Mini Meatloaves


1 lb lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken

1 ½ cup salsa

1 egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup dry bread crumbs

¼ cup finely chopped onion

Dash of black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray


Heat oven to 350 F

Combine all ingredients, saving half of salsa for topping

Divide into 5 equal portions and shape into flattened loaves.

Spray baking dish with non-stick spray and place loaves in dish

Spoon half of the remaining salsa on top of loaves and bake for 20 minutes

Take out of oven and spoon remaining salsa over top and bake for another 10 minutes. Be sure ground beef meatloaf reaches 160 ̊F or 165 ̊F for ground turkey or ground chicken.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

150 Calories, Total Fat 4.5g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Protein 22g, Total Carbohydrate 7g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sodium 170mg.

Excellent source of Vitamin C. Good source of iron.

EFNEP Supports Healthy Hearts

Did you know heart health is important at all ages, not just for when we get older? February is American Heart Month, and this means that all of us, both men and women, should be concerned with keeping our hearts healthy. But how do you know if you are at risk of an unhealthy heart? The CDC has put together a list of risk factors to help you better understand.

The good news is there are many ways we can improve our overall health and keep our hearts strong. Here are a few below:

One thing to remember is that heart health is important for your lifetime. Making changes to how we eat and stay active can be challenging. However, together, we can support and encourage each other. For American Heart Month 2019, make a pact with others to be heart healthy. Share the ways that you’re being heart healthy throughout the month by using #OurHearts and tagging #EFNEPworks on social media.


New Year, New Goals – Move More!

New Year, New Goals – Move More!

Did you know that the top four New Year’s Resolutions in 2018 were to eat healthier, exercise more, save more money, and take better care of yourself? We often end our holidays and start our new year with great intentions, but fizzle out before the last decorations have been put away.

Although they can feel impossible, health goals don’t have to be a challenge! Regular exercise can improve mood and mental health, control weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and help you sleep better at night. Incorporating more physical activity can be as simple as sitting less and moving more throughout your day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 30-45 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 20 minutes of vigorous activity each day for major health benefits.

Regular exercise doesn’t always have to mean a trip to the gym. Here are some helpful tips to make exercise more enjoyable:

  • YouTube workouts: YouTube is full of great workouts for any skill level that can be done from the comfort of your home!
  • Join a community recreation center: many community centers have athletic programs such as softball and kickball that can make exercise both fun and social! Check with your local community center for more information.
  • Go for a walk or play at the park: although the weather can be a bit chilly this time of year, some days are still warmer. Try taking a walk with your kids or visit a local park as a fun way to get the whole family involved!
  • Discount gym memberships: many gyms have discount memberships at the beginning of the year. Check with a local gym to see if they have any deals.

Remember, a resolution doesn’t have to be perfect! Don’t give up if don’t reach your exercise goal every week. Give these exercise tips a try this new year!


Mindful Eating and Portion Control

Do you remember what you ate for breakfast? How about last night’s dinner? Eating is becoming a subconscious act, similar to breathing, we do it every day but our focus is often on other things. We chew and swallow without really tasting our food or we focus on the next bite before enjoying the current one. Many watch television or fiddle with their phone, keeping their attention away from their meal. This can contribute to overeating and weight problems. Think about it. Have you ever mindlessly shoveled in an entire bag of chips or ½ a tub of ice cream while watching a movie?

Mindfully savoring your food can be a great tool for portion control. Not only will you be paying attention to your food but also to your body. Are you still hungry or are you satisfied? Follow the tips below to begin your mindful eating practice.

  1. Start with small portions. Choose smaller bowls and plates.
  2. Use all your senses. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, pay attention to color, texture, smell, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try to taste all of the ingredients.
  3. Take small bites. It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full.
  4. Put your fork down between bites. The act of setting your fork down forces you to focus on chewing your food rather than letting yourself mindlessly pick at your plate for your next bite.
  5. Eat in silence. Minimize distractions and make sure you’re eating in a calm environment. Close your eyes if you find your thoughts racing to other things.
  6. Focus on finding the sweet spot between hungry and full. Pay attention to how you feel during the meal and how long you stay satisfied after eating. Eventually, you will get more comfortable understanding your body’s cues for hunger and fullness.  


By Laura Harkins, EFNEP Intern

Eat Better, Eat Together

Family Eating Dinner

Take the time to set your busy schedule aside and focus on enjoying meals as a family. All too often, meals are consumed as an afterthought with hastily thrown together with ingredients and family members eating at all different times. Some may eat in front of the TV, some at the kitchen counter, and some in the car while driving to work. Finding time to gather at the kitchen table may seem impossible but the benefits should not be overlooked.

Benefits of Eating Meals Together

  • Families who eat together are more likely to eat their 5 servings of fruit and vegetables
  • Eating together helps strengthen relationships by allowing for a time to connect
  • Allows parents to “lead by example” and show children proper table manners.

 Tips for Eating Meals as a Family

  • Involve children in meal preparation and clean-up
  • Plan meals before grocery shopping
  • Start with one family meal per week or gradually add more meals together each week.
  • Make family meals a priority by writing it on the calendar

When was the last time you sat down and ate a meal with your family? If you cannot remember, now is a great time to start. Make it a pleasant experience for all and have everyone share how their day went.

by Laura Harkins





Get Ready for the Next Storm

Broken power lines on a power pole.

There is much concern about the next hurricane’s arrival to the North Carolina coast.   Residents far inland can also be affected by strong winds that can cause trees and power poles to fall. Loss of power can affect many, and be detrimental if you use your freezer for food storage, so prepare now.

Here are food safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. If you have space in your freezer, fill sealable plastic containers about 2/3 full of water and place in freezer NOW to provide insulation if the power goes out.
  • If you are able, stock up on “no cook” food items for your family.
  • If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while it is still at safe temperatures, it’s important that each item is thoroughly cooked to its proper temperature to assure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present are destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours or more – discard it.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source before eating.
  • For infants, try to use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. When using concentrated or powdered formulas, prepare with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated.

Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service has a helpful website full of information.

Get Ready!