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Food, Nutrition and Health by the Month
National Food Days, Weeks & Months
Kayla Colgrove, MS, RD
Contributors: Kayla Colgrove, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Gage County; Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County; and Lisa Franzen Castle, MS, RD, PhD, Panhandle Research and Extension Center.
Questions or comments? Email Kayla Colgrove, MS, RD
You are welcome to link to our calendar.
Click on a link to find TIPS, RECIPES, and RESOURCES related to that day, week or month. Or simply scroll down the page.
Questions about December Calendar? Email author, Kayla Colgrove, MS, Extension Educator
National Food Days
- Eat a Red Apple Day (December 1)
- Pie Day (December 1)
- Make a Gift Day (December 3)
- Cookie Day (December 4)
- Microwave Oven Day (December 6)
- Brownie Day (December 8)
- Ice Cream Day (December 13)
- Oatmeal Muffin Day (December 19)
- Pumpkin Pie Day (December 25)
National Food Weeks
- Handwashing Awareness Week (1st Full Week of December)
National Food Months
- Egg Nog Month
- Food Safety Tips for the Holiday
- Fruit Cake Month
- Healthy Holiday Tips
- Pear Month
- Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Most of us have heard the phrase "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." The best part about including apples into your diet is that they are low in calories and high in dietary fiber.
The Youth / 4-H section of our website offers these fun recipes for enjoying that red apple :
Try one of these recipes to enjoy on Pie Day:
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Here are some homemade food gift ideas from various Extension Offices around the nation:
Enjoy these cookie recipes from the Youth / 4-H Section of our website:
Make sure you know how to use the microwave safely! Many families use microwave ovens to prepare food, but accidents can occur if appliance is not used properly. Read about microwave safety do's and don'ts from UNL Extension.
Learn the latest about using your microwave oven safely and effectively from USDA on Microwave Ovens and Food Safety.
Enjoy these brownie recipes:
Want to try a lower fat option? University of Illinois Extension in Urban Illinois wrote an article about Lowering Fat for Baking and at the bottom of the article they included a lower-fat brownie recipe.
You can substitute unsweetened applesauce or plain yogurt for oil in most bakery recipes, such as brownies and cakes.Yogurt could change the acidity of the ingredients which might affect baking soda. Also, the applesauce may not work as a total substitution or even a substitution if the recipe is one where you cream the sugar with the fat. See this section from baking911.com
We all scream for ice cream. Check out these delicious ice cream recipes:
Adding oatmeal to your muffins gives them a nutritional boost! Oatmeal is classified as a whole grain and can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity. Grabbing an oatmeal muffin makes a perfect on-the-go breakfast option. Make sure to add a glass of low-fat or nonfat milk on your way out. The best way to celebrate Oatmeal Muffin Day is to try one of these recipes:
Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A. Pumpkin pie is a great way to get vitamin A into your diet.
Try these delicious recipes:
Handwashing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of illness according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Help promote handwashing at your work or community site with these FREE materials!
For additional turkey safety tips, see our Thanksgiving section.
The University of Illinois Extension wrote a great article about Fruitcake for the Holidays. The article stated, "Fruitcake is traditionally a heavy spiced cake that includes lots of dried and/or candied fruits and nuts." At the end of the article they include an Orange Slice "Fruit" Cake recipe.
Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain (Not a special day ... but a recurring theme throughout the month!)
Extra calories can sneak in over the holidays. They don't always come in large portions, but can tiptoe in through tiny tastes throughout the day. We hope you enjoy viewing our slide show and learning more! (Directions for downloading a related PowerPoint are found below the slide show.)
Check out these great resources to help you have a healthier holiday:
Many fruits are out of season during the winter months. Pears are available fresh during this time. Check out these pear resources:
For more information regarding pears, check out www.usapears.com.
Many children receive toys during the holidays. Make sure to check that the toys are safe by looking at these great resources: