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University of Idaho Extension, Franklin County

Mailing Address:
561 W Oneida
Preston, ID 83263

Phone: 208-852-1097

Fax: 208-852-2812



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Family and Consumer Sciences

UI Extension improves the quality of life for adults, children and families through research-based education in family and consumer sciences (FCS). FCS programming in Franklin County focuses on 1) Health, nutrition and wellness; 2) Food safety and preservation; and 3) Family economics.

For more information, please call 208-852-1097 or email

Health, Nutrition and Wellness

Extension educators offer help on topics including 1) Meal planning, 2) Saving money at the grocery store, 3) Preparing healthy foods, 4) Balancing time, 5) Managing stress, 6) Mindfulness, 7) Healthy sleep habits and 8) Fitness.

Upcoming Classes


Well Connected Communities Volunteer Program

Flyer (PDF)

Interested in health, wellness, and making a positive community change? Come join this dual in-person and online program that trains you to become the best community health advocate!

Youth (12+ years) and adults learn side-by-side 5:30-7:30 pm

Feb. 18, 25, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

And complete online activities (2 hours per week)

For more information or to sign up, call 208-852-1097 or email


Roadmap to Healthy Eating Online Class

Flyer (PDF)

After completing this free online class, you will better understand how to 1) Plan healthy meals based on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, 2) Utilize the helpful MyPlate recommendations to ensure a well-rounded meal plan, 3) Eat more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and proteins, 4) Choose foods with less added sugars, saturated fats and sodium, 5) Ensure a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.

For more information, contact Laura Sant at

Food Safety and Preservation

University of Idaho Extension educators provide training to consumers through online or in-person classes or by phone on food safety and preservation topics.

Upcoming Classes


In the Preserve@Home course, students will be introduced to food safety and food preservation science, gain an understanding of the principles and science behind foodborne illnesses and food preservation methods and be able to apply these principles to safely preserve food by methods of boiling water canning, pressure canning, pickling, freezing and drying. The next class will be in June.  

For more information or to enroll, contact Laura Sant at

Family Economics

Extension educators give classes in youth and adult financial literacy upon request.

Extension Notes from the Preston Citizen

New research suggests young school-aged children with behavior problems may have different gut bacteria (microbiome) than well-behaved children. Parents may play a role in what type of gut bacteria develop in their children beyond the food they give their children.


The research included 40 children between 5 and 7 years of age. Stool samples were analyzed to identify the types of bacteria in their guts. The results found an association with the specific types of gut bacteria and economic and social difficulties. Another discovery of the research was that a positive parent child relationship may lessen the negative effect of other difficulties on the gut microbiome.



While this study does not prove cause and effect (between a child’s gut microbiome and their behavior), the behavior may be causing gut microbiome changes. In this particular study, the food that was eaten by the children didn’t seem to be responsible for the changes in the microbiome.


Future Implications

If future large studies confirm these findings, it might be possible to use gut microbiome information to predict how a child's behavior might develop. Having that information might lead to earlier (possibly more successful) interventions.


While this study reinforces the idea that there is a brain-gut connection, it doesn’t give any conclusive answers. It does, however, give further areas to research. Currently there is not a lot of research examining the effects of the gut microbiome. It will likely be a while before we know the importance of the gut microbiome (especially in children).

Walnuts may not just be a tasty snack; they may also promote good gut bacteria. Research suggests that these "good" bacteria may contribute to the heart-health benefits of walnuts.


The Experiment


Forty-two people between the ages of 30 and 65 who were with overweight or obesity participated in the study. Before the study, participants ate an average American diet for two weeks.


Then, the participants were randomly assigned to one of three study diets, all of which included less saturated fat than the average American diet. The diets included one with whole walnuts; one with the same amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids as walnuts but without any walnuts; and one that partially substituted oleic acid (another fatty acid) for the same amount of ALA found in walnuts but without any walnuts.


In all three diets, walnuts or vegetable oils replaced saturated fat and all participants followed each diet for six weeks with a break between diet periods.


The Results


To analyze the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, the researchers collected fecal samples 72 hours before the participants finished each of the study diet periods. The walnut diet enriched a number of gut bacteria that have been associated with health benefits in the past, including Roseburia which may protect the gut lining.


After the walnut diet, there were significant associations between changes in gut bacteria and risk factors for heart disease. Some strains of bacteria were inversely associated with lowering blood pressure, suggesting more of the gut bacteria was connected with greater reductions in blood pressure.


Additionally, more of another bacteria (Lachnospiraceae) was associated with greater reductions in blood pressure, total cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol. There were no significant correlations between enriched bacteria and heart-disease risk factors after the other two diets.


These findings show how people can feed the gut microbiome (the name given to the microbes [bacteria, etc.] that live in your intestines) in a positive way. Foods like whole walnuts provide a variety of substrates -- like fatty acids, fiber and bioactive compounds (components of food that act to promote good health) -- for our gut microbiomes to feed on. In turn, this can help generate beneficial metabolites and other products for our bodies that may improve health.


The Take Home Message


Replacing an unhealthy snack with walnuts is a small change to make to the foods that you eat. Considerable evidence shows that making small improvements to the foods that you eat may greatly benefit health. Eating two to three ounces of walnuts a day in addition to overall healthy eating could improve gut health and reduce heart disease.

A new year has begun. Not only do we have to break the habit of writing 2019, when we really mean 2020, but the start of a new decade also creates a unique opportunity for people to scam us.


The Problem


When the year 2020 is abbreviated on official forms and documents, those looking to exploit unsuspecting people can easily add numbers and leave people open to fraud. For example, a document dated 1/4/20 can easily be changed to 1/4/2021 by adding two numbers at the end.




There are many ways that this could pose a problem, but I will only delve into two:

  • Old Checks - Checks older than six months are considered stale, and banks are not required to pay them. Some banks still choose to honor stale checks. If you have an old check lying around that's dated 1/4/20 and someone finds it, they could add "21" to the end of that date, and then the check is no longer stale.
  • Loan Contracts - You sign a credit contract (an agreement between a borrower and a lender) and date it 1/4/20. Then you miss a month or two of payments, and the lender goes to collect the debt that's owed. Theoretically, they could add "19" to the end of that date and argue that you owe more than a year's worth of payments instead of two.



There is one simple way to prevent someone changing the year on your checks and documents. It’s what consumer advocates, auditors and police departments around the country are advising. Don’t shorten the year 2020 to “20”. Write out the whole thing (it's only two more numbers). There are people out there who will take advantage of you if you give them a chance. Even though it's still early in the year and there's no evidence yet that anyone has been scammed in this manner, it's better to be safe than sorry.


Besides being great for your health in many ways, exercise could also influence your level of happiness.


Past Studies


A number of past studies have noted that physical activity may lower risks of developing depression and anxiety than people who rarely move.


But that research was centered on the relationship between exercise and psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety. Fewer past studies explored links between physical activity and upbeat emotions, especially in people who already were psychologically healthy, and those studies often looked at a single age group or type of exercise.


On their own, they do not tell us much about the amounts or types of exercise that might best lift our moods, or whether most of us might expect to find greater happiness with regular exercise or only certain groups of people.


The Review


Researchers  was in The Journal of Happiness Studies and combined and analyzed multiple past studies on working out and happiness. They ended up with 23 studies published since 1980. Most were observational studies where scientists asked a group of people how much they worked out and how happy they were. A few of the studies were experiments in which people started exercising and researchers measured their happiness before and after.


The number of participants in any one study was often small, but together, they represented more than 500,000 people ranging in age from adolescents to the very old and covering a broad range of ethnic and socioeconomic groups.


For most of them, exercise was strongly linked to happiness. The type of exercise didn’t seem to matter. The amount of exercise needed to influence happiness was slight. In several studies, only working out once or twice a week resulted in participant’s reporting being happier than those who never exercised. In other studies, being physically active for just 10 minutes a day was linked with better moods. However, the more people moved the happier they tended to be.


Since most of the studies in this review were observational, it is not possible to establish whether exercise directly causes changes in happiness or if the two just happen to often occur together. It could be that happy people are more likely to take up exercise and continue with it than people who feel sad. In that case, exercise would not have helped to make people happy; rather, their happiness would have helped to make them exercisers.


Happiness also is a subjective concept. The studies analyzed in the review asked people how happy they felt. But one person’s happiness could be another’s relative gloom, making it difficult to generalize about how any of us might react, emotionally, to starting an exercise routine.


Possible Reasons


The review did not delve into how exercise could be influencing happiness, but here are some possible reasons for why exercise affects happiness:

  • Social Factors -  There are some indications that social factors could play a role in how exercise affects happiness for some people. Social interactions that happen during an exercise class or trip to the gym might help to elevate people’s moods.
  • Health - Exercise could more directly change the body, including the brain. Exercise improves health and feeling healthier might make people feel happier.
  • Brain Chemistry - Exercise might also remodel the brain, for example, by prompting the creation of new brain cells or inducing changes in brain chemicals, in ways that contribute to positive emotions.

Ways to Relieve Stress Without Eating This Holiday Season

Some holiday stress is unavoidable, but stress eating doesn’t have to be. Our holiday to-do lists are long. There are endless parties and social activities. It’s easy to see why stress levels are high during the holiday season. Holiday stress can be an endless trigger for soothing yourself with food. With seasonal comfort foods ever present, it’s no wonder why it’s so easy to turn to food.

Eating in response to stress is a habit many of us have formed. However, you can retrain yourself to actually cope with the stress instead of just covering it with food. The best way to break this habit is by regularly practicing techniques that prevent stress and release it when feeling overwhelmed. You can learn to manage your stress and emotions productively the more you practice.

The next time you find yourself seeking out comforting food when stressed, work through this list or do other stress relieving activities until you feel your stress subside.

  • Breathe deeply. Focus on breathing for 3 to 5 minutes. Inhale down to your lower abdomen, where we tend to hold tension caused by stress.
  • Play uplifting music. Music such as classical, jazz or percussion-based music has been shown to improve overall mood. Create a playlist you like that makes you feel good. Listen often.
  • Use Your Brain. Do something that uses brain power to refocus thoughts on something besides food. Read, work on a crossword puzzle, do a hobby or talk to a friend or family member.
  • Eat Dark Chocolate. Nibble on a little dark chocolate every day or when stressed. Dark chocolate contains compounds that boost your mood and reduce stress hormones.
  • Stretch It Out. A regular routine of stretching is effective to keep tension from building up in our necks, shoulders, backs and hips. If at home, sit on the floor to stretch while breathing deeply.
  • Walk Around. Take frequent 2-minute walking breaks. A 2-minute walk is sufficient time for blood to fully circulate, which can clear your mind and perspective.
  • Exercise Regularly. Regular exercise helps release and manage day-to-day stress. People who exercise regularly tend to maintain lower stress levels and report more feelings of happiness.

Depending on the amount of stress, you may have to work through several techniques before you feel relief. It may take a month or more to retrain your habit, but you will find these techniques become your first response to stress or negative emotions instead of food.

Learning to manage stress and emotions without turning to food will aid you in being healthier, boost self-confidence and help you feel in control even through the holiday season.

For more information contact

Laura Sant, M.S., R.D.N.

Extension Educator — Health/Nutrition/Food Safety and 4-H


University of Idaho Extension, Franklin County

Mailing Address:
561 W Oneida
Preston, ID 83263

Phone: 208-852-1097

Fax: 208-852-2812



Find us on Google Maps