Prairie Fare: An opportunity to help with research-based outreach

Julie Garden-Robinson
NDSU Extension
Julie Garden-Robinson, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

What are the most common passwords?

They include “Password,” “123456,” “123456789” and “12345678.” Some people get sneaky and use “Password1.”I hope you are not using any of these passwords, or similar ones, now or in the future, by the way.

I admit that I get annoyed every time I need to set a new username and password for various accounts, apps and software I use. We even have to enter a password to unlock our cell phones, unless we have enabled our thumb print as our “password.”

While using the same username and password combination is tempting, for your own security, you will not want to do that.

In fact, be cautious about taking the fun quizzes on social media that ask for your pet’s name, your high school, date of birth and things like that. Someone adept in grabbing online information could be fishing for your potential passwords and your identity.

Like many people, I spend most of my days connected to technology in some way.

When I log into my Facebook or Twitter account, I often see false information spread. Most recently, I saw some alarming information about home canning practices.

As we approach the end of 2022, I have noted many miraculous weight-loss products appearing as ads on social media and even as unwanted texts on my phone.

“A cup of this will get rid of your belly fat,” according to a text on my personal cell phone.

That was a little insulting. What do they know about the state of my waistline? How did they get my phone number anyway?

We have enormous amounts of information available to us online, and not all of it is trustworthy. A search for a particular health-related topic may result in thousands of "hits." Sometimes, the less science-based sources pop up sooner.

Deciphering trustworthy information from quackery can be difficult. The URL suffix gives an indication of the reliability and source of the information. For example, ".gov" is used by many government agencies and ".edu" is used by many educational institutions. Websites with a ".com" suffix sometimes are reliable organizational sites, and sometimes they are purely commercial.

Ask these questions as you explore nutrition, food safety and health information:

  • Who is the author?
  • What are his or her credentials? Keep in mind that you can buy credentials, so you may want to do some further exploration.
  • Is a credible sponsoring institution identified?
  • What is the purpose of the information? Is the site promoting or selling a particular product?
  • Is the information based on scientific research or opinion?
  • Is a date listed? How current is the information?
  • Does the information have links to other sources of information? This sometimes provides a clue to reliability but not always. Anyone can link to another organization’s website.
  • Are the facts documented with sound scientific references? Or is the information solely based on personal testimonials?
  • Does an editorial board oversee the content?
  • Is the information well-written in terms of grammar and spelling? What is the tone of the writing? Does it take a balanced approach?

We in Extension pride ourselves in delivering research-based information. I’d like to invite you to help us create more research-based information through participating in an online food and nutrition survey.

If you are 18 or older and eat food on a regular basis, you are eligible to complete this two-part online survey, which takes a total of about 15 minutes long. We would like a lot of participants in the survey, and we will use it to create new educational tools for everyone.

As a thank you for taking the survey, you could win one of many prizes, including gift cards and a variety of other items, in random drawings not connected to your responses.

You can complete it on a cell phone, tablet or desktop. You will not need a username or password, by the way.

Visit to complete the survey. I thank you in advance for your help.

Eating more produce is always a good idea. Here’s a colorful salad recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate and Produce for Better Health Foundation. This is an easy way to use leftover chicken or turkey and enjoy some crisp fall apples. Serve it on a bed of lettuce or stuffed in a pita pocket bread.

Apple and chicken salad

  • 2 red apples, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cups diced chicken or turkey (roasted or grilled)
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 16 lettuce leaves (Bibb, Romaine, etc.)
  • Pita pocket bread (optional)

Rinse the apples, celery and lettuce under running water. Remove apple cores and dice. Dice celery and roasted chicken or turkey. In a bowl, mix other ingredients except lettuce. Place four lettuce leaves on each plate and top with mixture. Alternatively, stuff the mixture into pita pocket bread cut in half.

Makes four servings of salad. When served on a lettuce leaf, each serving has 290 calories 8 grams of fat, 25 grams of protein, 34 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber and 330 milligrams of sodium.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences. Follow her on Twitter @jgardenrobinson.