Food & Nutrition

Getting Started

The world of food and nutrition can be  confusing and surely overwhelming at times. EHHD is committed to  providing you with the health and wellness information you need to take steps towards reaching optimal health and well-being.  They key is following a realistic plan which cuts through all of the “bells and whistles” of trendy nutrition, and getting back to basics. The key to creating long lasting change is taking it from the ground up- getting back to basics.

Before you get bogged down by recipes and thinking about what you should eat, start backwards by “bulk” prepping the healthy foundation of your weekly meals. Rather than knowing exactly what you will be eating, it’s more practical to be prepared with the healthy basics of your meal such as protein, veggies, and whole grains. Once you have the basics prepped, creating the meal is so easy and quick. Food prep is much more important than a perfect meal plan. No matter how busy you are, prepping a few simple foods in advance will ensure a healthy week and help you meet your goals. Click on the following links for a few simple tips to get you started:

Goal Setting: Steps to a Healthier You!

Meal Planning Made Easy: EHHD Food Prep Basics

Time and Money Saving Recipes That the Whole Family Will Enjoy

Small changes can have a huge impact on overall health. For example, if you choose to drink only water during the week and save one or two “specialty” drinks or cocktails for the weekend, you will probably sleep better, experience more steady blood sugar (better mood), have more energy and be more productive at work. Another example would be dedicating 2 hours a week to prep some food and organize your kitchen. Investing time up front saves time and stress in the future, and always results in healthier choices!

Fruits & Vegetables:  More Matters!

Everyone can benefit from the recommendation to eat at least 5 - 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables provide needed vitamins and minerals, not to mention fiber and variety to our diet. In their natural state, fruits and vegetables are low in fat and Calories, and can help your body stay healthy and fight disease.

It's easier than you think to get produce into your day. And remember, the greater variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, the greater the benefit.

The Produce of the Week campaign was funded through a grant from the CT Department of Public Health. 

Click Here To View the Produce Of the Week (POW!) listing and learn some new recipes and nutritional information on a rainbow of fruits and vegetables that are in season throughout the year.

Cooking with Kids

Nutrition Guide For Kids With Delicious Recipes

    Meal Planning Website For Kids

    Wellness Resources For Kids By Grade

    DietSpotlight - Cooking With Kids

     

    Food Safety

    When preparing food in your kitchen, for yourself, your family, or to bring to a pot-luck, it is important to remember basic food safety and handling techniques. Some guidelines for all budding and seasoned cooks to remember include: personal hygiene, cross-contamination prevention, and proper food temperatures for storing, cooking and holding foods.

    Hygiene: Although personal hygiene issues might seem intuitive, many who are not regulars in the kitchen need some basic reminders. The first key to a safe meal is to make sure that everyone involved in preparation efforts washes their hands frequently and keeps their hands clean when in the kitchen. Washing hands in warm water with soap for 20 seconds (sing the ABC song twice), and drying with a paper towel that is thrown away is the most effective way to keep hands clean. Hands should be washed after (or before) each new food is prepared. Other personal hygiene tips include pulling hair back; not eating around the food preparation area; and taste testing cooked items with only a clean utensil (no finger licking or double-dipping!).

    Cross-contamination: This occurs when bacteria from one raw ingredient comes in contact with a food that will not be cooked. A prime example when cooking a Thanksgiving dinner is when anything that touches the raw turkey (or ham, or beef) comes in contact with a salad, bread, fruit, or relish tray. Common offenders for transferring bacteria are knives, cutting boards, counters, and hands. The best ways to avoid cross-contamination are to keep raw meats and fresh produce or breads on separate counters in the kitchen as foods are being prepared, and to wash (with soap and water) all items that come into contact with raw meats as soon as they are used (counters, knives, cutting boards, hands, etc.).

    Temperatures: A final tip for keeping your food safe is to be aware of the temperature ‘danger zone’ for potentially hazardous foods. The basic rule of thumb is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Bacteria that can cause food borne illness grow quickly at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. Keep this guideline in mind when thawing frozen meats (thaw only in the refrigerator), holding or serving food over an extended period of time (do not leave on the table or counter more than 2 hours), and when storing leftover foods (store in small batches that can cool quickly in the refrigerator).

    More information about food safety:

    FoodSafety: The Basics from foodsafety.gov

    Partnership for Food Safety Education