.
  • Everyone older than age 60, especially Mexican Americans.
  • People with a family history of glaucoma.

Early treatment is critically important to prevent some common eye diseases from causing permanent vision loss or blindness:

  •  Cataracts (clouding of the lens), the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.
  • Diabetic retinopathy (causes damage to blood vessels in the back of the eye), the leading cause of blindness in American adults.
  • Glaucoma (a group of diseases that damages the optic nerve).
  • Age-related macular degeneration (gradual breakdown of light-sensitive tissue in the eye).

Other reasons to see your eye doctor: If you have any of the following eye problems, do not wait for your next appointment, schedule your eye appointment as soon as possible:

  • Decreased vision
  • Draining or redness of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Double vision
  • Diabetes
  • Floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your eyes)
  • Halos around lights
  • Flashes of light.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 10 Tips to Protect Your Vision:

  1. Get a regular comprehensive dilated eye exam.
  2. Know your family’s eye health history.
  3. Eat right to protect your sight. You have heard that carrots are good for your eyes. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables—particularly dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or collard greens—is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection.
  6. Be cool and wear your shades. Wear sunglasses that block out 99% to 100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation (the sun’s rays).
  7. Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This short exercise can help reduce eyestrain.
  8. Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly.
  9. Practice workplace eye safety.
  10. Quit smoking or never start.

Of the estimated 61 million US adults at high risk for vision loss, only half visited an eye doctor last year. Regular eye care can have a life-changing impact on preserving the vision of millions of people. Be sure to make your eye health a priority in your life. Healthy eyes lead to better vision and an overall better quality of life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Sources: Vision Council of America      Center for Disease Control and Prevention



Author: Melanie Taylor –

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article:

Let’s Talk Tomatoes

Tomatoes are abundant this time of year and you have many options to buy local and fresh. Tomatoes are one of the most popular home garden vegetable to grow and should now be providing the home gardener with fresh ripe bounty from now until summers end. Our local farmer’s markets are also selling tomatoes home grown and in many colors like deep red, bright yellow and green. Our climate is great for growing tomatoes. In fact, Florida is the nation’s largest producer of fresh tomatoes.

Nutritionally, tomatoes are packed with vitamin C and A. Low in calories and high in flavor, this succulent vegetable is a favorite all year long. Tomatoes are great served sliced and also in cooked dishes. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Ripe tomatoes should be used within 3 to 4 days. For best flavor, do not refrigerate. Ripe tomatoes will give slightly to gentle pressure

If you want to preserve the summer’s tomato bounty, try your hand at canning. Remember to use USDA recommended practices for safety and long term quality. For a complete listing of how to safely can tomato products you will find the USDA guide here:


Farm Fresh Salsa

Fresh salsa is a low-fat, low sodium, treat that is packed with flavor and essential nutrients. Adjust the salt and oil to your taste and diet.


6 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ seeded and minced jalapenos

1 red bell pepper, finely dices

½ red onion, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 lime, juiced

Chili Powder, salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh scallions, cilantro or parsley, to taste


In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours for flavor infusion. Serve with your own baked chips.


Baked Tortilla chips

1 package medium or large tortillas

Cooking Spray

Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 375˚ F

On a cutting board cut tortillas into 8 – 12 pieces using a pizza cutter.

Place aluminum foil on 2 or 3 baking sheets.

Place tortillas pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

Lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray on both sides.

Sprinkle tortilla pieces with salt to taste – or with salt-free alternative for dietary needs.

Place in oven and cook 10-15 minutes until crisp.


Author: Pam Allen –

Pam Allen

Permanent link to this article:

The Wonders of Watermelon

Oh, watermelon.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

Watermelon is the perfect warm weather treat and a summer holiday essential.  It’s a sweet, light, and delicious snack and its versatility lends itself to a wide variety of beverages, salads, meals, and desserts.

Watermelon is more than just water and sugar.  It’s jam-packed with a number of vitamins and minerals that can help you stay healthy, including vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene.

Vitamin A is vital to eye health and helps boost your immune system by supporting the functions of the infection-fighting white blood cells.

Vitamin B6 has many functions in the body, including aiding in immunity by supporting the creation of antibodies, which are needed to fight off infection.  It also helps maintain proper nerve function and aids in the creation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body.  Vitamin B6 is also used to break down proteins into smaller parts that can be used to build and maintain muscle mass.

Vitamin C also helps boost immunity and overall cell health by helping to break down free radicals in the body, which can deteriorate cells over time.

Potassium is a mineral that is necessary for keeping a healthy water balance in the body, helping to maintain proper water balance and reducing the incidence of painful muscle cramps.

Lycopene is one of a family of vitamin precursors known as carotenoids.  This substance is what helps give those bright red and pink fruits and vegetables – such as watermelon – their lovely color.  Lycopene and other carotenoids function as antioxidants, which help eliminate those previously mentioned harmful free radicals.  And preliminary studies have shown that lycopene may help reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, which may lead to a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.

Nearly every part of the watermelon can be eaten, from the sweet and juicy fruit to the rind, which is often pickled or used in stir frys.  Even the fruit itself can be grilled and served as part of a savory dish.  And watermelon is a sweet addition to many colorful summer salads.

One of my favorite watermelon recipes is a twist on a traditional favorite – Watermelon Lemonade –  and is sure to be a great addition to any of your summertime picnics.  Try it today!

Watermelon Lemonade

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cups water
2/3 cups agave syrup*
2 cups watermelon chunks

*Other sweeteners may be used instead of agave syrup.  However, be careful when adding them, as you may need to use less.  Add to taste, mixing in a little at a time until you reach the desired sweetness.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve over ice.

Makes about 5 cups.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 163
Fat per serving: 0.3g
Saturated fat per serving: 0.0g
Fiber per serving: 0.3g

For more delicious recipes, please visit


Author: Samantha Kennedy, M.S. –

Samantha is the Family & Consumer Sciences agent in Wakulla County. She has worked for UF/IFAS Extension since 2004. She has a B.S. in both Microbiology & Cell Science and Nutritional Sciences and an M.S. in Agricultural Education, both from UF. Her areas of expertise are nutrition, health & wellness, chronic disease prevention, food safety, disaster preparedness, and financial literacy. You can reach her via email at or by calling (850) 926-3931.

Samantha Kennedy, M.S.

Permanent link to this article:

What in the World is a Watermelon Radish?

What in the World is a Watermelon Radish?

The watermelon radish is a member of the mustard family, which includes arugula, broccoli, and turnips. It has an edible round white root with a green stem and leaves.  The inside flesh is rimmed in white with a dark pink circular pattern, resembling a watermelon, and is crisp and sweet, with a mild peppery taste.


Watermelon radishes are as easy to grow as other radish varieties and can be ordered through online seed catalogs. However, they may take longer to mature than other types of radishes (about 65 days). They are available all year long, with peak growing seasons in the spring and late fall. High temperatures and warm soil can have an effect on the radish’s flavor, making the fruit taste bitter.


The fruit, root, and leaves of the watermelon radish provide an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients, particularly when eaten raw.


When shopping for watermelon radishes, select those that are firm, without bruises or cracks. Watermelon radishes can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. Cooking the watermelon radish will enhance its natural sweetness.  This fruit’s vibrant color is perfect for topping salads and sandwiches. Watermelon radishes are delicious when pickled.


  • 1 to 2 watermelon radishes
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  1. Thoroughly wash radishes, slice into ½ inch-thick discs, and place into clean canning jar.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and garlic to boil. Simmer one minute. Pour hot liquid over radishes in canning jar.
  3. Let cool to room temperature, top with canning lid, and store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 1 cup

The watermelon radish is a low maintenance, easy to grow plant. Only a basic level of care is required to ensure that it thrives. Taking care of its basic growing needs (soil, sun, and water) will result in a strong plant that will make a vibrant and healthy addition to your summer recipes.



Author: Laurie Osgood –

Laurie B. Osgood is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at the Gadsden County Extension office. You can contact her at: (850) 662-3287

Laurie Osgood

Permanent link to this article:

Harvesting Your Garden: What To Do With All Those Radishes!

Harvesting Your Garden:  What To Do With All Those Radishes!

Radishes are an easy vegetable to grow in North Florida, and in the Spring, there is an abundance of radishes in our gardens. So, what do you do with all those radishes?

Radishes are a fast growing vegetable that can grow from a seed to a plant in less than 30 days. Radishes are a root vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage) family. Radishes vary in size, taste, and color. Radishes can be eaten raw, oven roasted, or pickled. The length of time radishes are allowed to grow affects their taste. The longer they are in the ground, the spicier they become.

Radishes contain only 19 calories per serving, are high in vitamin C, and contain other important nutrients such as folate, potassium, and fiber. According to the Centers for Disease Control, eating vegetables like radishes may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

Radishes add color, flavor, and texture to coleslaws, salads, and side dishes. When oven roasting root vegetables like radishes, their natural sugars are released, bringing out their sweet, nutty flavors!

Here is a light and flavorful coleslaw recipe for all of those freshly picked radishes. Adding granny smith apples and thinly sliced radishes to traditional coleslaw makes it sweet, peppery, and delicious!


   Cabbage, Apple, and Radish Coleslaw

  Serves: 8        Prep Time: 10 minutes


5 cups of shredded cabbage, red or green

1 cup granny smith Apples, cut into small pieces

¾ cup radish, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons white onions, diced


¼ cup sugar

¼ cup cider vinegar

1.5 tablespoons water

1.5 tablespoons oil

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

A pinch of salt and pepper


Mix cabbage, radishes, apples, and onions in large mixing bowl.

In smaller bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, water, oil, mustard, celery seed, and salt and pepper, and mix well.

Add dressing to cabbage mix and stir well. Place in refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes before serving.


To learn more about Radishes, visit the FDACS website at:

Cabbage, Radish, Apple Coleslaw recipe courtesy of

To learn more about Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, visit the CDC Website at




Author: Laurie Osgood –

Laurie B. Osgood is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at the Gadsden County Extension office. You can contact her at: (850) 662-3287

Laurie Osgood

Permanent link to this article:

Have you picked out the tie for your father yet?

photo credit Flickr

Though the celebration has been connected to many different religions and dates, Father’s Day has been celebrated since the Middle Ages. The Father’s Day holiday became a national holiday in 1972 thanks to President Nixon and is officially celebrated on the third Sunday of June. No matter the date celebrated, the purpose of honoring our father is unchanged. Many of us have lost our father, but some of us have been fortunate enough to have another male figure present in our lives that continues to represent this to us.

In today’s world, celebrating our ‘Father,’ the parenting he has provided, and the contributions that have helped shape our lives, is truly important. Each father’s or father figure’s impact is different and influences the recipient in their own special way. Can you reminisce right now and think of one important thing this influential person has said to you that has influenced you to this day? I can! My father simply stated this once during a conversation: “things don’t bother me, people bother me.” It struck me as so profound and simply true. I have remembered that statement to this day and repeated it many times to so many others. Were there other words of wisdom he shared with my brothers and me? Yes, and it seems so strange that we all remember different profound things.

Use this day to express your love and gratitude. Reflection and sharing are the best way you can honor someone. If they are no longer with you, celebrate them by sharing a fond memory or profound moment with others.

Sure, keep the tradition of gifting a tie if you like, but add a note of appreciation describing an influential moment or memory you carry. The beauty of sharing an influential life changing moment is priceless.


Author: Marie Arick –

Originally from Starkville, Mississippi, Arick obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Mississippi State University. With her bachelor’s degree in Fitness Management/Exercise Science, Arick spent 18 years in the medical field primarily in Cardiology before obtaining her Master’s degree in Health Promotion. “I witnessed first-hand the impact on one’s health and overall wellness produced by a serious ailment and the need for more educational programs to aid in improving the overall quality of life for people. This is not just isolated to health education and wellness, but also financial literacy and job skill programs as well. I feel addressing issues with a holistic approach can help people maximize their abilities and that small changes over time can provide a very positive and beneficial impact on people’s lives”

Marie Arick

Permanent link to this article:

Summer’s Harvest Brings Healthy Benefits

North Florida’s beautiful spring weather means we get to enjoy a variety of delicious, locally-grown fruits and veggies during the summer months.  Produce such as bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, greens, corn, cucumbers, okra, peas, eggplant, and a variety of melons are plentiful and fresh from late spring through early fall.

The benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables are numerous and well-known.  Fruits and veggies provide important vitamins and minerals that are vital to keeping your body working properly.  They’re rich in fiber, which is important for digestive health and helps lower cholesterol.  They provide antioxidants, which can help reduce your risk of a variety of cancers.  They’re low in calories, fat, and sodium, which make them an ideal snack.  And their colorful spectrum makes them a beautiful and healthy addition to any meal.

The MyPlate guidelines call for making half your plate fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced meal.  But remember, preparation is key.  Steamed, roasted, raw, baked, and grilled veggies will provide the biggest nutritional bang for your buck, allowing the natural flavors to shine through.  Deep fried, breaded veggies add unnecessary fat and calories, so be careful not to rely on this cooking method too often.

Mix and match!  Pair a leafy green with a starchy vegetable for a wider spectrum of nutrients.  Add fruits such as mandarin oranges or dried cranberries to a salad for a little extra sweetness.  Try new flavor combinations by adding herbs and spices – but go easy on the salt!

While fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy, delicious, and plentiful during Florida’s summer months, frozen and canned varieties, including juices, can also provide many of the same health benefits.  However, be sure to read the label carefully before buying.  Look for low sodium or no salt varieties and only purchase 100% juice beverages, as other drinks may contain a lot of artificial flavorings and colors.

For more information about the benefits and uses of fresh North Florida produce, please visit the Panhandle Produce Pointers page at:


Author: Samantha Kennedy, M.S. –

Samantha is the Family & Consumer Sciences agent in Wakulla County. She has worked for UF/IFAS Extension since 2004. She has a B.S. in both Microbiology & Cell Science and Nutritional Sciences and an M.S. in Agricultural Education, both from UF. Her areas of expertise are nutrition, health & wellness, chronic disease prevention, food safety, disaster preparedness, and financial literacy. You can reach her via email at or by calling (850) 926-3931.

Samantha Kennedy, M.S.

Permanent link to this article:

Milk…..What’s in it for you?

June is National Dairy Month. National Dairy month was first celebrated in 1937 to encourage Americans to drink more milk.

Milk and dairy products comprise a diverse group of foods from fluid milks, fermented milk products, and over 500 cheeses.

Generations of American children have grown up hearing the same parental advice, “Drink your milk…..milk builds strong bones and teeth.”

Milk has long been associated with good health, making it one of the heathiest beverages consumed in the United States. Current Dietary Guidelines recommend daily consumption of dairy for greatest impact. The body requires essential nutrients to maintain optimal health. Milk and dairy products are rich in many of these nutrients. Milk and dairy products contain calcium, vitamins A, D, B12, and high quality protein. The body absorbs calcium with the aid of vitamin D, both of which are found in fluid dairy products. Milk, whole, low fat, and skim, are homogenized and vitamin D fortified.

The amount of consumption from the dairy food group depends on age. Generally one cup of milk, yogurt, or one and a half ounces of cheese is considered a serving from the dairy group.

The cost of milk and dairy products varies. Careful selection can result in substantial savings. Milk generally is less expensive as a source of calcium than other dairy products.

Effective shopping skills depend on understanding and using information on the label including nutrition facts, product date, contents and ingredient statements. Usually larger containers, such as half gallon to a gallon cost less than single quarts. Compare the cost of the number of servings.

Milk and dairy products are highly perishable, so careful handling and storage to prevent spoilage, preserve flavor and retain nutritional uniformity is needed.

Florida regulations call for uniform standards for dating milk and requires all dairy processors to label milk and dairy product containers with the last date the product can be offered for sale. The date on the container does not mean that the milk will be spoiled on that date; it indicates that the milk should not be sold beyond that date. This is to insure a reasonable shelf life in your refrigerator after it is purchased. The quality and flavor are still dependent upon careful handling and storage. Remember, milk and dairy products are highly perishable and should be kept cold.

In recent years many kinds of alterative milk products have appeared in the market place. In choosing a dairy milk or dairy alternative you should be aware of the different alternative milk products available and what makes them different. With so many kinds of milk and milk alternatives on the market, reading the labels on containers to recognize differences in the contents is well worth while. Here is information on some of the more popular forms of milk alternatives now available and an explanation of some special terms you may find on labels and facts that may help in buying.


  • Variety of milks Picture by Wendy Meredith


    • Low-fat
    • 40 calories
    • 1 gram protein
    • Low in protein or calcium content. Nutty flavor.
  • Coconut
    • 420 calories per cup
    • 3 grams protein
    • 45 grams fat
    • High in fat content.
  • Hemp
    • Made from hemp seeds
    • Contains 10 essential amino acids
    • 80-140 calories per cup
    • 3 grams protein
    • Grassy flavor. Tends to separate when added to hot beverages.
  • Rice
    • 130 calories per cup
    • 1 gram protein
    • 2 grams fat
    • Low in fat and protein content. Higher in carbohydrates.
  • Soy
    • 110 -130 calories per cup
    • 7-11 grams protein
    • 4 grams fat
    • Higher in protein content. Thick texture often taste.

There are many ways to add milk into meals. Many people find milk refreshing and never tire of drinking it plain. However, cooked foods and other prepared foods offer many additional ways to add more milk into daily food, always with much added nutritive value and often extra dividends in flavor. Use milk instead of water when preparing cooking cereal, or add milk when preparing soups, mashed potatoes, custards sauces and other cooked foods. Beverages made with milk or milk products fit into meals and snacks and add extra nutritive values to daily fluid intake.

June is National Dairy Month, but milk is needed for good health every day of the year.




For further information, contact:

Dorothy C. Lee, C.F.C.S.

UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County

3740 Stefani Road

Cantonment, FL 32533-7792

(850) 475-5230


Author: Dorothy C. Lee –

Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent in Escambia County

Dorothy C. Lee

Permanent link to this article:

Staying Healthy At Summer Camp

Staying Healthy At Summer Camp – 7 Keys to a Healthy Camp Counselor Experience

It’s getting hot outside and that means summer camps are heating up! Being a camp counselor is a fun summer job and it’s a great way to learn leadership skills. As a camp counselor, it is your job to take care of the children that are under your supervision, but your own health and well-being is as important as the campers.  If you’re not healthy, you won’t be able to properly care for the campers.

Here are 7 keys to staying healthy throughout your summer at camp:

  1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER : When working outside in the summertime, it is essential for you and your campers to stay hydrated and avoid developing heat-related illnesses. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends between 6 to 8 glasses of water daily for good hydration. However, the amount of water that your body needs should be based on your individual need. Some of the symptoms of dehydration are: Mouth Dryness, Fatigue, Headache, Lightheadedness, Dizziness and Thirst. If you or a child in camp shows signs of any or all of these symptoms, immediately seek medical attention
  2. GET SOME SLEEP: Everyone feels a lot better after a good night’s sleep. One of the most critical threats to wellness for camp staff members is sleep deprivation. It’s easy to burn the candle at both ends when you’re working at a summer camp.  Try to stick to your normal bedtime whenever possible. Routine is important for a good night’s sleep!
  3. EAT HEALTHY: During the hectic pace of summer camp, it is easy to forget to eat properly. What you eat can determine how well your body is fueled and how efficiently it functions. The MyPlate guidelines call for making half your plate fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced meal.  Eating a balanced diet is important for good health and increased energy, especially when working with campers.
  4. HANDWASHING & FOOD SAFETY: Bacteria and germs are hiding anywhere: in your kitchen, on your plate and even on your hands! It is important to wash your hands and hard surfaces often. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Foodborne bacteria can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, but they can make you sick! Therefore it is important to practice good food safety and food preparation practices. When in Doubt, Throw it out!
  5. SUN SAFETY:  While enjoying the sun and outdoors, protect yourself from overexposure to sunlight by wearing a hat and using sunscreens. Severe sun burns (also known as sun poisoning) can also lead to extreme dehydration for you and your campers. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA/UVB), and re-applying every 2 hours or after swimming will help prevent a sunburn. As a camp counselor, you should remind kids to play in shaded areas to reduce their exposure to UV rays, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun’s UV rays are at their peak.
  6. BUGS AND TICK BITE PREVENTION:  Bugs and summer go together.  To avoid getting bug bites, you should apply insect repellant that contains DEET to exposed skin, and wear long sleeves, pants, and other light-colored clothing. Campers should also try to avoid areas where ticks can be found, such as high grass and wooded areas. Campers should check for ticks every day, and remove them right away. Tick bites can lead to Lyme disease, which is particularly dangerous in the summer.
  7. STRESS MANAGEMENT: Stress can occur when we feel overloaded or under pressure in a demanding situation. Stress is a common problem among camp counselors. Managing your stress level is just as important as maintaining your physical health. Even though stress can be uncomfortable, it’s not always a bad thing, some stress can be a good thing and can help us better handle difficult situations.


As a camp counselor it is vital that you learn to relax, eat right, stay hydrated, and make sleep a priority, wash your hands, protect yourself from the sun, and take care of yourself!

Extension is a great resource for tips to stay healthy during the summer. You can find fact sheets and more information in our Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) publications:



Author: Laurie Osgood –

Laurie B. Osgood is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at the Gadsden County Extension office. You can contact her at: (850) 662-3287

Laurie Osgood

Permanent link to this article:

Older posts «

» Newer posts