Mealtime challenges
Cheryl Walker

I f you wait until mealtime to plan your meal, you usually grab something quick that may not be a healthy choice. An occasional quick grab of a fast food meal is okay, but when it becomes a once or twice a day habit it can lead to extra calories.

For many of us extra calories mean extra pounds gained. These extra pounds increase our risks for a variety of health problems. This summer in June and July a Healthy Cooking School will provide you with a variety of recipes and mealtime planning tips to help you make healthy food choices.

Take charge of your diet and learn about carbohydrates, fats, salt and fiber in your diet. During the four-part cooking series, we will take the mystery out of these terms and make you aware of changes you can make to eat healthy. Not only will you get to taste a variety of foods, but you will also receive hints to improve your favorite recipes to cut the carbohydrates, fats or salts.

The Healthy Cooking School will help you become aware of what you are eating and give you hints and recipes to make healthy meals. Each session will address a special concern: Session One-June 17, Carbohydrates Foods; Session Two—June 27, Fats in our Foods; Session Three—July 15, Cutting Salt and Adding Fiber to Your Diet; Session Four—July 22, Holiday Recipes and Desserts.

The Healthy Cooking School is a fourpart series to help you plan and prepare dishes to improve your food choices. Diabetics and non-diabetics can both gain information to help them make better food choices.

The series will be conducted at the Milano United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. An afternoon session will be conducted from 3-5 p.m. with a night session from 6-8 p.m. The night sessions will provide the same presentations as the afternoon sessions. Each session will offer recipes, nutritional information and tasting of healthy recipes. Participants will gain information on carbohydrates, fats, sodium and fiber in the diet along with ways to deal with holiday eating.

The cost is $10 per person. This includes the handouts and recipes for the course. Payment will be collected when you attend the first program. You need to pre-register so handouts and food samples can be prepared for each session by contacting the Milam County Extension Office at 254-697-7045 or email

WASH YOUR MELONS—This time of year when we start enjoying cantaloupes, watermelons and other melons, we sometimes forget about food safety concerns. The variety of whole melons on the market gives us many flavors to enjoy if we handle them correctly.

First, avoid the melons that are showing signs of decay or damaged rinds. If the rinds are decaying or cracked, bacteria can go inside and affect the meat of the melon.

Next, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before cutting melons. You don’t want bacteria to transfer to the cut melons.

Now you are almost ready to cut the melon, but you need to wash the outer surface of the melon throughly under running cool tap water to remove surface dirt. You may need to scrub the outer rind with a clean produce brush. Don’t use soap on the produce, just running cool tap water. If you don’t wash the outside of the melon, you will transfer the bacteria on the rind to the inside as you cut the produce. Almost every year we hear stories of foodborne outbreaks due to the bacteria on the outside coming in contact with the inside, so don’t forget to wash the outside before cutting.

Once the melons are cut, you need to keep the slices refrigerated at 41 degrees F. Uncut melons don’t need refrigeration, but once cut they need to be refrigerated or displayed in a container on ice. If you keep the sliced melons at the correct temperature, they are usually safety to eat for seven days. If you don’t refrigerate the sliced melons, you must throw them away after four hours.

Keep food safety in mind when preparing and serving food so you don’t make someone sick.

Whatever the food product, if in doubt you need to throw it out.

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2013-06-06 digital edition

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