Idaho Family Dinner Night 2021

Celebrate Idaho Family Dinner Night on September 27!

Eating together regularly as a family is one of the best ways to build and maintain strong relationships with your children. Frequent family dinners are linked to positive benefits for youth, including lower rates of substance use, decreased stress, higher self-esteem, and better academic performance in school.

That’s why the Office of Drug Policy (ODP) is kicking off an Idaho Family Dinner Night campaign to encourage parents across the state to celebrate Idaho Family Dinner Night on the fourth Monday of September which falls on the 27th this year. Let’s make family meals a regular event in your homes all year round.

Idaho Family Dinner Recipe Guide

To help families celebrate and connect around the dinner table, ODP created the Idaho Family Dinner Recipe Guide, which is filled with conversation starters, games and activities, and simple, budget-friendly recipes, including:

  • Slow Cooker Chicken Santa Fe Soup
  • Quick Trick Chicken Tacos
  • 5 Minute Easy Egg Fried Rice
  • Build Your Own Baked Nachos
  • Baked Chicken Parmesan

To develop the Recipe Guide and share resources with parents, ODP has partnered with The Family Dinner Project, a national nonprofit initiative that champions family dinner as an opportunity for family members to connect with each other through food, fun, and conversation about things that matter. ODP is encouraging Idaho parents to sign up for The Family Dinner Project’s free online program – Food, Fun, and Conversation: 4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners – for tools and resources to help make family dinners a household staple in just four weeks.

For more information about Idaho Family Dinner Night, download the Recipe Guide, and learn how to become a family dinner pro in three easy steps, visit

25 Ways to Use Zucchini

Idaho Beef Month

hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegetable kabobs on an open BBQ grill
July is Idaho Beef Month!

This special designation recognizes the tremendous impact the Idaho Beef Industry has had on local communities and the economy of Idaho and is a legacy that has been carried forward by ranching families for generations. Idaho beef strengthens communities and contributes to strong bodies as well.

Did you know that beef is not only delicious, it is also a significant source of many important nutrients? Check out these fast facts to learn how beef contributes to a healthy diet.

  • A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 10 essential nutrients in about 170 calories, including high quality protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins. No other protein source offers the same nutrient mix.
    • According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, beef contributes approximately 5 percent of total calories to Americans’ diets while contributing more than 5 percent of these essential nutrients: potassium (6.1%), phosphorus (7.3%), iron (8%), vitamin B6 (9.2%), niacin (9.9%), protein (15.2%), zinc (23.1%), and vitamin B12 (25%).
  • Beef is a protein powerhouse.
    • A 3-ounce serving of beef delivers 25 grams of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and maintaining strength, for both your mind and body.
    • You would need to eat 3 cups, or 666 calories, of quinoa, per RACC (Reference Amount Customarily Consumed), which is 140g, to get the same amount of protein (25 grams) as in 3 oz. of cooked beef, which is about 170 calories.
  • The nutrients in beef promote health throughout life.
    • Protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins in beef help ensure young children start life strong, building healthy bodies and brains.
    • Protein is especially important as we age. After 50 years of age, adults are at risk for losing muscle mass, leading to falls and frailty that affect their ability to age independently.
  • Many cuts of beef qualify as lean.
    • Nearly 40 cuts of beef – including some of the most popular cuts such as sirloin – are lean as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), meaning they contain less than 10 grams total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams (3½ oz), cooked, and per RACC (Reference Amount Customarily Consumed), which is 85 grams (3 oz).
    • Recent research has shown that lean beef, as part of a heart-healthy diet, can support cardiovascular health. 
  • Beef’s high-quality protein, iron, and zinc strengthen a healthy diet and are a nutrient-rich complement to the nutrients found in produce like vegetables and fruits. An approachable way to build a healthy plate that includes beef is to first anchor your plate with protein, fill at least half of the plate with colorful vegetables and fruits and incorporate fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Healthy Beef Recipes

Throughout the month of July, celebrate Idaho’s beef industry and let your taste buds be your guide to a variety of delicious beef creations. Visit for recipes and tips to make Idaho Beef Month a fabulous and flavorful celebration!

Tips for Delicious Grilled Steaks

So, what better way to celebrate Idaho Beef Month than to fire up the grill and create some summertime magic in your own back yard? Launch your BBQ adventure with a few pointers from the pros at Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. that will help you create grilled steaks that are juicy and delicious.

Select Your Cut. Beef is versatile! You won’t go wrong with all-time favorites such as T-bone, Tenderloin and Top Sirloin. Why not try taking your grilling game up a notch with a cut you might not be as familiar with, like a juicy Flat Iron or a lean, flavorful Flank Steak.

Elevate those flavors. Marinades and rubs are a great way to take beef to the next level with minimal effort. Tender beef cuts can be marinated for as little as 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. For less tender cuts, marinating for at least six hours, but not more than 24 hours, will do the trick.

For inspiration and recipes, peruse the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Flavor Boosting Rubs & Marinades collection.

Fire it Up. Make sure your grill is clean (to prevent flare-ups) and the rack is well-oiled (to prevent sticking). Medium and steady wins the race. When it comes to cooking beef, there is no need to rush the process by using any higher heat than medium. Cooking at a medium heat allows beef to achieve caramelization while still developing rich flavors and avoiding charring.

Grill to perfection. Use an ovenproof or instant-read thermometer to monitor doneness, and let it go – don’t flip the steaks too much. One flip usually does the trick; however, you should take care to avoid charring or burning and be ready to turn down the heat (or move to a cooler spot on the grill) if necessary. Keep in mind the internal temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after coming off the grill.

Rest & Relax. It’s hard to wait but resting the meat before serving prevents all those tasty juices from draining onto your plate. For most cuts, about five minutes will do then it’s time to sit back and enjoy!

Slicing your steak? If you’re slicing the steak before serving, be sure to cut across the grain. For a drool-worthy finish to your steaks, consider topping them off with compound butter or serving with a sauce.

Idaho Beef Council Logo

For more information on Idaho’s beef industry, visit

Nutrition Myths

By: Leslee Blanch, RD, LD, Family Consumer Science Associate Extension Educator, University of Idaho Bonneville County Extension

Deciphering Facts From Fads

Sifting through nutrition information can be challenging, to say the least. Keep in mind that diets which promote the following principles are not based on fact, but rather on “fad”:

Myth 1: Rapid weight loss with extreme dietary restrictions.

FACT: A healthy rate of weight loss ranges from 1-2 pounds/week. More rapid weight loss is more difficult to keep off, and can initially include a significant amount of water weight. Extreme restrictions are difficult to sustain in a life-long eating pattern, and thus when previous eating patterns are resumed, lost pounds return (often bringing more pounds with them!) Extreme dietary restrictions can result in loss of muscle mass, excessive hunger, and nutrient deficiencies.

Myth 2: Avoid ALL grain products to lose weight.

FACT: Whole grains can be part of a balanced, weight-loss diet pattern. Whole grains are a primary source of energy and B vitamins for energy metabolism, minimizing fatigue. They provide fiber to help with satiety, balance rapid changes in blood sugar, and promote digestive health.

Myth 3: Skip meals to help with weight loss.

FACT: Research shows that skipping meals may actually result in weight gain. Skipping meals can slow down metabolism as our bodies temporarily go into “starvation mode”, conserving energy until fed again. Small frequent meals/snacks can stave off excessive hunger that often leads to overeating. Make sure meal and snack choices include “real” food:  Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein (including nuts and legumes), and dairy, as tolerated. Listen to your hunger cues: Are you eating because the clock says it’s time, out of stress or boredom, or because you are truly hungry?  Learn to “tune in” to satiety cues and only eat until comfortably full—not “stuffed”.  Slowing the rate of food consumption by chewing thoroughly and putting down utensils between bites helps avoid overeating and increases the enjoyment of our meals.


Utilizing the “Healthy Plate” model can control portions and support a balanced diet. Filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits, one fourth with lean protein, and one fourth with whole grains, adding dairy on the side, is a wonderful start to nutrition habits that can promote weight loss and maintenance and support lifelong sustainable eating patterns. Limiting or avoiding refined grains and high-sugar products will decrease unnecessary calorie intake.  Remember that regular physical activity can balance appetite, improve bone and muscle strength, balance moods, and assist in healthy sleep habits, all of which can play a role in weight management.

  • Jackie Amende, MS, RDN, LD, Family Consumer Science Extension Educator, University of Idaho
  • Laura Andromalos, MS, RD, CSOWM, CDE, Northwest Weight and Wellness Center, Everett, Washington