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Reach Your Goal Weight Your Way with the NIH Body Weight Planner and USDA’s SuperTracker

Body Weight Planner graphic

This image shows the Body Weight Planner results page for a sample user we can call #1Mom. #1Mom is trying to reach her goal weight of 138 pounds in 180 days (about 6 months). Based on her goal and the physical activity changes she specified, the Body Weight Planner calculated that she will need to eat 1,819 calories a day to reach her goal and 2,094 calories a day to maintain it after she reaches it (assuming she keeps up her physical activity changes). (Click to enlarge)

Many people want to do a better job managing their weight but aren’t sure how. Whether you’re trying to maintain your weight, lose weight, or gain weight it can be challenging to figure out how to get started.

USDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) teamed up to bring you a simple new tool that can help you set, reach, and maintain your goal. Using science-based technology, the NIH Body Weight Planner calculates how many calories you need to eat and how much exercise you need to achieve a goal weight within a specific time period. You set the goal and decide what timeframe makes sense for you. Read more »

Kids’ “State Dinner”: Celebrating Healthy Cooking at the White House

Menu from the Kids’ “State Dinner”

Menu from the Kids’ “State Dinner” featured healthy, MyPlate-inspired recipes by talented kid-chefs.

Don’t let the name fool you; attending the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House is an exciting experience for both kids and adults alike.  As a nutritionist with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, I had the privilege of being both a judge and an attendee for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a contest where young chefs-in-training practice creating their own MyPlate-inspired healthy recipes.  The winners of this competition are in turn honored on July 10 with a special invitation to the White House for the Kids’ “State Dinner” and I joined these talented, young chefs for an unforgettable experience.

Kids and their guardians participated in a welcome reception prior to getting their picture taken with the First Lady. Excitement, and the sweet smell of fresh produce, was certainly in the air! However, it wasn’t just the recipes at the “State Dinner” that were inspired by MyPlate—even the centerpieces were created by using a variety of fruits and vegetables! Read more »

Migrating Monarchs

Children enjoying a Monarch Butterfly during a community event in Chicago

Children enjoy a Monarch Butterfly during a community event in Chicago. (Photo by Alexander Rivera for El Valor)

Last month, beautiful monarch butterflies floated across Chicago’s skyline as a part of their annual migration. During this year’s journey, they found more milkweed plants in several places along their paths because of an innovative program that connects urban communities with nature.

Area school kids, their families and teachers involved in an innovative project were thrilled: they had planted milkweeds in schoolyards and home gardens to attract more monarchs to the city … and it worked.  Many of the families are originally from Michoacan, Mexico, where the butterflies spend the winter. Read more »

1890 Land-Grant University Alumni Making a Difference at USDA

Michael Mathews (third from right) with the Rural Development team on a recent visit to Alaska.

Michael Mathews (third from right) with the Rural Development team on a recent visit to Alaska.

The Second Morrill Act of 1890 was enacted by Congress to support states in establishing the 1890 Land-Grant Universities (LGUs) –Historically Black Colleges and Universities which are committed to providing educational opportunity through scientific research and extension programs. 

There are currently nineteen 1890 LGUs across eighteen states, and each continues to cultivate leadership in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and agriculture to this day. Read more »

Healthy Soil is Covered Soil

Bales on land

The crop nutrients removed by baling and removing corn stalks can be costly to replace.

Of the several practices USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends to improve soil health and sustainability one of the most important is to keep the soil covered. 

In corn and soybean fields, the starting point is maintaining the post-harvest crop residue on the soil surface. Crop residue is plant material remaining after harvesting, including leaves, stalks, and roots. Read more »

An Agricultural Legacy: Agriculture Strides through the Generations

Dr. Antoine Alston, professor and associate dean for academic studies in North Carolina A&T State University’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Antoine Alston is professor and associate dean for academic studies in North Carolina A&T State University’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. He is a nationally recognized student mentor, agricultural educator, and expert in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

Ever since their inception 125 years ago with passage of the Second Morrill Act, 1890 land-grant universities (LGU) have had a major impact on the lives of students in 18 states in the field of food and agricultural science.  The legislation was created to increase the number of minorities studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences and the related disciplines.

One alumnus of the 1890 LGU educational system has a passion for giving back, and he has created a program that provides students access to educational tools that weren’t accessible before. Read more »