Extension website encourages Oregonians to eat healthier

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The OSU Extension Service's Food Hero website includes this recipe for ham and vegetable chowder. (Photo by Laura LaMotte.)
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Nearly 200 recipes with appetizing photos and nutritional analysis are online

The Oregon State University Extension Service encourages low-income Oregonians to eat more fruits and vegetables with affordable, easy recipes and shopping and cooking tips via its Food Hero website.

The idea for the site came after OSU surveyed thousands of Oregonians eligible for federal food assistance. Although 81 percent said they wanted to serve more balanced meals, they tended to not eat recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Nearly half of those surveyed wanted to find information about healthy food choices online.

Between January 2012 and February 2013, there were nearly 75,000 visits to the website, with 25 percent being return visits. During this same time, visitors viewed almost 420,000 pages. Active on social media, Food Hero had more than 430 Facebook fans, 270 Twitter followers and nearly 200 Pinterest followers as of March 2013. One chicken pasta recipe has been shared more than 19,000 times on Pinterest.

Extension nutritionists have also demonstrated how to cook recipes from the website to families at about 60 elementary schools in 27 counties. Extension also emails a newsletter with recipes in Vietnamese, Spanish and English to readers.

Source: Lauren Tobey, OSU Extension nutrition education program coordinator.

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