These healthy seasoning blends make simple DIY holiday gifts for friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
- These recipes make about 1 cup. Adjust quantities based on the size and number of jars you are using.
- Prevent waste and get the exact amount you need by purchasing the herbs and spices from the bulk bins.
- Repurpose containers you have around your house or find unique glass jars at thrift stores.
- Get the kids involved with measuring, mixing, filling jars, or creating one-of-a-kind labels.
Chai SpiceAdapted from: My Baking Addiction
Chai is good for spiced nuts, oatmeal, eggnog, and lattes. Try it sprinkled on buttered toast for a spicy spin on cinnamon toast.
- ½ cup ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons ground all spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Everything Bagel MixAdapted from: Cooking Channel TV
As the name implies, this blend is good on just about everything. Salads, potatoes, chicken, eggs, avocado…you name it!
- ⅓ cup sesame seeds
- ⅓ cup poppy seeds
- 3 tablespoons dried minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Ranch MixAdapted from: The Pioneer Woman
Use this seasoning to make anything “ranch style” including popcorn, roasted potato wedges, and veggie dip.
- ¾ cup dry buttermilk powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
- ½ tablespoon dried chives
- ½ tablespoon sea salt
- ¼ tablespoon ground black pepper
Taco SeasoningAdapted from: The Real Food RDs
Most store-bought taco seasoning has preservatives and added sugars. This version is just herbs, spices, and salt.
- ½ cup chili powder
- 2 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
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 IDBeef.org 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.
For more information on Idaho’s beef industry, visit IDBeef.org
By: Health Matters State Employee Wellness Program
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we’ve got four simple tips to keep you healthy, happy, and grateful!
- Let’s Talk Safe Turkey. No one wants to be responsible for making people sick from food, especially on a holiday! Practice good food safety including washing hands frequently; keeping raw meat away from ready-to-eat foods; keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold; and refrigerating perishable leftovers within two hours1.
- The first three bites are always the best. Our enjoyment of food diminishes as we get less hungry2. Savor all your favorites but try to notice when you are no longer completely enjoying the stuffing, potatoes, or pie and consider putting down your fork. You can always have more later!
- Thanksgiving is about so much more than food. Don’t lose sight of the real reason for the holiday – showing gratitude and connecting with people you care about. Try a gratitude tree or “I’m thankful for…” jar as an activity to bring everyone together around something other than the turkey.
- Tell your body “thank you!” Make time to get some sort of movement throughout the day. Instead of using exercise to “burn off” your Thanksgiving meal, consider it an act of gratitude to your body. Our bodies were made to move and there is no better way to show your appreciation than by getting your blood pumping!
1 “Food Safety by Events and Seasons.” FoodSafety.gov, https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/food-safety-by-events-and-seasons#thanksgiving. Accessed November 2019.
2 Consason, Alexis, Psyc.D., “Tips for a Mindful Thanksgiving Feast.” Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/eating-mindfully/201211/tips-mindful-thanksgiving-feast. Accessed November 2019.
By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division
Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. The good news? We can all do our part to prevent alcohol misuse or abuse. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, the Idaho State Liquor Division encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.
In 2017, there were 245 fatal crashes in Idaho1 and 24.7% of those were the result of drunk driving2. Over 5,450 people were arrested for driving under the influence with 48 of those people being under the age of 213. These numbers do not include arrests for drunkenness, domestic violence incidents where alcohol is present or other various social harms that are happening to our friends and family members throughout our community.
If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
- Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
- Keep track of how much you drink.
- Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
- Don’t drink when you are upset.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
- Avoid places where people drink a lot.
- Make a list of reasons not to drink.
If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking and/or behavior when drinking, encourage your friend or family member to seek help. If you are in Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare’s Idaho’s Careline 2-1-1 is a great first start. Anyone can call 2-1-1 or visit https://211.idaho.gov/ for alcohol and substance abuse resources.
Listed below are some other resources available to you at the local, state and federal levels:
- The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility: Ways to prevent underage drinking, to end drunk driving, and how to drink responsibly.
- Al-Anon Family Groups: Al-Anon members are people who are worried about someone with a drinking problem.
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): A fellowship of men and women that have had a drinking problem.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Mission is to support alcohol research.
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthfinder.gov: Includes various health topics to help live and lead a healthy life.
- BeTheParents.org: Great site encouraging parent engagement and ways to prevent underage drinking.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): NIAAA supports and conducts research on the impact of alcohol use on human health and well-being. It is the largest funder of alcohol research in the world.
- College Drinking: Changing the Culture (NIAAA): Resources and materials for colleges.
- Stop Underage Drinking: Portal of Federal Resources: Provides ongoing, high-level leadership regarding alcohol and serves as a mechanism for coordinating federal efforts aimed at preventing and reducing underage drinking.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health: The CDC Alcohol Program works to strengthen the scientific foundation for preventing excessive alcohol use.
- Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth: Their work focuses on the marketing variables of product, place, promotion and price, and the role these variables play in youth drinking and related problems.
- Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS): Provides detailed information on a wide variety of Alcohol-Related Policies in the United States at both State and Federal levels.
- National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA): Their mission is to support member jurisdictions in their efforts to protect public health and safety and ensure responsible and efficient systems for beverage alcohol distribution and sales. The site includes public health resources, education and white papers.
1Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report
2Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility – 2017 State Facts
3Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report
By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division
Idaho sets the perfect holiday stage for us every year. We hear songs like, “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland” and “O Christmas Tree” that put us all in the holiday spirit. We also hear, however, many songs that reference and promote alcohol and being drunk during the holidays such as “Drunk on Christmas,” “One More Christmas Beer” and “All I Want for Christmas is Whiskey.” They tell us to “Eat, Drink and be Merry,” and many of us do. In fact, 16% of adults say they drink more than usual during the holidays and 97% of adults went to work hung over after a party, or know someone who did1. If you decide to consume alcohol this holiday season, it is important to know how to do so in a fun and responsible way.
First, it is estimated that 97+ million Americans will hit the roads between December 23 and January 12. It is illegal to drive with a 0.05% blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher which most women can reach by having just 2 standard drinks; for men, it is around 3 standard drinks. It can be easy to drink more when socializing, so you are encouraged to plan ahead.
Second, it is important to know what you are drinking, how much you are drinking and over what period of time. The standard used when relating alcohol equivalency is: one 12 fl. oz. beer (5% alcohol) = one 5 fl. oz. glass of wine (12% alcohol) = one 1.5 fl. oz. shot of 80-proof liquor (40% alcohol). This can be a bit misleading, however, as many cocktails have 2.0-2.5 fl. oz. of 80-proof liquor in them so if the standard equivalency rule is used, you will actually consume almost two drinks in one. Also, as the proof of the alcohol gets higher, or the amount of time lessons between drinks, the effects on the body can change dramatically.
Third, mixing alcohol and medication is a no-no. Serious harm can come to you and others so do not combine the two.
Fourth, there are so many opportunities to be with friends and family during the holiday and it is fine and legal to enjoy alcohol if you are over the age of 21; and it can be a lot of fun when done responsibly. Mixblendenjoy.com is the state of Idaho’s retail website where you can find more information about party planning, drink recipes and product availability around the state. It is a great tool to have when planning your holiday event.
Last, but certainly not least, if you are driving, entertaining or headed to a family function with children, make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks available. A fun and easy drink is a Cranberry Lime Mule Mocktail. Start with a copper cup (if available), fill with ice, add one part cranberry juice, two parts non-alcoholic ginger beer or ginger ale, add a squeeze of lime, then garnish with a lime and a few cranberries. Delicious and festive!
Wishing you and yours a happy, safe and fun holiday season and make sure to keep singing -“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Let’s Start the New Year Right!”
1 Harris Interactive Survey for Caron Treatment Centers, 2017.
- Alt HealthWatch: This database focuses on many perspectives of complementary, holistic, and integrated approaches to healthcare and wellness.
- Consumer Health Complete: Comprehensive resources for consumer-oriented health content. Designed to support the needs of the patient and to foster an overall understanding of health-related topics. Covers all areas of health and wellness. Includes fact sheets and pamphlets, drug and herb information, alternative sources, and content from popular journals like Yoga Journal, Men’s Fitness, and Fit Pregnancy.
- Gale Encyclopedia of Prescription Drugs: This online encyclopedia features entries on the most commonly prescribed drugs. It describes potential side effects, drug and food interactions, recommended dosages, and warnings and precautions.
- Health Source: Consumer Edition: Contains content from consumer health magazines, current health-related pamphlets, and full-text health reference books.
- Life and Career Skills Series: Health & Wellness: This eBook guides readers in making healthy choices about hygiene, diet, exercise, and medical care. It contains easy-to-understand information about healthcare coverage options and offers overviews of different types of available medical care, from general practitioners to alternative medicine and mental health providers.
- MedicLatina: A collection of Spanish-language periodical content on health and wellness topics.
By: Jackie Amende, MS, RDN, LD, University of Idaho FCS Extension Educator
If you are road tripping or traveling abroad to a new and exciting place, you can still enjoy all the fun foods that come with traveling without compromising your healthful eating plan. Here are some tips for your upcoming summer vacation:
- Focus on portion sizes. You don’t have to avoid those new and exciting foods that come with traveling. Share large food portions with your travel partner or go with the small size for just yourself.
- Keep your regular meal times on vacation. It can be easy to graze on food all day while on vacation but try to stick with your usual eating pattern.
- Watch what you’re drinking. Focus on water or other unsweetened beverages. Skip the sweetened and various adult beverages which are often loaded with unnecessary calories.
- Pack non-perishable foods with you. Dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels make for relatively healthy snacks that are nutrient-rich. These non-perishable foods are perfect for a quick snack to satisfy you until your next scheduled meal time.
- If you are road tripping, pack a cooler with fresh pre-cut vegetables and fruits. Try slicing some bell peppers and cutting up some celery sticks. In addition, keep whole fruit or sliced fruit ready to go.
- Be physically active! Get outside and walk to enjoy the sites where you are vacationing. If you are on a road trip, schedule frequent stops where you can get out, stretch your legs, and take a short walk.
With these healthful eating tips, food safety is still a priority, especially if you’re road tripping. Bringing perishable foods with you like meats and cheeses may cause some unwanted foodborne illnesses if these items are not stored properly. Don’t store perishable foods unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours. If stored in a cooler, make sure coolers are 40 degrees or cooler. In addition, don’t leave your cooler directly in the sun or in the trunk of your car on road trips. Putting the cooler in the backseat of the car will generally be cooler than the trunk. Finally, keep hand sanitizer or moist towelettes with you if you don’t have access to a restroom to wash your hands before and after eating. Now, enjoy your trip!
Want to learn more about healthy eating and/or food safety? University of Idaho Extension teaches many classes and programs in the area, like Eating Healthy on a Budget, Nutrition for Healthy Aging, Diabetes Prevention Program, Dining with Diabetes, and more. Check out the Canyon County UI Extension website at https://www.uidaho.edu/extension/county/canyon or call 208-459-6003 for more information.
These three simple tips for summer food safety apply all year round! However they are especially important to keep in mind during the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish.
Use a Thermometer: A thermometer is the number one way to ensure that foods are cooked to the correct temperature to destroy germs that can cause food poisoning. The color of a food, like the inside of a hamburger, is not a reliable way to check that it has been cooked to the proper temperature.
- Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures
- Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3 minute rest time
- Ground meats: 160 °F
- Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F
Keep ‘em Separated: …raw foods and cooked foods, that is! To prevent cross-contamination keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your refrigerator. It is a best practice to keep raw foods on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices do not drip on any ready-to-eat food or produce. Never reuse items that have come in contact with raw meat or poultry for cooked food. Always use clean plates and utensils when serving foods once they’re cooked.
Avoid the Danger Zone: Most bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F. This temperature range is known as the “Danger Zone.” If left in the Danger Zone bacteria in food can reach dangerous levels. That is why it is important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Never let perishable foods sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.
More information and resources about summer food safety can be found at foodsafety.gov.
We all know that physical activity is good for us, but it can be a challenge to fit fitness into a busy schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) physical activity every week. This may seem like a lot, but every minute adds up! Activity bursts of five minutes here and there throughout your day accumulate to help you reach your movement goals. Here are three simple ways to add more movement to your day!
Set an Alarm Use an app on your smart phone or set periodic appointments on your calendar to remind yourself to stand up at least once every hour. Movement breaks can include standing to stretch, a quick walk around your office, or some chair squats to really get the blood flowing!
Be an Ele-voider If you think you don’t have time to take the stairs, think again! A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that taking the stairs rather than waiting for the elevator saved about 15 minutes each workday. That’s a 3% savings of time per workday, which could translate into more productivity as well as increased fitness.
Take Your Breaks Break times and lunch hours are the perfect opportunity to get some movement in! Make it a goal to get up and walk for 10-15 minutes each day during lunch. After the work week you will have added 50-75 minutes of activity to your weekly total! The added bonus is that mid-day activity has been shown to boost mood and increase one’s ability to manage stress.
- Clear the clutter at home and on your desk
- Clean out your “food drawer” at work…add some healthy snacks
- Commit to your water bottle
- Move it!
- Visit a garden center…summer is a great time to learn to cook with herbs
- Let your inner child play – jump rope, ride a bike, skip stones, throw a ball for the dog
- Commit to “eat clean” one meal a week
- Eat more fish
- Get on top of your weight creep – now!
- Get a walking partner
- Challenge your brain every week through books, puzzles, and games
- Commit to your tracking device – use it
- Enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies starting to pop out in stores and gardens
- See the light! Make your world brighter. Open the drapes, turn on the lights.
- Eat smarter
- Plan a vacation – or just an evening out
- Move it – get up – stretch – breathe!
- Volunteer; help others
- Get outside
- Get a light box
- Stay social
- Focus on the positive
- Treat yourself
- Use comfort rituals…crock pots, quilts, fires, candles
- Start a project
- Create a home gym with easy-to-use, affordable equipment (soup cans, detergent bottles, balance ball, jump rope, resistance bands, kitchen chair, stairs, doorframe, broom …)
- Get outside once a day but dress for cold weather
- Do your chores to music – step up and MOVE
- Be healthy – clean out your pantry; check those food product dates
- Walk the mall or the airport (if you are traveling)
- Stay Active
- Read or listen to a book
- Play a board game; set a puzzle
- Check out these Ways to Keep Kids Busy Indoors
- A few more ideas…Treasure Hunts, Indoor Obstacle Course, Dance Off and more!
- Play – be a child again
- Be curious – reconnect with your inner child
- Think back to who you were at 10 years of age…what were your dreams?
- Take time to dream and to consider the “what ifs…”
- Create a Dream Board
- Tune in to your surroundings – be present to now and to what is happening around you
- Stop. Close your eyes. Be still for a moment. Open your eyes and really notice what you see, feel, and hear
- Practice gratitude