NDSU Extension - Benson County


Nutrition Education

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Balance Your Plate with Key Nutrients

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science


Balance Your Plate with Key Nutrients

Chances are, you have heard of or perhaps participated in a variety of diets that cut certain foods from your plate.  While being mindful of what you eat and reducing the amount of “sometimes food” that are put in your body is positive, it is important to consider what is being cut out.


Sometimes foods are foods that are low in nutrients and high in calories, saturated fat, and added sugar.  Minimizing these foods can only help to increase the overall health of your body.  There is really no place for these foods on the My Plate, but they are just fine for an occasional treat.


When planning a healthy meal, all of the food groups of the My Plate should be considered.  They each contain key nutrients, and without the balance, our body will not be getting what it needs from our food. 


Foods in the fruit group contain Vitamin C (among other nutrients) that helps to keep us healthy, and heal our body more quickly when we do get sick or injured.  Foods in the vegetable group tend to be high in Vitamin A, which helps our eyes to adjust in different lights as well as protein which supports our muscles, including one very significant muscle, our heart. 


The grain group is high in B vitamins, and when you choose whole grains, you are also getting additional benefits such as fiber.  The protein foods group contains protein, of course, and is also high in iron and zinc.  Iron helps to carry oxygen through our blood to all of our cells while zinc aids in healing sores and keeping our immune system strong.  When choosing protein sources, be mindful that they are low in saturated fat.  Avoid protein shakes, powders, and supplements as they oftentimes over do the amount of protein we need and can have unwanted ingredients mixed with them.  The final group is dairy, which is high in protein, calcium, and vitamin D.  Vitamin D helps our body to absorb calcium, which is known to grow strong bones, and keep them healthy throughout our lifetime, assuming we consume enough servings on a regular basis. 


Here is a recipe for herb broiled beef.  It is a perfect addition to a well-balanced meal.  Enjoy!


Herb Broiled Beef


  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • basil, dried (or thyme) (1/4 teaspoon, optional (analyzed using basil))
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck shoulder steak, cut 1-inch thick

Directions: Mix onion, parsley, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder and basil or thyme.  Place meat in plastic bag and pour in marinade.  Close bag securely, place in a bowl and marinate in refrigerator six to eight hours or overnight, turning at least once.  Pour off marinade and discard. Place meat on rack in broiler.  Broil 15 to 20 minutes or until desired doneness, turning once.  Cut into thin slices to serve.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 330 calories, 8 gram of fat, 65 mg of sodium, 2 carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 31 grams of protein. 



  • NDSU Extension Service, On the Move to Stronger Bodies, 2017
  • Missouri Nutrition Network, Eat for Health Toolkit
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Food Can Make You Look and Feel Better

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science


Food Can Make You Look and Feel Better

If you are reading this thinking that there is magic food that you need to eat once and you will be healthier than you have ever been, that is unfortunately not how a healthy lifestyle works.  There are of course small things that we can do over a period of time that will make a big different in our health.  Here are just a few:

  • Water is your friend: Water is calorie free and is low cost if you use a reusable water bottle. Beverages such as soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages can have ¼ or more of your daily calories in just one glass. 
  • Eat more whole grains: This will make you feel full longer and will make you less likely to feel the need to overeat.
  • Surround yourself with healthy food: Chances are, if it is there, you will eat it.  Fill your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and other healthy snack and meal ideas that can be easily prepared and eaten.
  • Build healthy habits:  Make a habit of buying foods that are low in added sugar and saturated fat.  Avoid foods such as bacon, hot dogs, candy, cookies, and ice cream.  Of course there is always room for our ‘sometimes foods’, but remember, sometimes does not mean these types of foods should be in our go to foods.
  • Fill you plate to look like My Plate:  If you are struggling with how much of each food group you need based on your age, gender, and amount of exercise, be sure to visit www.choosemyplate.gov

Below is a recipe for a chicken club sandwich.  It is a healthy addition to any summertime meal.  Enjoy!

Chicken Club Salad


  • 1 cup pasta, uncooked whole wheat, such as macaroni
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, torn
  • 2 cups fresh vegetables, chopped: fresh, green pepper, celery, cauliflower florets, cucumber, carrots
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cubed cooked skinless chicken (1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Italian dressing
  • 1 hard cooked egg
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese


Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and cool.  Place 1½ cups of the romaine in each of 4 large bowls or plates.  Combine chopped vegetables, chicken and pasta.  Add dressing; toss lightly to coat. Divide evenly among the 4 bowls.  Top each serving with a few egg slices, if desired, and 1 Tablespoon of the shredded cheese.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 270 calories, 6 grams of fat, 380 mg of sodium, 29 carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, and 24 grams of protein. 



  • USDA 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series: Get the facts to feel and look better. January 2014.
  • USDA What’s Cooking Mixing Bowl
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Manage Your Stress through Food

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

Everyone has stress in their life, and it is important to be able to identify what your stress is, and how it manage it.  There are many basic things that can be done to relieve stress.  Some of which include the following:

-Physical activity: Adults need 30 minutes most days of the week.

- Sleep: Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.  This helps to keep your body balanced.

-Limit of smoking and alcohol: In the end, these products increase stress regardless of how much of a ‘stress relief’ they may seem like at the time.

-Financial Management: Problems related to money can cause a variety of stress that directly affect our health.

Another key element to managing your stress includes the food and beverages that you consume.  Foods that contain caffeine, sugar, and saturated fats are actually proven to be stress inducing.  Try to limit comfort foods and instead fill your plate with healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy.  Replacing a high calorie sugar filled snack with fruit is just one way to reduce the stress inducing food in your life, and work toward a healthier, happier body.

It may seem overwhelming to eliminate all of your stressors, so try to work toward just one at a time.  Set a weekly goal and focus on what you can do to make yourself healthier for you and your family. 

Here is a recipe for quiche.  It is a quick, healthy, and wholesome meal. It includes ingredients from the grain, vegetable, dairy, and protein group.   Feel free to add other vegetables that you might have on hand as well.

All you need is a side of fruit and your plate will be complete.  Enjoy!

Basic Quiche


  • 1 pie crust (baked, 9-inch)
  • 1 cup vegetables (chopped, broccoli, zucchini, or mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup cheese (shredded)
  • 3 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup milk (non-fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:  First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Shred the cheese with a grater. Put it in a small bowl.  Chop the vegetables until you have 1 cup of chopped vegetables.  Cook the vegetables until they are cooked, but still crisp.  Put the cooked vegetables and shredded cheese into a pie shell.  Mix the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl.  Pour the egg mix over the cheese and vegetables.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let the quiche cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes: 6 servings.  Each serving contains 230 calories, 13 grams of fat, 440 mg of sodium, 18 carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of protein. 



  • Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program, Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network
    Website Recipes
  • NDSU Extension Service, Nourishing Your Mind and Body: Managing Stress for Better Health, August 2014
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Think about your Food Talk

No matter where you are, or what you are doing, chances are you have seen ads related to dieting, or have talked to someone about their latest diet venture.  Dieting is a big part of our culture, however, constant negative talk about our body and losing weight does not have a positive impact on those around us.  If fact, what we say about our weight and the weight of others can directly affect how others feel about their own body image, even if we are meaning to be light hearted.

Instead, focus on healthy eating, portion size, and incorporating each of the food groups into your meals throughout the day.  There is nothing wrong with having a treat every now and then, and teaching yourself and your family moderation.  Avoiding food you are craving can actually lead to overeating later on.  Being mindful of how much you eat, instead of not eating at all is a much healthier option in the long run. 

How you look at food, and your views toward healthy food not only affect your health, but also the health of all of those around you, especially your children.  If you have a positive view on health foods, and trying new foods, they will be much more likely to do the same.  If they have never seen a vegetable on your plate, changes are your children will not be filling their plate with ¼ with vegetables.

Even though negative food and body image talk is common, remember to stay positive, and focus on healthy, lifelong eating habits instead of diets that will quickly help you to lose a few pounds.  Those who adopt good eating habits are more likely to pass them along to their children, and will be able to maintain a healthy body weight in the long term, not just while trying the latest diet fad. 

Below is a recipe for apple tuna sandwiches which includes nutrient packed ingredients from all five food groups.  Enjoy!

Apple Tuna Sandwiches


  • 1 can (6.5 ounces) tuna, drained
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 6 slices whole grain bread
  • 3 lettuce leaves


First, wash and peel the apple.  Then, chop it into small pieces.  Drain the water from the can of tuna.  Then, put the tuna, apple, yogurt, mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Stir well.  Spread 1/2 cup of the tuna mix onto each 3 slices of bread.  Top each sandwich with a washed lettuce leaf and a slice of bread.


Makes: 3 servings.  Each serving contains 250 calories, 3 grams of fat, 330 mg of sodium, 35 carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, and 23 gram of protein. 



  • NDSU Eat Smart, Play Hard Magazine, 2016-2017 Edition
  • Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program, Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network, Website Recipes
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