The Truth About Nutella

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern


Photo: Hungry Onion blog

Chocolate hazelnut spread is a favorite treat across the world. But have you ever looked at its nutrition label? Here’s all the facts, and why you might want to cut back on your hazelnut spread eating habit.


  • Nutella’s serving size is 2 tablespoons. Just those two little scoops contain 21 grams of sugar and 200 calories.
  • Half of the jar of Nutella is made up of sugar alone.
  • It contains soy lecithin, which is hard to digest and genetically modified.
  • Soy lecithin is very processed and can affect hormones.
  • Studies on palm oil, a key ingredient in Nutella, have been shown to cause cancer.
  • Palm oil’s high concentration of saturated fats can cause heart disease as well as increase your levels of cholesterol.
  • Additionally, palm oil is hard for the digestive system to break down and adds to the toxins in your lungs, kidneys, and liver.


More information on palm oil can be found here.

Do you still have that hazelnut spread craving? Try this healthier, simple version you can make at home.


Easy Homemade Nutella Recipe



  • 1 cup (140g) Hazelnuts, raw
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) Cocoa powder
  • 12 oz (340g) Milk chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons (24g) Powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt



1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven for about 7-8 minutes, until slightly browned and the skins are blistered a little. Wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove as much loose skin as possible. Let cool completely.

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Let cool slightly.

4. Place the hazelnuts in a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and continue to process until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add melted chocolate and process until combined and smooth.

4. Strain the mixture to remove any chunks of hazelnut that remain (optional). Transfer to a jar or any other container.

5. Store the chocolate-hazelnut spread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


  • The best option for the oil is hazelnut oil, if can’t find hazelnut oil you can use canola oil or any vegetable oil. Olive oil is healthiest.
  • You can use more or less sugar, depending on your preference.


Looking for more nutrition facts? Find them on Fill Your Plate’s blog.

Share This:
Posted in Cooking, Diet Tips, Fill Your Plate, Food, Food Facts, Food Production, Food Safety, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fill Your Plate’s Advice on Vitamin D

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

Photo: Yenni Vance via Pixabay


Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that your body needs. It helps keep your bones strong by absorbing calcium from supplements and food, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver. Recent studies by The University of Chicago have shown that those with a sufficient amount of vitamin D in their systems are less likely to be infected with COVID-19.

“Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections,” said David Meltzer, MD, PhD, Chief of Hospital Medicine at UChicago Medicine and lead author of the study. “Our statistical analysis suggests this may be true for the COVID-19 infection.”


Here is a collection of Fill Your Plate articles with all the facts about it.


Friday Food Fact Audio Clip: Egg Yolks are a Natural Source of Vitamin D

Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency: Vitamin D is something that most of us know is obtained from the sun, and it is an important part of our daily makeup and how our bodies function. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating calcium and maintains phosphorus levels in the blood. We also need Vitamin D for the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium. Additional benefits of Vitamin D are that it helps regulate insulin levels, support lung function and promote healthy bones and teeth.

(Continued in article, click the link to read more)

Should you take a Vitamin D Supplement?: According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mineral density. They recommend not smoking, limiting alcohol, regular weight-bearing exercise, and getting the calcium and vitamin D your body needs daily. But, should you be taking a vitamin D supplement?

(Continued in article, click the link to read more)

The Importance of Vitamin D: We all know that vitamins and nutrients are good for us, but do we know why? I personally feel that when I know the exact benefits that a vitamin provides me, the more likely I am to incorporate it into my life. Some vitamins not only have physical benefits but mental as well. One such vitamin is Vitamin D. This crucial nutrient impacts many important bodily functions, but unfortunately, many people are not getting enough of this super vitamin. In fact, about 40% of the U.S. population has a Vitamin D deficiency. Let’s take a look at the role that Vitamin D plays in our bodies and ways we can get more of it.

(Continued in article, click the link to read more)

Vitamin D—The Sunshine Vitamin: Vitamin D has recently become a hot topic in the world of health and wellness. From small health blogs to the New York Times, this vitamin has been featured just about everywhere. With so much information available, it can be overwhelming to sort through the thousands of resources that make claims about Vitamin D. Let’s take away some of that confusion and take a closer look at this miraculous vitamin!

(Continued in article, click the link to read more)



Share This:
Posted in Cooking, Diet Tips, Eggs, Fill Your Plate, Food, Food Facts, Fun Food Facts, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Seven Chores to Teach Your Kids

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern


Photo: StockSnap on Pixabay


Each household has a different way of doing chores. Some have a chore chart, others know their assigned chores, and some have a day once a week where everyone helps clean the house. Usually everybody pitches in to help out around the house.

Whatever your method is, some of these chores take priority in what makes the house clean. I learned to do chores when I was young and the importance of keeping a clean house stuck with me. Here are some of my experiences with chores growing up, as well as my top seven chores I recommend kids learn how to do and at what ages.


Top Seven Chores for Children


  1. Doing dishes is easy and can be fun for little kids, ages 3-7. Get a stepstool so they can help you wash dishes in the sink. Wash all the knives and glass objects or put them in the dishwasher before getting your little one involved. Rinsing and scrubbing the plastic cups, plates, bowls, and utensils with mom or dad and all those bubbles makes doing dishes more fun for both parent and child.
  2. Sweeping and vacuuming makes your floors look and feel nice. I don’t know about you, but I hate the feeling of stepping on crumbs! Kids ages 7 and up can help with these activities. The only thing you need to make sure of beforehand is if they are tall enough to use the broom and strong enough to push the vacuum. If they are under 7 or smaller, get a hand broom so they can handle it easier. You might plug in the vacuum for them to avoid outlet problems.
  3. Laundry is so important to teach your kids early on! I want to thank my mom for all those years she did my laundry. I really could have done it starting when I was 10 or so. It’s much easier than a kid thinks it is. When kids first learn how to do laundry, it can be confusing to decide what load a piece of clothing goes into if it has multiple colors in it. That’s why my favorite laundry buddy is Color Catchers! You can put whites, darks, and colors all in one load if you throw one of these sheets in with it. Or you can put one in if you’re not sure if you put the right clothes together in a load. It absorbs excess dyes that would otherwise end up ruining your clothes!
  4. Dusting is probably the easiest chore out there. Get a duster and some Pledge you/re good to go. If you’re having your little kids dust, make sure you hang on to the Pledge and spray it for them so they don’t get it in their eyes or mouth on accident. Dusting makes everything look clean and sparkly for when guests come over, or just for your personal satisfaction!
  5. Making your bed is another simple task that takes only five minutes. Studies have shown that people who make their bed right after waking up are more productive and feel accomplished. Teach your kids how to make a bed from the very beginning. Wash your sheets and blankets. Show them how to put on the fitted sheet, top sheet, blankets and pillow cases, and also teach them how to make their bed in the morning once they’re done sleeping in it. Picking out a fun bedspread can also make kids excited to make their bed and keep their room clean.
  6. Taking out the trash in the kitchen is essential to keeping your kitchen smelling fresh and looking nice. Have your kids take a big kitchen trash bag, go to all the rooms in the house and empty the wastebaskets in each room. We do this as well as mow the lawn before every trash collection day. Get your kids a cute trashcan to put in their room to keep trash from building up under their beds.
  7. Picking up after yourself is another important chore. Whether its putting your toys back in the toy bin or taking your backpack to your room instead of leaving it on the stairs, mom and dad appreciate it! It keeps the house clean longer and stay less cluttered.


Looking for more tips and tricks? Search Fill Your Plate’s blog!


Related Articles:

Get Your Kids To Move!

Teach Your Kids to Pack Their Lunch

A Summer/Quarantine Activity: Planting A Vegetable Garden with Kids

Share This:
Posted in Fill Your Plate, Fun and Games, In the Kitchen, Just For Fun, Kids, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Teach Your Kids to Cook (Without the Mess)

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern


Photo: Andrzej Rembowski via Pixabay


Being taught how to cook is one of the most vital life skills children learn growing up. I’m still not the best at it, but knowing the basics helps tons when it’s time for your kids to head off to college or live on their own for the first time.

I learned these cooking tips when I was growing up, and they have definitely helped me become better at cooking. Hopefully they can help your children as well!


Cooking Tips for Different Ages


  1. Start small by teaching your kids ages 3-7 easy, no-bake recipes, such as pudding. My sister enjoyed mixing the pudding ingredients together when she was little. She loved to have “pudding parties” with her siblings and aunts. This makes cooking fun and easy for them. In addition, avoid using the oven or knifes so they don’t try to make recipes with those tools on their own.
  2. Supervise their cooking on the stove when you think they’re old enough. I learned how to make scrambled eggs when I was 8 or 9, but the right age just varies depending on the child’s maturity. Scrambled and fried eggs are simple and a great breakfast staple with plenty of protein to keep them fueled throughout the day. You can also teach them box recipes like brownies. This will require a little more assistance, to make sure they preheat the oven before mixing ingredients and cover the brownies after (common mistakes I made when I was younger!).
  3. Let them pack their own lunch. They can do this from elementary school through high school. Buy healthy snacks like fruit leather, trail mix or nuts, hummus with crackers, and veggies like carrots, grape tomatoes, broccoli, and snap peas. Teach them how to make a variety of sandwiches to mix things up. See this article for ideas for different kinds of sandwiches. Try different combinations that you wouldn’t normally try, like peanut butter, Nutella and bananas, cucumbers and cream cheese, or bacon, provolone, avocado and tomato.
  4. Have them make dinner once a week when they’re confident with cooking on their own. This will mostly likely they be when they are in their teenage years. Teach them easy recipes for meals like oven-cooked barbeque chicken. Easy, fresh, and nutritious vegetable sides like baked potatoes or steamed broccoli can be prepared in the microwave. Put the food in a Tupperware with a little water and a corner of the lid ajar. Heat smaller veggies like broccoli for 3 minutes. Heat bigger veggies like potatoes for 6 minutes. Top with butter, salt, and other desired toppings and enjoy!
  5. Teach them how to meal prep when they’re teenagers so when they live on their own, they will already have meals ready to eat for when they’re in between classes or on a lunch break at work. Buy bento boxes or plastic Tupperware of the same size, big enough to fit a meal but small enough to put in a lunchbox. Plan your meals to have starches, protein, veggies, fruit, and dairy in them. A good example of a meal would be brown rice with steamed veggies and orange chicken or beef with soy sauce. Steam a few different kinds of vegetables and put different ones in each box, so they don’t get tired of eating the same thing.


Still not sure what to make? Find more recipes on Fill Your Plate’s recipe database!

Share This:
Posted in Cooking, Fill Your Plate, Food, Fruit, Fun and Games, Grocery, In the Kitchen, Just For Fun, Kids, Produce, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mental Health in Rural America: A Documentary

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern


Maintaining good mental health is an essential need in all of our lives. RFD-TV and the American Farm Bureau recognized this need in the population of rural America and came together to create a documentary, titled “Mental Health in Rural America”. It aired live on RFD-TV and is also recorded on YouTube here to view at any time.

The Arizona Farm Bureau has covered this topic as well in their article, “Tamping Down the Stress Level on the Farm”. Below are some highlights from the article that give great insight on how to recognize and help alleviate signs of stress or mental illness in co-workers, friends, and family members.


Tell-Tale Signs of a Mental Health Crisis

Ruth Tutor-Marcom, with North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, advises that clear signals can be identified. “Communication is not weakness,” says Tutor-Marcom. She gives a list of signals.


  • The decline in care of crops, animals, and farm
  • Deterioration of personal appearance
  • Increasing life insurance
  • Withdrawing from social events, family and friends
  • Change in mood and or routine
  • Increase in farm accidents
  • Family shows signs of stress
  • Increase in physical complaints, difficulty sleeping
  • Increase in drug or alcohol use
  • Giving away prized possessions, calling or saying goodbye
  • Feeling trapped (no way out)
  • “Nothing to live for”
  • “My family would be better off without me; don’t want to be a burden”


And, in today’s current environment, farmers and ranchers have a combination of conditions compounding the typical stress that can be found down on the farm or ranch.


Issues Compounding the Stress

  • Weather
  • Increased production costs
  • Tariffs
  • Trade/foreign competition
  • Increased labor costs/shortage
  • Tax re-evaluations
  • Health issues
  • Plant/animal disease
  • Intergenerational tensions
  • Development encroachment
  • Litigation
  • Environmentalists
  • Commodity of scale
  • Immigration
  • Regulation
  • Equipment failures


This list just names a few, though the list could be longer. Farmers and ranchers, according to research, manage their stress four main ways.


  • Figure, reassess and reassure: Notepad and sticky notes. Always figuring out how to make ends meet. If they can convince themselves it’s going to be ok, they can convince family and loan officers.
  • Distraction: They go get parts, ignore troubling issues, take the day off.
  • Repression: Eat or drink or even do drugs.
  • Broaden and Build: Build positive reserves. When times get bad I remember the good or fun times. (go fishing, camping, other recreational activities)


While some ways to manage the stress are positive, others will obviously have a long-term negative impact. And, if a family member recognizes some telltale signs, the experts suggest a few immediate ways to positively improve the situation.


  • Listen, don’t blame. While time to talk on the farm may be rare it’s important, so listen to what needs to be said and show empathy. Many experts suggest that listening non-judgmentally with care and concern may be most of what’s needed.
  • Recognize the problem, don’t avoid it. Family members can give encouragement and provide resources for help.
  • Cultural and religious beliefs can have a positive impact. Faith for many is the strongest hope to hang on to.
  • Keep Resources Handy, especially during May Mental Health Awareness Month (a legitimate excuse to talk about the issue).
  • Employee Assistance Program:
  • National Alliance on Mental Health:
  • Make It Ok:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.900.273.8255.


Finally, in a time when issues on the farm are more pressing than ever, strengthening your own health and wellness may be your best strategy for staying mentally healthy. What are these? Tutor-Marcom has several suggestions.


  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Balance work and play.
  • Avoid working to weary (a common occurrence on the farm).
  • Take time to unwind before bedtime.
  • Contemplate, pray, sing, meditate or do activities that require mental focus.
  • Be in the moment.
  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • Accentuate the positive. Inventory your skills and strengths.
  • List the things you’re grateful for. (Many suggest making this a regular exercise)
  • Take time to unwind before bedtime.


Find more articles on Fill Your Plate by searching on our blog for any topic.

Share This:
Posted in Arizona, Arizona farmers and ranchers, Farm Safety, Fill Your Plate, Focus on Agriculture, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the News, On the Farm, Video | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment