Delicious, nutritious, and super helpful for today’s needs, peanut butter is a great addition to your shopping cart. But it’s more than just a tasty and healthy food that also helps those in need (more on that below). Pound for pound, peanut butter saves.
Nutty for Peanut Butter
Photo Source: Angela Hinkle
Compared to a pound of ground beef, a pound of peanut butter saves:
- Money at the grocery store. A pound of peanut butter currently comes in at around $2.50. A pound of ground beef will run you around $3.82.
- Time. It takes about 2-3 minutes to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A burger at home will take you anywhere from about 8-15 minutes to prepare.
- Environmental costs. If you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch instead of a hamburger, you can save 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, 133 gallons of water, and 24 square feet of crop land.
- Saturated fat. That’s the kind that tends to clog up arteries and cause health problems. Eating the PB&J gives you about 3 grams. You consume about 10 grams of saturated fat in a 90% lean quarter pound hamburger.
- Utilities. No gas, coals, or electricity is required to cook or safely store peanut butter.
- Hunger. Families in hardship situations often need help from food pantries. The most requested item from these pantries is – yes, you guessed it – peanut butter. It is shelf stable so you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold or heating it up. People like it. And it is a healthy plant-based food with fiber and oleic acid – a healthier monounsaturated fat.
Maybe you’re like me – you like a really good, juicy all-beef burger. Every once in a while, sure. But pound for pound, peanut butter really can save the day.
Here’s how you can help with the local hunger part:
- Buy peanut butter. Look for BOGOS (Buy One Get One Free Sales). Keep one for yourself. Then…
- Now through November 27, donate unopened jars of peanut butter for the Peanut Butter Challenge. Check with your Florida Panhandle UF/IFAS Extension Office for collection sites.
- All collected peanut butter will be given to local food pantries to assist hungry families in need.
So save, save, save with peanut butter. And help save a family from hunger.
Check out 2019 Peanut Butter Challenge for additional information.
Resources: https://foodtank.com/news/2013/12/why-meat-eats-resources/ and https://www.farmprogress.com/peanut/peanut-s-environmental-footprint-stretches-beyond-farm
Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30, with peak season in September and October. And hurricanes are not the only disasters we have to contend with. Living Well in the Panhandle provides the trusted Disaster Resources you need so you know what to do to keep your family and you living well.
Below are helpful resources for preparing for and handling the aftermath of a disaster. For more information, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.
Is My Food Safe to Eat?
Keeping Your Food Safe During Emergencies: Power Outages, Floods, and Fires
USDA – A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety-Severe Storms and Hurricanes Guide
Well Water Safety
Well Water Testing
Search for an open emergency shelter near you by texting SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362) Example: SHELTER 01234
Lightning storm. Photo Source: UF/IFAS
Cleaning Up After a Hurricane
Safety Comes First!
Get the Right Tree Care Professional
Hiring an Arborist – Spanish
Cleaning Mold After a Flood
Hurricanes and Mosquitoes
Mosquito Control Tips for Homeowners
Money Management/Consumer Issues
Avoiding Fraud and Deception
Six Steps in Making an Insurance Claim
Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents
FEMA – Individual Disaster Assistance
FEMA – Interim Housing Resources
USDA Farm Service Agency Disaster Assistance
Disaster Recovery Loans
Tax Relief After a Disaster
Complaints – If you have a complaint about disaster relief assistance, contact the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s Office at 1-800-323-8603.
Family Health and Wellness
Call the Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7 for free counseling – 1-800-985-5990 (TTY) 1-800-846-8517
OR text TalkWithUs to 66746
Mental Health for Adults
Mental Health for Kids
Mental Health for Adolescents
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Practices to Minimize Flooding Damage to Commercial Vegetable Production
Florida Panhandle Agriculture
Florida Panhandle Agriculture Facebook
One way to be more sustainable when shopping for groceries is to use reusable shopping bags. They’re durable and sturdy and can help reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in the landfill each year. (Photo source: Samantha Kennedy)
Sustainability should not just be a buzzword during Earth Month. The fact that everybody either shops for or eats groceries means the whole grocery shopping experience is a good time to reflect and improve upon what we can personally do to embrace issues of sustainability.
This year in April, the Earth Month theme focuses on Returning to Nature. There is no better place to start a quest for personal sustainable improvement than the grocery store! Grocery shopping truly embraces the three main areas of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. In fact, it has been well documented that the average family wastes about 25% of the food it purchases. (Much of this ends up in a landfill and creates problems of its own.)
With a bit of forethought, meal planning before grocery shopping can help individuals and families apply sustainable best practices for environmental, economic, and social well-being. In fact, many of the principles of sustainability can be effectively applied to both meal planning and grocery shopping.
RESPECT yourself. Good nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy life. Improve health by keeping a balanced diet. Vow to make healthier food choices for personal health and the environment.
REFUSE to use food products that do not fit your principles of sustainability. This may mean buying food with less packaging, eating more locally-grown fruits and vegetables, or looking for foods labeled as more responsibly sourced.
REDUCE the amount of food thrown out. Planning meals ahead of time and writing out a grocery list are excellent ways to start living sustainably. Planning not only saves money on groceries, it can save time and decrease the amount of personal food waste a family contributes. (Remember, freezing products can prolong their life, so if you find that you’ve overbought, try preserving some of your bounty for later use.) Reducing the number of trips to the grocery store also can help save on fuel and transportation costs.
REUSE /REPURPOSE food for another occasion. Careful meal planning helps ensure that leftovers from one meal can be incorporated into the next one, thereby reducing food waste.
RETHINK! Healthy, nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive grocery choices can be found in every food group. Not all food has to be prepackaged. In fact, with a bit of planning, dinner can be on the table in 15 minutes. (That’s less time than it takes to wait in line at a fast food restaurant.)
BE RESPONSIBLE! Use what you buy.
Stock up on low-cost healthy grain products like whole-wheat noodles, brown rice, and store-brand cereals and oatmeal.
Purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season and cost less. In addition, do not forget that frozen, dried, and canned fruits and vegetables can play an important part in meal planning.
Buy the largest size you can effectively use before it reaches the expiration date – and look for the items with the latest dates. Purchase store brands or generic brands whenever possible. Keep in mind smaller containers tend to cost more, no matter what the food group. Buying larger packages and dividing them into smaller portions can save money and reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in the landfill. Investing in small, reusable storage containers will save money and reduce waste in the end.
Practice Meatless Monday. The protein group provides inexpensive protein sources like beans, lentils, and eggs, which can be substituted for meat in many meals.
Protein does not have to be the most expensive item purchased. Consulting the store’s weekly sales flyer during meal planning can help you plan meals around meat and poultry items that are on sale.
Prepare food your family will actually eat. There are two schools of thought here: preparing just enough for one meal or preparing big-batch recipes that provide leftovers which can be frozen for later use. Either practice can be sustainable. Freeze leftovers only if you’re going to use them. Otherwise, cut down on the amount of food cooked to help reduce food waste.
Learn how to cook. Prepare and eat more meals at home. It is sustainable, good for you, and delicious. Meals cooked at home are more nutritious, less expensive, and result in less overall waste, such as packaging.
Two additional ways to be more sustainable when grocery shopping are to use reusable shopping bags and to stop using single-use plastic produce bags. Plastic grocery bags choke our landfills and end up in our water bodies. They are not biodegradable and can last thousands of years virtually intact. Reusable shopping bags are made from recycled materials and can drastically reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in the trash each year.
For more information on making your grocery shopping more sustainable, check out these related articles:
Freezing: Nature’s Pause Button (UF/IFAS Extension)
What’s in your FREEZER? (UF/IFAS Extension)
Best Practices for Shoppers at the Farmers’ Market (UF/IFAS Extension)
Sustainable Grocery Shopping (University of Northern Iowa)
UF/IFAS Family and Consumer Sciences Agents Heidi Copeland and Samantha Kennedy
photo credit: Amy Mullins, UF IFAS Leon County Extension
Have you ever imagined planting a small garden and growing vegetables for your family? It may seem like a difficult and daunting project, but I assure you the benefits of growing your own vegetables far outweigh the reservations and roadblocks that may have previously stood in your way. Among these benefits include increased physical activity, stress relief, better mental health, and better nutrition. Consuming a diet rich in produce can reduce overall calorie consumption and provide a variety of nutrients to minimize the risk of developing chronic diseases associated with overweight and obesity.
Growing your own vegetables and herbs in the best way to “eat locally”! The convenience of having what you need for fresh salads, soups, and sides right outside your door can enable you and your family to have a healthier diet. And did you know that when children are involved in the gardening process, they are actually more likely to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables? Pull the kids off the couch and get whole family involved in garden planning, planting, maintaining, harvesting, and cooking.
Spring is the time to plant beans, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, okra, field peas, peppers, summer and winter squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Just think of all the possibilities for an abundance of healthy eating this summer!
Getting started is easy. Check out these UF IFAS resources to help get you on the right path to growing your own produce:
Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide
Plant These Spring Herbs
Produce Pointers Recipes
Many of today’s commercial cleaners are petroleum-based, which may have harmful effects on human and environmental health. But have no fear! On the market today are many wonderful “green” cleaning products that are planet- (and you-) friendly and can be found alongside their more conventional cousins in the cleaning aisle. These products are non-toxic, biodegradable, non-petroleum-based, and are just as effective at getting rid of grime.
Two common household products used in homemade cleaners are vinegar and baking soda. Photo credit: Samantha Kennedy
They do, however, tend to be more expensive. If spending extra money isn’t your thing, you can still clean green” by taking advantage of a few everyday products you probably have in your pantry right now.
White vinegar and baking soda are two of the most effective cleaning products out there and cost just a fraction of what commercial cleaning products cost. Add a little warm water to either of these products and you have created a solution that can clean just about everything, from tile floors to coffee-stained mugs to sinks and showers.
Another great natural and inexpensive cleaning agent is borax. Found in the laundry aisle, it is great as an all-purpose cleaner when mixed with water and can be used on floors, countertops, sinks, and toilets. It is nonabrasive, has no toxic fumes, and is safe for the environment. Borax also doubles as a safe insecticide, by slowly poisoning ants, cockroaches, silverfish, and termites to death.
Other common household products that make great cleaners are salt, lemon juice, and rubbing alcohol. Hot water mixed with salt makes an excellent drain deodorizer. Lemon juice makes a terrific mild bleaching agent and air freshener. Rubbing alcohol makes a great sanitizer for countertops. It is also good for cleaning minor wounds and will kill those annoying ghost ants (and others) that often try to make a home in your kitchen.
Making your own household cleaners is safer, healthier, and less expensive. For some quick and easy cleaner recipes, please read “Homemade Household Cleaners.”
For more information about this and other Family and Consumer Sciences topics, please contact Samantha Kennedy at 850.926.3931 or email@example.com.
Apples are an ancient fruit, grown for thousands of years, and belong to the Rose family of plants. The Rose family also includes plums, raspberries, cherries, peaches, pears, and almonds.
According to Professor Peter C. Andersen, UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, the basics of apple growing haven´t changed much over the centuries. Although many homeowners in north Florida can grow apple trees, there is little potential for establishment of commercial apple orchards in Florida. Andersen says apples are difficult to grow in north Florida due to high rainfall, humidity, and insects during the apple-ripening season, which is late May through August. Apples need a chill period in order to set buds in the spring. Without a sufficient chill period, the apple tree will not cultivate. For more information on Florida apple varieties, check out Low-Chill Apple Cultivars for North Florida and North Central Florida.
Luckily, there are more than 8,000 varieties of apples grown worldwide, so you can still enjoy a selection of apples in north Florida, even if you aren’t able to grow them yourself.
Fun Apple Facts:
- Apples are very nutritious, especially when you eat the whole apple. The majority of the apple’s nutrients are in its skin.
- Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and do not contain sodium, fat, or cholesterol.
- Apples ripen much faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
- It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
Every type of apple has a distinct color, texture, and taste. There are more than 8,000 variations of apples grown worldwide. Here are some of the more well-known apples that are grown in the United States:
||This apple is grown in Iowa and is known for its deep red color and mild sweetness. The Red Delicious apple is finest when eaten whole or chopped up into salads.
||This variety has a thick, green exterior with a sour taste. It is firm, crisp, and juicy inside and is best used for baking into pies and other baked goods.
||This variety has a waxy red and yellow skin with a golden interior. Its tart taste is ideal for baking or just eating.
||This apple grows abundantly in New England. McIntosh apples are crisp and juicy at their peak, but tend to soften quickly. This variety can be eaten off the tree or made into apple cider.
||This variety has a soft yellow skin and sweet flavor. This is considered an all-purpose apple that is ideal for snacking and cooking.
||Empire apples are named for its home state of New York and is a mixture of a red delicious and a McIntosh apple. The Empire apple is crunchy and has a sweet taste, however, its texture changes quickly with extended storage, so it’s best eaten at its peak of freshness.
Cooper, Emily. “Apples, a Bushel and a Peak of Flavor.” Food and Nutrition, 2017, pp. 28–29.
There are many other varieties of apples, and all are incredibly good for you. For the greatest benefits, eat the whole fruit — both skin and flesh.
To learn more about apples and their health benefits and healthy eating, please visit UF/IFAS Extension Solutions for Your Life or the USDA SNAP-Ed Connection.