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March 11th-17th, 2024, is Nutrition and Hydration Week!

Finding the right amount of nutrition and staying hydrated on the prairie back in the 1800s looked very different than it does today. They did it without refrigeration, plumbing, and multivitamins! Imagine having to get water from the creek or well every day. If you were lucky enough to have a well, you would have had to work very hard to dig it yourself! Imagine making your own butter after milking the cow, gathering eggs, picking vegetables, baking bread, and the list goes on! Most people in the 1800s relied on agricultural products for their nutrition because they lived in rural areas. They were not thinking about what their daily nutritional makeup was by looking at the food pyramid or getting advice from their dietician. Those things didn't exist! Their diet was mostly made up of meat, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and grains. They would have to process their beef, pork, and poultry by smoking or salting it. They ate more fruit and vegetables when they were in season and preserved some of them for the colder months. They kept their fruit and vegetables cold temporarily in their root cellars. The fruit they preserved by sugaring or drying. They used pickling for their vegetables and also their eggs.

How to Make Dried Apples

*Note: In the 1800s they dried their apples next to the fire or out in the sun.

Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Wash and core the apples. Remove any bruised areas.

Cut the apples into thin slices. (approximately 1/4 inch thick)

Spread the apple slices in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Put the baking sheet in the preheated oven, leaving the door slightly ajar to let moisture out.

Bake the apple slices for 2-3 hours, until totally dried and somewhat leathery. Check them on a regular basis to make sure they do not burn.

Take the baking sheet out of the oven and allow the dried apple slices to cool fully before storing in an airtight container.

Staying hydrated today is so much easier today than it was back in the 1800s. Having to gather water and dealing with whether the water is safe to drink is not something we deal with in modern society. However,  a study done by the Centers for Disease Control found the youth in the US consume only 15 ounces of water on average per day.

Here are some interesting facts about dehydration:

  • We can only live 3-4 days without water.

  • If you're thirsty, you're dehydrated.

  • Dehydration causes foggy memory, irritability, and fatigue.

  • It can cause health issues like headaches, low blood pressure, and in severe cases it can even compromise your heart, brain, and kidneys.

  • Not sleeping enough can cause dehydration: people who sleep less may have less vasopressin, a hormone released at night that helps your body maintain its hydration status.

  • You can get water from foods like fruits and vegetables.

Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements

Age Range



4 to 8 years

Girls and Boys


9 to 13 years






14 to 18 years






Data are from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Water: How Much Do Kids Need? (

Ways to take part in Nutrition and Hydration Week:

  • Have fun making healthy menus and then cooking the meals with your family!

  • Research organizations that fight against hunger and give a donation to one

  • Donate or volunteer at a local food pantry

  • Volunteer at an organization that serves or delivers meals

  • Recommit to a healthy lifestyle:

Balanced Meals

Include a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats in your meals to guarantee that you get enough nutrients.

Portion Control.

To avoid overeating, keep your portion measurements in check. Use smaller dishes to keep portions under control.


Maintain hydration by drinking lots of water throughout the day. Limit your intake of sugary drinks and instead choose water or unsweetened liquids.


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