Happy New Year! In the spirit of the new year and the winter season, look to try one of these winter food activities this January.
1. Food Pantry Experience. There are so many volunteer opportunities related to food insecurity in your communities: volunteer at a local soup kitchen serving food or helping clean-up, help with a mobile food pantry event, or work with a regional food bank unloading boxes.
- In DeWitt and Piatt counties, check out opportunities at the Eastern Illinois Food Bank
- In Macon county, go to the Central Illinois Food Bank
2. Prepare for a Winter Food Emergency. Fortunately, many of us pay attention to weather. In winter, the weather can change quickly, so be ready on as many aspects as you can, including food.
Learn more from:
- Preparing for winter storms and weather emergencies: Keeping your food safe from Michigan State University Extension
- A Guide to Food Storage for Emergencies from Utah State University Extension
3. Winter Fitness. Yes, it is cold outside, but that does not stop the opportunities for fitness. Check out local winter walks, run, midnight hikes, and more through local park and conservation areas, fitness centers and sale-shops, and other businesses. Be sure to wear layers to keep warm.
- Winter Wellness Walk in Piatt Co is running through January 15
- Winter Warrior Fun Run in Macon Co runs through January 31.
- Go ice-skating in Macon Co and nearby our unit in Champaign Co and McLean Co.
4. Grow Herbs Inside. The outdoors may be white with snow or getting dark from the early sunset, but you can bring the green indoors.
Learn more from UI Extension horticulture educators:
- Bring Herb Plants Indoors for a Winter Culinary Treat by Sandra Mason
- Indoor Herb Gardens by Rhonda Ferree
5. Practice Family Meals. During the winter months, maybe there is a snow or cold day. Or you are taking vacation. Use the extra time to practice eating meals together as a family. The more practice you have in working with food, the more you will find how to put shortcuts* into your cooking and what you can make well – and quickly - for your busy life.
Need new recipe ideas?
- Search a recipe and see healthy options from Cooperative Extensions all around the country: https://search.extension.org/
*My shortcut with pasta is to heat both pasta and water together, rather than waiting for the water to boil. Apologies to the chef and culinary readers who may disagree.
Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.