Is there really more than corn in Indiana?

By Michelle Plummer

Sure! There is POPCORN in Indiana!

  • Did you know that Indiana ranks second in popcorn growing!
  • Did you know January 19, 2012 was National Popcorn day?  Popcorn Indiana did the day up right this year!
  • Did you even know there was a Popcorn Indiana?  Not familiar with Popcorn Indiana? They located just south-west of Bloomington.
  • Did you know that the Weaver Popcorn Company, based in Van Buren, Indiana, is one of the largest popcorn companies in the United States. Founded in 1928 by Ira E. Weaver, whose family still controls the company, it develops, grows, processes, packages, and ships a variety of popcorn products for sale around the world. Its customers include store chains around the world, as well as concessionaires, and international popcorn distributors.

Things to do with Popcorn:

Here are some great ways to use popcorn for the super bowl:

Nutrition Fun with Popcorn:

Popcorn is on the list of whole-grain foods included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It is fourth on the list of most commonly consumed grains in the United States, after whole wheat, whole oats and whole-grain corn. That makes it a significant contributor to the grain and fiber intake of the average American. At least half of the six daily servings of grains recommended in the dietary guidelines should come from whole grains. According to a study published in the May 2008 issue of the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association,” popcorn eaters consume more than twice as many whole grains and more than 22 percent more fiber than people who don’t eat popcorn. Learn more.

During the Super Bowl there are at least 46 ways to enjoy popcorn.  What is your favorite way?  Psst… Check out our upcoming Twitter Party to get ready for the Super Bowl and a healthy new year!

You’re Invited to a Twitter Party

Party Topic

Join Mom it Forward ,the American Dairy Association of Indiana and our panel of experts as we discuss health, wellness, and physical activity! The party will be held on Tuesday January 31 from 9-11 ET (8CT, 7MT, 6PT). Click here to see details about the giveaway and enter for a chance to win.

Party Details

Hope to see you there!

Keeping Active in the Cold: Indoor Exercise Ideas For Kids

By Mary Nicholson

Well, the holidays are over and winter has set in – now what?  Thoughts of hibernation cross my mind as an ideal option, but not a very realistic one (I can dream, can’t I?).  However, because we live in the 21st century, staying active, even during the winter months, is more important than ever!  Now if you’re thinking about things you can do to keep your blood pumping, there are a lot of options that don’t require leaving your house/apartment/dorm/etc.  Here are some simple things I’ve done (feel free to borrow): stair climbing/running; jumping rope in the garage; jogging trail (start in living room – jog to dining room – twice around the table – thru the kitchen – thru laundry room and turn around – back thru kitchen to family room – around coffee table – up and down the stairs – back to living room; repeat many times); and exercise videos.

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Meet an Indiana Farmer: David Brand

By Kimmi Devaney

David Brand

Dairy Farmer, Waterloo, Indiana

David standing beside wife Kim, who's holding their daughter Addysen, 19 months. In front of David is their younger son Jaxen, 4 & on the right in front of Kim is Logen, 6

Q: Why did you get into the dairy business?

A:  I have always wanted to be in the dairy business.  Growing up on the farm, I was used to hard work and dedication to the animals. I loved being outdoors watching things grow.  As I got older, I became more involved in the day-to-day operations and just knew as I was graduating from high school that I definitely wanted to return to the farm.

Q: What do you love most about being in the dairy industry?

A:  What I love most about the dairy industry is the opportunity to work with my family on a daily basis and to be able provide for so many people.  We provide for the cows and they provide for us through the nutritious products they produce.  Not only that, but I truly take pride in the fact that we’re able to produce safe, nutritious food for so many.  I know a lot of people don’t take into account where their food comes from anymore, but I’m still proud to be a face behind the label.

Q: What do you want the general public to know about dairy farming?

A: I think the main issue we’re having as dairymen these days is the lack of understanding by the general public about how a modern dairy farm really works.  We as dairymen can no longer survive by milking a few dozen cows based on a pasture diet.  The genetic growth has unlocked a lot of potential in our cows and with that comes a lot of milk if fed correctly.

There’s more management with dairying these days than just going out and milking cows.  I wish more people could actually visit modern-day dairy farms.  I think they would understand a lot more about how precise and scientific it really is these days.  Small changes in the cows’ diet can make a huge difference in their health.

We do all we can to keep all of our cows as comfortable as possible so they are able to provide nutritious food for consumers.  And, I think that we have proof that our dedication to our cows pays off.  One of our mottos is: Focused on Longevity for the Future, and I believe we’re doing that.  More than a quarter of our milking herd is older than 5 years old, with our oldest cow being 13!

We care for our cows expecting them to last a long time and be productive for a long time.  We take care of their environment and the environment around us, because not only is it in our best interest, but it’s the right thing to do.

There are misconceptions and falsehoods being thrown about every day about how modern-day dairy farms are.  My advice is to try your best to talk to, or visit a dairy farm.  We give school tours and welcome visitors any time!

Winter in Indiana just screams fresh fruit and veggies, right?

clementines By Michelle Plummer

Well, wait a minute—there are some really great fruits and veggies just ripe for the picking!  Let’s explore value, flavor and the process!

As some of you may know by now, I am not a big fruit eater. Sometimes it does taste great. Other times, it has great-looking packaging but inside not a lot of flavor. For this reason, I swear by canned fruit.  As I read my Mandarin Orange label here at my desk….a big can(15 ounces) of mandarin oranges: rich in Vitamin C (35%  in each serving) , 6%  Vitamin A and a bit of calcium and Iron (but I said big can).  Three servings for $1.19 and at 90 calories a serving, this is great! I can get all of my vitamin C, it is fruit, it has fiber, it tastes good and I have a great value.  Canned fruit is a great option when fresh is not in season.

OK  if you are not sold on canned, Cuties™,those fun peeling ‘little oranges’,  are in season,   Honey Bells® are the other orange that is luscious.  Bananas, pineapple and some apples are very flavorful and good on the budget. So right there you have your five servings of fruit.

Veggies-  this is so much easier!  Potatoes- all colors are in vogue and season!  They are rich in potassium, Vitamin C (you may note folks in the office have colds), Iron and are lower in calories but big in flavor!  Carrots, celery, and leafy greens are all great value and contain many vitamins, especially folic acid.  According to  Baby Center,  in 2010 more babies were born in September.  This is one great reason to  eat your dark green leafy veggies in January!

But do not forget the frozen food aisle either.  This is where 12- ounce bags of perfectly clean, cut and sweet vegetables in over 15 varieties (and fruit) can be found.  All these options make it hard to say you can’t get your 5 servings of fruit and veggies daily.  As for me, I love the frozen broccoli and you already know what I have in my desk drawer!

Oh! One more great buy this time of year are beans!  Canned or dry,  the vitamins, protein, and fiber that beans provide are tops!  And talk about buying local for the Superbowl- NK Hurst has been in business since 1938!  You just won’t believe their Sloppy Joe recipe!  You really can enjoy fruits and vegetables in the winter and get good quality at a good price!

Mood Food? Some Foods Can Affect Our Emotions

By DeDe Hausmann

Foods can affect how we feel and research backs it up, according to the US News and World Report, in an article written by Angela Haupt in August, 2011.  Changes in our diets can affect our brains chemically and physiologically effecting our emotions and behavior.  Many of us tend to think that the nutrients we consume effect how physically healthy our bodies are but many don’t know of the correlation between certain foods and our moods.

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Healthy Weight Week

This morning I was listening to the radio and heard an alarming statistic: Millions of Americans make a New Year resolution to lose weight, and by the second week of January, 92% of people have already ‘fallen off the wagon.’  They have blown their diet and are back to square one. I dedicate Healthy Weight Week to those 92%. Healthy Weight Week is January 15 – 21.

 According to their website, Healthy Weight Week “is a time to celebrate healthy living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems, rather than intensifying them, as diets do. Healthy Weight Week promotes healthy non-diet lifestyles for children and adults of every size. It helps them move ahead to healthy habits they can live with long term – sound, reasonable habits that allow them to live well and get on with their lives. Eat well, live actively, and feel good about yourself and others.”

I know a lot of people want that quick fix but that simply won’t last. It really does take a lifestyle change. Many people reading this are rolling their eyes right about now. But honestly, it does take small gradual changes. You have heard it before – physical activity, smaller portions, eat from all the foods groups, lots of water and the list goes on.  So I will give you another tip that you can add to your list.

Try adding a little protein to each meal.  Infusing your diet with foods and beverages made with high-quality protein can help space protein intake throughout the day and help curb hunger. Protein takes longer to digest and helps stabilize your blood glucose levels. That means your stomach feels fuller for longer periods of time. When that happens, you may look at food that you would normally be craving only to decide you simply are not hungry. When your glucose (aka blood sugar) levels are low, you feel hungry. If you start out the day with a good source of protein and/or fiber, you may be well-nourished until lunch, which will help you avoid overeating or overindulging while waiting for noon to arrive.

Your body uses protein all day long. Try protein-rich yogurt, milk or cheese to help get your protein. Experts suggest spreading protein intake throughout the day may be more beneficial compared to consuming one high protein meal.