The St. Clair County Extension Center can provide you with research-based information in the areas of agriculture, business and the workforce, children and teens, community development, environmental quality, family life, farm management, financial education, home and garden, horticulture and nutrition and health.
Health Insurance Education Initiative Workshop
Because of the new health care law, individuals, families and businesses will need to make decisions about their health insurance. As a non-partisan neutral entity, University of Missouri Extension provides education to ensure that you have the resources and skills you need to make informed health insurance decisions for yourself, your family and your business. The workshop is being presented by Tammy Roberts on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 6:30 to 8:00 pm. at the First Baptist Church in Osceola, 505 Walnut Street. Call the St. Clair County University of Missouri Extension at (417) 646-2419 to make your reservation for this educational workshop.
Fall Season a Great Time to Control Rosette-Forming Weeds and Winter Annual Weeds
Fall and early spring is one of the best times of the year to control rosette-forming weeds and other winter annual weeds according to Sarah Kenyon, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension. To view the entire article, select Fall Season a Great Time to Control Rosette-Forming Weeds and Winter Annual Weeds.
St. Clair County welcomes Dr. Patrick Davis, Livestock Specialist
The St. Clair County Extension Council welcomes Dr. Patrick Davis, Livestock Specialist headquartered in Cedar County. Although headquartered in Cedar County, Dr. Davis' program area extends to include Barton, Dade, St. Clair and Vernon Counties. Patrick brings his extensive knowledge and experience with programming in beef cattle, small ruminants, equine, forage management and production, and partnering with 4-H and working with county fairs. Watch our website for future programming and educational workshops offered by Dr. Davis. Dr. Davis can be reached at the Cedar County Extension office by calling (417) 276-3313.
24 tips for packing a healthy, affordable lunch
Damaris Karanja, MA, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, St. Louis County, University of Missouri Extension
School is back in session and you probably went to great lengths to ensure your child has the right equipment — pens, notebooks, clothing — to make it through the day. Proper nutrition is also a key ingredient for back-to-school success because it fuels brain cells, and gives your child the energy and nutrients he or she needs for optimal learning. Packing your child’s lunch lets you know exactly what he or she is eating. Follow these tips and not only will you save money, but you will pack a nutritious lunch that your child will enjoy.
- Invest in a good container. Choose an insulated bag and freezer packs to keep food at a safe temperature.
- Use washable and reusable containers. Avoid using plastic sandwich baggies. Buy containers in a variety of sizes to fit your lunchbox needs.
- Buy in bulk. Avoid single-serve packaging. You save money when you buy in bulk and pack it yourself into single servings. Buy a large container of yogurt or pudding and use 4-ounce containers to pack your own. Buy a block of cheese and cut it into cubes or shred it. Buy crackers in boxes, rather than individual packages.
- Make your own. Look beyond lunch meat. Slice your own meat or grill chicken breast and cut it into strips or cubes. Avoid prepackaged lunches since they are highly priced.
- Send in leftovers. Invest in a good insulated food container to keep food warm. Homemade soup is always a good option.
- Buy what is on sale and use coupons. Get whatever is on sale each week and work it into a menu. Use fruits and vegetables that are in season.
- Buy store brand and compare unit prices.
- Look high and low — bargains are usually on the top or bottom shelves, not at eye level.
- Plan ahead and have a list when you go to the store. The more time you spend in a store, the more money you spend.
Make it nutritious!
- Pack a rainbow! Provide a variety of options — the more color, the more nutrients.
- A healthy lunch should contain foods from each of the five food groups: Carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Choose whole-grain products like bread, tortillas, pita bread, bagels or whole-grain crackers. These are more nutritious, have more fiber, vitamins and minerals, and keep blood sugar steady for optimal learning.
- Select protein foods wisely. Use lean meat like chicken or turkey breast, hard-boiled eggs, tuna packed in water, beans or peanut butter. Protein in every meal helps keep blood sugar steady.
- Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and serve them creatively. Examples include baby carrots with yogurt dip or other cut vegetables with low-fat dip or hummus.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese. These are great calcium and protein sources.
- For side items, re-think that bag of chips. Instead, choose carrots sticks, celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, apple slices with peanut butter, fruit salad, whole fruit, raisins or pretzels.
- For dessert, think beyond the cookie. Try whole-grain graham crackers, ginger snaps, raisins, unsweetened applesauce, homemade muffins or fresh fruit.
- Choose a beverage that hydrates, like water, or choose low-fat or fat-free milk for additional protein, calcium and vitamin D. Avoid drinks with calories and no nutrients.
Make it fun!
- Add some fun touches to the meal. The traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich can become pretty boring. Get a couple of cookie cutters and have kids cut the sandwich into different shapes.
- Include the kids in the preparation process and give them choices. Take them along when grocery shopping. Let them pick one new fruit or vegetable each week that they would like to try. Let them help pack their lunch.
- Think beyond bread when making sandwiches. Think whole-grain bagels, whole-grain pita wraps and whole-wheat tortillas. A good alternative is a whole-wheat pita pocket with hummus, shredded vegetables and grilled chicken strips.
- Pack a variety of options to keep a child’s interest. Avoid packing the same lunch every day — this prevents kids from getting bored.
- Vary the preparation. Try grilled or baked, chopped or grated, plain or with a dip.
- Practice good nutrition yourself. Children learn by association — you need to be a role model. Discuss with them the benefits of healthy eating.
- Don’t get discouraged if your child rejects a food on first taste. It can take 15 to 20 tries before a child gets used to a new food.
A nutritious lunch does not have to be boring or cost you a fortune. Making small changes can save you money. Try one or two tips each week and soon you should see some relief in your grocery bills. Remember that well-nourished children have a greater chance of success at school because they have the fuel and the energy they need to play and learn.
To view this article online, go to http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut412.htm
Test Pressure Canner Gauges Now and Get Prepared for Home Canning
Spring is here, which means it is time to get canning supplies and equipment checked and ready to use. It is also a good time to brush up on safe canning techniques. Before using it, be sure to get the dial gauge of your pressure canner tested. The spring in the dial gauge can get worn out or stuck, so it needs to be tested annually. Any low acid foods, like vegetables, meats and some tomato products, need to be canned under pressure in order to reach the temperature required to destroy the disease-causing microorganisms that could be present. If a pressure gauge is not accurate, it could create an environment inside the canning jar that is not only unsafe but is instead the perfect breeding ground for growing the pathogens. The contamination cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, so the only way to ensure that the food is safe is to preserve it in the correct way.
GAUGE TESTING Pressure canner gauges can be tested at many MU Extension offices in Missouri. For a complete list of county locations visit extension.missouri.edu. Some county extension offices have a minimal charge to test gauges. The St. Clair County Extension office charges $1.00 for gauge testing.
PRESERVATION GUIDES MU Extension has guides and publications explaining how to get started canning and step-by-step instructions on how to use a pressure canner online and at most offices. MU Extension guide sheets cover topics like canning vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies, tomatoes and tomato products, pickles and pickled products, and meat, fish and poultry. For those wanting to learn pressure canning many Extension Centers offer food preservation workshops in late spring or early summer.
MORE INFORMATION For more information on nutrition contact one of the following nutrition specialists: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Tammy Roberts in Bates County, (660) 679-4697; Melissa Bess in Camden County, (573) 346-2644; Susan Mills-Gray in Cass County (816) 380-8460; Megan Webb in Pettis County (660)-827-0591. Information is also available online http://extension.missouri.edu.
Trees add value to your landscape
Trees can provide your home with shade, wind protection and visual appeal. They can reduce energy costs, provide recreation for children and habitat for wildlife.
Newly planted trees need special attention, and not all trees are suitable for all conditions. MU Extension’s horticulture experts have developed a series of publications to help you choose the right tree and get it established:
MU Extension publication G6800, Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees
MU Extension publication G6805, Selecting Landscape Plants: Flowering Trees
MU Extension publication G6810, Selecting Landscape Plants: Uncommon Trees for Specimen Plantings
MU Extension publication G6815, Selecting Landscape Plants: Needled Evergreens
MU Extension publication G6820, Selecting Landscape Plants: Broad-leaved Evergreens
MU Extension publication G6850, How to Plant a Tree
Popular MU Guides/Extension Publications:
Don’t guess; soil tests save time, money
Soil testing is the best guide to the wise and efficient use of fertilizer and soil amendments, said Manjula Nathan, director of the University of Missouri Extension Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services.
Whether you grow acres of row crops or have a vegetable patch in the backyard, a soil test will provide you with an analysis of nutrients and a set of recommendations for any improvements.
“We frequently get questions from customers like, ‘I apply fertilizer every year. How come my plants are not doing well?’” Nathan said.
“Most of the time the problem is they never have done a soil test, but have been guessing on fertilizer requirements,” she said. “They do not realize that by guessing they are wasting money by over- or underapplication, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment.”
Soil testing can be done through the extension office. The cost is $13 per sample. Soil testing publications
The Affordable Care Act in Plain English
So much of the information that is crowding the media about The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) can seem overwhelming and confusing. Financial experts and advisors at University of Missouri have created an article to help separate fact from fiction labeled The Affordable Care Act in Plain English.
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